It's September 2010 and Carmen Gentile - a freelance reporter embedded with American troops in Afghanistan - is pondering his perpetual poverty and why the woman he's supposed to wed thinks he's an asshole.
Though he can't imagine his life getting any worse, a man wielding a rocket launcher is gracious enough to show him how, firing an explosive ordnance straight at his head.
Blinded in one eye, his cheek bone reduced to shattered toothpicks, Carmen relies heavily on his dark sense of humor to make the best of a truly one-of-a-kind bad situation.
"Kissed by the Taliban" is his look at the lighter side of getting shot in the face and coming out the other end all the better for it.
My new book "Blindsided by the Taliban" is a dark-humor retelling of my unusual injury while reporting in Afghanistan. I was shot in the side of the head with an rocket-propelled grenade that didn't detonate, though blinded me in one eye and crushed the side of my face.
As I reporter, my work has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, USA Today and numerous other publications.
Carmen Gentile's personal account is a compelling, taught story about the risks REAL journalists take to get the facts. It flies in the face of current vilification of the media -- with charges of fake news -- for political dominance over the American people. I grew up on Clark Kent, Lou Grant, Edward R. Murrow, The Big Story, and Woodward and Bernstein as heroes of the quest from truth in a muddled world. "Kissed by the Taliban," whose title was changed to, "Blindsided by the Taliban" its a must-read for all of us who believe in the first amendment and the importance of the fourth estate to our democracy and freedom.
This is an amazing 6,000-word Single -- dude got hit in the face with a grenade in Afghanistan and survived, almost losing his right eye, and is now back covering wall. Talk about shock and awe -- that's what it's like to read the piece.