Truth Against the World

Friday, December 28, 2012

Have A Meaningless Holiday Cheap Plastic Shit On Me.


There was a time, not so long ago, where it seemed the only limiting factor for what you could accomplish was your own laziness. Maybe this idea has always been an illusion, but I don't think so. A four year college degree doesn't get you employment now. The only thing you can expect from a four year degree now is a monthly bill that has to be paid. My wife got a four year degree in communications and all it has done has been to generate a $117.63 bill every month which is comparatively low. That's mostly because she worked and paid $800 a month towards college while she was attending. We have another 10 years to go before her student loan is paid in full. What are we to do now to better our financial situation? What kind of meaningful work is there in our meaningless society? If you were to argue that our civilization has meaning, what kind of meaning would you argue for?

Our lifestyle is dependent on a wealth pump with the intake end rooted by coercive trickery in the third world. It's come down to a cheap plastic lifestyle assembled in China and imported to America. All of this cheap plastic shit is designed to make it's way to a landfill where it will outlive the human race as cheap plastic shit. My house is awash in this holiday plastic shit that was generated through a perverse celebration which requires everybody to perpetuate this cheap plastic shit paradigm. The fact that it's meant to be a celebration of the birth of our salvation is just too ironic for further comment. What does the Winter Solstice have anything to do with cheap plastic shit made in China and Jeebus? Apparently there is a link, or I wouldn't be literally tripping over it now. To make matters worse half of these gifts just end up going straight back to Wally World where they are exchanged for store credit because trailer park America can't even abide the cheapness. They'd rather have store credit to buy cheap American beer and cheese puffs so that they can anesthetize their minds from the onslaught of how cheap their lives have become.

I suppose it's a good thing that all of this worthless crap is so cheap because minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That's $290.00 a week gross at 40 hours a week. That's in the neighborhood of $230 a week take home which is $920 a month. Are they fucking serious with that shit? What the hell are you supposed to do with $920 a month? About the only thing you can do is buy some cheap American beer and cheese puffs at Wally World to go with your kid's cheap plastic made in China gifts. It's no wonder America stares at the teevee at night, after working for jack shit at a job that doesn't matter. All so that we can live in a place that's not worth caring about and is destined to rot as soon as climate control goes away. That cheap plastic shit is going to outlive our residences.

The only thing the world cares about is money. Have you ever really let that sink in? I remember making the decision, right about the time I dropped out of college with a 4.0 gpa, that I wasn't going to live my life being concerned about money. I didn't want to make decisions that had to do with the acquisition of money because it felt so cheap and trivial a thing to be concerned with. I thought there were ideas and causes that needed my attention more than money. I was wrong. Those ideas and causes require money. It's strange how if you have enough money, than you don't have to worry about making money because the bankers just give you money. I wish I could live off of the interest from all of the money that I have. But when your bank account looks like it was made in China, all the bankers do is nickel and dime you $5 dollars a month for the privilege of keeping your money there. I had a negative balance in my savings account a couple of months ago from those charges growing more than my "savings." This is just the way it is. It's sad.

How is it that I've made it to 33 years old and I am just now figuring all of this out? I got married. Somehow that meant buying a house and being concerned with something called a "career." I wasn't very good at the career bit. I had one, it lasted about six years until I had to chose between being medicated with a career or not medicated with no career. I chose the later. Now I'm going back to college for the eighth time in my life. Hopefully with my new found knowledge about the way the world works, I'll be able to actually acquire a degree and a career after said acquisition. It's not a career that I want. I never once said "self, I think we should be a nurse." It's a practical decision that revolves around what the world requires from me. I'm doing it for the money. I've never done that before in my life. I've never done something so blatantly about money. When I'm studying medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, probability and statistics, and intro to computers this semester it's all going to be motivated by the end goal of a job that will pay me well for my time. It has nothing to do with my ideals, or about the change I want to see in the world, or about helping people...just money. Just the root of all evil. That's what I have to concern myself with at 33 years old. Why? Best I can tell it's because I was so brazen as to want to reproduce and have a family. Apparently that means I have to be concerned first and foremost with money. Because without it...well that doesn't make me a very responsible family man now does it.

Now here I am, studying to be a nurse. In this case I like the euphemism of RN. RN sounds less gender specific (or how about a murse), which is a quality I like since I don't have tits that can feed a baby. Where else does the term "nurse" come from? If you think about it I will be nursing my family with money. So my tits will feed them money instead of milk. I wish I could nurse my family by building soil, keeping livestock, and growing food...or farming, but that's not in the cards. Not for me at least. How foolish of me, all these years thinking that the unexamined life was not worth living. When you examine it, if your going to be honest, what other conclusion can you come to other than that your examination better come up with the rent and utilities. For 750,000 years paleolithic man didn't have to worry about rent and utilities. Money wasn't even a concept. Life was a somatic experience with meaning all around. Now the only thing that matters is money, and the only meaning is cheap plastic Chinese pointlessness that lies about waiting to be tripped over. I can hear it now, "yeah, but he had to worry about getting eaten by saber tooth tigers, killing Woolly mammoths, and not freezing to death." Sounds like a meaningful existence to me. What do we have to worry about now? Taxes, terrorists and football? Inconsequential drivel and cheap plastic Chinese made crap.

I've got an announcement to make (you must be pretty bored if you've made it this far) plastic Chinese made crap (for good measure, and to help drive my point home). I managed to get diagnosed by a psychiatrists with Aspergers syndrome. That's right, I'm officially an Aspie. Just barely mind you. It wasn't an easy case, but at the end of the day I met all of the criteria as outlined by the DSM5- 299.80. Presence of: A2,3, 4. B 1 and C,and absence of: D, E and F. I was right. At least I'm justifiably different from the rest. I have a reason for this shittier than usual attitude. I have just enough Aspie to make me intolerably in the world, but not enough to make it a disability to get me off of the hook that's attached to the rent. Finally I have a psychological reason for not liking my own species much. Still, I have to buckle down, and go out into the pointlessness to extract money so that I can have a family. The only way to extract that money is to participate in yet more pointlessness. When society is soulless can there ever be any hope of meaningful activity? How fucked is it that the last thing I want to do is to deal with people (here again explained by Aspergers) and yet just about any work I could get will require me to deal with people. Our society is a service one. All we do is make up a bunch of needs and then service them. I've been thinking that maybe I'll try to get a job at a grocery store since at least eating is a need that has to be met. A nuclear engineer turned medic turned grocery store clerk. You don't really have to deal with people. Just ring up their shit and say "have a nice day." Maybe I could get a job stocking shelves. That would be even better. Talk about wasted talent. Yet I never found a job that was worth any talent. Eventually I'll be nursing, which will occasionally provide me with the opportunity to do something worth while, granted only occasionally. At least I'll be paid well for my effort. I'll just have to learn to become impervious to the rude patients who view the hospital more like a hotel than a hospital. I was thinking I might like to be a hospice nurse. At least then people will be dying and less prone to acting like ass holes. It should help keep my life in perspective as well. Plus, being an Aspie, I don't suffer much from empathy, which is a positive attribute when seen from this angle. I'm just trying to focus on my strengths.

