Thursday, October 7, 2010

There was a Time...

I had quite a few requests for some personal information about the person you've come to know intellectually. While I am touched, and wish the same level of familiarity with many of you, allow me to explain why I believe in sharing our stories.

We are all anonymous by nature, floating cyber identities that emulate who we want to be. We all got here somehow, and we all are used to being ignored. But with the glory of blogging, I'm starting to see a really deep look into other people's psyches. Many of you I've come to know as friends, trusting you for no other reason than our mutual respect. With no name or person to protect, we are free to talk about the things in our life that might compromise our image. Be that image that of a Tough Guy, Shy Nerd, Adventurer, or Arm-Chair Philosopher. We all get those urges to not brag, and not speak of the amazing experiences in our lives. I'm hoping I'm preaching to the choir hear, because I want to hear the same thoughts back.

By now many of you know a bit about me just from my writing subjects and style. So why not step that up a bit, while keeping the anonymous persona? I'm not going to give you my a/s/l in this post. The need for those kind of labels is diminished greatly when we only judge each other by their intellectual properties online. Instead, a few thing that I think stand out in my life. Deeds, traits, or mistakes, I offer them up to whoever wants to know Janus Kane a little more. And if the idea of knowing each other anonymously strikes you as something interesting... Why not make a post doing the same? Others might follow suit, and I know I for one would love to get to know many of you better. And perhaps you might even learn something about yourself. Maybe that's just me, but maybe you feel the same sense of community as I do. Without streets or houses or personal property, we're still neighbors on a daily basis. However, I do digress...

I was born in Maine to a relatively low income family. I was not destitute by any means, christmas would still bring presents, and we had working vehicles. But special breakfasts included pink oatmeal, the red food coloring made it look so cool to eat. We had big pots of cowboy stew, and other bulk leftover-only staples I'm sure many of you experienced. This followed me as I grew up, always a step lower than most of my peers. They had the pump-sneakers, that made you run just a little faster if you believed it hard enough. And I was still on the light up sneakers that we finally found at a yardsale. In no way was it a bad life, or an unhappy one, just simply a step below financially. And with a strong attachment to the poor class in my school, I forever labeled myself as a lower class citizen. That was my birth, and to this day I am proud of it. Even as I grew older, and I noticed how fine I could tune my actions and my body with nothing but practice, and the mysteries of women and popularity fell away like so much weight from my shoulders, I still kept a growing passion for the common rabble of our proletariat class. We were given no grand start, or a BMW for making it 16 years without dieing. There was never a maid or a cook, we were the kind of people that made it on their own, for the most part. As I read more and more about how the world worked, and how our history has unfolded, I began to set my sights higher. I wanted to change this world more than anything else in the world. Despite having no college course you can take for that dream, or certificate to help you along, I wanted that to be my life's work. I just wanted to give the people a chance at freedom.

And so I joined the army.

I do not consider myself a killer, and why I chose to be a Scout Sniper is well beyond me at this point. I had been in my parents basement, not wanting to go to college yet, and taking out the trash sucked. The army offered me something magical, a land where you had no rent, car, pda, or necktie. You were a grunt, and you traded you time as a soldier for college money and daily pay. Does this fit into my morals? No, but I shamelessly say it was an ends to a means, and has prepared me more for life than college or a career could have. It taught me that your body's quitting point has alot of false warnings you can ignore, and it taught me that working 18 hours a day didnt incur overtime pay. I learned how to be confident in myself, knowing that I could and would conquer any obstacle if I gave it all my will. I set one of the records for Ft. Knox's obstacle course in the second week of basic. The same course you've seen John Candy run in Stripes? Yeah, I tore that apart and busted my knee doing so.

That injury would eventually save my life.

In any combat troop, specially the spec ops areas like the scouts, sniper, rangers, etc... You train constantly. Every day, morning and evening exercise. All day its either work, or bullshitting with the boys. Teaching me the values of comradery, and the bonds that can be built. You march 3 miles to get to a shooting range at 7 am sharp across back texas territory, because the civilians dont like it when were late, and the civilians wait til top of the sky sun noon to show up. There are no tents there, just benches. Again, I digress. My point being I went through alot, and I learned that what I once thought was a bad situation, can always be worse. The quote "This too shall pass." Got me through alot. After a year of this hard training we were called up to Iraq for various missions that I needed a barrage of security clearances to hear about. That knee injury I had mentioned earlier, back in the beginning of basic? As it turns out, the constant training never let it heal and the cracks spread down my shin until my leg just snapped during a run. I was shipped back to Rear D, had some R+R, and they gave me my Honorable. Thus ended my military life.

What came next I can only describe as a rollercoaster through a monotonous hell. Civilian life was very different. People snitched, and lied, and spread rumors about each other. Bills had to be paid, my car needed to be inspected, fueled up, oiled, aired, filtered, and Science knows what else. But again, I adapted, living by that mantra of This Too Shall Pass, and knowing my situation was a good one in reality, despite the hardships. I was alive! You see, when I got out of the military, the Humvee I was supposed to be a gunner in hit a triple stack of anti tank mines. In fact, as the year went by, and I got used to living as a civilian, 90% of my unit needed new recruits. Nothing I'm going to go too deep into all that, never really have. That injury saved my life, and as crazy as the odds seemed, somehow I survived. Looking back, I can't begin to count all the times I almost died. Just a second or an inch away from my chain in this world being severed... A dead end. And I know I'm not the only one, this world is unforgiving. And it's because of that adversity that I hold the values of community and freedom so dearly. Our numbers are our strengths, a mass of unique minded and uniquely experienced individuals. The sheer power of that single evolutionary step has propelled us into this very blog. This very age. This land of chances and opportunities for everybody to take.  And as I traveled more and more, and met more cultures and groups of people... Stories I shall save for another day, I came to appreciate diversity for its strength in unifying those around us. Whether or not I agreed with them, I knew they came to that conclusion from years of experiences.

