Friday Firesmith – Cranes

When I started in the Transportation Construction business in 1992, crane operators were small-time gods. They were one of the few men who could sit at the controls of a machine all day, if they chose to, and not work like the other guys who could run other machines. Anyone could run a backhoe, an excavator was something that took some skill, but it was no big deal, really, but for someone to be able to get a job running a “dragline” as it’s called in construction, it took skill, and it took no small amount of guts.

A crane operator has a lot, and I mean a lot, riding on his skill. There are power lines, traffic, and unlike any other piece of machinery, at some point in the day, you’re likely to have a lot of weight swinging over every person’s head on the project. One mistake, one slip of a hand or foot, and something heavy begins a journey it really should not. Heavy objects hit other things, and people, very hard.
Operators in training are dangerous. On the job experience is the only way to learn, and being dangerous is the only way to figure out how not to be.

There was a time young men lined up to become crane operators because it paid well. But it was not easy and mistakes were never minor, and always public.
Now it’s 2020. The project I’m working on at the moment is dead in the water. We cannot drive piles. We can’t pour concrete. Our crane operator is out sick, and we’re idle.

There aren’t any. There aren’t any out there at any pay grade. They asked me if I could do it and it’s not something a man can lie about. But even if I could do it, I wouldn’t do it. I’m pushing sixty years old and I do not need the money or the responsibility.

The superintendent of the project told me he had been trying to hire a crane operator, and trying to train one, for over a year now. New guys bail out quickly because it’s dangerous and takes a long time to learn. Men straight out of high school think that sort of work is beneath them, and they want to have an inside job without dust and rain and mud and cold and sunburn and insects. College grads won’t get near the ground when they go to work.

“You could do it,” the foreman tells me, “you’re good with controls.”
It’s something to think about. It’s a job that carries a heavy responsibility, a lot of money, but it also eats a hole in the day when it comes to time. It can be tedious and it is always dangerous. Thirty years ago it might have been tempting. But I have my time in. I have nothing to prove anymore when it comes to this work.

Yesterday the guy they had filling in dropped a welder from fifteen feet when the line got caught on a pile. A half-ton piece of machinery crashed down without a sound and hit hard. It’s why I never get under a live load. None of this is safe, and all of it can be dangerous.

Take a lot of Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
 
12+

Friday Firesmith – Machete Time

Back a while, Keith suggested I try a Fiskar’s Machete, and quite frankly, I have no interest in machetes. However, very rarely does anyone suggest a brush-clearing tool unless they’ve actually used one. Moreover, Keith had a narrative as to where and how he used said tool, so I was intrigued. It’s a forty buck bet that I either wind up with something that looks wicked cool and deadly, but doesn’t do well in the woods, or something that looks cool and kills vines.
Here we go.

Ten years ago I would have given up after a few minutes with the thing. A Machete is a lightweight weapon, and as such, there’s more muscle needed to make it work, and there’s a great deal of skill to be honed as well. Bush Hooks are heavy instruments with great head speed and a giant blade. The Fiskar’s twenty-nine-inch machete is heavier than your average machete, and there are some pluses to go along with the heaviness of the blade.

There’s an old tree close to the property line, and as far as Live Oaks go, it’s pretty big, but it is also in bad shape. I cut the vines off of the trunk a few years back but to do de-vining a tree any good you have to hit it every year, at least once. The stem of the vine was as thick as my wrist, and more springy than I was prepared for. There were branches coming off the main trunk of the vine, there were vines hanging down, and there are Oak limbs, too. Close quarters call for a knife fight. There’s no way to use a bush hook here.

True enough, it took more than one swing to get through the thick stuff, but I was ready to use less force and more precision if I could. I’m teaching myself to be ambidextrous. Cut the vines high, move them out of the way, cut the vines low, move them out of the way, cut, clear, cut clear, and do it again.

After an hour or so, I had the entire trunk of the tree cleared. I took out one vine as thick as my arm, and about five that were as thick as my wrist. There were a lot of smaller vines that the Fiskar’s cut through easily but the thicker stuff had to be hacked.

