04 June 2008

Eating lunch alone

Part of moving...the biggest part...is making friends. It's hard to show up mid term in a high school. Darn hard. Understand this: These people are afraid of what they don't know...and that is you. Every Brat knows what it's like to eat lunch alone. Out of shyness, we try to come off like we want to eat alone. And that's when it starts. The misconception by other students that we're full of ourselves. Here's a clue for them. We'll eat with anyone! Anyone! That ain't being full of yourself. That's just not knowing what to do.

You can do one of three things:

1-Make no effort and continue to eat alone. The results? You'll grow up being very comfortable eating alone. This appears to be, from what I've read, only second to fear of public speaking. I'm very comfortable speaking in public and eating alone. So, you know what I did.

2-Eat with anyone who comes along and joins you at the lunch table. I did this as well. Not that I had any choice. You will then meet those unfortunates no one else will eat with. This only gets very bad for you.

3-Grab your courage and introduce yourself to people who look somewhat normal. First time I did it -- I was shot down. I crawled back in my cave and wonder of wonders, I tried again. Met the most wonderful kids in the world. We're still friends. And I'm old.

You want life time friends? Hang it out there. You wanna meet wack jobs hitting 12 on the koo-koo meter, they'll come to you. You wanna be comfortable eating alone...do nothing. But you're a Brat. I know you. You'll never do nothing.

"If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper." David Lynch, From the book, "Catching The Big Fish" Where was this guy when I was growing up?

02 June 2008


When I look back at the pictures on this blog - - I don't know who I am. My father or myself. The only people I recognise are my sisters. They seem to be connected to who they are. Why is that?

I know it's me and my father. But I'm reminded of Matthew Brady tin types of the Civil War. We seem to be distant and alone. Just a figure or face. Long gone and lost in history. I just don't see myself or my father as we were or are.

All along my intent was to help you. The Brat. To share with you my experiences and wisdom. But I'm still lost. So little of it makes any sense to me. I thought I would have it nailed down by now.

I guess it takes time. A lot of time. Especially when there's never anyone you can share this life with. Even when there is...we don't. Or can't. Much easier to tell the good stories and laugh about them. Cry about them. But never reach down and pull up that thing that scares you.

01 June 2008

The Mediocre Six

HHC XVIII Airborne Corps at Ft Bragg. I'm second from the right. The peace time Army. All volunteer as well. A horrible time it was. For the Army that is. Not for us. This picture was taken after I had been kicked out of Special Forces Phase Selection. 88 were in my SF class and only three made it to the green beret. All prior enlistment NCOs. I never really had what it takes. I certainly don't now.

Four of us were infantry in this picture. The other two were clerical types. Not that it matters. We were all REMFs. It was about this time that I started thinking seriously about being a soldier. A little late but there was rumor of war in Europe. We were all being trained for W.W. III. The idea was the Soviets would invade West Germany. We would be parachuted in and most of us would never exit the aircraft. We would be shot down long before ever reaching the drop zone. That's what we were told.

I tried to imagine who would kill me. Some 19 year old from the Ukraine or Estonia. With no more interest in killing me than I had in killing him. All of us children. All of us, wound up in our training and hot for medals and bobbles. The Combat Infantry Badge or the CIB was the one to have. Combat Jump Wings. Little star on the parachute indicating you jumped onto a hot DZ. Very rare. A Bronze Star for just showing up. Or with a V clasp if you did something truly heroic but not heroic enough for the Silver Star. All of it cheap metal and ribbon. Napoleon said men would die for mere bobbles. He got that one right.

But these serious thoughts were almost always pushed away with mind numbing duties interrupted by jumping out of planes and visiting Hay's Street in Fayettville. Hookers and their pimps were a lot more dangerous than the Warsaw Pact soldier ever turned out to be. For the first time I saw a part of the Army I had been kept from. The Pawn Shops and Stereo Stores with 33% APR. The Pop a Top Lounge, Flaming Mug, Seven Dwarfs and Susie Wong clubs where "Coke" girls shared time with you while they sipped a soft drink you paid three bucks for. Outside, the professionals walked the street and asked if you wanted a "date."

All of those experiences are like a patina no Brasso could ever polish up.