That's gonna be some time from now, given I reach that point in time. Our society isn't exactly healthy. What do I have to bitch about really? I've got a roof over my head and food in my belly. So what if I have to go out and spend my priceless time on this Earth cultivating and fostering a lifestyle that's not worth caring about. The least I could be is grateful for the opportunity to line the man's pockets. After all, it's not as if I'm entitled to anything other than taxes. I'm just bitter that my ideas about right living don't matter at the end of the day. What matters is the acquisition of money. After that, if I'm left with any, I can use it to be the change. That's the point. Without money, you can't be the change...not if your me, and definitely not if you have kids depending on you to keep them safe and healthy.

This Monday I'll be off to fill out applications for a job that will hopefully be more than minimum wage. Grocery stores and restaurants. I could go back to granny snatchin' but it will only pay $11 an hour, and I'll have to put up with the smell of lotion and doodoo that's so ubiquitous in those geezer freezers where we stuff our elderly for big pharma to profit off of until they stop breathing.  Granny snatchin' is too depressing for me to go back to. I'd rather flip burgers at McDonalds where I'll at least not have to deal with the public. I can just stand there and do a menial task over and over again while not dealing with what it is that I'm actually doing there. Besides, those burgers are no more poisonous than allopathic medicine is (and I won't be tempted to eat them either). I'll just go from poisoning people for minimum wage to poisoning people for 60 grand a year right out of school. I think I can deal with people for that amount of money. The most I've ever made in my life is $28,000 a year, so I'll be more than doubling that. That's 60 grand? $4000 a month take home thereabouts? I'll be fuckin' rich, and I get to wear scrubs as a work uniform. My wife will be able to stay home and raise our children, and I'm going to have a lot. If I'm gonna be out there participating in the meaninglessness of a society not worth caring about than I'm going to at least come home to meaning. I'll have time, and money left over after the bills are paid. That will enable me to afford to be the change I want to see in the world. Great advice Ghandi, but some of us have kids to feed. Granted, I chose to have kids, but isn't that a large part of the human experience? Aren't you glad your parents had you? And if you have any siblings, aren't you glad your parents had them?

So what is the meaning of life? It seems the answer to that question only matters if you can afford to ask it in the first place.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Conspiracy Theory, Peak Oil, and Fukitol

Before the 9/11 truth movement existed I knew what we were being told was bull shit. I knew that because I was on the vessel that dropped the first bombs on Afghanistan as a result of 9/11. I knew in my bones that the American population, and the world, was being lied to, but I didn't know the specifics. I wanted out of the navy before 9/11 happened. I had realized that enlisting in the military was a grave mistake for me because I valued self exploration, autonomy, and intellect; none of which the navy provided, gave a shit about, or allowed to occur. I choked down the contracts I had signed until 9/11happened. It was one thing to be slaving away as a nuclear automaton relatively benignly as far as the world was concerned, but it was quite another to be assisting in the killing of invisible innocents. I wanted to know the truth badly.

After about a year of alcohol and drug use, I started to actively pursue the truth (in those rare moments of temporary sobriety). This search led me to Alex Jones and his infowars. It didn't take long before I became a card totin' prisonplanet member. I listened to his broadcasts and watched all of his documentary films. For a couple of years I was an Alex Jones disciple. He verified my anger and my actions concerning the navy. I knew that I was right to do what I had done, but I didn't have the proof until Alex Jones. When patrons came to my bar they got an ear full. I ran a lot of people off, but I opened a lot of eyes as well.

I was all about exposing the Illuminati for their NWO conspiracy to imprison the planet as an intellectual thing until I viewed "The Passion of the Christ." Shortly after viewing that film I had a dream where I met evil incarnate in the form of an old female demon that looked a lot like Zelda from "Pet Cemetary" only scarier. It was a vivid dream that felt more like reality than my waking life. It scarred the shit out of me and caused me to run back to the eager arms of Christianity, the religion of my child hood. Yes, for about six months I could be seen sitting behind my bar during the slow times reading a pocket sized copy of the New Testament. Then I started reading the likes of Tex Marrs, whom if you don't know, is a Christian evangelical conspiracy theory nut job. He takes the Illuminati seriously on a spiritual level and applies it all to Revelations and the end times. Now, I was a Christian conspiracy theorists, which is the original type of conspiracy theorists. In fact, the Illuminati really is a Christian conspiracy theory and doesn't make much sense out of that context. This is Satan operating amongst man. I even got into reading the "Left Behind" series at this point in my life (I don't mind if you laugh at my expense...I would). Then one day, and I don't remember the day or the moment, because I don't think there was one, I just stopped with the Christian nonsense. Basically the fear from meeting Zelda wore off and I came to my senses. All that meant was that I dropped the spiritual implications from what the Illuminati was. Now it was framed in a more secular content, but otherwise I was still ate up with it.

I met my wife in October of 2002, 10 months after flipping the penny that brought me back to the South. I was drunk, as usual, and I walked into one of the several bars I frequented looking for companionship. I was by myself this particular night. I noticed an ex-girlfriend of a friend of mine playing pool with a smokin' hot vixen (pictured above). I always liked Summer (the ex of the friend), and knowing her gave me the courage to start talkin' shit to that vixen. I was so broke at the time that Joey and I's fifth apartment didn't even have the power turned on yet (we had been living there for about two weeks). Our first date was financed on a roll of quarters belonging to Wendy. We went to a hole in the wall pool hall where they have .25 cent games and you can't see cause all of the smoke and bad country music, and then we went to the Waffle House where we drank coffee and she ate hash browns. I told her that I had lost count at 23 women, had done just about every drug under the sun, and usually scared women away because I was too "deep." I still have that paper coin roll in my wallet.  

Six months later Wendy and I were living together. Three months after that Wendy was gone and I was left with a Goodwill couch, an entertainment stand with nothing on it, and a computer. She had vanished due to a torrid affair that I had gotten myself wrapped up in presumably for being too "deep". I had fallen in love with a bar patron of mine who reciprocated those feelings. It is a long story, and one that I'll spare you the details of. However, for whatever reason, Wendy did not want to give up on me, and so a few months into the new relationship I was cheating on her with Wendy. It was a mess. When it was all over, Wendy and I were back together, and she was living 70 miles away. I had a drivers license and a broke down car that didn't work at this point. Wendy did a lot of driving on account of my sorry ass, and I still don't know why.

