“I’VE CHANGED”

by OPOVV, ©2016

(Jun. 6, 2016) — “You can see it, can’t you? I mean, it’s not that hard to figure it out if you’ve a mind to.”

“That’s easy for you to say. Why, all I ever saw you do was read. You said it yourself:  you’ve never, not once, checked out a movie from the library; all you ever did was check out books.”

“But I don’t read half of them. Many times I get a little ways in and realize that either I read it before or I’m just not interested after all. Once I read a book, like 500 pages, and I got to about page 480 when I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

“Now that’s dumb.”

“No, it’s not. Let’s say you’re eating a meal, and then near the end you decide maybe it’s not so good after all. You stop eating, right? You don’t finish a bad meal. Same thing.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Yes, it is, and I’ll tell you why: because I know who I am. I passed the test. You, you were never even given the test so you’ll never know. Look, you just can’t tell by looking or talking to a person how they’ll handle combat. Nobody can. Every guy thinks he’ll act just like Audie Murphy did in World War II. They train you so you don’t think; you just react, and hopefully you react the way you’re trained.

“But even after all the training, months and sometimes years, you never know how it’s all going to work out when all the plans get thrown out the window a half-second after it all goes down.

“I was just lucky, that’s all. But even if I didn’t make it, at least I had the opportunity to give it my best shot.

“After high school I joined up; volunteered; enlisted. I didn’t go to college until I was 22 years old, and by that time you already had your college degree; what, a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering? And you had the same job for 30 years? Lived in the same town, same house? Same wife.

‘And you never served in the military and then you see me at our class reunion and think it was all fun and games and come up to me and say you wished you had joined up back then.

“Ever think you couldn’t cut the mustard? Or see some action and get wounded and then get hooked on painkillers? Or see some action and get like me where I had 17 years of nightmares? Drugs and drinking myself into a coma every night just so I’d pass out so I wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night scared out of my ever-loving mind? At my wits’ end?

“Look, I’m not buying your ‘opt-out party.’ And if you thank me for my service we both may very well regret what I may do, understand?

“So you think you ‘lost out.’ I’ll tell you something about yourself: you haven’t changed. Me? I’ve changed; I moved on, but you’re still on the same square as the day we graduated.

“Look, let’s just pretend we’re in a time capsule and everyone here is having a good time. I know I am. I wore the uniform; I saluted Old Glory for real; I hit my rack hearing Taps, for real; I ate ‘chow’; I ‘mustered’; I wore leggings; I learned how to kill with or without a knife; I went on marches; I ‘Paraded’; and I got an Honorable Discharge, along with a Good Conduct medal, and some ‘Hershey Bars’ – other medals — when I was 22, the same age you were when you graduated from college.

“And you say you’re leaning towards Socialism. And I say you threw your life away, and I don’t want to hear whatever it is you think you have to say to me. Just don’t care, because you’re a ‘no account’ to me. I put you in the same category that Jeb Bush, Al Gore, Romney and Bill Kristol are in: worthless.

“I don’t mean to come across as rude or sanctimonious. Some may accuse me of having an ‘attitude,’ but I wouldn’t broadcast it or push it, I really wouldn’t. Smile; our wives are looking at us.

“You socially matured to the point of graduating from college: you’re trapped in your 22-year-old world. You cheer for Bernie and Hillary for their ‘free’ college nonsense, never taking the time nor making the effort to consider who pays for the electric, for the janitorial and preventive maintenance services, not to mention the administrative costs of the higher-learning institutions. That money to pay the professor comes from someone working and earning the money to pay the taxes from a job, a real job that produces goods or services.

“The air-conditioning company manufactures the product and the service technician keeps it operating by replacing worn parts. It’s called Capitalism. If the unit doesn’t perform there’ll be no customers; no customers means no money; and no money means no taxes collected. So tell me, where is the money coming from to keep Junior in college – for free – if there’s no tax money?

“Socialism doesn’t work except in the drug and alcohol-induced minds of 22-year-old college students who never worked a day in their life and, consequently, never had to pay any taxes.

“You want to see what Socialism produces, just look at Venezuela. Corruption plus inflation equals a failed system.

“Hope you have a happy high school reunion.”

Semper Fi

OPOVV

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