|WHO AM I?
That’s a tough one. Who am I? In order to know that I have to start from the beginning. I was born in Montrose Colorado on the 24th day of December 1975. My mother was in labor for 26 hours. That’s a huge price to pay for a broken condom. I grew up in a small town called Olathe Colorado. It wasn’t much of a town really. Back then the population was somewhere around 800 people. My family lived right by an elementary school, but only for a couple of years. I don’t remember that. I do remember where we moved to next. We stayed in Olathe but moved to the “outskirts” to a little two and a half patch of land. This is where my memories start. In the early years I had a mom, dad, brother, three grandmas’, three grandpas’, five aunts, four uncles and a whole tribe of cousins.
In the years before kindergarten I had an identity crisis. I was Superman. Of course that didn’t include when I was sucking my finger. When I was sucking my finger, I was that ordinary civilian “Jerimy”. I spent several years flying around helping people. Sometimes I was a soldier. Or I was a whole platoon of soldiers. Depending on how many times I got killed of course. Other times I was a gun slinging cowboy. I decided I liked being a kid and I was never going to grow up. So far I haven’t completely grown up, except for my beer belly.
Here’s a kicker, I didn’t have a haircut until I was five years old. Talk about some long hair. I had more than most girls my age. That was mostly due to my mom, she wanted a girl and sorry but I was a boy. I’m not really sorry, I liked being a boy and am quite happy being a man. I made her give me a haircut before I started kindergarten. I didn’t want the other kids thinking I was a girl. That would be awkward.
I remember kindergarten a little. There was a kid named Jim who would sit next to me and punch me. Then when the teacher would ask him if he was hitting me he would say no and ask me “I wasn’t hitting you was I?” he was strange. I finally moved my chair. I liked being by myself anyway. I had a bubble and I didn’t want anyone in it. At least not until I knew them. I was a loner. Life is easier that way.
By the first grade I had gotten over my anti social ways. By the end of second grade I had four friends I would have for the rest of my life. It took me a while to like Ben. The first time I met him all he did was hit me on the head with a flashlight, over and over and over again saying “talk”. I never gave into his torture that first night. I didn’t utter a word. Oddly enough about a week later he invited me over for a sleep over. I went hesitantly. It turned out to be ok. We started talking (no flashlight involved) and became friends.
Jesse I met in kindergarten. I was playing by myself as usual (I liked my company), When a few bigger kids came over to pulverize me. By this time I’d had enough of people and stood up to fight. I stood my ground and was about to get whiped off the face of the planet when I hear someone say “leave him alone, he’s cool.” The kids said “its Jesse, lets go”. Apparently he was pretty popular. He was an only child and after that day we were great friends.
Kyle I met in second grade. By myself again, I was an airplane pilot. Here comes Kyle. At first I thought “great, now I have to fight again.” He just asked what I was doing and I told him. Next thing you knew there were two airplane pilots fighting a squadron of enemy jets.
Finally there was Jerry. I had a crush on his big sister for a while. Kyle introduced us and I introduced them to Jesse. We became a pack of loyal dogs. We had many camp outs and tons of adventures together.
Other than friends I was raised with my family. On my mothers side, my cousins, brother and I were all raised like brothers and sisters. I was babysat by my aunts all the time. My cousins were at our house a lot growing up too. We were quite a tribe. We would go to the lake every summer. Every winter we would go inner tubing down the mountains. In the spring and fall we’d go camping a lot. We worked together too. At my house there was a huge garden and every one helped out. We canned every year and there was always plenty of work to do. My parents turned that two and a half acre lot into a little goat farm. Yes I milked goats. Its fun, I used to spray the kittens with it. They didn’t mind much.
My grandma Geri got me hooked on travel. The first time I ever left Colorado was with her and my Uncle John. He was looking for work in San Francisco. After that I went camping in Utah with our church. Then spent a little time in New Mexico for 4-H.
In 4-H I enjoyed ceramics, showing goats, leather craft and entomology. Mostly I liked to stab the little bugs with my entomology needles. My brother liked showing goats too. In public he and I didn’t talk much. In fact in the home we didn’t talk much. We fought a lot though. Blood is thicker than water as I learned when my parents started foster care. That was kind of weird. I had to share my room with all sorts of strangers. If any of these strangers bothered me though, my bro would ward them off and vise versa. We had each others backs.
