I was profoundly surprised when I got to college at how easy it was (granted, I did go to art school). Yet, somehow, I saw other students struggling and failing. This should come as no surprise to me, really. Prior to enlisting I attended Portland Community College to a less-than-favorable performance. For some reason, being 18 years young it was hard for me to grasp the concept of showing up on time, doing the work and being personable was the secret to college success.
It really is that simple. Even if you’re struggling with the material, most of your grade comes from just being there and turning things in on time. Like, really, how hard is that? I’m not going to sit here and claim that the Marine Corps graced me with some magical virtue of discipline, but when you’ve spent the last four years being yelled at and in situations where the stakes can literally be life or death, college feels exceedingly simple in comparison. Additionally, being blessed (seriously, it’s great) with the Post 9/11 GI bill meant I had no excuse to fail.
If you’re a Marine facing your looming EAS date with worries of the impending future, I will tell you here and now to fear not. You’re going to do fine, you’re going to be surrounded by hot 18 year old girls, and you’ve already done more than a lot of these kids ever will.
In other news, I think its worth mentioning the untimely passing of the amazing Robin Williams.
There was some scuffle on my Twitter yesterday as I found myself overtly pessimistic about the passing of another celebrity. I had considered doing a comic on the subject, but I felt like it would almost be a petty retort and in the wrong spirit of things. I chose to do a comic unrelated, because I feel like Robin Williams, of all people, would want nothing more than to make people laugh.
Celebrity deaths are often greeted by the veteran community with a passive anger, lamenting the societal sadness that comes with it. The anger comes from the idea that people will mourn the loss of one celebrity but will have no mention of the many men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice overseas (and at home). The anger has a logic to it, but I do feel like it is misguided. The simple explanation is that, while the loss of our troops is immensely sad in itself, people don’t feel a personal connection to them in the same way they do a celebrity like Robin Williams. While I might not have known Mr. Williams, I have always known who he is. I grew up during the height of his career, he’s made me laugh for essentially my entire life.
My mistake on Twitter was that I assumed the worst, when in fact the veteran community is generally remorseful toward the loss of Mr. Williams due to his close ties to the USO, and the fact that he is also just a decent person that made everyone laugh. I believe, as well, that the nature of his untimely death resonates with the veteran community in a way that I wish it didn’t, drawing attention to the many veterans that have ended their own lives after returning home from over ten years of conflict.
The sadness of his passing is overwhelmingly laden with a depressing sense of irony. A man who gave his entire life to making people laugh lost the ultimate battle against his own depression.
Rest in peace, Mr. Williams, there’s not a soul in the world that hated you.