June 21, 2005  Tuesday

Called the fam back in Illinois.  They have already made plan to come out to Norfolk, and said they will be here between August 3-14,  when Nicole will have to return to be ready to move into her dorm as a new college freshman.  That’s crazy.  If they were to come at all this summer it would have to be then, but there are pros and cons all the same.  First off, I will have duty the night they arrive, which really isn’t that big.  On the fifth of August there is going to be a family cruise that I’m actually happy they will by luck be here for.  Now they will always have a mental picture of I what I really do, what the ship is like, and everything else.  Dad named off a bunch of things he’d like to do, like deep-sea fishing, which I’m totally up for, but I’m already sensing perhaps the best way I can manage them being here is to do one big thing for each of the three they would like to do.  Just to see my family around a bunch of sailors…

It’s funny, I was asked yesterday as I was working what my parents do for a living.  It was said with a ring that suspected my family was rich.  I responded that my mom is a school teacher and my dad was a butcher, I guess triumphantly showing “common roots,” to which they said, “Man, I was sure they’d be pulling down six figures.”  I know that I carry myself in a certain way that says (how do I put this) educated?  But not even from an Ivy League place, but from a directional school I bummed around at to get a minimum GPA at graduation.  So that description is off too, I know. The question though is a fascinating one to me.  It always has been.  It’s a strange battle in me, if you must know.  One part of my vilifies the luxury boxes of stadiums, preferring the cheap bleachers in the sunshine where the real fans sit.  Yet I’ve also been carrying around a book in my back pocket entitled A History of Chinese Thought, while most others here watch Anacondas.  I somehow identify with the source of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan’s music, yet know Beethoven moody brilliance should be revered.  I want to live in both worlds, picking and choosing, yet never feeling comfortable in either.  The “hee-haw” of the Banque country dance hall, or my own “The Hub” back in Illinois leaves my shaking my head at the familiar warm corniness I can’t embrace, but when I have also been amid the mingling of formal dinner parties I’ve felt a strange reflection from the adorned jewelry.  I guess I can’t escape the prairies where I am from.  There are many parts of being a Midwesterner I like, and don’t want to loss.  Normally I wouldn’t think about it but there is a strong difference between myself and many on the ship, and I can tell even when I call home.  Home of course I don’t mind; I love them for what they simply are, but I can’t bring myself to use incorrect grammar or think farts are hilarious.  I don’t know what got me off on this rant in the first place, but it felt good.

What else.  The Physical Readiness Test (PRT) this morning went well, but I can’t guess why we do it at all.  I mean, “officially” it’s needed, as a way to track our individual, overall health, but I have to wonder what the real purpose is when we count each others’ amount of sit-ups and push-ups, and some then add a dozen or so to either pad the total or pass in the first place.  I didn’t, but I did alright: 87 sit-ups and 55 push-ups in two minutes.  At least there is no way to cheat the run to make the whole thing totally worthless (I was writing this neutrally with no real mood on the subject at all, if I seem upset) This is the part where it is special to have someone like you to tell good things to: I bested my 1 1/2 mile run record by two seconds, getting an 11:01.  I was pleased.

In most respects we live in a bubble being in the navy, off in our little lets-prepare-for-a-terrorist-attack-to-our-boat reality, without ever a mention of the wars going on (really). For the fifth straight month Army recruitment has tanked, even after lowering the projected goals.  Every enticement has been tried: more money: and now a mere 1 1/2 year enlistment.  That’s what they did in Vietnam.  The drop off is coming at a bad time, because soon will come the four-year mark after 9/11 and many, many service members will begin to get out.  It’s gotten so that (and this is how it could affect me) inactive Fleet Reserve are being recalled to active duty to serve with Marines in Iraq.  The cut-off is for E-5s and above, for this experience, which perhaps makes me not want that second chevron.  Last week the first sailors sent over were killed.

…I’ve just been given been given some paperwork that I should have gotten when I first checked in in March (to be completed immediately, of course).  Incidentally, the Dilbert strip from Sunday was similar….

Let’s see, at the top of the form it proclaims “FIVE YEAR GOALS.”  I can’t help but think that in five years I will be 31 (ouch!), but then you yourself will be nearly 27 (nah-nah!).  That made me feel better.  Okay… Professional goals.  In five years I would like my certificate and masters, but as to what field of study, I can’t yet put a name to it.  Could I teach?  One possibility.  The salary would be stable.  I’ve begun to look on already to get an idea, and WIU helps alumni research job availabilities and prepare resumes, but my biggest professional goal is to believe in what I am doing and find my calling too.  Now comes the personal goals.  Still be alive is a good one, and if I should still be so lucky I would like to being stable is that area as well.  When I think “personal” I think where I am living, who I am living with, the friends I’ve made, and all the interests I’ve acquired. The third section is about schools, but I guess I’ve already answered that.  The last is hoped for future duty stations: that would be NONE.  I think I will write it just like that.







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