The Bedtime Game – 1974

The Bedtime Game – 1974

Adjusting to civilian life was not as easy I as hoped it would be. The skills I had learned in the Marine Corps did not translate well in the job market. Former hippie friends called me a “fascist baby killer” now and would not associate with me. I had a hard time finding and keeping a job.

You kind of learned not to mention Nam – not volunteer any information – I NEVER denied being there NOR am I ashamed of anything I did there – it was just easier to not deal with it at all – sooner or later someone was going to say something and then I would get defensive and you would have a situation. It was just easier if they didn’t know…

I tried to get help – I saw a shrink about my problems – but no one seemed to sense the depth of my pain. No one could help. It seemed a confirmation to my feelings that I shouldn’t be here – I should have died in Nam. Some guy with a wife and kids was laying in a body bag that was meant for ME.

So, the “game” started. I always kept an automatic under my pillow, locked and loaded – safety on. One night, as I went to check the safety before going to bed a thought occurred to me. I lifted the gun to my temple and pulled the trigger – the safety was on.

That became HOW I checked my safety from then on. Every night I would go to bed, pull out the gun, put it to my temple, and pull the trigger. No peeking. If the safety was on, everything would go on as normal. If the safety was off, it wouldn’t matter any more.

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