When we were engaged was when I got hauled off to the slammer for being a stupid drunk. I continued going to my job managing a shit hole bar via my bike. Luckily for me, the cop who had pulled me over had resigned from Spartanburg PD and moved to Charleston. Case closed. I got back my license and didn't get charged with a DUI (which would have sealed my fate as a loser cause I never would have worked in EMS otherwise). However I did lose 2500 dollars to a lawyer who required 5000 to represent me. He let me off the hook with just the 2500 dollar retainer on account of his punk ass didn't have to do a damn thing for the money.

At this point, engaged, and not a damn thing going for me short of tending bars, I decided I better do something a little more in line with a domesticated lifestyle. This was when I finally decided to become an EMT. Just before we got married I got certified as an EMT-basic and began working for a local convalescent transport company making 11 dollars an hour. I worked for them "Granny Snatchin" for a little over a year before I got hired with Piedmont EMS in Rock Hill South Carolina. Getting the job was the fruition of my goal to be on a real meat wagon working EMS. Shortly after taking that job we bought our first house, which they wouldn't allow us to buy with me on the mortgage. Wendy financed it herself with the income from her successful business as a wedding photographer. We got a really good deal. 3.65 acres surrounded by woods in the middle of the city of Rock Hill. The house was 1450 square feet with a detached 800 sqft garage. We paid 110,000 dollars with an APR of 7% fixed, which wasn't that bad for the time. A year later the housing market collapsed.

2007 was also the year that I ran into JHK's "The Long Emergency," and got schooled on peak oil. Up to this point I had never heard of the idea and had never even thought about infinite growth on a finite planet. Up to that point I was unaware that our problems were much more ominous than the Illuminati's NWO. Reading TLE was the first step on the stair case of reality and not conspiracy theory for me. I didn't let go of the Illuminati easily at first, but Alex Jones and I had to break up. He's a peak oil denier, and I couldn't deny the truth of peak oil and therefore couldn't reconcile why he would deny it. I moved on to Richard Heinberg, Michael Ruppert, Dimitri Orlov, and John Michael Greer.

Up to this point in my life I had never owned any land or seen the need to grow any food. I started gardening organically right out of the gates. Then I started prepping and dealing with the roller coaster ride that learning about peak oil becomes for anybody who doesn't decide to bury their head in the sand. I debated for a long time about whether to procreate or not. Wendy pretty much just took my word for it on the PO front. She was too busy running her business to notice or really care about PO and mostly just placated my concerns about the future. She wanted a child, and so did I, it was just the future I was concerned about. How could I willingly bring a child into a world that was on Hubbert's bumpy plateau? A couple of years of PO study and obsession goes by and we decide to have a child. In 2010 my son Ayden Zen was born.

My wife's business began to tank due to negative returns on technology. Digital camera technology is so good now that any dumb ass soccer mom can take 5000 pictures at a wedding and then photoshop 500 or so of them into descent pictures. Talent is rapidly dissolving into technology in photography. Camera equipment is very expensive, and this is part of the reason why photography got so expensive. Now rich soccer moms get their 3000 dollar camera along with thousands of dollars in related equipment and editing soft ware and they're in business. They can undercut the professionals because they are just playing for egoistic reasons and not concerned with paying bills cause their husbands handle all of that. In our case, my 28,000 dollar a year (gross income, I brought home 2000 a month) just paid for the vehicles and our house and I was out of money before I was even paid. Our son arrived and Wendy's business was on the downward spiral.

I was extremely stressed out by all of these changes. Wendy felt guilty about her money going away which put her in a bad mood, which further strained our relationship.  I was stressed out trying to live a 40,000 dollar lifestyle on 28,000 dollars with no feasible way to better my situation. My son added an entire new layer of stress to all of this. Healthcare was slowly changing from something I loved to something I hated due to all of the governmental changes. We went from patients to customers, and I began hating all of the new bureaucracies that became inherent in the new healthcare landscape. What I had was a house that was falling apart. A house that was a ticking time bomb fit to explode and leave us with a leaking roof, no heat, cockroaches, and thousands of other things that needed to be maintained with no money to maintain any of it. All my career working on the meat wagon was doing was keeping us from drowning, for the time being. I broke and ended up on fukitol for a short period of time. If you've been following Epiphany now for the last year, than you'll likely know what's transpired since then. It not, have a look around.

This post pretty much concludes my autobiographical stint, at least in any kind of chronological order. I'll be wrapping it up with one more post along with Jason Heppenstall and WHD (who's apparently going to begin and end his auto offering in one post soon). I'll save you any suspense cause we've got enough of that waiting on Jason. I'm just going to be writing a conclusion blog. I won't be concluding Epiphany Now, but I'll more than likely be slowing down. January 9th I'm going to be taking 13 hours of college prerequisites for the RN program at our local community college, plus I'm gonna be going back to work granny snatchin' part time. It's come to that. I've got to pay the monkey. My wife is five months along into our second pregnancy. We have no income for 2013 unless I go back to workWe just found out yesterday that we're having another boy and the ultrasound revealed no abnormalities. After all of this, I'm going to be plugging back into the Matrix. I'll be talking about that and my plans for the future in my next post.

An Other Than Honorable Descent

12/21/12 is tomorrow, the Winter Solstice, Alban Arthuan (the Druid Christmas), and TEOTWAWKI is supposed to be tomorrow as well.  I was going to write about what 12/21/12 means to me, but I decided to continue with my autobiography.  I'm taking a break from writing said autobiography to post this, and I'll likely continue writing.  If things work out, I'll post another one today and tomorrow.  I'm feeling vulnerable and a bit depressed for some reason.  I don't know what this Solstice will mean, if anything beyond just another Solstice, but if it does mean the end of the world, than I suppose it's fitting that I go down in a fit of writing.  Writing has been my solitary companion for my entire life.  All I can offer is my story.  

There were many more monumental events for me after solitary and before my other than honorable discharge. At one point I was manhandled by a couple of master at arms in the forward galley for a reason I don't even remember (probably refusing to do some trifling ridiculousness). I was placed into a hammer lock and slammed face first into a galley table and handcuffed while my navy peers ate their "not fit for human consumption, military and prisoner use only" frozen food. Eventually , due to the letters we turned into the Captain's "suggestion box," we were moved off of the industrial work environment of the ship and onto the barge that was docked next to it. Now when the work day was over we at least had tenable living conditions with a lounge. The barge was where the newer sailors got to stay (due to the base barracks being already full). Eventually I got discharged. I got in my car and drove non-stop from Bremerton Washington to Anaheim California to start over.

