Well, Those were the days weren’t they?

This is Navy Seal Version Number 1:

Trainee attempts and fails swimming test. Status: REJECTED.

Well I did the 100 sit ups or so, did the running, and did the “body by Adonis” thing, but failed muster to gain entry to the creme of the elite special forces of our armed services.

I sucked at swimming. So because I sucked, I became what I had wanted to become, a Hospital Navy Corpsman. I still worked out though, ran a lot and basically became a specimen.

Oh, soon to find myself somewhere past the pink Navajo style buildings of the San Diego hospital corps training site, and then to come to grips that as a corpsman, I was scheduled to duty serving as a medic to the marines. Here I was, all smart and what not, confronted with the total fact that as a result of miscalculation and presumption of safe duty on a carrier, I was on my way to becoming a grunt corpsman.

Well Hey… That’s how it rolled at least I thought that to myself as I was reading a stark message written and scratched onto the metal to the bottom of the bunk above me. “1968 Just got orders to Vietnam, I am scared shitless”.

Me

Oh Crap...

This was from one of my kind. A hospital corpsman, that serves as the first responder for marines under fire. It made me think, not hesitate, just work out harder and be better at being a marine than a marine.

Did he die? Was he a coward? Am I a coward? It scared me.

It just makes you wonder how many push ups you have to do so that when you take a bullet from enemy fire in the chest- you have enough muscle mass to stop it? How many pull ups?

What kind of workout can you do to avoid death?

Workouts help you to not be afraid. Not be afraid of that which is unthinkable. They help you feel that you have a better chance when that bullet hits you, kind of like skipping a stone on the river, seeing how much further it bounces.

The term workout has never crossed my mind or lips as I work to recycle lost blood. Usually it is a seriously low blood pressure and the assumption/ slash/ hope, that a patient can tolerate that sort of ischemic event for whatever period of time it takes to normalize and catch up, that ends up telling the tale of pros and cons to working out.

It isn’t dying that is unthinkable, it is the manner inflicted, the intent, and purpose, that seems at odds with life itself. Go figure. Gotta go out and do unto others before they do me…

It followed me that message that I read while laying in my bunk bed in 1978. It followed me as I followed Gunnery Sargent Flores, and Staff Sargent La’Breque up a mountain conveniently named Mt. M*F*cker somewhere in Del Mar area 29, California.

It lingered as I walked point for a practice skirmish somewhere in the mountain sand of Dela Mar, walking over the ridge, and as I reached the top, trooper Moran (who actually had that Chicago gangster look going for him) ripped my belly apart with a round of automatic M-16 fire (blanks). As I topped the hill I died, and died, and once again became life exhausted. I was an ant that had met it’s match without realizing it.

It was a moment when I indeed did see another answer to life and realized that it was as insignificant as lighting a match. That is what war is. A succinct “No” to the question of life.

Anyway, that wasn’t the pressing question on my mind as my flight landed on the tarmac of the air strip shadowed by Mount Pinatubo, all of it’s future rainy season clouds, at Clark Air force base, Republic of the Philippines.

No. My mind was on other things. A sense beyond some sort of terror associated with fear of mortality, this was a new world, totally foreign to me, an expression of a non-western wind that was about to envelop but not consume me.

Just 20 and counting. And that is not an abacus of notches.

Me

I can Do This...

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16 thoughts on “Well, Those were the days weren’t they?

  1. How about something like this:

    “Did he die? Was he a coward? Am I a coward? It scared me.”

    “Did he die? Was he a coward” Am I a coward? The thought scared me.

  2. No you actually did miss my point. There is a story there – which is interesting. And could be really a good one.
    Having been a “secretary” for years, I find myself noticing things that distract from the story.

    For example, this is good! “It isn’t dying that is unthinkable, it is the manner inflicted, the intent, and purpose, that seems at odds with life itself.”

    This is good too….but can be restructured to say the same thing:
    Workouts help you to not be afraid. Not be afraid of that which is unthinkable.

    Perhaps: Workouts help you to not be afraid of that which is unthinkable.

    Am I OK so far?
    Don’t use my blog – set it up for WordPress!

  3. OK –
    makes sense to me.

    I guess the first thing I’d say is, although the grammar is choppy in bursts (as you say), I’d work on the WAY you say the sentences. Keep the choppy but improve the structure…..to make it grammatically correct.

    The thing is, your style will not appeal to people like me who see glaring flashing lights with either typos or grammar errors. (Sorry it’s the Admin in me!!! )

    Sorry didn’t mean style – the style is ok but the grammar makes me nuts.

    • LOL. In these days of twitters, bleats, and tweets, grammar takes a second place to substance. My grammar has always and will always suck. Don’t know how to fix it.

      But thanks, and sorry that the substance has become unappealing. I will work on it. Again, thanks for taking the time to help me.

      Frank

  4. Actually this is just fun for me- not my lifesblood- that is what I do for my day job.

    I will make this work- just a matter of time.

  5. No really – is it to be serious? Also just a small suggestion (this would be easier in email!!!) – do NOT repeat/reuse the same word twice in a single sentence.

    Were you serious about help? I hate tearing someone’s lifeblood apart.

    • Yes it is to be a serious look at life. Very raw right now, but alot of material to be written. I write in bursts, and will edit and frame later.

      Thanks 🙂

  6. Can you tell me first, (sorry) is this meant to be a serious book? I read it several times and the writing style is very Stephanie Plum book-type. You have a wonderful flair for humor – your dialogue is short, choppy and raw. But maybe it needs to be that way. So much truly depends upon how you want the book to be read.
    So … first please tell me, what is your intent?

  7. Would you want to do it via email directly? If I give you input you don’t care for, I’d rather not do it on a public blog….what do you think?

  8. Thank you for that. I have done the Galley thing B4, (starting to twitter and jitter here) – it was a chapter in a Nurse Anesthesia Text, as well as being an editor for a professional related national pub.
    . I am just on the front end of this sort of thing, so I guess I am the student, and will take that level of insight.

  9. Hi Frank
    Read it over and I do have some comments. Most of my galley proofing has been husband’s manuscripts/articles for medical/scientific journals and have also done galley proofing for some surgical specialties.
    If you would like to email me, I’d love to give you some input – I do like the storyline but the word usage troubles me ….
    Can I help or would you rather not???

    I have checked to have me notified when you respond….i will send email if you would like to go over this with some suggestions. I love doing things like this and am a voracious reader. Not an expert but a friend and I wrote a novel – we never marketed it, but it was pretty good….typical bodice ripper trash novel…

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