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Monday, November 18, 2013

The End

This blog was originally intended to be a video blog, just to spice things up. Who likes reading when you could have information just rambled at you? I know I’d prefer that. I had pictures and shit but my Sony Vegas trial ran out and every open source video editor I download is garbage. So I threw the project in the can, in a similar fashion to the brochure outlining all of the fun activities here at Fort Doesn’thaveanythingfunforanyone.

I’m saying my goodbyes to Fort Neverleave and should really thank Taylor Swift. 

As you can probably guess, I passed my test. I had a blog entry about that already, but my inebriated state prevented me from writing any ideas that didn’t sound like: SO GO FUCK YOU FORT LEE HAHA IM AN AWESOME AS FCK. So with a little added humility, let me recap.

It was a dark and stormy, pleasant afternoon in Virginia. The test was making me really nervous, and my nerves were twinged unanimously by one section. My vertical always had undercut, where the heat input wasn’t compensated by the deposit of the rod blah blah you get the point. Undercut took points off your score, and most every practice piece I did was failing or near failing because of it (and this was only the first half). I had scrounged for advice, eventually settling on a technique that seemed to be the most popular and simplest. Still undercut, not as much, but enough to keep my coveralls drenched in an unhygienic amount sweat. 

So there it was, the beveled crack I had to fix, staring me down. For a second I thought: “Bro it’s whatever, just YOLO on it.” And I was about to, until I remembered a TED talk. It was about positive body language or something, but all I remembered was that you should stand in a power stance for a while in order to increase your confidence and performance. So I stood in my booth, in a wide stance, fists pointed up to the ceiling, head held back in a grin defying the Gods. Around thirty seconds later this started to feel really awkward and I feared that TED was leading me towards defeat, fucking TED. But then, suddenly, she came on the radio. 

Our shamelessly (I’m gonna soften this word, and instead use “country”) welding instructors leave a radio in the shop that plays some generic country station endlessly. I can’t say I enjoy much besides the token Badonkadonk (out of irony… of course) but the majestic angel of T-swizzle was always welcome. At the moment of truth her rapturous melody came pouring into my booth and I could easily recognize her, even though my earplugs. At this moment I knew that the stars had aligned. I must do it, I must weld now. BAM! HOLY SHIT. I mean I was expecting something better than usual but fuck man, that’s really nice. I rode the good times wave on to the next bead and ended up with the most respectable piece I had ever made. I ended up with a 94%, I’m probably getting distinguished honor grad in my class. No biggie, I mean, I did have a pretty good partner.

(P.S. Taylor I’d appreciate it if you’d stop writing all of those songs about how we broke up and how you hate me, it’s confusing because all the other songs about us are really good. Also, please return my phone calls.) 

So I’m getting out of here. Finally. It’s weird coming to grips with that. I’m going to miss a lot of the guys I’ve met here (the word “guys” is not unintentional sexism, I’ve met like three women here and won’t really miss them at all, not because they’re women, that’s terrible, but we just don’t really know each other, like, at all). Hopefully I’ll be able to see some of them again throughout my career. However, missing dudes that I swapped terrible puns with is really the only downside to leaving. In case you haven’t read any of my other entries, this place fucking sucks. I’ve written multiple songs about how much it sucks. I’d sing them tonight but the band broke up when our guitarist graduated last week. I’ve got plane tickets for Friday afternoon. After we graduate in the morning I plan to finish packing, then sit down on my favorite bench behind the barracks, and flip off Fort Lee, for like a full minute (as TED would suggest).

The Faces of Alcoholism

If anything, the four months I’ve spent here has made me realize that I am an anxious pessimist when it comes to envisioning my own future. I was worried sick about not passing a stupid test, but I did really well on it. This was the same with all of the minor tests that came before it. I would tell myself over and over again: “you’re bad at welding, you’re bad at welding, you’re going to fail and be here forever because you’re bad at welding.” No more of that, I say. No longer will I put myself down when faced with a challenge. I will find inspiration wherever I can in order to secure my future. 

With this, I leave you. Thank you for reading. It feels nice and fuzzy when I see how many people read and like this blog. I feel like we had a pretty good run. As for parting wisdom, just remember, in the words of the great, late Colonel Sanders: “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken.”

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