Conan could have been a Ranger.So, as I mentioned earlier on this blog, I got a chance to go to Ranger School in late August of 2010. Ranger School is a 60 day school. Add two weeks to the front for National Guard guys like me to go through the mandatory Pre-Ranger training and you get two and a half months. Notice please that it is early September and, since I am writing this, I am clearly not in Ranger School.

I failed out. I do not feel bad about this. How and why make for a story that I won’t be telling in this post but which culminates in my burning desire to go back and try again.

So why this digression on Ranger School? Because of the look.

That look I (almost) invariably get when I describe to civilians what Ranger School is like, followed by my stated desire to attend. It’s very similar to the look I get when I explain that I enjoyed my two combat deployments and I’m planning to volunteer for another. It’s a look that says. “You’re nuts, but I’m far too polite to point it out.” or “I love you but why would you do that to yourself, you moron.” In all fairness most of the people giving me the look are friends or family who are supportive and cheer me on in my insanity.

It’s a fair question though. Why would I do such things?

I was a voracious readier when I was a kid. I noticed at some point that none of the heroes I loved spent much time reading adventure books, if any. I’ve talked at length in other places about why I’m so grateful I had Conan, Reteif, Corwin, Johnny Rico and so forth, as role models instead of the myriad drug and sex-addled sports, movie, or music stars so many of my peers idolized.

Simply put, I wanted to emulate my heroes, so I had to get out there and do things. Climb mountains. Stand up to bullies. Join the Army. Go to Airborne School. Go to Ranger School. Generally drive myself past my perceived limits in painful yet productive ways. Yet I’ve never given up my bookish ways. I’m still a reader and a writer and a massive nerd. (Magic the Gathering anyone, CSS, InDesign?)

So, to the people who give me the look. I love you man, but blame Conan.

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