When I was in the Army I had the opportunity to go to the Middle East for six months. There’s a whole litany of things you have to do to get ready for such a deployment — shots, paperwork, etc. One of those things was getting new dog tags.
One of the most interesting things about dog tags is that they include your religion on them. I was flirting with Atheism at the time and decided to get creative with what I put for my faith of choice.
Naturally, I put “CROM”. Crom is Conan’s God from Conan The Barbarian — one of the few movies that my buddy Tim and I watched hundreds of times during our high school years. These movies are burned into our souls. They define us.
I was quite sure I was going to get written up for putting “CROM” as my religion, but it never happened. They didn’t scoff when it wrote it on the form, and they happily pounded it into the little pieces of metal for me.
I was so proud of those damn dog tags, and from then on Conan became even more a part of my permanent personal culture. Anytime someone would put out an idea that I didn’t like I’d say:
Crom laughs at your four winds!
I quote from him regularly. The lamentation of the women…two snakes facing each other…etc, — it’s all classic stuff.
The pinnacle of the whole affair came in Egypt when I had these dog tags dipped in 18 carat gold. It was quite inexpensive, but it made the whole Conan thing even cooler in some lame yet cool way (see Manowar). Most of the gold came off of the tags over time; all that remained was the gold in the recessed protection of the lettering.