Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D.DeWitt Thomas
Being raised in North Carolina, in a small town by comparison, I was surrounded by the influences of such role models as pentecostal preachers, corporate bankers, and bass fishermen. It is due to this that I find it necessary to look for alternative sources of inspiration such as music and literature instead of war and hero worship. Music is what proves to provide me with a source of truth, so that is where I get my identity, not from the immediate surroundings of the community. Being an artist requires either an obscession or some sort of self-discipline to tap into universal creativity. This is what has helped me to understand the spiritual side of human nature.
"Now, why is it that you have come to see me?" asked Dr. Hermon. I blew out a deep breath, leaned back on the pillow, and answered, "The United States of America has sent a letter to me informing me that I have been drafted into military service. At the present time, I am under contract to International Artists, a record company in Houston. The record company has suggested that I search for a legal means of dodging the draft. I attended a meeting for draft counseling with the Anti-war Committee at the University of Texas and they gave me the following options. First, stay in college to qualify for a 2-S student exemption, second, leave the country and go to Canada, and third, get a health related exemption based on a disability. I have already left college, I am not going to Canada, and I have no physical disabilities. So, the reason that I came to visit you is because the last resort would be to get an exemption based on a mental disability."
Dr. Hermon stroked his bearded chin and proceeded to evaluate my mental condition as the session progressed throughout the afternoon. As the incense burned and the candles flickered he handed a folder to me and explained that it was the dosier of medical records. He then provided me with a large envelope in which to put it and instructed me to give it to the examining medical officer at the draft induction physical. He said, "Be sure that this becomes part of your official U.S. Government file."
The following week I flew to Carolina. My plane was early for my induction physical appointment so I stopped at a friend's house to smoke a joint first. Upon arriving at the building on Pecan St. I saw hundreds of boys, all young, around 18 years old like me, lined up on the sidewalk clutching draft papers. It reminded me of the laboratories in Nazi Germany where the children were inducted for scientific experimentation like cattle led to the slaughter. All classes, rich and poor, large and small, waited in line to be processed and sent to war. I waited in line with the rest and once inside told to disrobe. My vital signs, my hearing, and my vision were all checked as I stood there half naked. I was given a written test on which I drew peace symbols and flowers. At the end of the process, I handed my medical dosier to the staff sergeant at the desk by the door containing my medical records from Dr. Hermon. The staff sergeant browsed through them and I was told to wait while he conferred with the officers in charge. Finally, after some animated discussion between them, he returned with a scowlled expression, leaned over the desk, and drew near to my face saying, "Boy," and paused his face turning more red by the second. "Yes," I answered. "You are a coward," he blurted out loud enough for everyone to hear. "No, I'm not," I responded, "I am prepared to defend myself...but it depends." "Depends? On what?" he asked, his expression becoming more enraged. "On who the enemy is and for what reason," I continued, "and right now you are the enemy and if I can come up with a good enough reason, I'll start fighting right now." His expression was one of shock and discust. I went on, "No, I'm not afraid to fight, it's just that I'm tired of people telling me what to do." His stare changed to a glare as he said popping spit, "Boy, in the opinion of the U.S. Government, you are not fit to be a soldier and for that matter we would rather have your mother in the U.S. Army than you," as he slammed his fist on the desk. Reaching into his drawer he pulled out a rubber stamp which read 4-F, pressed it onto my draft papers, and called for a security guard to have me thrown out of the building.
The listener comes first. The player comes second. In order to play a note, one must be able to hear a note. The same goes for achieving harmony with another person when communicating. The speaker must transmit his intent. The hearer must receive his intention and if you really want to get a grip on the situation you must sense the spiritual vibrations and distinguish between good and bad vibes. Discernment of spiritual vibrations may only take an instant but sometimes it takes a lifetime. Communication is a form of primitive agression which may occur in either physical or spiritual form, sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously. Physical aggression may be the result of preconditioned behavior such as the actions of a soldier in battle who does not question why he is behaving aggressively. On the other hand physical aggression may be restricted and replaced by the enraged spiritual nature of the beast. It is important to know the difference. With enchanced sensitivity the hearer can react with the correct physical or spiritual response and there will be an harmoneous result creating a state of spiritual contentment and physical balance. The best music is performed by kindred spirits of humankind with the same sort of awareness.
Playing night after night in generic roadhouses in city after nameless city for those people whose only intent is to get knee-walking drunk requires a strong commitment to the artform and continual self-analysis. Most people are never listeners.
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