I spent the next several months driving around the United States backpacking at places like the Californian high dessert of Joshua Tree, the Sequoias, the Grand Mesa in Colorado, the Flaming Gorge in Utah, Pisgah in North Carolina, among other places. After that hiatus I ended up staying with my mother and checked back in at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach California. This college stay lasted about two weeks before I dropped out. This time due to a public berating by a philosophy instructor. My college aspirations went down the drain quickly as I listened to the laughter of a class full of my moron peers who were only taking philosophy 101 because the system told them to. I figured I could get made fun of without having to pay for it if that's what I wanted, so I left the class and went directly to the administration office where I demanded my money back while telling them they could take their paper and fuck themselves with it. I was done with college.

This left me in a rather precarious situation. I had now dropped out of college three times as well as gotten myself kicked out of the Navy. My mother had a one bedroom apartment, and I wasn't about to do that shit long term, but Southern California ain't exactly an easy place to live by yourself while working a menial job for menial wages. I had to go. Right on cue, a girlfriend of a friend of mine from the navy emailed me and asked if I wanted to live with her in Seattle Washington. The Vinson was going back out on deployment and taking her boyfriend with it. She was 18, had never left the house before they signed the lease at the ghetto apartments in North Seattle, and she was too scared to live there by herself. She found herself paying rent for no reason while living with her parents. I told her that I had no money, and she said "don't worry about it, you can live rent free until you figure it out." I packed my two door Saturn SC2 back up with my books, backpacking gear, and computer and was in Seattle Washington two days latter.

After I returned to the ship for the second time, it took a month or so before I was processed into restriction, and during that time I was free to come and go. I met Christina one time at a rave that I went to with my buddy from the Navy, she was his girlfriend. She was overly cute in looks and personality. I could see myself with her. Now I was living with her and John was out to sea...literally. I arrived to a warm hug and welcome along with a bag of weed and various other drugs. I also found out that there was another woman living in this apartment, and she happened to be a woman I had had a one night affair with shortly after meeting Christina. I was living rent free with two beautiful women, smoking the finest BC herb for free, and I had no obligations to do anything with my time. My dream had come true. I spent months walking around Seattle stoned and playing play station, among other things, it was just what I needed.

Eventually I decided that I would go to school for EMS but couldn't figure out how to get that accomplished, so I ended up going to a bartending academy to get licensed in the state of Washington. After "graduating" from that "academy" and being knighted a "mixologist," I lucked out and got a job tending bar at an Olive Garden in Northgate Seattle that hadn't even opened yet. I ended up managing that bar, and I was taking home about 800 dollars a week between tips and wages. At this point I got my own apartment followed by quickly loosing my job due to the inability to get my ass there on time. I was too busy gettin' fucked up and spinning records to know whether I was going or coming half of the time. I was making that kind of money and had no money when I lost my job if that gives any indication of how I was living. I was having a good time, though I don't remember much of it, except a bad trip on too many shrooms where I turned into a worm. The dealer said "whatever you do, don't eat more than a quarter of this bag at one time." I split it three ways and my third was more like half of the bag, know...I paid for it. I would have been fine if it weren't for the fact that John had returned, and it was me, him, and Christina who split the bag. I became the third wheel and a bad trip ensued.

Now I had no job. I spent a month applying at every bar in Seattle with no luck. The raving drug scene was eating my brain and I knew I needed to leave. I had a foreboding feeling that I would end up one of those ubiquitous Seattle druggies, dead in the street with a needle in my arm. Seattle was consuming me. I flipped a penny, heads was South Carolina, and tails was Southern California because these were the only two places I knew anybody who cared about me. It landed on heads, which was a good thing since I had been wooing a friend of a friend by phone for the last month whom happened to be going to college there. She was beautiful and out of my league, and I should have known that. Before moving to the other side of the country I decided to go visit family in Southern California. I came close to staying in Escondido California with my buddy (from Epiphany Now's "rainbow chit" fame), but decided at the last minute to proceed to South Carolina to see what would happen with that southern belle I had been wooing.

I arrived a few days before my 23rd birthday. Jessica (the southern Belle) didn't want to have anything to do with me shortly after my arrival. I ended up getting a job waiting tables at Joe's Crab Shack, which rates as the most humiliating job I've ever had. Occasionally during the shift, out of nowhere, lights would start flashing and loud music would come on and we'd all have to get in a line to do choreographed dancing to the patrons delight. It was humiliating, but I had to pay for my studio apartment and tips were good. This was as close to a male prostitute as I ever got. I descended into more drugs and alcohol to deal with all of the potential that I kept burning to the ground. I had left high school to go to college with a full paid academic scholarship only to drop out after two semesters with a 4.0, followed by graduating from NNPTC with a career in nuclear engineering, followed by "Operation Enduring Freedom." I quit that and found myself in a very lucrative position tending bar in my favorite U.S. city only to get my ass fired, and now I was doing choreographed dances while serving crab legs and coconut shrimp in a tie died t-shirt in the South.  

After about a year of this male prostitution I was able to get back into a respectable looser position tending bar again. At least I wasn't selling my pride for shrimp scampi any longer. My best friend and I set out on a race to pickle our livers and began killing brain cells en mass via alcohol. We became room mates whom enabled each other with a desire to remain comfortably numb. In a two year period we lived, and got kicked out of, five apartments and one house rental. I also managed to start college and drop out two more times. We were too drunk to notice that at this rate we were going to get ourselves kicked out of Spartanburg, and quite possibly the south, for behavior that the most hypocritical Southern Baptists couldn't even contend with. I don't know why I'm still alive after the amount of alcohol that we collectively consumed. We would go through a case of American beer in an hour playing drinking games, just the two of us, and then saddle up to get two more cases. Don't get me wrong, women were present, but we didn't give a shit whether we were getting laid or not, we were there to get fucked up.

This behavior continued for a couple of years. We both tended different bars, and we lived the bar lifestyle. I would be drunk before I even left work to get drunk, and when I got home from the bars I would get drunk till I was sleeping drunk and then wake up and get drunk again. Occasionally I would sober up in time to figure out that I didn't have enough money to pay rent, but with a brazen "fuck it, let's go bowling," we would be back at the bar drunk again. "The Big Lebowski" was the screensaver of our living room and the Dude was our idol.   Puke and rally was our war cry and we lived on beer and chicken wings. One night, we were on our way home and had to pull over on the interstate so we could both piss out a couple litters of beer and liquor. Pissing on the side of the interstate, we both wondered aloud why our car was facing in the opposite direction from all of the passing cars. We had managed to get on I-26 going the wrong way. I really don't know why I'm still alive.

