This is one story I've never told before. Not to anyone, including my family.
"Even now, I'll admit, the story makes me squirm. For more than twenty years I've had to live with it, feeling the shame... and so, by this act of remembrance, I'm hoping to relieve at least some of the pressure on my dreams." (37)
All of us, I suppose, like to believe that like the heroes of our youth, that we could make a decision and act without the thought of personal loss or discredit.
"Certainly that was my conviction back in the summer of 1968. Tim O'Brien: a secret hero. The lone ranger" (37).
I hate this job... The vulgar stench of pig is enough to make me sick.
"I spent the summer of 1968 working working in an Armour meatpacking plant in my hometown of Worthington, Minnesota" (40).
My job was to clean off the blood clots off of carcasses. At night I'd go home smelling of pig. It wouldn't go away.
"In the evenings I'd sometimes borrow my father's car and drive aimlessly around town, feeling sorry for myself, thinking about the war and the pig factory and how my life seemed to be collapsing toward slaughter" (41).
Looking back at it, as I entered the war, I entered as a coward. I was lucky to make it back, but the atrocities committed throughout the Vietnam War still haunt me to this day.