Autobiography – Part Two

Let’s see, maybe I should back up just a little.

Yes, I joined the United States Air Force in 1973. Why? Well, there was that overwhelming feeling I needed to break out of where I was. What better way to do that than to do something totally out of character? Joining the military would put me somewhere I’d never been, surrounded by people I probably would have never met otherwise. Then there was the GI Bill Benefits. I really wanted to be back in college, but had no money and no hope of grants or scholarships. Four years in the Air Force for four years of college didn’t sound like a bad trade.

Oh, yeah, and Henry Kissinger had signed the Paris Peace Accord with North Vietnam. The war was supposed to be over.

The Air Force needed people with my special talents in one of two areas, Translators or Computer Operators. There were tests to take to help them decide just which particular career choice would be best for them, uh, I mean, me.

From the Translator job, they’d made up their own language. They gave me a vocabulary list and a set of grammar rules.

For the Computer Operator job, they gave me a multiple choice math test.

At the end of the Translator test, I could translate English into their language and from their language into English. I could have written them a friggin’ book in their language.

During the multiple choice math test, I randomly selected answers.

So, you might ask, how was it I ended up in the Computer job?

Apparently going to anti-war demonstrations and marching on Draft Boards didn’t sit well with them. Again, apparently I shouldn’t have answered the question ‘If you were so against the war, why’d you join?” with “You ended it.”

So, instead of learning Chinese, I learned to play with a room full of computers, an odd set of skills that’s feed me for nearly thirty years now.

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