Then one Friday night, we were both pass out drunk, and we decided to take it to the house. On our way back to my car we kicked over a couple of trash cans and pulled up a street sign which garnered the attention of city police that were in the area shootin' fish in a barrel. I was in reverse backing out of the parking spot in down town Spartanburg when I got pulled over, if you want to call it that. It was more the cop stopped me from backing up then it was getting pulled over. I got out of the car and he told me to recite my ABC's, I got to D before I fucked it up.  "I don't know what comes next?" I was too drunk to know what came next, with the alphabet at least. I said "dude, we both know I'm drunk, just take me to jail." He was more than happy to oblige my request. I could see my best friends face changing colors in strobe through the back windshield of my car as I was being cuffed. We had been friends since we were 10 years old, we're still best friends, and the look on his face hurt more than the cuffs. The look was telling me that he would do anything to be the one in the cuffs. It didn't matter. That cop probably saved my life (and countless other lives as well). I got to the jail, a place I vowed I would never be again, and a cop stuck a straw through the glass and told me to blow into it. I looked him in the eyes and told him that he could go fuck himself, or if he preferred I'd be happy to fuck him with that straw, but I wasn't blowing in a damn thing. "You understand that that will mean you will lose your license correct." "Go fuck yerself osifer." I fell asleep face first, alone in a cell, with nothing but my puke for a bed and concrete for a pillow. In retrospect, this was the beginning of me getting my shit together.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Solitary Confinement

I put my utilities on and was escorted to the master at arms shack. They had rounded up four others from berthing. All four of them had been participating in the drinking and gaming. I had been there, watching, and smoking cigarettes, but I wasn't drinking. What mattered was that I was out of my rack past 2200 hrs. That one infraction was enough to earn me a ticket to Captain's Mast, which is more non-judicial punishment, which just means there isn't a lawyer involved. A week or so went by and then it was time to go to the navy's kangaroo court to defend myself against my terrible crime of being found out of my rack past 2200 hours while on restriction.

When I got down to the lair of the ship where the Captain's Kangaroo Court was located there were about 30 of my shipmates standing in formation waiting. There were so many of us, in fact, that the Captain was cycling us through four at a time. I guess they figured we were all guilty of the same thing, being shit bags. They march us in to stand in front of the captain and he read off our charges. All four of us were being charged with drinking and gambling (I was honestly just watching). The captain then asked if we had anything to say. I did. "Sir, I was not drinking or gambling. I was in the shower while all of that was going on (which was a lie, cause I was watching, but they didn't know any different). I was caught returning to my rack." By this point the captain was familiar with me. He no doubt remembered me from my "rainbow chit" and I had been to mast once before upon returning to the boat from being UA and missing ships movement. This was the third time I had been before him for being a shitbag. The captain pointed his finger at me and said "fireman McCarty, you will not win, you will lose, three days bread and water in solitary confinement." I couldn't believe it.

The next thing I knew I was being hand cuffed by a master at arms. I was escorted up to the hanger bay and paraded by the ships crew. I was cuffed with my hands behind my back. There were three master at arms escorting me to berthing where I was to acquire the items on a list under direct supervision. Toothbrush, white t-shirts, skivvies, utilities, socks. Once all of the items were acquired I was escorted off of the ship and into a prison van that was waiting for me. I was driven to naval base Kitsap in Bangor Washington where they have a military penitentiary. The place has maximum security capabilities. That's where they were taking my happy ass. We arrived and I got processed in. I had to strip naked so that prison staff could inspect my body. They even noted where my tattoos and scares were located. I had to bend over and spread my butt cheeks so they could have a look see up my ass hole. I had to take a physical with a physician so that he could verify that my body was fit for three days of bread and water.

I was given five minutes to take a cold shower, and I was informed that it would be the last shower I would receive while there. From there I was taken past the main control center for the prison. There were several halls I could see to my right because the upper walls were made of glass. Through the halls I could see a large area with inmates milling about (general population), and I could also see a circular command and control structure in the center. I was taken into a large room that had lockers and a picnic table in it. The stuff that I had gathered was placed in one of these lockers. I wouldn't see that stuff until I left, so I don't know why they had me gather it. Before they stuffed me in the cell they took my belt and my boot laces. They didn't want me opting out. I guess they had a problem with people on bread and water killing themselves in the past. There were four cells in this room all adjacent to one another. I had one other guy to the left and two to my right. There were already two prisoners present. Me and another guy that was awarded solitary from that night would be filling up their solitary capabilities.

I was shuffled into the small cell and quickly shown around. The guard with the duty of acclimating me to my new home said, "There's the sink with a styrofoam cup for drinking tap water, the overhead fluorescent stays on 24 hours a day. You are not allowed to lay on the bed until 2200 hrs, you can sit on it. You are not allowed to cover your head while sleeping. We will be by three times a day to give you your bread. Here is your reading material." He handed me a copy of the prisons "rules and regulations." "Any questions?" I just looked at him until he decided to close the door, lock it, and leave. There was a sink, a toilet, a metal rack with a very thin cushion, a thin military wool blanket, a feather pillow, a window that was about two inches wide by three feet long that I could see through by getting on my tip toes on the rack (which was not allowed, and would have gotten me a couple more days of solitary if caught), and the door to the cell that had a slit in it big enough to pass a loaf of bread through with a window that was about a foot square. I had three days and three nights to go.

I learned what it was like to be locked away by the machine while I was in that cell. I knew that it was only for a short period of time. I knew that it would pass, and I would eventually be free from this nightmare that the navy had become for me. I was angry about why I was in that cell. It did not feel justified to me to have to endure three days of solitary confinement bread and water style over such a small infraction. The Captain was using me as an example to all would be restrictee offenders. He had grown to not like me for obvious reasons. I was 22 years old. I decided that I would make the best of it and treat this like training for monastery life. I sat down on the bed and began meditating. I could meditate for an hour or two at a time before needing to get up and move around a bit. Eventually I learned that I could hear the door to the outer room open and shut when the guard would enter to check on us. It was a very faint sound, and I had to stand at the window and watch the guard to identify it. Once I knew the sound, I knew when I was not being watched. I would lay on the bed for hours and try to keep a feather suspended in the air as long as possible by blowing up in it's direction. Time slowed to a grinding halt and it seemed like I would never get out of there.

Sleeping was difficult because the fluorescent light was just above my rack. Three times a day they would come by and give me a white loaf of bread through the door and allow me fifteen minutes to eat as much of it as I wanted. They give you a choice between white and wheat. I chose wheat and they gave me white. I confronted the guard about it and he said "sure enough, you did ask for want this white bread or not?" I think it was just more psychological games. I would roll the slices of bread up as tightly as possible and make gooey bread sticks out of them. Keep in mind that they fed their best servicemen food that had "not fit for human consumption, prisoner and military use only" stamped on the box. This wasn't your grandma's homemade bread. One can only eat so much white bread no matter how hungry one is. I would eat about seven to eight slices per feeding before I would no longer want to eat. Sometimes I didn't eat at all. I didn't shit for weeks after I got out of there.

