When I was 18 years old I enlisted in the US Army. Shortly after arriving at Basic Training I witnessed a taste of the real world. While waiting in a long chow line one evening I saw a guy walk all the way to the front of the line. This isn’t typically something you see a trainee do in boot camp but this guy happened to be built like a monster; he looked like a shorter version of the ex-boxer Mike Tyson…he was a bull! Anyway, I guess he thought, who’s gonna stop me. A few seconds later this scrawny little guy walked up to him and politely challenged his arrogant behavior. This bull of guy just glared at him, didn’t say a word and retreated to the end of the line. Nothing more was said about it. Later that evening after I finished my shower, I was walking back to my room and spotted that huge guy in the hallway, almost hiding as he stood near an open doorway just staring into space. Seconds later a heard a short yelp, then nothing. He was waiting for the guy who approached him in line and in a split second he snatched that little guy and slammed him to the floor, slid him up against the wall, forcing his head into the corner between the floor and wall and then proceeded to pound his head as if he was chopping a log with an ax. Huge, heavy blows to the scull, over and over again as he held his head in the corner. I quickly grabbed him with both of my arms wrapped around his chest but he tossed me aside like I wasn’t even there. Several of us desperately tried to come to the aid of that kid but the anger and adrenalin that was erupting from that guy was no match for anyone at that moment. Finally, a few of us did manage to pull him off but the damage was done. The young recruit appeared to be alive, fairly still and bleeding like crazy. A drill sergeant ran over and cleared the hallway as he tended to this young man.
I never heard if the victim recovered or even lived. The psycho that punished him retreated to his bunk until the military police arrived and then they took him away. He never returned to the barracks. There was never any open discussion about what happened…that was it. I tried to find out if any of the other trainees knew who that kid was or how I might be a able to reach him but nobody could help me. To this day I still wish that I could have done more to help that young kid.
Politically and economically, I am a pretty conservative person. I don’t believe the government should do it for you. I don’t believe in a (ballooning) tax and spend model. Yes, I believe that Uncle Sam should oversee certain things like international security, assuring an infrastructure is in place and maintained country wide…stuff like makes sense. I do believe a smaller government whenever possible is better…telling you how you should spend or not spend your money or whether you can legally buy a can of soda or not isn’t junk I agree with. Now, before I touch off a political firestorm here, let me just express that I know these are much more complex issues than just saying “spend money on this or cut spending on that” is not likely ever going to be a real process, nor should it…remember the democracy part? Ok, let’s keep it simple, I’m conservative and that’s, that.
Having said that, doesn’t it seem like with all brainpower we have in this great country that we could come up with a simple and fair way to collect and and then spend federal resources in a fiscally responsible way? I mean, 3rd grade math would indicate that you need to collect $10.00 before you can spend $10.00 (forgetting credit and leverage for a minute) and if you only collect $8.00, then you can only spend that much? Credit is a valuable tool and works in many areas of the financial world but I don’t think it has a place in a budget, whether that be a federal budget or the budget of a homeowner’s association or whatever. I know, national defense, seniors, there are a lot of “hot buttons” here because they are all really important budget items but there still should be a way to pay for all of these things without mortgaging the future of our country. How much everyone pays should be fair and equitable from top to bottom, whatever that means, but equally as important, in my opinion, is that it should be clear, easy, simple, predictable, all those magical terms.
Does anyone really think that a deficit (a negative budget) is acceptable, even for one year?
The years after dad left were a bit of a rough ride. We were young and some of those months between say age 8 and 10 are a little fuzzy for me. Partly because I was pretty young and partly because you tend to block out times that suck.
Dad left with our only car. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, so there was no income. So how did we survive in a simple but nice 3 bedroom house in a nice little neighborhood for the better part of 10 years? Well, let me just say that there were some days where we did get some “normal” mixed in, mostly when my grandparents came to rescue the 3 of us kids for the weekend but the rest of the time it was like a cross between a Kathy Bates flik and the Shining. You see, what we soon discovered after dad bolted was that mom was more of a nut case than we originally thought. I’ll be talking more about that later but my point here is, even though dad took off and left us with pretty much nothing, I still to this day can’t really blame him. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my days over the years where I would think, what a complete jerk, but you know when we saw first hand what he was up against dealing with my mother, you really can’t blame him too much…she turned out to be an violent and unpredictable whacko.
To this day my sister and I still joke about how dad was lucky to get out when he did and how if we could have left her behind we would’ve done the same thing.
Anyway, the 10 years that followed (age 8 to 18) were a combination of many things; anxiety, turmoil, fear, poverty, fun, emotion, sadness, learning, regret and even some thankfulness. All families experience much of these characteristics so we weren’t so special by any means, we just happened to do it with a person who was evil. We’ll save some of those stories for the days ahead.
Oh, one more thing…God bless our grandparents for helping us over the years. There is no way we would have survived without their love and devotion to us. She put them through hell on many occasion and they just kept coming back to help us in spite of mom’s abusive behavior toward them. I miss you both very much!
Today is the first step of many as I set out to explore a few things in my life and the “life” around me. Along the way I will have a great many things to say, but of course that’s why keyboards and blogs were invented I imagine. Also, there are a great many topics that I would like to navigate through and what better place to carry out this process than on the world wide web.
Since you don’t know me, I think it might be a good idea if over the next few days and weeks I try to explain or illustrate who I am, how I feel, where I have come from…all of this, in preparation for a journey that will begin very soon. I just think that to enjoy this trip we are going on together (more on that later of course), it might be a good idea to give you the reader a perspective…a good understanding for why I have the views that I have and where we are going to go…and of course why we are going to go there.
Along the way I will be mixing in a few more things just to keep it real because I think it may be interesting or just because I can.