I was a country boy raised in Kansas when I went into the Army straight out of high school. We didn’t have to lock doors, we respected Sundays, and we said yes sir and yes ma’am.We got out the guns and went shooting on Thanksgivings.
I was shy, introverted, and humble. I was subject to pranks the Drill Sergeants played because I appeared gullible and naive. One DI told me to run over to another DI and ask for a T-R double E. It was stressful because we were on the hand grenade range and everyone was scared to death. Thinking it was an acronym and always doing what I was told, I did it without thinking. Yeah, a TREE! I had so many “friends” in the barracks borrow stuff and never give it back. My platoon sergeant borrowed $900 from me and I got $200 back. I’ve been ripped off because of my own stupidity many times.
Over time, you become skeptical, even cynical. I know nothing tangible in life is free. It has to come from somewhere. Be responsible to yourself. To your family. If you believe in charity, do it out of the goodness of your own heart. But don’t force others to give unwillingly. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. If you don’t like something, don’t buy it. And don’t make me buy something I don’t want. Let me live my life and leave me be.
I’m not as gullible as I once was. I admire idealists. I hope for a better life too. But I balance it with a good dose of pragmatism. You start to think these ways once you have a mortgage, career, and family to care for. Live your life and don’t let others crush your dreams.