At one point the dude in the cell next to me lost his mind. He started screaming and yelling wildly and would not shut up. I also remember that he was singing songs from Pink Floyd's "The Wall." This got the other two inmates screaming for him to shut the hell up. It sounded like a bunch of wild rabid zombie chimpanzees. I think the dude losing his mind was in there bashing his head against the walls. At least that's what I assume those dull thumps I heard were. His name was Guideon, and he was on restriction with me, but he had more time to do then I did. I saw them cart him off to somewhere. He was fighting and thrashing against the guards to no avail. There was blood present. I don't know what happened to him, but I never saw him or heard from him again. There is no telling what happened to him. They kept us in line by threatening more solitary confinement. They made it clear that if you were caught breaking any of the rules you would have weeks and months tacked on. We were informed that there was no limit to the amount of time they would keep us locked up if we did not behave. That's how they kept us in line. Knowing Guideon's stupid ass, he's probably still in that fucking prison in solitary confinement.

This was the climax for me in the Navy. This was my most precious and deep message. I was lucky to learn it as easily as I did. I now know what it is to be locked away by the defenders of our hologram. I experienced the tyranny that is perpetuated by one man at a time. I saw it in the way the guards looked at me and in the tones of their voices. I experienced it as the beginning level of the depravity that they were more than happy to perpetuate for me. It was an environment where nobody cared about you in the least. They really did not care if I rotted my life away in that cell. There was no compassion to be had anywhere in that place. My family had no idea I was in that cell. The feeling was that I could be left to rot, and my family would just wonder what had become of me. I'm sure the navy would have just told them that there was a training accident. That's what it's like in the military. My stay in that brig was a very surreal experience of what the military industrial complex considers a person. We are numbers, nothing more, and nothing less. I know this in my bones now.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


When I got back to the states I instantly became a military police "person of interest." I'm not sure if they framed it in those exact words, but there you have it. The country was nothing like before I left for Westpac. It was like there had been an epidemic of patriotism fervor that infected every citizen of the United States. There were more god damned American flag bumper stickers than there were fast food restaurants. If you were in the military everybody wanted to personally thank you, shake your hand, and buy your lunch. Before I left nobody gave a shit about enlisted personal...not even enlisted personal gave a shit about enlisted personal, and nobody cared about American Pride bumper stickers. I found myself in a bit of a pickle seeing as how I was UA (unauthorized absence). I only bring this up to help explain what it was like to be a deserter at that time in our countries history. I imagine it would have been about like being a Nazi sympathizer during WW11, or a communist during the McCarthy era, or a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. I had become a pariah even in the eyes of my own family. So when the Master Chief of Reactor Department handed me my military I.D. back, and I was free to go spend time with my family, it wasn't exactly a welcomed homecoming. Never mind the fact that I had been at war for the country during the last six months.

After two weeks of trying to get my family to understand my actions, it was time to report back to the ship and begin reaping my idealistic harvest. It was a lovely harvest that offered me all manner of tailored bull shit in the key of USN. The reason I had chosen to go UA was because I knew that there was a zero tolerance drug policy that applied even to the nuclear navy. I knew that the captain wasn't going to be able to ignore the fact that my piss test was positive for herb. I think the Master At Arms that watched me flip my wanker out and piss in the cup got high from the marijuana smell of my urine. I handed him my green piss while smiling ear to ear, for here was my ticket out of this mess. After the piss test the Master Chief began to counsel me on how my life wasn't over, and if I played my cards right it wouldn't ruin my navy career, and that I could rebound from it and even prosper. I just looked him in the eyes and said "my piss test is going to come back positive for marijuana." At that point he realized that there was nothing that could be done to salvage this nuke.

Once my positive piss test came back, it was on to the punishment portion of my processing out of the navy. They were kicking me out, but first they had to punish me. I was rewarded a demotion from E-4 to E-3 (which seemed sort of ridiculous since I was getting processed out of the navy) and had to spend 60 days on "restriction." That meant that I had to wear orange coveralls over my "utilities" which is what we called our work uniform. I wasn't allowed to leave the ship, and I had to muster five times a day with the rest of the restrictees so that the master at arm douche bags could incessantly fuck with us. Master at arms are in charge of the security on the boat...they're like the police men. Every department had to offer up some of these douche bags to fill the positions on the boat. It was a second duty that was performed. People volunteered to be a master at arms because they wanted their egos inflated as much as possible. They got to carry around a nine millimeter and wear camouflage BDS's (I always thought that was odd since our environment was a ship, not a jungle, but so goes military intelligence). At any rate, the point is that these guys were from all ten dimensions of ass hole, and they all aspired to the eleventh. They got their rocks off fuckin' with restrictees.

The muster that we had to do five times a day was so that they could make us stand in formation at attention while they walked up to each one of us and personally inspected our hair cut, shave, uniform, orange jail coveralls, and sphincter sizes to ensure they were all in line with military specifications. The last place I wanted to be was on that god damn ship after spending pretty much every day all day for the last six months on it. I couldn't leave. Imagine having to live where you work. We also had to wear steel toed boots, a hard hat and safety glasses all day long unless we were in berthing because we were in an industrial zone. When a ship pulls in after a deployment there are a lot of things that have to get done to maintain a metal ship that lives in salt water. There's all manner of grinding, and tubing, and ventilation piping, and chemicals and painting and grinding and on and on...and that's what we lived in. The rest of the ships crew were living in barracks on the base or off base in their own apartment or house. There was only one berthing area that was even functional and that was the forward berthing where the air wing slept during deployment.

During the work day, from 0800 to 1700, the restrictees all reported to their respective departments. Seeing as how I was no longer allowed in either of the power plants because I had lost my TLD (thermal luminescent dosimeter, the device that measures radiation exposure); I was essentially useless to reactor department. However, not completely useless. Apparently while we were at sea one of the conventional mechanics on the boat had been gaffing his logs (not actually doing them). He was supposed to be checking on the status of a very large water heater (the size of a midsize truck) that was located in a room that nobody would even know existed had it not been for this water heater. To get to it you had to go up several ladders, through female berthing, into another room that had nothing but large ventilation pipes, and finally through another water tight door into this room that had only this water heater. At some point the heater developed a small leak, and by the time we pulled into port and somebody actually went to the trouble of checking on it, it was discovered that the heater had been swimming in several feet of water for some time. Everything was rusted all to shit. The entire room, which was nothing but metal, was rusted out. Somebody had to fix this mess...enter me, and several other fuck ups from reactor department that were on restriction for doing drugs to deal with their consciences.