Some thoughts here: Yeah, a chain saw means ten minutes of work. But alone in the woods, it’s not safe, and frankly, I like the exercise. I like being good with a blade. I like learning a new hand tool. The Fiskar’s is a sturdy, easy to wield vine slayer, and even though it doesn’t have the firepower of a bush hook, for close quarters and tight spots, I’m more than willing to use this blade simply because it’s a good, solid, dependable tool.

Take Care,

Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

8+

Friday Firesmith – Retired Plus One Year and One Day

It’s hard to believe a year has gone by, but a hell of a lot has gone on in that year, more than I thought would, more than I thought possible, and one of the Great Truths come to visit is sometimes, life is very personal, and sometimes, it isn’t.

I had a good month, October of 2019, a very good month it was, but that was as much of real retirement as I enjoyed. In November I stayed sick, never felt really well, and in December of 2019, I went through major surgery. It took January and February of 2020 to recover from being gutted by a damn fine surgeon. By that time, March of 2020 had arrived and with it, The Time of Plague, which shockingly enough, became politized like everything else in the country.
I’m not going to address that part of 2020.

In April, I was in lockdown, drinking more than I should, eating more than was healthy for me, and writing less than I ought to have. A guy I once knew from work tracked me down, and trust me, I did not leave a trail of bread crumbs to find my way back, and he offered me a job. They needed someone to inspect some bridge work in Echols County, near Fargo, Georgia. Isolation and concrete? What’s not to love?

One thing I had not done in the six months I was retired was conflict. Construction Inspection can involve a lot of confrontation. It’s the part of the job I never liked, but not being part of management meant I was there only to point out the things that were wrong, if any, and someone else higher on the food chain got to pull the trigger.

It was good to be back in The Swamp. The red-brown water that flows like the lifeblood of the Okefenokee feels like home. The wildlife, the birds and reptiles, the wild hogs and the bears, all feel like part of the real world to me. The road was closed to traffic, and the mile it took to walk to the main road was a good trek during lunch.

It was an accident, really, but somewhere along the line, I lost my sense of professional distance, and became friends with some of the workers. I got burned doing it, trusting someone to do right who didn’t, but the day you think that connection with people isn’t worth it, you’re beginning a decline away from your own humanity.

Yeah, I did say that.

The time of Plague has taught me people close to you are important, and if they are not important, they aren’t close to you. I quit social media with that mantra. Don’t take it to mean you can’t really care about anyone who isn’t in the same area code, but if you quit social media you’ll be surprised at who never checks to see what happened to you.

Mom is good. The Four Dogs are good, too, even if Lilith Anne is getting to be a pudgy old lady.

The work near Fargo ended, and it looked like I might retire again, but then another job came up, and this gig will last another four months, maybe. In four months, I’ll have to decide to work more, or if the Time of Plague is still raging, I might have to consider or reconsider what is happening.

All in all, I had one month of retirement. A year later I still have no idea what is going to happen next, and I am perfectly happy with that.


Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
 
17+

Friday Firesmith – That Sinking Feeling

Mom made chili one night last week and the next day a bottle of Drano appeared on the counter. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, so I wait to see if the Drano works, and it does not. Mom tells me the sink is draining slow, and so it is.

I’ve the skills of a drunken five-year-old wearing mittens in total darkness while being stung by murder hornets when it comes to plumbing. Two bottles of Drano later, I have to start doing surgery, which means taking some of the pipes off under the sink. This will end poorly. Worse, the pies under the sink are clear of obstruction. And even more worse, I overtighten the connectors, and now I have leaks. It’s time to hit the hardware store.

Time was, sage advice and old-timers with stories about the first time they used running water on the inside of a house was de rigor in a hardware store, but these days they’ll hire people who have never accidentally cut themselves shaving with a straight razor or walked both ways to school uphill during a locust swarm. The Big Box Hardware Store guy means well, but he knows less than I do about what I am looking for.

There’s a feeling I get that he’s wrong about the problem. He tells me to use more Drano, and buy a new set of pipes. But the clog is past the sink, and how the hell am I going to get the Drano in there? I ask if I need a snake, and he looks puzzled. This is not good. I wait until he leaves and I start over.

“If you’re looking for a snake, that one isn’t as good as that one over there, because it will connect to your drill,” says a Random Dude, who is looking at my shopping cart as if he disapproves of more than the snake.

