Well I've finally gotten around to posting one thousand times on hatrack. It has taken me a lot longer than most people, but you would be amazed how many posts I've read in the last year and a half. Anne Kate has sort of nudged me to write a little bit about my life so I thought I'd throw it in.
Well my full name is Paul David Jay. At the moment I am Nineteen years old, I know not that old, and I am employed in the United States Army as an Infantryman.
I suppose to better understand me you should know a little about my parents. My father Was a soldier for 23 years and served two tours of duty, about two years, in Vietnam. He was born in Northern California to a very poor family. He lived in what originally was supposed to be a large chicken coop. His father died when my father was rather young, five. One thing I've always felt sad about was never knowing that Grandfather.
My father wasn't exactly 100% literate growing up and ended up joining the army because he was rather patriotic and thought highly of war veterans, my great uncle had fought in WWII and lost his leg. Also both his brothers had been in the army, one uncle having served in Vietnam as well. He has always been a really opened minded man and talked to me great deal through life. I will never be able to say my father neglected me that is for sure. He more than anyone else has instilled in me my respect for everything and equality.
My mother was Born in Grosslitchen West Germany ( Germany now a days ). Btw its about an hour from Trier in the Bundesland( state) of Rheinland Pfalz. She grew up a pretty liberal child. My Grandfather had been a bomber pilot in WWII for Germany, received both the first and second class iron crosses, and was a very succesful architect and the town mayor for 20 some odd years. She met my dad at a pretty young age when he was working at an airfoce base, joint service work, and they got married after 6 months.
I ended up being born in the Netherlands when my father was attached to some nato command or the other. I can't remember much of that part of my life except I used to watch children play outside the window when I was two. I also used to wrestle with a man a lot, I later found out he was a SAS Captain much to my delight. I knoq it took me awhile to talk like a regular person. I had lots of weird habits like calling a house a side, you go inside and outside, and planes one. Since when you saw them in the sky you would point up and say theres one.
After that we all moved to Augusta Georgia where my father was a drill sergeant at Fort Gordon. I can remember a lot of things when we lived there.
One childhood memory I remember is learning that my best friend Kenny was black. The next door neighbor kid told me I guess and I busted into the house all excited telling my mother Kenny was black. Then I started wondering.. well.. what does that matter.
Nature is something I always loved and my father used to bring home lots of animals from the woods. I had a big tortoise shell , it had wandered into our yard and died. Lizards were always running around and I'd sprint around trying to pick them up by their body so they wouldn't lose their precious tails. One big memory of mine was my father bringing home a black widow with an egg case in a car. I thought it was the most wonderful thing. Of course my dad being himself he let it go alive and we had black widows around the house from that day on ( I still played with them though I figured I was fast enough to avoid them biting me)
When I was five I had to raise and kill a chicken. My mothers side of the family was mostly farmers and it was something my father agreed with. I remember eating the chicken and all the hard work I had to put into it. That one experience has made me think a lot differently about life and death, not to mention the food I eat every day.
I remember moving back to Germany when my father was stationed in Stuttgart. I really loved being back there to see all my relatives so often. It was such a great time then when the wall fell. My mother was incredibly happy and cried. Lots of great friends, a great mix of things in life.
School was a blast back then. I know I had to take English as a second language until third grade. It took me awhile to start reading but when I did I just exploded. My mother said I never stopped reading. I seemed to wake up with a book in my hands and go to sleep with one there as well. My father was forever buying me books at the Stars and Stripes when I started reading. He was incredibly proud of his little boy that loved to read and write.
School was a blast back then and I remember learning to count back in Kindergarten, all the way to 100!!!. lots of school yards fights and that sort of thing, my first mini crush to a puerto rican girl named Anne Marie.
Desert Storm seemed crazy to me as a kid. I watched everything I could and read everything I could about it. I was proud that my father might go off to fight for the USA , help liberate the Kuwaitis. School was canceled one time because of a bomb threat and security was really high. I remember then wanting to be a soldier so badly. Occasionally there were some Green berets who would be walking around and I thought so highly of soldiers as a kid. What else was someone supposed to be!! ::laughs:: I had this big poster of fighter jets on my wall , as I thought being a fighter pilot would be grand. However I had to get glasses then and it crushed my heart to learn that fighter pilots had to have good vision.
I also became deathly ill at one point in Germany, almost died. The doctors on post had misdiagnosed me and I had to get rushed to a German childrens hospital. I was never really scared to die even then , I figured that Jesus would save me or something. Plus in all the books I read back then everything turned out good and happy, so I suppose I thought the same would happen for me. I loved all the letters from my friends then and was worried about my parents worrying so much. The only thing I hated was feeling as weak as I did.
Moving to the USA was really great and sad at the same time. Minnesota seemed like a great place and I loved being around my Uncle, who lived there as well. I always loved being around my family.
I started up the 4th grade which I loved and hated. It was all really simple, but my class was full of white people! Sure I'm a white guy too, but I had never been around soooo many white people. It really shocked me back then. The teacher made the mistake of introducing me as the German kid, so everyone thought I couldn't speak english since I was so shy. Being picked on in school always bothered me a great deal as I simply wanted to be accepted by everyone, not a friend just accepted. Everyone had before so I didn't understand why it didn't happen here. In Minnesota I was just pushed around, fought with, and called a filthy natzi.