That became my job while on restriction for those 60 days. We were to deck grind and needle gun the entire room (git rid of all of the rust, corrosion, and muck to restore the room to serviceability). Due to the fact that deck grinding in a rusted out water tight room can be hazardous to your health, we had to have an air ejector installed in the room. The room was located as far starboard as possible and the outer skin of the ship made one of the walls. The air ejectors job was to eject all of the crap that went airborne overboard so that we didn't have to inhale any of it. Due to the hidden nature of this room, it was quite easy to get to it and not have to worry about being found (since pretty much nobody on the ship, with the exception of a couple of reactor department personal, even knew of it's existence, and only one of them actually knew how to get to it). When the work day was over, the only people who gave a shit about our whereabouts were the master at arms, and they hardly knew where they were located half of the time.

So me and a few of my fuck up buddies decided that, seeing as how we were already getting kicked out of the navy for "wrongful use of marijuana" (which I always wondered what they supposed the proper use of marijuana was), we would start smuggling herb onto the boat, and then we decided we would use this room to smoke it in seeing as how we had an air ejector to rid of the pungent evidence. After a few weeks of us using this space during the work day, we began hearing rumors about some chiefs in a space above the room we were in smelling the scent of marijuana. The air ejector was doing it's job nicely, it was just that they had a cat walk outside of their work space on the outside of the ship where the smoke would pass them from time to time. We weren't about to stop smoking herb, and getting to this space after the work day without detection by the master at arms would be difficult. We began searching for new weed smoking real estate on the ship. A large portion of the 40 or so restrictees all wanted to smoke herb, and they were from all different departments capable of supplying us with all manner of hidey holes to smoke a toke. I found myself in some pretty interesting places on that ship with the explicit purpose of getting stoned with five or six other guys. I happened to be the only restrictee stupid enough to have a glass pipe in my rack, and so I happened to be included frequently in these weed smoking gallivants. None of us ever got caught smoking on board while I was on restriction. Although there were many close calls, and they were onto us.

It's important to understand how restrictees were viewed by the rest of the ship to completely understand my situation. Restriction was the navy's way to punish non-judiciously. If you were on restriction it's because you were a "shit bag", and that was the end of the story. If you were on restriction and you were just waiting to be kicked out of the navy, then you were beyond a shit bag. You were a shit bag fuck up that was found in a pile of whale shit at the bottom of the deepest ocean, and you were treated as such by pretty much everybody. Nobody gave two shits about a restrictee, and they damn sure didn't care about one that was getting kicked out. They started doing things like locking the only head (bathroom) accessible to us while everybody else on the ship was gone so that we had to either piss ourselves or hold it all night. They would turn all of the hot water off so that we had to take cold showers. I wasn't about to abide that type of treatment, and so I went to war with the Master at Arms.

I began demeaning the head master at arms by pointing these indiscretions out during our various musters. He basically told me that I, and all of the other restrictees, could go fuck ourselves, and that we would just have to hold it or piss ourselves for all he cared. No sir, this aggression will not stand, and so I, and several other restrictees, decided that we would take matters into our own hands. About fifteen of us wrote short letters about how shitty our conditions were and dropped them off in the Captain's suggestion box. Nobody ever put anything in that box because it would mean that you were going around the chain of command. You didn't go around the chain of command and have any kind of life on a ship, because the chain of command would make sure that you had no life. We were brain washed with fear into not using that suggestion box. It was simply there for show and not to be used. I didn't give a damn about any chain of command any longer because I was getting separated from the Navy.

One night, shortly after we turned in our suggestions regarding how we wanted to be treated while on restriction, we were all up in the small lounge area in berthing playing cards, drinking, and smoking cigarettes. This was a problem because we were not supposed to be out of our racks past 2200 hrs (well and the smokes and boos). The only other people that used this berthing on the ship were people that had to stand watch very early in the morning. Some of the restrictees started gettin' kind of loud with the card game due to the copious amount of "bilge wine" that was being consumed (this is illegal alcohol that is made by sailors at sea by concealing the ferment in bilges). Apparently there was a non-restrictee staying in our berthing that night, and he didn't appreciate the fact that we were making noise. He decided he'd put an end to our shenanigans and call the on duty master at arms. Minutes before the master at arms descended on us with all of their egomaniac rage, one of the restrictees bursted into the lounge to warn everybody. We dispersed like cockroaches when the lights switch is turned on in the middle of the night. Except we were drunk cockroaches so we weren't nearly as efficient. Maybe more like drunk rats.

I had the bright idea to strip naked, wrap a towel around myself, grab my shower bag, and head for the head. I ducked into the shower and turned the water on in an attempt to hide from the douche bags. After ten minutes or so, I figured it was safe and got out of the shower. I opened the head door slightly and peaked out into berthing to have a clandestine look see. Nothing, dark, no master at arms. I quickly scurried to my rack and just as I slipped into my rack a rogue master at arms, with nothing better to do, shined his flashlight down my isle and saw my foot going into my rack.

"Hey, you..." as he waddled on over to my rack, "aren't you a restrictee?"

"Yes sir."

"Get dressed, you're coming with me."

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I've told this story too many times. To myself, to patrons of the bars I've worked at, to associates, to acquaintances, to friends, and I've written it in many different ways as well. It's true, and not really that interesting, but it had a large impact on who I am now. I never wanted to be a nuclear engineer, not even while I was one. That title "nuclear engineer" is really a misnomer because what I actually was was a steam plant mechanic; it just so happens that I was standing about fifteen feet from a nuclear reactor while I was mechanicing. What makes my story a bit more interesting is not that I was standing watch in the nuclear bowels of an air craft carrier just outside of the straits of Hormuz when 911 happened, but that I did not want to be there. I don't think anybody really wanted to be there, but I went to great measures to no longer be there.

On September 11 2001 the U.S.S. Carl Vinson was prepared to pass through the straits of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. The skin of the ship was secure and nobody was allowed outside due to the potential small arms fire. When a carrier passes through the straits, the indigenous population has a habit of popping off rounds, which can actually hit the ship. I was in my rack sleeping, and I was woken by a shipmate of mine "McCarty, McCarty...wake up man, we're at war."

"War!!! What the fuck are you talking about?" I got up and went into the berthing lounge, where there was a television mounted in the corner that the Captain would occasionally connect to CNN via satellite link for important news. Just as I was wiping the sleep out of my eyes, I looked up in time to see the second plane crash into the building. We could feel the ship listing as it turned around to head back out into the Arabian Sea to begin "Operation Enduring freedom." The fact that we were launching jets off of the flight deck around the clock really didn't change my life much. Either way my job was the same; make sure the nuclear power plant was working just fine for all of the steam that we needed to keep the war machine functioning. I had a small part to play in that, and that mainly consisted of standing watch at the main feed pumps (MFP). These pumps pumped water into the steam generator which cooled the reactor water and produced steam to power everything on the ship. There were many other watch stations for me to stand around at, but like everything else in the nuclear navy I had to first "qualify" to stand them. The MFP station just happened to be the first one I qualified for while we were at sea.