“Hey, thanks!”, I say, as he picks up the new pipes.

“You might have washer problems, not pipe problems. If you overtighten them the washers split. Just tighten them by hand, and if they leak give them a little more, but don’t use a wrench,” says Random Dude.

“I’m Mike,” I tell him.

“Richard,” says Richard, who is no longer Random.

“Drano is good on small stuff, but if you’ve got something serious, use this stuff, Lye, because it heats up and burns through grease, and that’s likely what you have in a kitchen,” Richard tells me.

“Mom’s chili,” I tell him.

“Use the snake first, don’t be afraid to put some time into it, and that’ll stir the grease up, loosen it, then use the lye. You might have to do it more than once because it sounds like you’ve got a bad one. But this isn’t complicated. Be persistent, and don’t get discouraged,” Richard tells me as he’s finding washers for the fittings.

“I’m a plumber,” Richard says, “call me if this doesn’t work.”

I get home and it takes two bouts of lye and snake to break the clog, but the water runs freely and the pipes are not leaking. Mom would like to have some work down on her bathroom. I think I know who to call.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

12+

Friday Firesmith – The Brown Watersnake vs. Reggie

It’s the last day, hopefully, on the project, and at this point, everyone is sick to death of being here. Honestly, the best contractor I’ve worked with would have had this thing knocked out in three months, and it’s been six months so far. There’s a lot of RMP but not many MPH. Everyone is getting edgy and bitchy. Two members of the crew get into a push fest and shouting match, and their foreman has to separate them. One of the guys, Pete, is rock solid and usually the hardest working person on the project. That leaves Reggie, his antagonist, to take the blame. Reggie feels picked on, and he feels like Pete is getting a pass on this.

It’s unofficially part of my job to listen to men bitch about how they are treated on the project, but at the end of the day, I’ve been there and I have done that. Shut up and do your job. It really is that simple. I’ve got the better part of thirty years in; whining doesn’t impress me much. Reggie pleads his case to me and I listen with great patience. He’s less than happy with my suggestion that he outwork the person he has a conflict with, and he’s less than impressed with my idea of getting together with his management team to talk about it. But “do your job” is about the best piece of advice I have for anyone.

There’s a piece of plywood stuck in the mud and when one of the crewmembers lifts it up a four-foot-long brown watersnake charges out from under it. I’m at the water’s edge so the snake is heading right for me. I reach down and grab it, and flip it into the creek. Two grown men scream like little girls, the rest laugh, and I’ve got a couple of bloody spots where the snake tagged me in passing.

The bite marks are jagged and uninteresting, much like you’d get with briars, or the treads of an old tire, and really, you’re kidding aren’t you?

Reggie is standing at the top of the slope, and he has a pistol in his hand.

I’ve been here before, you know. At least three times in my life, I’ve had someone with a gun challenge me on snake identification, in a lethal manner.

“That’s a cottonmouth,” Reggie declares for the world to hear.

I’ve nothing to say. I know better, and I know better than to do anything but be still. The snake is somewhere behind me, likely unseen and invisible to anyone not trained to look for snakes. Reggie’s foreman, on the other hand, knows very well what’s going on, and he comes out screaming.

“Gee, Reggie, you aren’t allowed to have a gun at work, and both your intelligence and your family is suspect at this point, I would like to point this out, loudly.”

That’s what the foreman says, well, but with different words, but you get the general idea, given I cannot have an exact quote here, don’t you? The foreman charges up the slope and disarms Reggie, who is protesting that he’s not hurting nothing.

“You pressing charges?” the superintendent asks ten minutes after he arrives and gets the story from the crew, and Reggie.

“Not my circus, not my monkey.”

“I’d appreciate if this didn’t go up the line,” he tells me.

“I’m good,” I tell him, and I am. I’m just tired. I’m tired of this sort of reaction. I’m tired of that sort of person. I’m tired of it all.

