Second Novel OPENING
It seems to me that there are basically two ways you can approach life—you can sit back and let it happen to you, kind of like standing in the surf while the retreating ocean steals the sand from under your feet, or you can grab your life and endeavor to make it turn out the way you want. I guess I’ve tried both approaches. The former does the most damage, but it’s the latter for which you have to take responsibility.
Until I enlisted in the Army, there was nothing remarkable about my life. Volunteering—that turned out to be one of those bad, take-control decisions I keep rethinking, although I probably would have eventually been drafted anyway. Uncle Sam took an eighteen-year-old boy—me—and subjected him to things no one should ever have to live through. I never got a chance to get my footing first, just was tossed into some endless conflict for what turned out to be a lost cause. Of course, no one knew that at the time, although the earlier stalemate in Korea should have provided plenty of warning if anyone had been paying attention. But I thought I was doing the noble thing; besides, it’s what was envisioned for me. You know, family expectations and all. As it turns out, the military itself wasn't all that bad; it was what happened afterward that I regret.
I guess I need to start from the beginning so you’ll understand that I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way. Even now, it’s out of my control. Even now, I shouldn’t be here.