Sunday, June 23, 2013

Things I wanted to learn outside of school

Bullet holes in my windshield

  My parents were poor, we didn't own a farm, just a house and ten acres with woods.  I knew my parents couldn't afford college and frankly, the idea of four more years in a learning institution just didn't hold any appeal for me.  Too boring.

I was much more interested in cars than I was in sports or books in those days.   But in Indiana, sports, college and farming were everything, especially in high school, so that pretty much left me out of the ‘cool’ loop. I had great grades until I reached high school and decided I'd rather be doing something more in life. The something more didn't include hitting the books. 

Besides, I thought the guys who liked cars were much cooler anyway than the sports jocks or pencil heads, which is what we called the academic kids.  

I could relate to cars.  Cars were something tangible, steel and chrome you could touch and work on.  I was able to see and feel the satisfaction of a job well done when I worked on a car that didn't run.  Maybe there were no trophies involved, or a sweater with a letter on it, but there was a feeling of deep accomplishment from fixing and customizing a beautiful car.   In the 1960's, cars were everything too.  Everybody wanted to be seen in a hot car, even farm boys, jocks, scholars and yes, girls too. Especially girls. 

The part time job I had recently landed as a bag boy at the local Kroger’s grocery store gave me a small taste of the adult world. In summer, weekends and holidays off, while those other kids were hanging out at drive-ins trying to pick up girls, I was helping little old ladies with groceries to their cars to earn spending money.   But even that bit of responsibility was not enough for a boy in a hurry to grow up, the small responsibility of that job only made me hungry to experience more of what the world had to offer. 

The bar scene in Vietnam, a big part of our lives while there

 I felt like most of the crap they were teaching in school was junk I’d likely never be using in real life anyway.  I fancied myself as thinking much older than my high school peers.  Maybe I was not older in years, but in my mindset.  Just about everything they thought was important, I only saw as insignificant.  I already knew that what was important in high school, would matter very little in the real world. 

When young, I had no idea this would become so important to me.

Available on:, Barnes&, Kindle edition