Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dear Diary


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Last month I wrote this post after finding an old journal I had kept as an 18 year old.

And, since so many people requested that I reveal more indiscretions of my youth, I've decided to feature a new entry every month for the next several months.

From what I've read so far, this journal is chock full of embarrassingly naive and humorous "coming of age" revelations... perfect material for all of you.

But this particular day, however, wasn't quite so funny - and instead features a scared young man-boy facing the reality of having to go to war for the first time. In fact, the only thing funny about this entry is how much hasn't changed in the last 28 years.

You be the judge.

Jan 23, 1980

Well, lots of things are going on again right now. Something is starting to scare me more and more each day. It's the world. Right now Russia is attacking Aphganistan (sic) which means the U.S. will try to stop them which could mean war.

Pres. Carter tonight said that eligible people will have to register for the draft. Which in turn means me! And, I don't like it! It's so stupid anyhow. The headlines in the paper the other day made sense. It read: "Should Carter dare order Americans to die?" It's true too. Let's face it - people are going to die if there's a war and I don't want to be one of them. I've got too much to look forward to and too much going for myself to even waste 4 years fighting. If I don't get killed doing it. But! this is my solution - I won't go. That's it.
(click to enlarge)

I'm trying not to let this bother me even though it's mentioned every hour on the radio and every night on National News. It's really a shame people have to be so greedy and so stupid. Let's face it - I hate Brezhnev even though I've never hated anyone before. He's a jerk. He's causing world crisis for his own greedy benefit.

It's weird, I remember being concerned about having to register for the draft, but I don't remember writing this - especially the part about draft dodging. But I guess when you only live a few hours from the Canadian border, this option makes perfect sense.

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Coming up next month, more of what you really came here for:

...The first thing is "old cupid" has struck me down. Her name is Christine and she's wonderful...

I think you'll want to stop by for that one for sure.

17 comments:

Groovy Mom said...

Wow. I can remember that time. My son is 17, and he's afraid too. Even though no one is on the news saying, "Make sure you register for the draft," it crosses his mind. As his mom, the prospect scares me too.

the amoeba said...

I was an H-1 (college) deferment, which ended in 1974/75, my senior year. I vividly remember the debates among my classmates about what they would do if the lottery picked them to go to Vietnam. Canada featured prominently. My take: I didn't want the Army, and I'm sure that after one look the Army wouldn't want me.

But I realized that unless and until We the People started doing the things that make for peace (e.g. rigid population control; an end to luxury consumption of goods; recognition and action on the mutual responsibilities of the "rich" to the "poor" and vice versa, worldwide), that war is inevitable and I, as a beneficiary of American luxurious society, had no business not making myself available to be shot in its defense.

As it happened, I wasn't called. But I still feel the same way about the matter, and if the draft summoned me tomorrow, I would go. Pitying the drill sergeant who has to deal with me.

VE said...

I keep seeing this picture of Gilligan saying "You can't make me. You can't make me..."

Ed (zoesdad) said...

I vaguely remember that time. I think I may have been a bit young to be overly concerned but I do recall my stance. Like you, I said I'm not gonna go--they'll have to find me. (I had no intentions of running or hiding, I just meant if they wanted me they would have to physically come to my house and get me.)

Scary how after twenty some odd years times have changed so little.

Julia said...

Wow. I can't imagine how you must've felt. It's really poignant to read today, when so many young people are overseas, fighting and getting killed. I wonder how your life would've changed...

Anyway, I love this idea of revealing diary entries. Next one looks like a good one.

JD at I Do Things

Heather said...

You did sound very scared. Glad that it didn't come to that.

Still digging that groovy cover.

Mamma said...

Interesting how things haven't changed.

And I definitely thought you were much younger.

Mom Thumb said...

One of our own Enid boys died in Iraq on Easter and was brought home yesterday. It's scary enough when our military is all volunteer; I remember being terrified for my friends in college, that they may be drafted.

If Hillary wins this election, I am seriously considering Canada, despite your depiction of April 1st weather up North.

Sornie said...

I think that your fears from then are the same fears that many that same age today have. After looking back and seeing how we at a younger age viewed things, it's very easy to see how the minds of today's 18 year olds work.

Jeff said...

groovy mom - Unfortunately, it seems there's something like this for every generation.

amoeba - It's a tough call for a kid.

VE - I believe he was referring to dressing up like a girl. Are you
suggesting I was a sissy? ;-)

ed - I resisted by not registering... until they sent the "past due" reminder notice that is. Ooh, such a nonconformist!

julia - That entry was my immediate response to the news that we would have to register. After growing up hearing about all the vets who got drafted and then hurt or killed in Viet Nam, I was scared sh!tless.

heather - Peace out man.

mamma - Well, I'm still a kid at heart.

mom thumb - When I was in 3rd grade my teacher got drafted. When he asked if we would like him to bring anything back as a souvenir, for some stupid reason I asked him to bring back some grass - meaning lawn clippings. I'm quite sure he was laughing his ass off in his head over that one.

sornie - Exactly. Like I said, things haven't changed much.

G said...

I'm jumping about, trying to catch up on your prolific posting schedule.

Big hair
small cars
bad names
snow in March

Okay, I can move on now. Some things never change - always seems to be a war that we have to worry about getting involved in.

Kori said...

I am a selfish enough madre to be uber-grateful that two of my three boys have asthma severe enough to provide them with a way out. Unfortunatley, my daughter is healthy as a horse, and she might very well end up drafted. Things pretty well suck at the moment, don't they? Great post, BTW.

Jeff said...

g - And I just put up ANOTHER post! Ok, I'm done now for a few days.

kori - Thanks! I was selfish at the time myself - and I'm pretty sure I would be pretty protective of my kids too if they instituted another draft today. But I don't think it will ever happen these days. Much too political.

Bill said...

A lot of countries require two years of compulsory military service after high school. I would amend that to require that the two years could be served in the Peace Corps, Social Services, Medical Aid, or Military. The volunteer army is unfair. I feel that our corrupt politicians and business leaders have undermined America's police force. Our military only follows orders from them. Now we have a nation that does not believe we have anything worth fighting for. I stood the watch for six years and remember two times when our crusier slipped out to sea when the Russians threatened Berlin. It is up to us to really know the issues when we vote.

Jeff said...

bill - Yes, good points. Asking for 2 years of service in non-combat organizations probably would be good for our country... but I'm pretty sure those patriotic glory days are over. Unfortunately, too many years of corrupt government have soured our nation's appetite for that.

yellojkt said...

I have my high school diary buried way deep in the basement closet. I'm leaving it there for quite awhile.

In the meantime, please continue to share. I love living vicariously.

jerrychicken said...

Russia invading Afghanistan was another of those moments when the world held its breath again, I remember it very well, our biggest fear in the UK was that we sat right inbetween the worlds two nuclear superpowers and whoever won the kick-ass contest out of you two, we would have got the fallout, literally.