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Flashbacks

November 4, 2013

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It’s been over a year now since the move but we’re still unpacking.  I was digging through a box of books the other day looking for a needle in a haystack (an old copy of The Collected Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien) when I found an old black leatherette portfolio full of stories from almost twenty-five years ago.  I spent the rest of the afternoon reading them and remembering.

I found concert reviews, editorials, even a story from the Ogden Standard Examiner from when I used to cover the Plain City Council.  I don’t remember how much they paid me, or even if they paid me anything at all but I remember how proud I was to see my name on that byline.

My favorites were always the columns I wrote for the high school paper.  I only found a handful of these but when I started reading through them it was like meeting my young self for the first time.

Some of them are so bad they made me cringe, some still made me laugh.  All of them made me smile in kind of a sad way.

I thought I’d put one of them up here.  Untouched.  Unedited.  It seems like the best way to remember and honor the memory.  So here you go.  (The photos didn’t do too well with the text so I retyped it.  By the way, the illustration was by a guy named James Bradshaw.  If you’re out there James, Id love to hear from you.)

Be All You Can Be

“I am starting to get upset.

As if I don’t have enough problems to deal with, I’ve been getting calls from military recruiters telling me why the military is such a wonderful thing.  They are really starting to upset me.

I can understand a phone call.  ONE PHONE CALL.  They call: I say no.  They leave me alone.  That’s not the way it works, the mosquitoes in olive drab wont leave me alone.  Every time they call, I say that I am not interested and they ask why.  That’s where the fun starts.

Since the direct approach (NO. NEVER.  NOT EVEN IF YOU SAID PLEASE.) doesn’t seem to work, I now consider it a challenge, a game to outsmart these recruiters.  I have begun lying.

The next time they called, I thought I’d be tricky and say that I had flat feet.  The recruiter said “that’s okay, we can give you orthopedic combat boots.”  I could tell that he had dealt with my kind before.  Chalk one up for the military.

RECRUITERS–1

ANTI-MILITARY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT–0

When they called again, I thought I was better prepared.  I had done a little thinking about the situation and i thought i had them licked this time.  I told the guy that I was deaf, dumb, and blind.  He saw through that one though (it must be a common excuse)and asked me how I could talk on the phone.  I hung up.

RECRUITERS–2

ANGRY PACIFIST–0

The next time they called, I was ready.  I even wrote to Ann Landers for advice.  I was psyched for the final confrontation with my arch-enemy, the military recruiters.  When the next one called, I said that I had given up and that I would join.  He was smugly triumphant.

Then I said that I would even ask all my friends at the next Young Socialists meeting is they wanted to join too.  He hung up.  HOME RUN!

FINAL SCORE:

RECRUITERS–2

JUBILANT YOUNG CIVILIAN–3

All of you out there nearing the fateful age of 18 beware, you might be next on the recruiters list.”

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