Goals and Milestones

Goals and Milestones
July 2017
By: Garland Davis

“How Swift are the feet of the days of the years of youth”— Mark Twain

We each strive to achieve many goals as we move along life’s highway. The Navy and Chief Petty Officer come to mind. When the girl you have fallen in love with accepts your proposal. Earning a Bachelor’s Degree as a member of the Dean’s List. Being chosen as class Valedictorian although I would be at sea off the coast of Viet Nam when graduation was held. Being instrumental in winning the Edward F. Ney Award, not once but twice. Retiring from the Navy. There are many more that make up the entire list.

I will achieve a new milestone this month. A new personal best. I will have lived longer than ever before. I will have completed another year of life. I will become seventy-three years old on the 18th. July 19th, is also another important anniversary. I enlisted in the Navy fifty-six years ago in 1961.

Many people have lived longer and many others died much younger. I always thought I would be among the latter. I have ancestors that lived well into their nineties and, as it turned out, I may have lived that long under different circumstances. Hell, I may still make it but, the Parkinson’s disease will probably take me before I reach my nineties. I leave no progeny to carry on this line of the Davis clan. I am one of those branches of the tree that ceases to grow and drops off.

I cannot say that it has been an exceptional seventy-three years when compared with the lives and accomplishments of others. Some may think that I squandered opportunities or misused the potential to do much more. But as Sinatra said it in his song, “I Did It My Way.” I consider one of my great achievements something that is given to a very few when measured against the entirety of the population. I served for thirty years and became a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. Life in the Navy and as a Chief Petty Officer showed me that two of the paramount achievements of humanity are the twin concepts of “loyalty” and “duty.”

The psychologists say that humans tend to remember successes, happiness, and pleasure. They conveniently forget or repress failures, sadness, and discomfort. Probably a good thing. It would, no doubt, drive me crazy if I only dwelt on the negatives of my life. Am I proud of all that I did during the past seventy-two years? No, I am not! Am I ashamed of some things that I did? Probably should be, but I just can’t find it. I’ve learned to not worry myself when I make a mistake. Just correct it as best I can and learn from it. Don’t lose any sleep over it. Never blame Garland Davis on anyone but Garland Davis!

I have spent my life reading. Fictions, biographies, histories, religious texts, comics, and comments on head bulkheads, the writings of storytellers, scientists, philosophers, clerics, funny page cartoonists, and disgruntled shit house humorists, I have found as much truth in “Calvin and Hobbes” as I did in Plato and Nietzsche. I believe that sin lies only in hurting another person unnecessarily. Other “sins” are invented bovine excrement. Hurting yourself isn’t sinful. It is stupid. In all my reading and discussions with others, I haven’t found any conclusive evidence of life after death, nor have I found evidence of any sort against it. I figure I will know soon enough. I can wait!

Having devoted a large part of the past seventy-three years to an avid interest in history, I have reached the conclusion that any generation which ignores history has no past. Nor does it have a future. College graduates today know less of history than I did as a third-grade student in a 1950’s rural North Carolina country school. It doesn’t bode well for this generation or the country. For some reason, the educational beauracracy equates government directed public schooling and large amounts of tax money lining their pockets as the be all and end all of learning. How’s that working out for the students?

When one reaches my age, that person is considered a wise senior whose advice and insights are valuable. Isn’t it amazing how closely “mature wisdom” resembles tired and lazy? I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the “Old Farts” when I was younger and I doubt today’s younger generation will listen to what I must say. But, what follows is some advice, some insights, and a few things I have learned.

I tell you, it is a great world because there are girls in it! Sex should be loving, warm and friendly. Otherwise, do it yourself. Masturbation is cheap, clean, convenient, and free of any possibility of wrongdoing–and you don’t have to go home in the cold and dark. But it is lonely as hell. I have found that it is better to copulate than not. Flowers sometimes work well as an aphrodisiac, but experience shows that money always works better. “I came, I saw, she conquered.” (The original Latin was garbled and misinterpreted). I have also learned that all men are not created equal.

Marry above yourself! It will motivate you to become a better man. Marry for love and strive to become the best friend of the girl/woman you take as a bride. For without friendship, love can easily become hate and you may reach my point in life as a bitter old man. The other great accomplishment of my life was marrying the woman I did fifty-one years ago (fifty-two next month). She is a good woman, my best friend—And I love her very much.

Get a dog or two! They will love you and in times of loss they can heal your heart and you will never be lonely. You can learn a lot from how dogs interact with people and other dogs. If you have children, remember the quote from Mr. Peabody, “Every dog should have a boy.” And I add “or a girl.” The time will come when the dog’s life must end. Be a man, hold it in your arms and tell it how great a dog it was when the time comes to send it onward. I have had seven dogs in my life and I am a better person for knowing them.

