Great Job Mr. Neal! My brother has been deployed with the Air Force twice so far. He celebrated his 21st birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas in the sandbox. Your story helped me understand more of what he goes through out there.
Thank you for sharing your Dad's heroic stories, as well as your struggle with making life choices at the cost of disappointing those you love most. The hard work of carving out your own path in life makes it your own (and more interesting to read about!) As I read about your decision, I winced as I thought about the repercussions in a military family...I hope they are proud of you for writing this story.
P.S.- The scene with the bouncer was one of my favorite moments!
In 1985 I drove to Las Vegas from La Mesa in 3 hours. I owned a 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera and took a friend for the ride on a bet. I left La Mesa at 2:30 a.m. and arrived at the Las Vegas city limits around 5:30 a.m. as the sun was rising.
Most of the trip I was driving at speeds of 130 to 140 MPH. I didn’t bother scanning my rear-view mirror because I had to keep my eye on the road ahead. If something is in your rear-view mirror at that speed, it’s too late anyway.
The thing I recall most is that on the occasions when I would slow to 65 MPH, it felt like you could open the door and walk out. The sensation of being accustomed to driving at nearly three times that speed for so long make it feel like you are almost going at a crawl at 65.
After our weekend, I drove home and it took about 5 hours.
Mr. Neal, I had to make a similar, although not as significant decision as you. In high school ROTC, I had earned the rank of Cadet Major and position of Battalion S-1. I was offered a partial ROTC college scholarship. This was in the mid-70’s just as the unpopular Vietnam War was winding down(being lost). I had gone through four difficult years of high school being teased, taunted and assaulted by the rest of the long haired students who hated the “Rot-C” cadets. I had to have short hair while the fashion was long and wear a uniform that was a spitting image of the U.S. Army.
When it came time to make that fateful decision of going to college with a promise to serve in the Army, I decided not to. I felt I could do better than the service and start my own business or something. So I was focused on the pay and the loss of personal freedom.
Although I don’t regret where I am in my life, I do in a way regret not going for the Army scholarship and serving in the service. Although they say life is short, it also is long. When you’re my age and you look back, 15 years goes by fast. Of course I would not have had to serve 15 years if I didn’t want to. I feel in your case you probably would not have had to serve 15 years either, just promise to do so if they needed you. You would probably wind up in the reserve after six years.
I say this because I have friends who did go in the service. It made them responsible and it opened up many job opportunities after they went reserve. Some have pensions and now have second careers. Many used the GI Bill to get their educations later (those that enlisted after high school). All-in-all I regret not accepting the opportunity to serve my country. I can only say that I was influenced by the number of casualties the Vietnam War had as well as the mistreatment of the military who came home from that war. Today we support and celebrate our service people, but back then they were reviled by many in our nation. It was a sad chapter of United States history.
To the writer, great story, and I'd bet your dad loves you unconditionally regardless of not joining the service, because it takes a huge level of commitment, and it's not for everyone. He knows you've been in support of what and who he is. And tell your dad thanks for me as well. My brother joined the Naval Academy and served in over Kosovo. I couldn't sign up for what he did. Huge respect for what our military does, and who they are.
Surfpup, couldn't have said it any better. Right on.
To the author of the well-written and thoroughly entertaining 'twit report':
Don't worry, I'm not mad or anything. You are a decent writer but judging from your flawed logic and closed-mindedness you're probably not a lawyer or a scientist. Your highly-inflated self-righteousness makes me think you might be a cop, but I also know some people with PhD's (or D.O.'s I suppose) who are incredibly ignorant and lacking in social skills too.
Have you published anything that I can read and critique? I looked but had no luck. Anything. Even in a free, weekly, entertainment "publication of this caliber?" I'll be much nicer than you were. Envy and anger will not cloud my thinking. I can offer constructive criticism.
Anyways, ARE YOU READY TO GET TROLLED JOHNNY-BOY??? Remember not to stain your briefs and have your denture-glue readily accessible because today I AM your weatherman and I'm predicting a lot of jaw-grinding and anger in your forecast.
If you were mad before, (you were), just wait until you see what I've got prepared for you! Actually......
It's not for you. I don't care what you think. I didn't care almost two years ago when you licked your mischievous, bony fingers and gleefully typed up your devious little diatribe for all to see. I could care even less now. It's for the selfish reason of enjoying a little friendly competition for my own amusement that I dignify you with a response of any sort.
I hope to hear answers to my questions, especially the one pertaining to trolls, which you probably resemble in ignorance if not ugliness. Thank you for your time and constructive criticism! So kind of you to offer your opinions. My rebuttal is ready to get Ctrl+V'ed all over this page. Can you handle it?
Love, your humble friend and colleague,
P.S. If you still want to slap me, I'm not far away. Eagerly awaiting your reply so I can troll you and make you cry. Please hurry.
Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., Jan. 29
Marty Graham 4:30 p.m., Jan. 29
Barbarella Fokos 4 p.m., Jan. 29
Matt Potter 2:30 p.m., Jan. 29
Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Jan. 29
Susan Luzzaro 12:30 p.m., Jan. 29
Dominic DeGrazier 12:22 p.m., Jan. 29
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