The Struggle is Real

Haven’t had a day off in quite some time and I’m beginning to feel the anxiety associated with transitioning out of the army.  Non-military folks don’t get it.  All of my civilian friends talk about “job placement” and how easy it’s going to be to find a new job when I retire, but the truth is, it isn’t.  Nothing about retirement from the army is easy.  Sure I’ll receive a check every month for the rest of my life and sure that’ll cover a home and some expenses associated with a home but it won’t keep me where I’m at, financially speaking.  That’s the scary part.  I have no idea how to proceed and because I’m retiring from the Indiana National Guard all of my retirement/transition help is located about an hour and half away at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Fort Knox is responsible for assisting separating soldiers in every aspect, from medical to transportation and they do a good, efficient job but if you live far away they’re not much help.  In their defense, it’s not their job to find me a new life.  I learned long ago. No one cares about you in this world.  I mean, your family, hopefully cares, but in the grand scheme of life you’re on your own and I think, that’s the scary part.  My entire adult life has been taken care of by Uncle Sam.  All I had to do was, wake up in the morning and my day was laid out for me.  I’d accomplish my daily task and leave.  Everyday has been the same.  The tasks are almost always different and sometimes the “leave” part may be several days or months a part, but the format is the same.  Without this structure, I’m not sure which way I’m supposed to proceed.  I feel a bit like Brooks, the librarian in “Shawshank Redemption”, although my mental state is a lot better than his turned out to be.  That being said, I do feel the anxiety that he seemed to have upon his release from the big house.

A little dramatic?  Yes. But, I made a promise to myself that when I retired, my family wouldn’t have to go through any sort of financial lull while I tried to get my civilian footing.  This is proving harder than I thought.

Working on my resume is ridiculously brutal, in that, everything I write looks bad and/or poorly written even though I’ve done some pretty substantial work in my time with the army.  Every time I think it looks good, I re-read it and it’s pure shit.  I’ve sent it out to friends that have provided great input and I’ve adjusted accordingly but it still doesn’t read the way I want it to and the clock is ticking.

This entire process would be a lot easier if I had any idea of what I wanted to be when I grow up.  My friends that have retired from the army recently all have a plan.  Either they just want something slow and easy that gets them back to their “break even” number financially or they have a passion that they will enjoy upon retirement.  I don’t have any obvious passions and I’d still like to make some money in my life.  Funny thing about that last comment is that, yes, I want to make some money in my life but at the end of the day, I’d like to have the money in order to give it away.

Seeing people genuinely happy is something I love to see.  Unfortunately, because of the way I deal with things, I outwardly project that I am always disgruntled and mean.  That’s a shame because I’m usually in pretty good mood although I struggle with “dumb.”  When I see people doing dumb things just because they aren’t paying attention or are so self-involved that they fail to realize that there are other people affected by their actions, I become frustrated.  I often have to explain to my wife, who I love dearly, that I’m not mad or frustrated with her but I am mad and frustrated with a situation, usually caused by some outlying variable.

That came out wrong.  My wife is brilliant.  She is an aggressive go-getter and the only reason she is struggling now is because she blindly followed me down to Southern Indiana because she’s an amazing person , that only wants the people around her to be happy.  Something I desperately need to be more in tune with.  She’s my rock and I owe it to her to have something lined up in order to support her and to ensure she doesn’t notice a financial dip in our lifestyle.  And so, the struggle is real.

MC

About Last Night

Living in a small town should be delightful.  Less crime, a tighter sense of community and a comfortable respite from the over-crowding of big cities.  Unfortunately, French Lick, Indiana is not that and not what I thought it would be.

My wife an I moved to French Lick due to Military obligations, in the winter of 2016 after ten years in Indianapolis’ inner-city.  We were expecting to get away from the issues that come with living in an urban environment, like drug trafficking, gang-related violence and all of the petty crimes.  Downtown Indianapolis wasn’t a hot-bed of gang violence, it had some but it did have it’s share of petty crime, to include, theft, burglary and domestic disputes almost every night.  In all of our time in Indianapolis, we only called the police twice and that was for suspicious cars parked on the block.  When the Indiana National Guard promoted me and stationed me in Jasper, Indiana, we thought we’d find a small community, grow some roots and start a family.  Boy, were we wrong.

