What is Dead Men Tell No Tales? It is a selection of (hitherto) undisclosed, private ruminations and epiphanies. Most take the form of (slightly) edited letters to unnamed recipients, but some have been scavenged from the depths of private journals recently rediscovered. Over the next little while (however long it takes – days, weeks, months, years?) I’ll be posting them in episodic fashion for the reading pleasure of my nonexistent audience.
In The Keesler Saga, our melancholy author reflects on his experiences at his MOS School. Fresh Start is an earnest attempt at journal keeping.
I suppose I should keep a diary of sorts. It has been a long time since I’ve logged my life. A lot has happened in the mean times. It’s been nearly…three(?) years. I still haven’t talked to Haley, though I have tried to once or twice, I think. I noticed one day, for instance, that I was listed as a “hero” of hers on her MySpace and tried to send a probing letter… it was probably fairly scathing, and summarily ignored. This was, of course, before I made the decision to join the Marine Corps.
There is much to write of that. I am nearly done with my first year of service, after all, and I haven’t even written anything about it. Reflection is a skill I tend not to employ. I have become an extremely private person. I don’t like sharing myself with others. I remember how I used to desire so ardently to get out of my house and “live my own life” free from the influence of my mother. Away from her I could be my own person. Yet as soon as I got away, I didn’t know what to do, and met with several failures, I receded further into myself.
I don’t really count myself as having many friends as this point. I am well liked by the people I like, I suppose. And I suppose, in some way, I am cared about. And yet, I am uncomfortable sharing myself with people. I just don’t trust anyone with my feelings. I don’t know if I am afraid of rejection or afraid of being thought less of. I don’t know. I am afraid of being alone but that fear of isolation is separating me from the possibility of ever being meaningfully close to anyone.
These are all general statements that could be elaborated on later. I always do this in my first entries. I need to discuss my family, life in Bellingham, life in exile, life in the Corps. I need to talk about people I knew, things I did, things I’m doing. The night is late tonight. I need to wake up in two or three hours and do some homework for my semiconductors block (we are learning about transistors as used in amplifiers – common emitter, common collector, and common base) and then PT at 0600.
But I’ll leave with a funny story of sorts. Last week, on Thursday (before we were released for the weekend) I’m taking a leak in the head. I fill in from the left, as dictated by Man Law, when suddenly someone fills in the stall to my direct right. This being a breach in Man Law, I look over, expecting to see one of my class mates and to engage in some awkward conversation. However, instead, I see Echo Six Romeo, the chief instructor of the school. I lock my head forward and awkwardness ensues.
Then he says something I definitely didn’t expect. “That’s a nice watch you’ve got there, Durden.” Mulling that over, reveling in the awkwardness, all I can manage to say is “Uhh… thanks, Echo Six.” After we finish our business, on my way out, I say “I would have complimented you for your watch, but I was afraid of the implications.”
This is a long running joke at the school house (the “nice watch so-and-so”) and I’ll relate the original tale some other time. I feel like “signing off” but that’s rather stupid. I do wish to say, however, that I am more used to being referred to by my last name or by a nick name than my first name at this point. No one calls me “John” anymore. My heart sank a little, writing that. I used to want to be special to someone, anyone.