One thing about foster care is you see how rough people have it. I remember one little two and a half year old girl. She had been found by a dumpster. They brought her to our home and we saw her and thought what a sweet little thing. Until she spoke. The first words out of her mouth were “I shit myself some one fucking change me!” Yeah our jaws hit the floor. We had her for over two and a half years. She turned into a sweet little girl, complete with feelings and hopefully good memories. We tried to adopt her but social services decided it was better to rip her out of her home and give her to her grandparents. Social services are evil people. I hate them.
My brother and I had a lot of grand adventures together too. He’s got to be the craziest guy I’ve ever met. As an example I watched him chase a rattle snake into a bush with a short stick. Once the snake was in the bush, it curled up and began to rattle. Billy laughed at it whipped out his own snake and peed on it. I made up my mind to never really piss him off after that. After all I didn’t want to get pissed on.
Growing up one of my favorite past times was drawing. I still doodle a little but I was much better back then. I hated reading until high school. Then it got fun for some reason. School was always boring. It was much more fun to ditch school to shoot prairie dogs. I can’t believe I graduated.
Through school I pursued another passion. I would go to Tae-Kwon-Do classes three nights a week. This was my tension reliever. I loved it. Breaking boards is a blast. Sparring is fun too. I had such a good time with it I started going to tournaments. That’s the best part of all. Adrenaline rocks. Yes I’m an adrenaline junkie. Danger and I are a good match.
Graduation night was fun. I went out with a couple of my high school friends and got drunk. Of course, what kind of graduation party would it be if we didn’t have a few?. We all went and got our first tattoo. I liked mine a lot. I got a snake popping out of my skin. It was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Then I woke up. Still hung over I looked in the mirror. “what is that thing on my arm?” I grumbled. “that’s not the tattoo I got”. Its funny how when your drunk things look better than they are.
I got a job at Pizza Hut. What fun. There I was propositioned by old gay guys (yuk), threatened to be shot, had dogs sicked on me and ran off the road. It was a grand time. Still it was fun. I eventually worked my way to shift manager. I didn’t see how it was a promotion since I instantly started making less money. Tips go a long way. Stayed for about a year then made a big career move. I joined Dominos. There I was stalked, ran off the road and propositioned by an elderly gal. She didn’t look that old. She was thirty eight, looking twenty five. So I gave it up, my virginity of course. On my nineteenth birthday no less. Happy birthday to me. I had no idea she was one of my friends moms. That was awkward. They had different last names after all. How was I supposed to know?
After moving in with her fro a while I got a taste of living on my own. Not all of it was fun. However I did manage to have some fun. Having your own pad is cool. Stayed there for a few months and realized I couldn’t live with her. She was a chain smoker and I was an asthmatic. Not a good mix. I threw in the towel and moved out.
Round two. I met another older woman. This one was only thirty. Ok I’m getting closer to my age now. She already had a five year old. He was the coolest little guy. At this time in my life I discovered kids are fun, but a lot of work. However they didn’t require near as much maintenance as a psycho thirty year old woman. I had to throw in the towel with miss I love to play mind games all the freaking time. It was a hard breakup because I liked her kid. I just couldn’t deal with all of the mind games his mom relentlessly threw at me.
Playing the field is tough so I took a break for a while and joined the Navy. I remember boot camp. The first night I was there we were late. We had to get issued basic supplies for general living. Then there was barracks arrangements for the night. By the time we were done with issue I was so tired. Already I hadn’t slept in two days. So we finish and get to our barracks. I find an empty rack and start to crawl into it. This is at about three thirty in the morning now. Running on my third day of no sleep and right as my knee touches the bed the lights all come on and this insane dude runs in and starts yelling at everybody. I’ve seen my crazy brother do that a few times so it really didn’t phase me too much. Like that time I dropped a radio on his foot.
Boot camp was a strange paradox. Every day took forever. Every week flew by. I made it through unnoticed some how. Looking back it was a lot of fun. Fighting fires, marching and going to class.
After boot camp I went to “A” School in Fort Jackson South Carolina. It’s hot as hell over there. “A” School is just another way of saying specialty school. Here I learned my postal trade. The school was made for all four branches of the military. So we all took most of the same classes.