Eighteen months after moving into our new city and establishing ourselves as productive people in the community, our world changed.  Directly across the street in, what had previously been a rental property, a family of degenerate dirt bags moved in and no one’s sure how.  One day there are “renters” quietly living in the home and the next a multi-racial, multi-generational family moved in with no discernable leader amongst them and providing no value to our adopted city.  I immediately contacted my friends that are local realtors to find out how this could happen.  The house was never officially put on the market so how did this “family” get the inside track?  No one can explain to me how this happened.  I spoke to the local police department. Nothing.  I spoke to the local town hall and they acted surprised that this had happened, however, they did know the family and this is how we found out that we are, now, screwed.

Some time before we moved to the little community of French Lick, the local police gunned down one of this families “uncles”.  Shot him dead in the street which, of course, upset the family.  I can’t imagine why, because from  all the reports the uncle was resisting and threatening, either way the family vowed to get revenge.  They have, of course, not gotten revenge but because of this situation the local police are “apprehensive” to confront this family.  ANNND that’s just magical.  I suppose, by being a scourge of humanity, they have gotten revenge on the police and the entire city.

I say all of that to get to last night.  The police were called several times and I didn’t even pick up the phone.  Someone else was calling the police because the family was sitting on the front porch blasting music and carrying on like it was Mardi Gras, which isn’t a huge problem except the fact that it was midnight, on a Wednesday in a small town in Southern Indiana.  The police finally stopped and spoke to the family and after a fifteen minute discussion, which I couldn’t hear because I was watching from inside my home, a few feet away, the police drove away.  During that fifteen minutes a young lady wearing a very skimpy outfit approached the cruiser and talked to the officer as she leaned quite invitingly into the vehicle.  From my angle it appeared as if she was offering the officer a “hand” but I can’t confirm that so I may have to delete that part later.  Nevertheless, after speaking to the neighbors, this morning, it took five phone calls over a four hour period before the police would do anything about this family, which is unacceptable.

The sad part is that last nights debacle was minor compared to some of the other calls to the police because of this family and to some of the things my wife and I have seen.  A short list would include; an unconscious body being carried into the home the morning of Christmas Eve, fist fights in the street directly in front of our home on several occasion, scantly clad teenage girls dancing to loud music at midnight, suspected drug deals at all hours and drugs and alcohol being consumed in broad daylight by young people that may or may not be legal drinking age.  On each occasion the police were called or showed up on their own accord and on each occasion zero arrests were made and in one instance, high-fives were given to the family by the police.  What the fuck?  I call the police for a disturbance, the police arrived and start high-fiving the very same people that played NWA’s infamous song, “Fuck The Police” as the police pulled up.  This city is pathetic!

I’m supposed to be slipping into retirement from the Army and starting a new career, while my wife continues her climb through the ranks of the nearby resort.  We’re supposed to be starting a family but instead we’re dealing with a bunch of trash that no one will do anything about.  I feel like my only option at this point is to call them out on my own, get physically injured by them and then, maybe, just maybe, enough attention will be churned up that the city will have to make a move.  Unfortunately, I’m to old for that sort of behavior so if it comes to that, it’s really going to hurt.

It’s a ticking time-bomb and everyone is turning a blind eye.  I’ve written this post to capture this time in our lives so that when the bomb goes off, there will be proof that people were warned and chose to do nothing.

Memorial Day and Hemingway

It’s Memorial Day weekend, 2018 and I find myself alone. Not alone in the Papa Hemingway and a twelve gauge, kind of alone but alone nevertheless. You see my wife is working. She’s a pretty big deal at a local organization that is responsible for entertaining the masses and holiday weekends take president.

She’s judging at a local beauty pageant and then back to her regularly scheduled duties of entertaining the masses. Me on the other hand, well, I’m doing homework. Yup, homework. Let this be a lesson to all you youngsters out there that are thinking about taking a break from school to get out into the “real world.” The real world doesn’t want you unless you have a college degree. True story. I though I could work around the whole college thing but after a quarter of a century in the Military, I am learning that there is no “work around” when it comes to college.

And so, now I sit in my dining room researching Ernest Hemingway, arguably the most prominent face in the battle of depression and despair. Hemingway put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger when he was 63 after a lifetime of success’ to include a Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize. His experiences throughout life finally caught up with him and unable to figure out how to escape them anymore, he used the last resort. The result was for all-time. There would be no more Ernest Hemmingway and all of those characters, so carefully created, would be silenced forever.

How does someone, so big and so powerful, get to the point in their life where “meaning” seems to disappear? Hell, most of us never get to that level in anything we do and yet most people struggle through a lifetime of living without thoughts of ending it early. So, again, I ask. How does someone, so big and so powerful, get to the point in life where “meaning” seems to disappear?

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