Chick-fil-A Celebrates my Birthday
August 1 was my birthday. I heard they also had a big bigot-party at Chick-fil-A. I spent the day at home with my exceptionally smart trophy-wife and my two clever and funny children. There wasn’t a homophobe in the room.
This birthday got me thinking about my 18th, 39 years ago, and of what I thought the world would be like by the time I was pushing 60. One thing I never imagined was that bigotry, racism, and sexism would still play such outsized roles in our public life. But they sure did back then.
To give you some idea of how much other things have changed, in 1973 I used a newly available “correcting electric typewriter” to write something. After going through the five step process to change an errant “s” to a proper “a” – I remember thinking to myself “Wow, it can’t get any better than this!”
It has been a wonderful life. I’ve skydived under old Korean War surplus parachutes, crossed the Continental Divide on a motorcycle during a snowstorm, been lured to Arizona by a cult, and been rescued by good friends. I came to love the west and its people, most of whom aren’t racist like Joe Arpaio or dumber-than-a-cactus like Jan Brewer. I was just in Tucson last week. The cult experience had an upside.
But my history precedes even me. My Pop, Henry, saw electricity, the telephone, and the automobile arrive at my grandparents little family farm in Capitol Heights, Maryland. He lived through the Great Depression and always feared we would make that mistake again. I thought he was being silly.
The Vietnam draft ended June 30, 1973, just one month before my 18th birthday. Before that, draftees were chosen by “lottery” drawing from a glass jar, then shuffled envelopes then a rotating raffle bin. If your number was picked early, you simply prepared to go. Lottery Day always felt like a national day of mourning. Mothers agonized and cried.
After living through the upheaval of Vietnam, I never imagined we’d attack another country in a pointless exercise of American imperialism. We’d lost so much by destroying Vietnam and losing the war. And we damaged so many tens of thousands of our young men. I was sure we’d never forget the cost of our foolishness.Continued on the next page