What is Dead Men Tell No Tales? It is a selection of (hitherto) undisclosed, private ruminations and epiphanies. Most take the form of (slightly) edited letters to unnamed recipients, but some have been scavenged from the depths of private journals recently rediscovered. Over the next little while (however long it takes – days, weeks, months, years?) I’ll be posting them in episodic fashion for the reading pleasure of my nonexistent audience.
In The Mirror, our author thinks he has found a female extremely similar to him. He provides her a shoulder to cry on, but when he attempts to use his shoulder, he is met with (you guessed it) rejection. Enlisting is the letter a letter detailing our author’s feelings just prior to enlistment, which largely goes ignored. It was not unprompted, mind – she had asked for such a story! Alas.
I have all sorts of crazy emotions floating around about it. Here’s what I can think to tell you before I head off (leaving to do something soon):
I am excited and anxious. It’ll be the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life – a life defined by doing tough things. I remember thinking about, when I was leaving Bellingham, how if just one person sincerely cared for me and told me they didn’t want to see me go, I would have stayed. That’s what I thought about the Marine Corps, too… if just one person sincerely told me they didn’t want me to go, didn’t want to lose me, I might not have done it. I dunno if that’s true or not, but… The only person so far who was really vocal about not wanting me hurt was doing it for self-serving reasons. She wanted to be a good friend to feel good about herself, not to help me out. She didn’t listen to any of my feelings – she only dismissed, belittled, misinterpreted or was judgmental of them. She apologized but that’s about it. She hasn’t tried to be a real friend for me, she just stopped talking to me.
I’m glad that I have direction in my life. Before, every day, I would think about “why am I getting up? So I can go to work, collect a pay check, buy more food, pay more bills, so I can stay alive and keep doing the same things?” I had never ACTUALLY considered suicide, but I’ve always thought “what is it about myself that prevents me from killing myself? It sure would be nice to just be done with life.” Now, though, I feel like I have a purpose in life, and that is really invigorating and energizing and just good. Let the nay-sayers fuck themselves – there are simple facts they refuse to acknowledge, like the fact that this country wouldn’t be here were it not for martial force, like the fact that some enemies refuse to negotiate. I’m not saying the armed services are perfect right now, but not all of the blame belongs on them either. Generals decide how to fight wars – politicians choose them. If you don’t like the Iraq war, for instance, your beef belongs with the politicians (and your state congressmen) that endorsed it. Furthermore, a far more effective means of changing the system is to be a part of it – rather than some nay sayer on the outside that doesn’t know their left arm from their right, throwing stones that never hit their target.
I think differently than most people. I am very survivalist, very pragmatist. People think I think only about myself, which, it might seem that way… but often times I am thinking of other people. I don’t value myself much – don’t consider myself worth a whole lot. That doesn’t mean that I lack confidence in my abilities – quite the contrary, I know that I am fairly skilled and intelligent. I just don’t care to put those skills and that intelligence to work benefiting myself – such endeavors feel empty and hollow. I much prefer to help other people when I can, if I can, even if it is a thankless job.
I grew up differently, too. Most people I’ve met take for granted the love that is present in their families, the physical contact they get on a daily basis. I grew up in a household that had very little love. The only love that existed stemmed from my brother, who loved me and loved my sister. I loved my brother back, but I don’t think my sister did. I think she THOUGHT she did, but that’s a different thing from actually loving someone. And I would go, literally, for years at a time without another person touching me – hugging me, that kind of thing. I still don’t really feel comfortable with that sort of thing, although I did once have a girlfriend and I did once become comfortable and it was indeed a positive experience – let me know what I was missing out on. Which just made me appreciate it all the more. But that’s a long story, and tangential at that, too.
I think I will hate Marine boot camp, but love the Corps. I think I will go career. I don’t know if I will ever settle down and get married and start a family. I would love to. I would love to be a father and raise my kids the way my parents should have raised me – a lot of people say that, give it a lot of lip service, but I plain just intend to do it, given the proper amount of luck – but I don’t see myself getting married. Most of the girls that I have been interested in are always very plainly not interested in me. I don’t even get a chance to get to know them and see if they’re worth being hung up on! But I get hung up all the same, imagining how great they must be. And the girls that like me? Well, I think they are too intimidated to say anything to me, or the ones that do, I unfortunately am not interested in. I can be a bit picky that way – hell, a bit shallow too (I’m not one of those types that thinks that looks don’t matter) – but I’m not complaining. If I really wanted a girlfriend just to say that I had one, I am fairly certain I could go and find one within a week. But that’s not what I am about.
I hope that answered your question.