Life at sea sucked with more power than a black hole, and in fact THE bull shit black hole that services the United States was located in that power plant. It required constant heapings of bull shit to remain satiated. It's favorite type of bull shit was bureaucratically generated. Every day at sea was a work day, except for Sundays, but even then we had to stand five hour watches. I could go on and on about why being at sea sucked so bad, and I have for a 100 or so pages in a book titled "Surrender" that I have never finished writing, so I won't be doing that here. Suffice it to say that we ate food that had "not fit for human consumption, military and prisoner use only" stamped on the side of the boxes, we breathed what we called "boat funk" which was a mix of recycled engine room oil, nut sack jam, and farts, and you did this on an average of five hours of sleep a day (except for the boat funk part...that was 24/7)...all while being surrounded by nothing but navy fucks. It sucked.

My problem was not so much how bad it sucked (although I had a bit of a problem with that part as well), but with the fact that we were dropping bombs and firing missiles day and night at a nomadic peoples who had no idea what the fuck was going on. After 115 days at sea (which is how long I went without seeing land), we were informed by some douche bag admiral that had flown onto the boat, that between the Vinson and the Kitty Hawk we had dropped 3 million tons of ordinance. I believe it. They stored the munitions in huge storage rooms just beneath the aft galley. I would routinely be eating my not fit for human consumption non-food while the gunnies busied themselves carting bombs past me to the hanger bay. They had fun writing racial slurs on the sides of the bombs as a personal touch for the innocent people they were to destroy. Did I mention that I became a Buddhist while I was in the navy?  It's safe to state that I was a bit conflicted by my station in life.

So, one day, having had enough of this naval nonsense, a friend and I decided that we would do something about it. There are all manner of tactics that can be employed to get your ass out of the navy while at sea. Indeed, they were employed often. We heard about them through the grape vine; pissing yourself in your rack every night while refusing to bath, lodging yourself in a bilge while refusing to eat, attempting suicide by all manner imaginable, one guy even jumped off of the flight deck into the dark Arabian sea in the middle of the night (luckily for him one of the boatswain mates who's job it was to look out into the dark sea for people such as he, spotted him before he became shark bait), but we didn't want to harm or kill ourselves. We elected to employ what was colloquially known as a "rainbow chit." My buddy and I wrote little notes that said "I, insert name, social, rate and rank, willingly admit to being a homosexual and because of that would like to be separated from the navy." We turned them into ships admin and waited.

They say that one enlisted nuke costs the navy in the neighborhood of 250,000 dollars to get through the "nuclear pipeline." It takes two years from boot camp to the fleet to create a nuke. Once on the ship it's another couple of months before a nuke is no longer a "nub" (none useful body) and can actually contribute by standing watch and performing maintenance. The navy has a hard time filling all of their nuclear positions.  Most people who are intelligent enough to become a nuke don't, they go to college, or choose other more fulfilling career paths like panhandling or suckin' strange wieners for smack. The point is that once you are in the nuclear program (more so once you complete it) you are not getting out of it. 

 So my buddy and I ended up at the Captain's at sea cabin one night. The at sea cabin is located on level ten. Level 10 is located in the tower which is the highest structure on the flight deck. This is the Captains own personal chill pad. At any rate, me, my buddy, the Master Chief in charge of reactor department, and the Captain are all standing there in his at sea cabin staring at one another. The Captain (whom I had never seen in person in the five or so months I'd been on the carrier) looks at me and says "I've read your letter, and I'm here to tell you to go back to work." So much for the "don't ask don't tell policy." At that moment I looked at my buddy, and he looked at me, and we both contemplated making out with each other in front of both of them. I almost leaned in to go gay for a minute, but at the last minute decided that as much as I liked my buddy, I wasn't going to make out with him. I wanted to say to the captain "so you mean we can continue pushin' each other's shit in while in the showers and you don't care?" But I didn't, I just hung my head and prayed to whatever would listen that nobody on the ship would find out that I was "homosexual." People got their asses beat for those sort of proclivities.

I was pissed off at the fact that we had to follow the rules and they didn't. "Don't ask don't tell" applied to the entire navy, so long as it wasn't the nuclear one. That's why the Captain did what he did. He was just calling our bluff. I guess he figured if we were telling the truth somebody would eventually catch us blowin' one another and he'd kick us out then. So it was back to the engine room for my sorry ass. I had another trick up my sleeve, and as soon as we pulled into San Diego to drop off the air wing I pulled it out. We got four hours of liberty while in port, and I took advantage of my "liberty." I grabbed a few of the civilian things that I had and fuckin' left. The same buddy that I had turned my rainbow chit in with had actually scheduled to go on leave for two weeks while we were in San Diego. I had him pick me up, and I was enroute to his house while the boat was leaving without me to return to Bremerton Washington.

We got an ounce of herb and smoked it all. 28 days latter I walked my ass back onto the boat and turned myself in. Due to the fact that we were "at war," at 30 days I became a deserter and could technically be put to death for my desertion. I didn't want to test out that theory. After being gone for 28 days, the Master Chief gave me my military I.D. back and said he'd see me in two weeks. I was confused, but I didn't argue. I walked back off of the boat and drove back to California to enjoy another two weeks off of the boat. My family was devastated. Nobody understood why I had done what I had done. While I was UA (the navy's version of AWOL...Unauthorized Absence) the navy sent all manner of threatening letters to my family, as well as called repeatedly trying to ascertain my whereabouts. I didn't care about the consequences. What I cared about was no longer participating in "Operation Enduring Freedom."

To my mind, it was just senseless violence, and I didn't understand it. I had no idea why 911 had happened, and I didn't know who Osama Bin Laden was, or that the whole thing was really about oil. I had never heard of Peak Oil at the time, and I had no idea about fiat currency or infinite growth on a finite planet. I was 21 years old. All I wanted was to get stoned on the beach, fall in love with a woman, make love, read, write, create art and music, and maybe eventually check into a Buddhist monastery to meditate my way to Nirvana (if the whole making love thing didn't work out). What I knew with certainty was that I was not going to participate in the madness of war any longer. I've heard the argument "well you willingly signed up to join the military...what did you think the military was about," and? Yeah, I was 19 when I signed up for the military. I had been indoctrinated by my society to believe in patriotism and the flag. I was in JROTC for four years. To the people who say to me that what I did was wrong, I say too bad for you. I raised my level of consciousness to worldcentric and could no longer abide senseless killing. I did what I had to do to not abide it. The navy wasn't done with me yet...I had a pointless and torturous crucible to go through to reach separation and receive my "other than honorable discharge."