“Old Iron Jarhead” comes from serving as a Marine Infantryman in Viet Nam and being a jalopy-loving motorhead since childhood. In the ‘50s most kids either found work outside the home or went without things like extra toys, fireworks, or a car. Working for less than the minimum wage was a treasured right of passage and we were proud to shovel out dairy barns, push grocery carts, buck hay, or steam clean trucks for fifty or seventy five cents per hour. We played in the woods making forts, climbing trees, damming streams and panning for gold. Fall would find us packing cheap shotguns through the fields before and after school trying to put a duck on the dinner table. The bus took us to school and we walked to little league games. Our first cars were castaway pre-war thumpers that were purchased out of someone’s side yard for ten or twenty bucks.
The military draft hung over us all and if one were careless enough to get booted out of high school, the best choice was to enlist and choose the branch he preferred. Hence the writer became a 17-year old Marine Private about the time his classmates graduated.
After his honorable discharge, “Old Iron Jarhead” held jobs that ran the gamut from greasing dump trucks on the night shift to managing large property development projects.
As a Baby Boomer staring into the future of later years, it is obvious that some things are very wrong. Is it right that my generation absorb far more than what we contributed in Medicare and Social Security costs; leaving our descendants to suffer the consequences? Is it smart to raise our children in protective bubbles and release them into the world like hatchery salmon? Should our generation spend the future of this nation into oblivion? Should we be treating an enemy comprised of seventh-century savages like purse snatchers instead of cowardly war criminals? Is our president really the highly intelligent post-partisan leader Americans voted for, or is he the second coming of Jimmy Carter or Huey Long?
The posts on this site are meant to address some of these issues, but not from the heights of an ivory tower or think tank. These are the thoughts of an American who was raised as a man, served his country, worked all his life, finished college at 39, and never took a handout.
Jeffrey S. Howard