is Episode 4
man in the Air Force took my application form, looked it over
quickly until he got to the bottom, where I had volunteered for
service in Vietnam, then he stared up at me intensely. He was
obviously confused. His assignment had been to lay the ground
work to get me into the guard. Now I'd have to explain to him
that I had made up my mind to fight for my country instead of
hiding out in Texas.
of having that conversation gave me another wave of feelings of
pride, and pushed the fear back down. But the officer left the
room without saying a word. I sat, unsettled, waiting for him
to come back for maybe 20 minutes. He returned with a relaxed
smile on his face, and a new form.
you sign this again for us, George?" he said, laying the
form down in front of me.
had filled in a new form for me, with all the same answers I had
given except the last question--the volunteering overseas question.
To that they answered, "NO."
looked up at him, and he gazed down with the same calm smile.
He sort of gave me a little nod and gestured that I sign it.
signed it. How did this guy know that's all it would take to
dampen my resolve, when I didn't even know that until just now?
old familiar feeling of letting Dad down--and letting myself down--washed
over me. I slipped into a bit of a trance that would last much
of the next few years. All I could feel was that I needed a drink.