Watch as little TV as possible! It will rot your brain. The television networks spent a large part of the 1950’s developing the TV industry; pioneering programming ideas and techniques. The effluviant they offer today shows that they learned nothing and have actually regressed. “The Howdy Doody Show” was a better program than much of the crap they pass off as inspired television programming today. Television has replaced books and the art of reading and has contributed to the dumbing down of humanity. I treasure the years spent in the South China Sea and Asia away from the inane, brain numbing offerings of the American television industry.

Never say no to beer! Cold beer is always appropriate! The fastest method of chilling a case of beer is four gallons of water, fourteen pounds of ice and about five pounds of salt. Cover the beer with water and ice, stir in the salt and within six minutes you have some perfectly chilled beer. I spent many years as a cook and baker and, believe it or not, this is one of my favorite recipes!

Laugh whenever possible! Look for humor and embrace it. You feel better after a good laugh. The doctors say that laughter is healthy and Reader’s Digest claims that it is the best medicine. Who knows? You too may live to see seventy-three!

Do everything in excess! Take big bites. Drink from the large mug. Enjoy life. Moderation is for clerics, monks, nuns, and the faint of heart. Yield to temptations, you may not get the chance again. Avoid important decisions while tired or hungry. You may regret it.

And you know, in retrospect, my life is, and was, fun. If I had it to live over, I don’t think I would change one thing. Changing it would change me, making me a different person. A person I might not like as well as I do this one.

The Bible says in Psalm 90:10 “The days of our years are threescore years and ten.” Seventy years are all that is promised. I guess that puts the next seventy on me!

I’ll end this diatribe with a quote from another “wise senior” who is no longer with us. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” —George Carlin

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5 thoughts on “Goals and Milestones

  1. Mike Maynor says:

    Well stated Garland. Although I’m a few years younger (64 next month) what you said really applies to me also. My greatest accomplishments were joining the navy in 1970, divorcing my ex wife in 1978, marrying my current and last wife (39 years ago next month), becoming a dad, making Chief and surviving as long as I have, to name a few. One of the few things that I personally would change is I would have kept my mouth shut more and sooner. Probably would have made Master Chief or even stooped low and gone LDO!!

    Like

  2. HWright1932@aol.com says:

    HELLO GARLAND, SAY YOU WILL BE 73 JULY THE 18TH ILL BE 85 JULY THE 22 . I HOPE. . I HAVE BEEN MARRIED NEARLY 60 YEAR , HAVE HAD A GOOD LIFE I JUST HOPE I LEAVE BEFORE MY WIFE DOSE . SHE IS 82 I COULD NOT BEAR THING ALONE NO ONE TO ARGUE WITH . GOD HAS LOOKED AFTER US THANKS GOD HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY.

    Like

  3. Glenn Stang says:

    Have a Happy one Garland. Gotcha beat by a year. May 2nd was my pacemaker episode and May 4th was my 74. Laying on that gurney on the 2nd was somewhat of an eye opener. Wasn’t sure I’d see 74. Navy in 1960. CPO in 1980. Gave up an old friend July 18 1977. Married 3 times. Number 1 bailed. Number 2 lasted 37 years before lung cancer took her away. Married my current spouse whom I love very much. I too am proud of most of my like. Some I wouldn’t change even if I could. It is what it is. Screw up,learn, and move on. Shipmates have come and gone but they were Shipmates and no higher praise can be said. With all that I’ll shut my pie hole. Concur with all you said about reading and education. We read cause there wasn’t much else to do during down time at sea. Aloha Shipmate and keep on blogging.

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  4. Charles Richardson says:

    Boats, One of your best pieces yet, it hits all the right points and makes this old sailor think a bit. I am 64 and enlisted in 1960 and retired as a GMCM, DV, EOD in 1987 and I also enjoyed almost every minute of time I spent in the NAVY and only got out because of the rate at wich “MY Navy” was changing and I couls see where the fun part was quickly comming to an end. I enjoy you posts and please keep them comming. BRAVO ZULU BOATS!

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  5. You mentioned dogs. 🙂

    My current pup was born the same day as you, July 18th,in 2016. He only came into my life because on your date of enlistment (in 2016), July 19th, I lost my beloved Golden Retriever. Funny how you mentioned those dates, as they mean something very different, but equally important, to me.

    Milestones, rites of passage, dates to be remembered.

    Like

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