Hello Rebels, and welcome back to my life.
So November has been a crazy month, but it’s been less crazy than my life prior to September, and so one thing I’ve been able to institute in my daily schedule is a little bit of reading time each day.
It’s not much, usually just fifteen to thirty minutes a day snatched in between writing time, but I’m a decently fast reader and so I’m still able to get through books at a fairly rapid rate.
I read paperbacks, not ebooks, because even though most of the books I as an author sell are ebooks, there’s nothing like that sweet, sweet tree corpse under your fingers to enhance the reading experience.
Much like the vlogbrothers, I am obsessed with death, but in an entirely different way.
See this shelf? Right up here?
That is my to be read shelf. Some of the books on it I’ve read before, some I’m reading for the first time, but that is the books I am currently working my way through in the order I am planning to read them.
And the first book I finished in my new reading time schedule is a book called Vietnam Diary 1966-1967, and before anyone calls me out for trying to hide my nepotism, yes, this is a book written by my father, Robbie Robinson. If you want to pick up a copy, there’s a link in the description.
My dad had me at the age of forty, which is a little bit later than most people have kids and definitely a LOT later than I had kids. When my oldest was born, I was 24. Yikes.
So while a lot of people I know have grandparents who were in Vietnam, I have my dad, which makes my connection to that time period, even though it’s more than 20 years before I was born, seem much more immediate and real to me than I think it would be otherwise.
I mean, like, virtually no one my age or probably your age has parents who were in World War II, right? Maybe you have grandparents who were, but probably not.
And so World War II seems like something from the distant past because it’s very difficult to even find someone who we can ask what it was like to actually be there.
But as I was reading this book, I couldn’t shake the knowledge in the back of my mind that these were the words and journal entries and letters of someone I know.
And not just someone I could reach out to if I felt like it, but someone I have known on a deeply personal level for my entire life, which was even harder to forget because, you know, in a lot of ways my dad still talks and acts the way he does in his journals and letters from when he was a teenager.
In other ways, of course, he’s completely different from how he was as a teenager. I mean, in the book he’s a 19-year-old kid in the Marines in Vietnam, right, so let’s just say . . . some shenanigans were gotten up to.
And it’s that strange dichotomy, the dad I have known my whole life juxtaposed over this young, scared little kid in the jungle of Vietnam, that made this such a bizarrely profound reading experience for me.
Rebels, I don’t know if you would enjoy the book as much as I did. I know you wouldn’t enjoy it in exactly the same way.
But whether you do it through the pages of this book, or another, I think we should all spend some more time reading the words of people who have been through experiences that most of us, thank goodness, will never have to face.
Maybe I only feel this way because of my relationship to the author, but it’s very, very easy to always think of wars as something that happened in the past, and to ignore what’s actually, actively going on in the present.
But some day, probably once they’ve found their way into the narrative of popular films and books, the conflicts going on around the globe right now, that our countries are involved in, will be viewed the way we view Vietnam today.
We will think they are something that happened in the past, that our nation was not as advanced as it is now, and that we used to get into stupid wars with no justification whatsoever until we wised up and people started paying closer attention.
But if we will look back on today’s conflicts that way, as I truly believe we will, what does that say about us right now?
What does it say about the wars our countries are involved in right now, where justification will be just as thin and flimsy in retrospect as our justifications were for entering into Vietnam?
I think the answer is more obvious than we want to admit, if not quite as simple, but I also think it’s vitally important that we do examine it more closely, and see if we can’t figure out some way to do something about it.
Because whatever we’re doing hasn’t changed that much since 1966, and it still isn’t working. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you tomorrow.