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Chapter 10: The World According to Sean Murphy

Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind, weakens the body and robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated . . .

There is only determination. There is only single minded desire. Not one among us is willing to give up. Not one of us would exchange freedom for torment. Finally, I will be a Marine.

But first, a final test will take everything left inside. When this is over, I will stand and reach out with dirty, callused hands to claim the Eagle, the Globe, and the Anchor. And the title United States Marine.

– As an afterward, to the best of my knowledge Sean Murphy was kicked out of the marines several months after enlisting.

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Chapter 9: Striking home

When the buildings were struck, I got angry. When I heard Pittsburgh had a crash in it, I got scared for my friends. But when my dad told me that his good friend in college was the pilot of flight 175, the 2nd tower’s plane, it hit me. It was too much, it connected. I retreated to my room, high on caffeine, and turned on Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad” as loud as I could, and just stood there in a daze. My friend Erin J. came to the door and dragged me to a religious service special for the occasion. A combination of a long walk, and Erin keeping my attention up, and the service from a variety of religions pulled me out of any mood I was on the verge of falling into. Thank you Erin.

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Chapter 8: The day the World went away

Today was a day I will always remember. This morning I saw over a thousand people die. I heard a plane crashed in my town, and I nearly punched a wall because I was so scared. I held my weeping friend when she feared for her loved ones’ life, and feared for my friends. I stared in wonder at a scene that until quite recently, I imagined could only happen in a movie. Whenever I feel comfortable, things change.

I listen to the words he’d say,
but in his voice I heard decay.
The plastic face forced to portray
all the insides left cold and grey.
There is a place that still remains,
it eats the fear, it eats the pain.
The sweetest price you’ll have to pay
the day the whole world went away.
– “The Day the World went away” by NIN

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Chapter 7: Peace in Nature

I have always been in love with the wilderness. My dad has always taken us out into the great beyond. Recently, out in the middle of North-Eastern Utah, hiking on alpine tundra, the wind whipping in your face, the clouds stretched out below the horizon . . . this is where I find peace. The trip to the mountain top is magical; conquering the beast that is large beyond comprehension brings energy to my stride. Sitting atop the rock scattering of a peak, where each direction is down, alone with the sky. Only when you are alone with nature, when you have only yourself to see yourself through this, when everything you need is on your own back, only then are you truly free.

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Chapter 6: My Quota

I was preparing to go to a recent party, and I was informing various people I thought might wonder where I was of my plans. One girl in particular asked me if I was going to get drunk, and I responded, “Probably.” She glared at me, and gave me the impression that she thought less of me because of it. I knew some of what she was thinking, that alcohol isn’t needed for a good time, and that drinking isn’t healthy. But, Miss Princess, when I go to a party, and I invariably start to dance and sing, instead of glaring at me and saying “Your quota of song and dance for the day is up,” people would join in. I know it’s illegal, I know it’s not healthy, and I know I could get into a lot of bad situations because of doing it. Why do I drink, you ask me? In a world full of unspoken rules, leaving your inhibitions at the door can be a welcome change of pace.