I’m drinking right now. I’m serious about it, too. Sorry about any errors you’ll find, but for not the first time in my life, I have to deal with some idiot, who is convinced a harmless animal isn’t, and so a gun is drawn.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

10+

Friday Firesmith – The Great Citrus Caper

Last year, the “Exploratory Committee” sent me a letter asking me under what conditions, and they set three different ones, that would compel me to return for some sort of high school reunion. The first was a 40 year class of 1979 event, the last one which drew a dozen people, all of them locals, into the 30-year event a decade ago. The next was some sort of 1975 to 1980 event where they might have gotten enough people to show up to have a decent softball game, if the players weren’t so fragile. The third, and most likely, was for one group of people to kidnap my mother, and another to hold me at gunpoint, which actually would be the only damn way I went back.

I didn’t respond because I think eventually, if nothing else, these people will die of old age, and leave me alone.

I hated every day of high school. I hated every minute of it.

One of the things they sent in the letter was “Heaven’s Honor Roll” of former students and former teachers who had already died. There were very few surprises.

We had a teacher, and I doubt if he really had a teaching degree, or any real qualifications other than they needed an “Ag Teacher” and this guy owned a farm. He would take students out to his place to pull weeds or paint fences, or to feed livestock, and he made a profit off work he didn’t have to pay for. Worse, every year there would be an “Orange Sale” where we students would have to go door to door to sell oranges and the school would get a cut of the profits, and the FFA would get most of it. Since this guy was the only person counting the money of the FFA we all assumed he was pocketing a lot of it.

The rules went like this: If you were one of the top students selling oranges you got a pass. If you were not, he would paddle you with a board first thing in the morning. Ironically, despite the pain, most of us locked down and flatly refused to sell oranges at all. So there for a month or so, during orange selling season, we would wear our gym shorts under our jeans, line up for a paddling, and not sell oranges.

One year, the oranges came in on a semi truck, and they stacked all the crates in the AG building. Damn, they were stacked up half way to the ceiling. Well, someone took a farm sprayer and hosed them all down with diesel, ruining the oranges and making the AG building uninhabitable for about a week. No one knew who did it, and no one was talking, so more paddling went on trying to get someone to rat on someone else, or confess. It didn’t happen.

That was over forty years ago. I still remember the smell of diesel, overpowering the citrus odor, and the rage that man had for what had happened. It was personal, to him, something someone did to spite him, and he was right. It made the school look bad, and he looked worse. I remember him coming in in a pure fury, and telling us that there were some people who would do anything to ruin something that benefited the entire community, and that Satan Himself, was involved.

I thought it odd that a man who was making money off this sort of thing when it was supposed to be a charity event, would say those words.

The mass punishment lasted about two weeks, then parents began to step and it ended. They never caught the student responsible for spraying the crates with diesel, and I have this odd feeling they never will.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

10+

Friday Firesmith – Wollstonecraft’s Monster

If you’re the reading type, and I’m guessing you might be because you’re reading this, then you’re also likely one of those people who can see a movie based on a book, and wonder how things went so terribly wrong. Stephen King movies never have the same vibe as Stephen King books, and I’ve never really figured that one out. Honestly, I’d rather be scrubbed with steel brushes while taking a moonshine shower while in the middle of a flamethrower contest than have to read “It” again, but people I know swear I missed the point. I didn’t see the movie. I figured if the book was that bad there’s no hope for the film.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wollenstonecraft-monster-600x331.png

Back in 1818, a teenager with a penchant for married men and writing, cranked out a book named, “Frankenstein or, the Modern Prometheus,” and it was an immediate hit. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and if you’re carrying around a middle name like Wollstonecraft, you almost have to become a writer, got into a bet with some writer friends about who could write the most frightening tale. At least that’s one story. Some dispute this part of the creation of the book, but you never know. For a young woman to be holed up with four guys at a lake in 1818 was pretty severe for that time period anyway. But writers could have easily gotten together and either been really drunk and lascivious, or actually did sit and talk about writing for a week, or both. Your reality and the reality writers deal with isn’t similar, on the very best days.

But back to the monster.

There was no bumbling hunchback, no machine raised into the sky that captured a massive bolt of lightning, and there was no shuffling and moaning creature with his head screwed on, flat haircut, with his arms raised in front of him. No, “It’s alive, it’s alive!” moment, no.

None of that is in the book.

