It all begins with the war in Vietnam, my story does. I was in high school in Charleston, West Virginia and was faced with the inevitable for a young man in the United States during the late 1960's: the Selective Service Act or the Draft.
I had not thought too much about being involved on a personal level in Vietnam. I was far too busy doing my utmost best to lose my virginity. I did not lose my virginity; hell it was all I could do just to cop a feel or two, outside the blouse, goddammit.
Additionally, I wanted to play college baseball. I had the opportunity to go play ball at Ohio State University and planned to do so. My mother had other plans; my father always deferred to her. Her plan was for me to attend a Nazarene Church College in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. She was footing the bills and it would get me a 2-A student deferment. So that is where I went.
When I got there and learned I could get a 4-D Divinity deferment for signing up to become a minister. I figured OK. I can do that. Unfortunately, like my hero Mark Twain, I had all the prerequisites to become a minister save one, and a glaring one at that. I had no religious faith, and because of that, my smoking, drinking and further attempts to lose my virginity, I got kicked out of school.
Being more afraid of my mother than the Viet Cong, I hurried down to the US Navy recruiter and signed on the dotted line.
In the Navy, I lost my virginity! As a Hospital Corpsman at the US Navy Hospital in San Diego, California I hooked up with a willing USO girl, and behind the World Famous Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, we both lost our virginity and, for each of us, it was about god dammed time.
Next I shipped out to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton just up the road from San Diego. There I trained to become a Corpsman assigned in combat to the US Marine Corps. I got off on playing the tough guy. And, after completing my training, I shipped out to beautiful downtown Da Nang and thirteen months of unrelenting boredom followed by unmitigated terror.
But I won the war (it's over ain't it?); returned home a self-confessed conquering hero and promptly knocked up a childhood sweetheart who had denied me the pleasure of copping a feel beneath her blouse. It's funny how things work out isn't it?
I was more afraid of the girl's father than the Viet Cong, so I signed up for an additional combat tour. Besides, I knew every hooker and easy lay between San Diego and Da Nang.
Made it home, again without a scratch, that time too!
I did make one glaring miscalculation though: the girls I'd left behind in the states found my address book (with phone numbers and my rating systems for each gal, from one [will fuck for food] to five [fucks to live]) and I was more afraid of them than all of Uncle Ho's boys in black PJ's and khaki shorts. And, of course, I knew all of the whores &c, &c. So I volunteered for another combat tour.
Some little Asian fellow got tired of me coming back, screwing his sister or aunt, or granny, and he shot the shit out of me. In the right arm (my throwing arm) and right knee (I was a baseball catcher). Wanting to be certain-sure he'd got me dead, he also fired a Red Chinese rocket at me. The rocket missed me, but hit the tree I was hiding behind while trying to tie off my elbow. The tree got me, dead in the side of my head.
I went to sleep.
For twelve weeks.
My first word, as I came to in the US Navy Hospital, Orlando, Florida, was "BINGO!" The guys in the neurology ward where I was laid out in a coma were playing BINGO for ciggies and cash. I thought I had won.
I didn't even have a card.
I got home, in a wheelchair, and went back to finish college (but not at a church school). I also ran the midnight to six Rock n' Roll FM radio show out of a station in Orlando. I met lots of willing women on the job. One of them was a Miss America runner up from a border state. I met her on a Friday and we married the following Wednesday. She got pregnant. My daughter, the Devine Ms. M., was born nine months later.
My two children (who ain't chillun anymore) are the joy of my life. Their mothers are not the joys of my life.
I finished graduate school on Uncle Sugar's dime and went back into the navy, a newly minted officer and a gentleman (by act of Congress-couldn't have done it on my own). I got to meet lots of whores and a few very good women, but all in all, for any women with half-a-brain, I am more a snack food than a regular diet. It's been better for me and for all of the women in the world that way.
If you've read this far, you might be wondering: "Is he ever gonna make me laugh?"
My VA shrink wonders the same thing, every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
This is the point: I lost my virginity. I won the Vietnam War (it's over isn't it?). I knocked up two women (that I know of). I love my kids. I never played pro baseball (even though the great Sparky Anderson offered me a job coaching pitchers in the minors). Women like me in short doses.
My life as a man (sucks), but I did find world piece.