In fifth grade my uncle died of natural causes. I was at a birthday part at the time having a great grand time when it all happened. I felt so ashamed that when my uncle died I was frolicking around having a great time. I remember crying and praying for my Uncle at night , he was an atheist, that god would allow him into heaven. That my uncle would not have to brave hell. I prayed that I would give up my very soul so my uncle could go to Heaven. I did that for about a year.
I did well through elemetary school, all As but who doesn't ace that part of their school career. Since my 4th grade years I was always sort of an outcast no matter how much I exceled at sports. I always loved the outcasts though as they read the same books as I did and loved creative things. I played MTG, Magic the gathering, a great deal in 6th grade and on. I read the Black Cauldron when I was in 4th grade and Dune in fifth. I read more than ever back then and became fascinated with computers. I built my own 286 machine and later with help from my father built a 486. I loved playing Master of Orion and Xcom back then.
Starting in sixth grade I probably did one of the smarter things in my life and joined a boys choir. I loved to sing and had a really good voice back then. The boys choir I joined was actually really awesome, the land of lakes boys choir, and I got to tour Europe twice and sing at Carnegie hall. Latin music always seemed to stir my soul, I was catholic what can you expect, and I so loved singing it. I implore you all to go out and check out this boys choir, they do have a website, and listen to a few of their songs on MP3. Those boys really do have the voices of angels.
In the choir we were taught manners as well as singing. Many of the things I've learned about obedience I learnt in choir. I sang a few solos back then, but nothing special. It was great just to be with a big group of guys singing. My loss of singing is probably one of the major losses in my life.
I junior high I began reading even more, at least a book a day. I also got even more attached to things technical. Made a lot of friends and became more of a nerd : ) Lots and lots of fights in Junior high. I tended to have the upper hand, all except two rather bad ones. and had a reputation for not letting my friends get abused. Not a lot that happened in Junior high that I like to talk about even talking about my life. I learnt a lot and had good grades, mostly A's, all the way through. Had my first Girl friend and all, didn't get my first "real" kiss. Spent a lot of time writing now.
High school was a great change of pace for me in a way. I played football in highschool and made a lot of friends and was no longer picked on at all. Lots of cute girls even occasionally threw their eyes at me ::laughs:: I decided that I wanted to be an officer in the army. It was my big goal, either to attend West Point or the citadel. I still got As in most of my classes and 10th and 11th grade were mostly awesome. My writing got increasingly better and.. well then my life fell apart.
So many things in life have bothered me so much. That people would care so little for others or their nation. How some people could hate others so much. Why others degraded each other. Why people were mad at me that I was one of 3 juniors to play on the varsity team. Why all the Senior players would hate me for that. I started up a tech company with a friend of mine, its still around at Ataractic.com , but my relationship with him fell through horrible. It seemed everything I touched fell apart. My grades fell, I got Ds and Fs. My dreams of being an officer fell through the hole. I became so much less of a man than I had ever wanted to be. I believed so much in honor and pride. To have none. My heart was broken numerous times. I really wanted to kill myself for a long long time. I felt worthless.. that I could do nothing for the world.
Everything seemed so bleak to me, I felt so weak when all I wanted to do was be strong. I ended up enlisting in the army which probably saved me in the end. I felt I could at least do a little bit of good with my life. I took the ACTS, even though I had failed out of math earlier and well lol didn't know some of it on the test, which was embarassing. I really didn't do homework in school anymore. I still got a 29 overall which is all right, but I know I would have done 100 times better if I had actually tried. I started posting on hatrack right after I enlisted. Probably was rather gruff and rude at times at first, but ended up being a lot more civil. I just tend to be rather vocal with my views, so most of the times I simply tone down or don't say anything when there isn't anything nice to say.
Basic training AIT was harsh and all ,but wasn't so bad in the end. I really feel more of a man since I've been there and found out I'm not such a failure. I can be good at something now. I'm rather excited to go back to school and really prove myself. I know it sounds stupid but I had to take an IQ test, when I was depressed, and it came out as a 143. I know I don't seem that smart, many times because I rush too much, but hey we all get lucky huh ; ) I need a lot more "book" education now in my life to go along with all my reading and life experience.
I really hope to one day be a writer though whatever happens happens. I'm always coming up with neat interesting ideas that other people enjoy and my short stories tend to make people think and they enjoy them. Yes I know this is really poorly written and I could have done a better job a hundred fold over , but I wanted to get this done for AKA. I'm sure I'll end up telling her a lot of stuff I haven't told you all , but yeah.
Oh yes the 101st Airborne Division Rules and Strike force ( 2nd Battalion 502nd infantry reigiments motto.) Herman Hesse is a great authoer, as well as Mr.Card. Everyone should enjoy a good video game now and then. Plus to all you Hatrackers you have no idea how much of a bright spot you can be in my day. After a long day of cleaning weapons, rolling around in the mud, and shooting at stuff its fun to come to some intelligent conversation. A lot of times this is my only outlet for that sort of thinking. A lot of people here mean a lot to me and I would easily throw my life away for them. People like Amira, Toretha, Anne Kate, Bernard, PH, all the people I talk to on a regular basis. You are a great bunch of people, Even leto who I disagree with all the time and I believe could be a lot more polite. Keep up living your fine lives and hoorah to 1000 posts. Let me be aroud to post another.
P.S Though I don't talk about my religion so much anymore I did for a very long time consider being a Catholic priest. A lot of things pushed me towards and away from it. I didn't mention it because I didn't want to offend anyone.
[This message has been edited by Black Fox (edited November 10, 2002).]