The creature was eight feet tall, had flowing black hair, yellow translucent skin that showed blood vessels, and was pretty ugly, according to the book. That was the real problem; people were repulsed by the monster, whose name, by the way, wasn’t Frankenstein. That was the name of the guy who created the monster. The monster never gets a real name, just like that horse in the desert.

The way the deal went down was Frankenstein was obsessed with reanimating dead flesh. But when the creature opens his eyes and takes his first breath, Doctor F is freaked and repulsed, and he abandons his creation. The creature is highly intelligent, figures out a lot on his own, and winds up hunting Doctor Frankenstein with a promise and a threat; make a wife for me, or I’ll be the monster they think I am. Dr. Frankenstein agrees, but as the bride is about to be finished he destroys her, and the monster is left alone. Creator and created head into the arctic and there the good doctor dies, and the monster, who has been the narrator, offers to go into the wastelands and commit suicide by fire.

That’s a very quick Mike Notes version, and the book is truly much better.
But the movies made about the creature generally miss the point, like a lot of movies based on books do. They haven’t gotten ‘Dune” right yet, and they just missed ruining “Return of the King”. I think there are versions out there where the monster is done right, but mostly, especially around Halloween, you’re going to see the movie version of the monster, and anyone dressed like the book version isn’t going to be recognized.

The book monster was better.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

14+

Friday Firesmity – Add and Subtract

Way back in the day, BR (Before Retirement) I was loaned out to another office that had one of those open area concepts of office space. We all had our own little cubicles, so no one could tell what someone else was doing on their computer. The desks were situated so one employee could see another, but not their workstation. I really liked that, but missed my old office, where I was basically the only occupant.

This office was much younger than the office I had worked in, and there were about four guys who were a lot younger than I. There was mischief in the air, and I knew it. But I also knew never to leave my computer on, never to leave my desk unlocked, and never believe a word any of them said. They did things. Mostly, it was hysterical.

Someone took a syringe and squirted some transmission fluid into a guy’s tailpipe on his work truck. White smoke billowed out and the guy thought he had blown his engine. He looked like a crop duster until the stuff burned out. They also popped the letters off an older employee’s keyboard and rearranged them. This was the keyboard of a guy who literally had to hunt and peck to type. It was like watching someone execute ants, with one finger. His typing skills were somewhere between shooting a keyboard with buckshot at a distance, or maybe hitting one key every other minute. He was one of those people who had to retire because he couldn’t adapt to computers. The fact his keyboard was rearranged didn’t help much, but honestly, considering his lack of skill, it really didn’t hurt him.

They put clear tape on the bottom of my mouse and that stopped me in my tracks for a minute, but I knew computers, even if I was older than they were. I also knew a little more about revenge.

There was an office lunch and everyone was in the conference room munching away, so I snuck back to the workspace, and sure enough, in their haste to be fed, three of the guys had left their computers open. I searched for sex toys, man on man porn, and large print bibles on all their computers. I figured at least one of them might be interested in porn, so the bibles were something to make them feel guilty about it.

It was bad enough they couldn’t surf the net without ads popping up asking them to visit a gay porn site or buy a massive sex toy. But they also couldn’t officially complain about it because they weren’t supposed to be surfing the net at work. Better still, they all blamed one another for it. No one could figure out who did it. And because I am very quiet and sneaky, I kept it up every chance I got.

Finally, one of the guys accidently, he claims, clicked on a link that triggered the IT alarm and the hard filters that had been in place were reinstalled. We couldn’t so much as check the weather. This went district-wide, so the whole world was pissed off.

The odd thing was this; the pranksters became more inventive, and more fun, and the people in the office spent more time in the kitchen talking than at their computers. Except me. I kept sneaking in writing time and avoiding people.

Bet the rest of you are better people when you aren’t on the internet.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

12+

Friday Firesmith – Bush Hooked

First off, I’m really not interested in hearing about a device that uses gasoline, or electricity. I’m not interested in hearing about some scorched earth machine that takes all vegetation down three inches past the surface of the earth and leaves nothing behind but bare dirt. If I wanted some sort of advice on any of that stuff, I would actually come here and ask, because someone would know, and be right, too.

This is a bush hook, a bank blade, a brush axe, and a device known by many other names. A forty-inch handle attached to a twenty-inch blade, and indispensable for those of us who are going to do battle with vines and small bushes.

