Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year in review

State of the Citizen

This wasn't one for the record books. 2006 has, at least since July, been a year of disappointments. The decision to cut short my Marine Corps career at nine years was a truly difficult one to make. I've been second-guessing it ever since.

Abandoning the only profession I have known since childhood in pursuit of fresh woods and pastures new, I have found the woods dank and rotten; also, so far, the pastures are populated with civilians determined, seemingly, to remain slow, weak, and stupid.

Transition blows. I am no longer in the company of the swift, smart, capable Marines it was a distinctive honor and privilege to serve with. It's a gamble, passing up a career I truly loved for the asinine, suspended-reality world of tenured professors and a full course load; I find myself missing the cockpit and the crews of the mighty Hercules more and more each day.

It's not entirely bad. This gem from Chuck Palahniuk gave me pause today:

"We all need a doctor to yank us out of our perfect womb. We piss and moan, but we appreciate God kicking us out of Eden. We love our trials. Adore our enemies."

Finding out what to do with myself now is truly tough, and the challenge before me is actually comforting, in the way that some people feel an odd serenity before punching someone in the face.

I've rambled enough so far. From the start of this year, on Okinawa, it's been one thing after another:

-Medical hold following surgery.

-Returning, if ever so briefly, to flying status.

-Saying a private goodbye to the remote islands of the western Pacific and the spectacular waters and reefs, to say nothing of the polite, albeit strained, people, of Okinawa.

-Keeping a swamped squadron fiscal office on an even keel, to the extent of achieving high marks on a Commanding General's inspection.

-Leaving the sometimes comical, sometimes tragic, always surreal world of the barracks.

-Parting from true friends in same.

-Stepping on a shoe-store full of toes in Separations Company on my way out.

-Coming home and realizing how much Alabama sucks.

-Reuniting with the dog I left behind to go to Okinawa. It was nice of him to finally stop pissing on floors and chewing furniture while I was gone. He's not the pain in the ass he once was.

-Taking, for some god-unknown reason, the shittiest possible job I could find. I must have gone through a brief masochistic phase. Looking into one of the shittiest possible schools and career paths I could choose.

-Retracting on both. Just quit the shit job and got accepted into a four-year school, Meteorology major by the way, instead of the low-rent aviation school, which has hit bottom and begun digging by advertising late-night on Comedy Central. Conveniently, they advertise in the same ad blocks that include those "Girls Gone Wild" commercials that make me want to heart-punch Joe Francis. Exploitive fuck.

-Discovering delightful hobbies in kayaking and lightweight hiking/camping.

This is by no means a complete list, but I have to say that 2006 hasn't been my best year but it's pretty far from the worst.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year. Hope 2007 is as good or better than 2006 for ya.

Lindsey said...

I've never met you before - but I am currently reading Haunted, and felt moved by the quote as well. Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors; it's refreshing to know he affects more than one person with the same the lines of creation.