The mortar round that nearly ended me

It was the closest I ever came to dying.

During my year in Iraq, I was stationed on one of (if not THE) smallest bases in country. A “magical place” (eye roll) named Log Base Seitz — or more appropriately nicknamed “Mortaritaville”.

It was about a mile long by 300 meters wide.

For reference, Camp Victory next door, was 20 square miles.

Yeah, we were tiny. A little speck on the war map. Anyway, in the year I was there, 1153 mortar rounds landed in that 1 mile by 300 meter area. Imagine a dart board with every last inch crammed with darts.

That was “home” for that year.

Anyway, one day, I was walking out of the warehouse I worked in… I’d maybe taken 3-4 steps outside the warehouse… and suddenly I heard “it” — the telltale “boom” of a mortar round hitting nearby.

I immediately dove on the ground and scrambled next to a CONNEX box nearby. If you don’t know what that is… they’re those big shipping containers you see on movies or TV shows when they do shots of a port.

They have the big cranes lifting them on and off ships.

All our supplies came in those so they were everywhere on base.

This particular one probably saved my life.

Anyway, I scrambled right next to it as the rounds continued to land. Each “boom” getting louder and closer than the next. The last few felt like they were right on top of me. The last one hit just on the other side of the container.

I could hear the shrapnel hit the other side of the box.

The ground and the container shook violently.

The container rang with a hollow “boom” from the percussion of the mortar.

And, I just laying there waiting. The rounds had been slowly “walking” back toward me and the next one was gonna be close. There was maybe 10 feet between the container and the warehouse.

They’d have to drop it in the “hole” just perfect to hit me…

But, I’d seen it happen before.

About a million things flashed through my head.

All the things I hadn’t done. All the things I’d wanted to say to people that I never had. My wife back home, my newborn son. If you’ve never experienced it, your life literally does “flash before your eyes”.

That moment taught me a lot.

Not to take anything for granted.

Not to sit around hoping and wishing for things to happen.

Not to assume everything “will just work out”.

Good people die. They fail. They live entire lives of quiet desperation. There’s no scorekeeper, at least in this life, sitting there watching everyone and making sure the good guys win in the end.

This can all go away tomorrow.

So, why sit around waiting for s*** to happen?

Of course, as you’ve guessed (since I’m here writing this) I made it out that day. That next mortar round never came. I did what I was trained… laid there, counted to 60 after the last round hit and then got up and ran to the hospital to help out.

Out of the frying pan into the fire as they say…

The hospital was chaos because a round had hit in the middle of a group of other people and they were pouring into the hospital. And, I went right to work helping out and doing my job there.

No one ever knew what happened to me that day.

How close I’d come.

I felt a bit ungrateful given how many people got hurt for real that day.

But, it scared the daylights out of me.

And changed my entire outlook and mindset.

Anyway, do with that what you will. A lot of this probably sounds cliche. But, sometimes, cliches exist for a reason — and it takes coming face to face with one to realize that.

Nothing is promised.

Nothing is given.

Everything must be taken.

You might not understand it if you’ve never been face to face with your own death like that — and, inevitably, I’ll get some nerd say “how dare you” — but the mentality that was created that day permeates everything I do now.

It, sincerely, is one of the reasons I’ve been all but begging you to learn the cold email method I’ve been rapping about lately. It might sound trite to you, but godda****… this is your life. You get one shot.

Take control!

With all the s*** that’s happening in our world right now… all the upheaval online and in person, in social media, and in general… I don’t know why any businessperson — any *person* with the sense to see what’s going on…

Would want to rely on anybody other than themselves.

Would just think, “Eh, it’s gonna be fine”.

Are you paying attention?

Anyway, my focus has always been skill development. In my (correct) opinion, upping your personal power — your ability to perform — is the one single thing you can rely on to get you through… whatever may come.

And, in that context…

I don’t know why anybody *wouldn’t* want to learn the most direct, aggressive, efficient and self-controlled method for putting money in their pocket that I know of.

No aloof freelance platform to appease.

No shady search engine to bow down to.

No slimeball, who’s had a silver spoon in his mouth from the day he was born, as the “gatekeeper” at a networking event… so now you have to suck up to this douche just to have a crack at getting any clients.

None of that s***.

Direct, immediate and 100% in your control.

That’s cold email.

But, I admit I’m also a bit eccentric and biased… so, it is what it is. I’ll stop conking you over the head about it here. That said, if you do want to learn the method, it’s up on Skillshare for another 9 days or so.

At the end of April, I’m taking it off Skillshare…

And will sell it on my site for probably around $100 or so.

So, if you want to learn the method before it comes down and you have to fork over that chunk of change, it’s Lesson 3 and 4 here:

I think you know the Skillshare drill by now.

If you’re already a member, that link will take you right into the course to get started. If not, that’ll trigger a 14-day trial where you get unlimited access to every course on the platform (30,000+) including the one above.

Yeah, you gotta jump through a few hoops.

But, might be worth it to you.

Especially since time is quickly slipping away on this.

Anyway, link is here if you want in:



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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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