I was born in Germany. That’s where I got my start in this world, which was great. My grandfather was a unionized plumber and made enough money to retire around 60. He always had healthcare and never worried about having enough food to eat. We gardened and preserved foods after the harvests each year.
My father, on the other hand, was an American GI stationed in a foreign land. His job was to guard American nuclear missile silos. After knocking up my mother, he took us from our home and made us live in America. I did some back and forth to my home land a few times before finally ending up in the deep south. This profoundly changed the way I saw the world.
And it also nearly killed me. 7 times.
1 First time I nearly died was at a campground swimming pool near Michigan. My parents placed me by the pool with my toes in the water and forgot about me. I remember floating under the water. It was so peaceful and calm, not a bit of fear, just amazement, before being abruptly pulled from the water. That’s when the confusion set in. There were so many faces and voices yelling and panicking that I couldn’t make out what was going on.
2 Playing hide and seek at a “friends” house in the woods. One of the boys that I didn’t know had sneaked up on me and put the broad head of a crossbow bolt to my temple. I was roughly 12. I nearly pissed my pants. I can picture it so clearly: the barbed-wire fencing, the large tree posts, the ponies and guinea fowl in the field, the smell of the cedar trees and the feel of the dirt beneath my feet. When I told the adults in charge, they just snickered and told me to go play. I called my mom for a ride home. I never told them why I wanted to go home so badly that day.
3 This time I was home alone after school — as usual — around the age of 13. I got into an argument with a classmate about something I had said about his girlfriend. He told me that he would be coming to my house with a gun. I hung up the phone immediately and headed for the gun cabinet. The big black rifle with the scope was my choice. I waited for the truck to come and it did. He stepped out of the the truck with a shotgun. They saw the rifle sticking out of my window and the glint of the scope and my trusty dog — Charlie — by my side. After a few moments of them calling me names, he and his friend left.
4 The next time was the fault of a poorly maintained beige “Dodge Ram”. I was helping some family clear out a repossessed home. The truck needed to be parked next to the house’s back basement door, so we could unload all the trash into the bed. While guiding the truck down this hill to the back door, the brakes malfunctioned and the truck began rolling faster and faster. I wanted to hop on the moving tailgate, but instead the truck hit my shins, removed a large swath of skin, and pinned me between the house and the tailgate. I had hairline fractures but the doctor forgot to mention that.
5 Joining the military. Do I need to explain?
6 Living on the military base and having an alcoholic roommate who would pick my locks just to come in and talk about his girl problems. Once, he had a knife. I did my best to calm him down. Eventually he got tired and passed out in the kitchen. It never happened again.
7 The last time I thought I might die was when my ex-wife and I were dealing with talks of separation and bouts of mental illness. I tried to barricade myself in the bedroom, hoping to deescalate the situation. While waiting for her to calm down, knives started coming through the door. At which point I ran and jumped out the window.
If the system weren’t so hard to operate in, maybe I could have had the proper support to deal with these problems.
Incredible writing. It's amazing to get an insight into your past, and consequently, America's.
Posted By: RedXIII