Monday, April 17, 2006

Think It Through

When I was a senior in high school, one of my post-graduation options was the U.S. military.

It would have made good sense. I had high test scores, an OK GPA, and was well-rounded. I spoke three foreign languages and wanted to go into intelligence, focusing on the Soviet Union. My dream job was working for the CIA as an operative, but I would have settled for a position translating tapes.

Sgt. Brown of the United States Marine Corps was sure I would make an excellent Marine. Sgt. Brown had an amazing Texas accent that was so strong it was almost fake. We talked about the language school in Monteray. We talked about me becoming an officer. I did pushups and situps in my room before I went to bed (and at one point, I was up to 40 pushups and 100 situps every night).

If that's what I wanted to do, I have no doubt I would have done it well. It would have been the perfect path to that future. Perhaps Sgt. Brown was right. I might have made an excellent Marine.

There were several reasons I didn't take him up on his offer, although it certainly wasn't for his lack of trying. I have a non-military streak of laziness, and joining the Marines would have meant shaking off the momentum of college that I was pretty sure was the right thing for me. I dislike getting up early, forced exercise, and yelling. Boot camp might have kicked that all out of me. It's hard to know.

There were other times after high school when I considered the military to further my career. Once, in college, I talked with someone about joining the military as a way to get into intelligence. It was recommended to me, and I thought about it again for some time.

One thing that held me back was the idea of war. Not because I was afraid of it, but because of what war was. The stupidity of it. The waste. I objected to the fact that I had to sign my life over for something immoral to get the job I wanted. I wanted that career, but not that way. And because I objected, morally, to that part of the job, I didn't take the job.

Some pharmacists could take a page from my book.


  1. Here's something I've been thinking about - I think it's Luther's idea. As I understand it, right now, if there were a draft in the US, only complete pacifists are allowed to be conscientious objectors. Selective pacifists can not. What if our soldiers had the right to say NO to a particular war? What if they had the right to opt out of a war they thought was unjust? What if they had a democratic say about the missions they took part in? Krup, would it have made a difference for you back then if you had been given the right to say NO to any non-defensive actions? What if our commander-in-chief had to get the actual support of our nation's soldiers before he engaged in warplay?

  2. am open-mouthed - gob-smacked - as we brits sometimes say - at the pharmacy issue..surely this is a joke? Try this link for a similar issue that's rattled a few cages over I'm glad you didn't choose the marines..I don't think the haircut would have suited you...,,1753241,00.html