I’ve been using one of these implements of destruction since they were longer than I was tall. The hooked part of the blade is excellent for those pesky and tough as hell vines that tend to slip away from a normal blade. The handle is long and gives a good speed to the metal blade as to slice through anything that you really don’t need an axe for, and some things you might. If you’re looking to find out what sort of physical shape you’re in, this is a good tool to begin knowledge with using; this thing will wear you out.

Sure, go get something that uses gasoline or electricity, and be done with it. Less time spent working, less pain and less sweat, and less time finding out what you can do, and how much of it you can do, and how long it takes for you to do it. I’ll suggest that’s important, much more important than the job itself. You’ve got to find out not only how much your body can take, but how much your mind can, too. I’ve got work to do. Why would I rent out that challenge to a machine?

Here’s my problem at this point: Last weekend I was pounding a good size tree’s limbs with my trusty bush hook and nicely making way. The springy branches were dispensed with easily, and the path would be cleared. Yet one fell swing sounded odd; the part of the wooden handle that holds the blade had cracked, and cracked badly. I no longer own a bush hook.

My main three go-to places for buying yard tools, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and Tractor Supply, yielded mixed results. Tractor Supply, usually reliable, had one for sale, but the reviews were worse than terrible. The handle cracks, the blade wasn’t sharpened, and no one was happy with it. Lowe’s seem to have the same issues with theirs. The Home Depot had sharpening issues, but those are easily solved with a little work, and their handles had no bad reviews. They just don’t have any in stock.

So, long term thinking here. I am going to either be hacking away at the stuff on my property or helping someone else, for years to come. Does anyone use anything other than the bush hook? Suggestions? Recommendations? If you have a bush hook that has survived years of work, what kind do you have? What brand? I can’t read the label on mine anymore.

What do you use to knock down the vines and bushes where you live?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
 
8+

Friday Firesmith – Rights

When I was in the Army, they woke me up at three in the morning to search my barracks room for drugs. The barracks were not the type you see in movies, where there are lines of bunks with wall lockers and bare floors. We had a three-man room, with three bunks and three wall lockers. The carpet was thin and stained, but we did have heat and air conditioning. We were allowed one poster, and mine was a calendar marking off the days before I had served my time.

But at three in the morning, I was told not to move, hands where they could see them, don’t get up, and a squad of men in uniform with two German Shepherds came to see what we were hiding. I was making four hundred dollars a month. I’m not sure what sort of drug habit I could afford, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t going to go much worse than sniffing Elmer’s glue. One of the dog’s keyed on one of my roomie’s wall locker. The let me get up and unlock my wall locker, as did my two roomies, and we were told to get dressed. This meant in uniform, and it also meant right now. We were led out into the common area of the barracks, and there we waited, one by one, as they led each of us in, went through our lockers, and questions us about the drug habits of our roommates. After they discovered the dog was wrong, we were told to go back into our rooms and wait. There were a lot of MPs and a lot of dogs, and they searched our entire company for drugs. They busted three guys, all for enough pot for a couple of decent joints, but they also found a guy who had a .38 pistol in his locker.

The irony of the Army discharging someone for having a gun was not lost on most of us.

Some of the guys bitched about the raid, but I remembered signing away my life when I joined up. I had whatever rights the Army decided I had. And that’s the way it has to be, too. A military protects Democracy but cannot afford to practice it. Once you put on that uniform, and until you take it off, you swore you’d put up with a lot of crap, and even shoot people you aren’t mad at or even know. Or get shot. I signed up knowing this, accepted it, did my time, and got out.

You have rights because men and women in uniform keep the peace. They have fewer rights than you, but here’s the thing, and it’s what I’m getting to with all of this: The people in uniform, they have fewer rights, and they have fewer responsibilities. They don’t worry about food or housing, or medical care, as a general rule. They don’t decide where they will live, what country or what state, and they signed up for this. They accept it because they believe service is worth it.

Americans have freedoms but they seem to have forgotten responsibility goes with that power. They seem to think that having individual rights means it all one person getting as much as they can, regardless of what it costs anyone else. The irony of the selfless surrendering everything to serve the selfish who refuses to give anything seems lost on a lot of Americans these days.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

17+