I'm drawing this out pretty long, and this is the first time I've written about myself like this. I hope some of you have made it this far, and perhaps will return the gesture. Take a step into the unknown. Open up for once, you're a new person everyday.

-JKane

20 comments:

  1. Haha Kane, since following your blog from the beginning, i've always wondered about who you actually are, and how you wrote posts with such depth, knowledge, and power.

    We actually have more in common than I had previously thought, except I have no military training, but our upbringing has some parallels that I was interested to learn while reading. Maine is really close to the New Brunswick border, but on the opposite side of Canada where I emmigrated to.

    Moving to another country is tough, jobs can be scarce for immigrants, and whatever education you received would become worthless once you reached the country. It's inspiring to hear your story, perhaps I will share mine another time, it's still a work in progress, but I hope to make the best out of it as I possibly can.

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  2. Such disparagement in the switch from military to civilian life. I've often wondered what it would be like to have that bond, that brotherhood amongst fellow soldiers.

    I don't think we share too much, as far as what you revealed here today. I grew up as a suburban child in the 80's. Middle-class. Middle-class problems.

    That is not to say we don't have anything in common. Also I can empathize with having one event be an unexpected catalyst for changing the way I look at things.
    Not sharing that part, but just know I feel ya, and it does seem weird to read someone's deep thoughts and introspection.

    But it was worth the read. Carry on.

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  3. You're lucky. Two of my friends from highschool got shot in Iraq. One of them missed having his nuts blown off by about an inch (shredded his inner leg muscle though). The other caught a bullet in the armpit.

    I skipped the army. I did my 18 hours a day working full time and doing college full time. I guess its a different means to an end trying to balance all that shit out. I came from a (fairly) low-income family too.

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  4. This si all great, guys, its awesome to hear something deep about you in return. BlueRad, I was actually born in New Brunswick, we had the yearly shout off across the Van Buren bridge into Canada, seeing which town was the loudest across the river... A weird little memory you just inspired.

    Rorsch, I understand mate, and I have a feeling we're not alone in sharing tragic events in the past. But its what gives us the strength to face it all, isn't it? I've got your back mate.

    November, good to hear from you mate, and I'm sorry to hear about your friends. Being shot isn't fun, even when you survive. Body armor is a blessing, let me just say that.

    -JKane

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  5. Great post I love viewing it erreday.

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  6. Janus, we have more in common than I had previously thought or ever expected. My father served in the 101st airborne for a time before attending Ranger school. If you remember the Black Hawk training incident at Ft.Campbell, he was very nearly on one of those choppers, that should give you the time frame we we're there. I've been an army brat for all of the time I can remember and I even completed JROTC in high school. We had a four year stint in Budapest before I was old enough to finally get out of the house, im sure you can imagine the class gap in attending a private school in Europe (since it was the only english speaking school) while living on military pay grade, like you said, we weren't hurting but we were certainly not living the rich life. That experience taught me a lot about why I was proud of where I came from socially and economically and to not take shit from people because they think they are better than you. This has all been a bit jumbled but I just started writing and things came to me in that order. It was a brief little insight to who I am and I appreciate you opening up to us about yourself as well. As always, excellent post!

    -NH

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  7. Even if I wanted to, I just can't completely relate to you guys. The main reason is i lived in a different country. Our experiences are completely different. Even the education system is different.

    Btw, Janus, I have a question. This might be a sensitive topic to you so you can answer this or just ignore it.

    While in the army, have you killed anyone? If yes, how does it feel?

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  8. I like your insight in this post!


    j/k

    I really liked this. I do find it very interesting to know a bit more about a "random and anonymous" person I've somewhat gotten to know by reading what they write and how they react to what I write.

    The pink oatmeal sounds cool. I'm going to try that tomorrow. My grandmother and mom used to put food coloring in different drinks and foods to get me to drink or eat them. It's stuck with me ever since. Green milk with sugar was fun.

    I've always been a part of the civilian life, but reading your words about how life was for you when you got back from the military was very uneasy for me. I can't imagine being away from all the "everyday" bullshit and then being thrown right back into it. And I'm very glad, in a way you obviously know, you got that knee injury. It must be weird to really sit and think about it how one seemingly simple thing like that stayed with you and eventually saved you. That's just such a weird thought to me.

    That was such a good read. I really appreciate you opening up to us all like that. I know we all have our stories to share, but I'm glad you chose to share yours.

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  9. i think the world tries its hardest to chew you up and spit you out- someday well change all that

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  10. Heh it's always interesting to read what makes someone tick. You're quite open with this stuff

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  11. That's really cool, Veggie, that's the kind of stuff I'm talking about. I remember a thread about acting like you were running or riding a bike or something next to the car when you were on long trips, back when you were a kid. I had thought only I did that.

    Anti, thanks mate, this is a first for me. I've lived a secluded life, holding the impression that people don't want to hear about you. So this is my little experiment to perhaps prove something to the latter.

    Thanks for the comments guys, i'll be checking my followers later tonight again, another RL tradgedy pulling me from my online duties ;)

    -JKane

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  12. It takes balls to reveal yourself online, not only from absurd criticisms but just the shitty people they may come by.

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  13. Sounds like you've had quite the interesting life, brother.

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  14. There's alot more to tell, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment. ;)

    -JKane

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  15. Ok, I lied, University can wait while I read and comment on this post.

    Holy shit are you lucky. Good thing too, otherwise we could have lost a valuable fellow blogger. :P

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