The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I have always been my main problem

When I was in the Navy, just a few weeks after leaving boot camp, I was offered an opportunity to go "officer". That is, the instructor at the Basic Electricity and Electronics Preparatory school (affectionately known as "BEEP" school) asked me if I wanted to get into an officer training program. I would be put through college, I would likely be taught to fly, and I would become an officer.

I turned it down.

People ask me why I would turn down a free education. The answer was simpler back then. To me, it was a no brainer. If I qualified for flight training, I would be trained to fly fighter jets. A lot of people see that as glamorous and exciting. And it is. But there's a catch. You have to land the things on a moving target of limited size in all kinds of weather. I would also have at least 4 additional years to serve.

I was 19... 4 years seemed a lifetime to me.

I also was not enamored of a college education. Why that is, I don't know. My parents never expected any of us to go to college so they didn't plan for it or push it. Before entering the Navy, I did take a few courses at a community college in Brevard County (near Cape Kennedy) and wasn't impressed. I realize that a community college is nothing like a "real" one. But I got a taste of the minimum requirement and decided I had had enough of school. The Navy program would have set standards that I was not interested in meeting.

There was another reason. I was (and remain) uncomfortable with ritual. The officers of the Navy (and all other branches) have rituals, formal dinners, meetings, and standards of behavior that must be adhered to. I hate rituals of all kinds. I deplore formal dinners. And meetings bore me.

Now, some 46 years later, I can comfortably regret that decision. It's over, it's done. I cannot go back in time and do it over. If I could, I would have made the other choice, I would have applied.

But it haunts me. I suppose we all have decisions we regret. I suppose it's what shapes us.


Heidi said...

You're a very good writer!  Eh--what do 19 year olds know?  They say you're an adult at 18--I didn't become one until...oh...wait, probably still not totally mature yet (and I'm 46).  I quit college at 20 and I wish I hadn't (but there was this cute guy.....blahblahblah).  Go take flying lessons!

Douglas4517 said...

Thank you, Heidi. Yeah, this "adult" thing is highly over-rated. Peter Pan had it right. I'll think about those flying lessons.