Now for my first duty station. I was dropped in Naples Italy. Oh darn the bad luck. The first week was tough. Jetlag can be a bastard. It was an eight hour difference from where I grew up. It seemed to take forever to get used to being awake when my body said I should be sleeping. It was a lot of fun in Italy. Great food and awesome people. I started working at the Fleet Mail Center there. It was boring in the summer and extremely busy in the winter. Every one seems to think they need to mail Christmas packages back and forth.
I also worked in auxiliary security there. It was ran by an old school marine named Gunny Howes. That guy rocked. I remember a few of his sayings. “if it ain’t raining, we ain’t training.” And “the more we sweat in peacetime the less we bleed in battle.” He was hardcore and trained us hardcore. We did riot control drills using real vehicles and real people as the rioter. It was a fast company of marines as the rioters. You had to do the job just right or they would get you. It was great fun.
Enter funny lady on roller blades. One time this crazy girl skates by me, turns around and says “hi sailor boy”. Instantly I was thinking she was a dork. I placed the incident in the back of my mind and continued the quarter mile march to my barracks room.
Later in Naples I got an ingrown toenail. It happens when you spend 8-12 hours a night on your feet sorting mail. So I had it removed. I limped back to my barracks and got on the elevator. I pushed button two and that dork jumped in the elevator with one of my friends. They pushed the fifth floor button. She sees I’ve pushed only the second floor button and starts giving me a hard time. “people like you are the reason the elevators are always broken. Taking it to the second floor.” I was a little twitterpated that dork was bothering me. (she was kind of cute though). So I said “I just had surgery on my toe” the elevator stopped and I stepped out.
Later that night the friend that was on the elevator with us comes to my room and wakes me up. “dude” he says. “ I know someone who likes you”. I was thinking great, another older woman with lots of problems, no thanks. “who? “ I asked with a hint of paranoa. “ that chick in the elevator. She likes you man. She asked me all sorts of questions about you.” “oh crap, what did you tell her?” I replied. So we had a little chat. He talked me into getting dressed and going down stairs. She had dressed up since our last encounter. Now she was wearing a moderate mini skirt and some makeup. (nice legs). My heartbeat quickened a little.
We ended up going out a lot and later getting married in an air tower in Naples Italy. Its strange how life throws a curve ball at you once in a while. She’s a year and a half younger than I am. Who knew, we’ve actually got a lot in common and have been married for almost nine years now. Our son was born in Italy and enjoys duel citizenship. Our daughter was born in the states, but is no less a personality.
I lived in Italy for four years and consider it my second home. I miss it something terrible. I doubt I’ll ever return. However my fingers are always crossed and I’ll never forget the times I had there.
After Italy I went to Florida for recruiting school. Yes I was one of those bastards that takes innocent children away from there everyday lives and turns them into psycho insane killers. Yes that’s me. I didn’t much enjoy it.
I recruited out of a town called Moses Lake Washington. I endearingly refer to it as Moses Hole. Met a couple of friends there that have become like family. I love you Nancy and Kerry. Otherwise I had a pretty raunchy time of it. I was never home, always recruiting. I would go to work while everyone was in bed and get home in time to put everyone in bed. I got yelled at for three years, which turned my emotions to iron. It effected my wife and kids and I almost lost them to some jerk names “Big Bear”. He tried to take advantage of the situation but the best man won out. I’ve still got my wife and kids. Home team one, visitor zero. We worked through it all. It was both our faults. Me for not being there as much as I should have and her for even playing with the notion of leaving. It was a rocky road for a while.
After recruiting I went to San Diego to learn about pre commissioned ships. After a few months moved to Maine for the next seven months pre commissioning a ship. Then sailed around the states to come home. My wife was in Washington the whole thirteen months. That was kind of hard.
I’ve been on this ship for two years and am currently underway (can’t say where sorry). It gets lonely here. I work with a fast platoon of marines onboard. I’m there gunner. I’m also the Postmaster on board. Go figure. I’m having a blast. But I would like to watch my kids grow for a while.
So the question was “who am I?” I am a thirty year old broken condom, I am a kid playing superman, I am an anti-social mamma’s boy, I am a friend of many, I am a brother, I am a cousin, I am a grandchild, I am a nephew, I am a hard hitting black belt, I am a pizza jerk, I am a postman, I am a recruiter of innocent children, I am a husband, I am a proud father, I am an insensitive bastard, I am a man, I am a hopeless romantic, I am a sailor and I am who I am.