Sunday, September 5, 1993


Driving home from church one lovely Sunday afternoon, this wonderful woman, who is kind enough to take me to church, asks, "So, what did you learn about in Elders Quorum today?"
"The gathering of Israel," I say, hesitant to go on because I didn't pay much attention in class.
"I love it when you get those lessons that tell you to be good to your wives. Every time you do, Tony comes home and asks me, 'Have I been good to you?' And I say, 'No!'"
We laugh.
"Well, I'm not married," I say, "So the best I can do is be nice to the women at the barracks."

Nice, courteous, considerate, a gentleman. Noble practice for a man who hopes, one day, to be a husband and father.

  • "You are a very beautiful person."
  • "You're looking very lovely this evening."
  • "You look fantastic."
  • "I saw you playing with the little children at the picnic yesterday. I thought that was really sweet. You make me smile."

Sitting in the lounge, watching the T.V., I see a model, an actress, a singer, a woman. She has beautiful lips.
I comment on this and a young woman in the lounge with me says, "You need sex!"
At another time, a man says to me in a similar situation, "You need to get laid!"

How many times have I heard this? How many more times will I hear it?
I don't know. But to all of you who say that I need sex, I have only this to say,
"No, I don't... I need a kiss." And I think I need a hug. I need someone to put her arm around me. I need someone to talk to me. I need someone to listen to me.
A friendly exchange of thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, warmth.

I think I'm going crazy.
I hope I'm not.
I dream of wonderful imaginary places and turning into people and things that I'm not.
I'm afraid of being alone.

I think... I know... I need a hug. Will you hug me?

If I were two years old and sitting all alone in a field in the middle of a rainstorm, crying: would you hold me?

I'm nineteen years old. I'm sitting all alone in the world, hatred, envy, jealousy, temptation, corruption and danger crashing all around me like raindrops and hailstones and I'm crying. Will you hold me?

Sunday, August 22, 1993

Little Children

Little boy, what are you doing in this grown up world?
Don't you know you can't tear apart that which others have worked long and hard to build?
You can't destroy people the same way you destroy a sand castle about to be swallowed up by the sea.

Little boy, what are you doing in this grown up world?
Don't you know when to stop playing rough?
Don't you know when to stop teasing?
Don't you know that when someone says, "Stop! That's enough!" that you're supposed to put down your toys and stop playing?

Little boy, what are you doing in this grown up world?
Don't you know you can't go around being a bully?
Don't you know you can't tell people what to do?
Don't you know you can't take things that aren't yours?
You can't get your way by crying any more.

Little boy, what are you doing in this grown up world?
Don't you know that you can't force yourself on people?
Don't you know that you can't plan moments to your advantage?
Weren't you ever told to keep your hands to yourself?

Little boy, what are you doing in this grown up world?
Don't you know that you're supposed to return the things that you borrow?
Don't you know that you can't take advantage of the generosity of others?

Little boy, what are you doing in this grown up world?
Don't you know that you can't pretend to be someone or something that you aren't?
Don't you know that you can't isolate yourself from others?
Don't you know that you can't live in a fantasy world?
Don't you know that you have to interact with people not just pretend to interact with them?
Don't you think I know it hurts?

Little girl, what are you doing in this grownup world?
Don't you know that you can't play favorites anymore?
Don't you know that you can't say , "You're my best friend and that's my second best friend and that's my third best friend." or, "You're my best friend today. He was my best friend, yesterday. He may be my best friend tomorrow and he the day after that."
Don't you know that you aren't supposed to speak badly about other people?

Little children, what are you doing in this grownup world?
Don't you know you might get hurt?
Don't you know that we treat each other differently here.....
.....Don't we?

Thursday, July 15, 1993

Endure - 1993

"No matter what you set out to do, Joe, you will always succeed... You'll just always have to struggle for it."
Elementary school.
High school.
Boot Camp.
"A" School.
It's a given.

They say the more you have to struggle for something, the more you'll appreciate it.
That used to be true.
Until I realized that as soon as one struggle ends, another begins... So, what's the point?

"To endure to the end."
But it's when I'm struggling that all the reasons not to endure pop into my mind.

"And what are they?"
Being here, I wish I were still in boot camp. If only I knew then what I know now. P.T. I wish I were as strong then as I am now. It's not much to write home about, but if only I were like this when I got there. How much better I would be now.
"How did you feel at boot camp?"
I hated it. I wished I had never gone. I wished I had stayed in college... I still wish that sometimes.

...was a lot of work with little results. I tried so hard to succeed, no, excel... and I just barely scraped by. Had I put as much effort into high school...

...I wouldn't have been a half credit short for graduation. I wouldn't have had to have taken that correspondence course.
I missed the basics of elementary school and junior high.

"But you had problems there as well."
I know. I have problems with everything.

"When you were in elementary school, did you ever think you would be able to handle high school?"
No! Elementary was hard enough.

"But you made it. And then you were in high school. How did you adjust to the new system?"
I adjusted... to a whole new set of problems.

"While you were there, what were your feelings about college?"
Apprehensive, to say the least.

"And when you finally got there?"
I don't know. Some of it was difficult, some of it was alright, but I still worked my tail off to barely scrape by. For a while, I thought boot camp would be easier.

"That wasn't how you felt when when it came time for you to leave, remember?"
Yes. I was never so scared before in my life. I hadn't a clue as to what was going to happen.

"And when you got there?"
It was... academically simple, mentally and emotionally stressful and physically difficult. Tests were fairly simple. Living with Dad for nineteen years prepared me somewhat for the verbal and emotional beatings but the physical part of the training was my main shortfall.

"I remember when you were assigned to PFTU. That hurt you very much, didn't it?"
Yes. It was humiliating. I wanted to go home so badly. I hated not being able to. I hated missing Christine's graduation..

"How long were you there?"
A week.

"The run kept you there?"

"How many times before you passed it?"

"But you did pass."

"Just like you made it though the rest of boot camp. Just like you made it through college and high school and elementary school. I know you're having trouble now, but you'll make it through this too. You will succeed."

"I know... As one struggle ends, another begins. You're probably very apprehensive about going to Pensacola."
Of course.

"But have you noticed a pattern here?"

"Every time you reached a new struggle, a new challenge, you adjusted. You endured. That's all you have to do... Endure. There's a reason behind it. You may not know what it is... I'm not even sure myself... But you must endure."