Saturday, October 26, 2013

Give Pizza a Chance

I came of age, as we used to call it, in the draft age. Compulsory service as was the case in many countries around the world was practiced in the USA until 1973 and has a long and not always glorious history.

I was nearing the end of my days at Rutgers College when I traded my draft card with a 2S 'deferred' status ("studies in support of the the national defense," Army ROTC) from the Selective Service offices on Banta Place in Hackensack, New Jersey (never was there but this could be where they were) for a lottery number of four in the only one-time drawing no one wanted to win.

Two year later, conscription eliminated, I enlisted in the US Air Force and the rest, as they say, is hysterical or historical. I joined shortly after Orville and Wilbur managed to land the plane safely. They had mastered the art of the abrupt stop but technically, airplanes are NOT allowed in the arrival lounge and legions of lawyers had to work out all the details.

We had just disengaged in Southeast Asia, at Getty gas stations premium was 35.9 a gallon and out in the field 'on maneuvers' we wore olive-drab fatigue uniforms, 'pickle suits,' and ate C-rats (rations).

Three and half decades later, we're up to our keisters in Southwest Asia, complain about the price of gas as we all drive muscle trucks with garden hoses for fuel lines, look tres chic in our designer cammies and eat MRE's ('Meals Ready to Eat' but with other meanings for the acronym closer to the truth than the folks who developed them would like to believe). Gotta love progress.

I'm surprised that my cohort, not in the halls of Congress so much where few folks on either side of the aisle ever served in the military, but among the general populace ('gen pop'? I think not) believe when they see their children and their children doing and being what we did and were at the same age 'if we only had the draft again.' (adding 'you whippersnappers!' because I think we should).

How about instead of dreaming of high and tight haircuts (I hated those), or tanks and generals we strive to create a world where none of that is necessary. And hopefully we can leave the pizza to Digiorno.
-bill kenny

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