The One Picked On

Once upon a time, so many years ago it’s sometimes easier to forget than it is to remember.  There was a boy.  For the purpose of this story, I’ll call him… me.

I was early in the Air Force, and, as has been the truth with so many parts of my life, I did not fit in.  While the other maintenance guys were part of their personal ‘club’ I was not.  So when it came time for any ‘extra’ job, I was the one who was picked.  “Ice!”  They’d say “We need someone to work nights!” so I did.  And I’d go to school while the rest of the guys had their parties.

When an opening came up for the “End of the Runway” job, it was considered a “nonner” because the people who did that work weren’t actually maintenance guys, they did ‘non maintenance work” and with their buddy system, picking a ‘volunteer’ to go to the end of the runway position was easy.  It was also very easy to feel unwanted, because that’s generally what an outcast is.

So I was outcast to the End of the Runway, and while I went to college, I had to work this job that, on a bad day, lasted about six hours.  That’s six fewer hours than I was used to working as a maintenance guy.  I honestly didn’t mind being at the end of the runway.  But after a year of that schedule they needed another ‘volunteer’ to go work in an inspection support office.  As you can imagine, they knew exactly who to pick… and once again I was picked on.

I worked this job that was not pushing a jet, as I had done before, now it was pushing a desk.  There was a lot of time at work to do home work from school, but by this time I already had my Bachelors and Associates degree.  Education came easy in the Air Force.  I worked as a Safety guy, as assistant to the assistant of the Safety guy.  So whenever an unsavory job came up.  They had someone already picked for that.

When the weekend safety briefings had to be given, I was picked for that too.  I recall very specifically one day, while speaking in front of these work acquaintances of mine, I realized that there were probably twenty people there, and like the pop of a seal I realized I could speak to large groups without getting nervous.

There was a weekly meeting with several of the commanders on the base where they talked about hazardous waste, and safety projects.  I was picked to attend.  At the meeting they were looking for someone to lead projects about safety and hazardous waste removal across the base.  Though I was still just a kid… I was picked to do this.  And when they had a hazardous waste conference … I, like a terrible person, forgot to tell the other two safety guys about it.  Being the only face the commanders knew for the Safety program in that section, I was picked to attend.  When they were looking for someone with some accomplishments to parade, I was picked for that too.

Now, I think back, as I’m picked on for another national level, high budget, special project and I wonder, only briefly, what ever happened to those who never were picked on.


Deep Thoughts at 2am

The first night you stay up until 2am, you might find that your thoughts change, whatever type of person you are when fully rested and awake doesn’t apply to this time so deep beyond the witching hour.

With a modern literal meaning of “midnight,” the term witching hourrefers to the time of night when creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful and black magic to be most effective.  Witching hour – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The first night, you feel a sense of power, “hey look at me!” your mind whispers “I’m a grown up and don’t have to make good decisions if I don’t want to!”

The second night, “What’s wrong with me?!”  is the thought that echoes in your mind… and dances a merry jig along with plans for tomorrow.  This is perhaps a negotiation phase “I’ll just take a nap tomorrow” or “Perhaps if I skip working out…”  and pure denial “I’ll go to bed early tomorrow night.

The third night “Look… I’m almost productive” though more accurately it looks like this “look i”m almst productve” and it’s arguable that after such a long sweet sip from the sleep deprivation bucket, you begin to taste the dregs.

The third night (okay, fourth night but I’m trying to prove a clever point) you might find yourself posting on your blog about deep thoughts at 2am… there’s a monster at the end of this book.

Poems in the Night

We can blame it on the pillow, or blame it on my plight, perhaps a curse for days gone by that sends the poems in the night.

Across the tides of midnight,
I sail the lonely sea,
Across the shadows of the dark,
my sanity is free,
it whispers from the distant past,
and tells me that it’s gone,
it whimpers through the silent house,
and sings a pleasing song,
I grasp for it and like a shade,
I feel it slip away,
I strain to find it here at last,
and see the light of day,
then bask inside the ‘here and now’
… this is a better way,
I sail the lonely sea of night,
and fear that dawn will come,
Imagining this long lost fight,
then fear I will succumb,
We wander through the lonely sea,
so still our mind grows numb,
we wonder what the present holds,
but know the night’s for some.

Some nights, when all the house is sleeping, I lay in my bed, and hear words that rhyme, and I wonder, is it a curse, or a blessing?  But sometimes they won’t let me sleep.