There I stood on trembling knees as if the weight of the world had been placed on my shoulders. A lonely, scared child looking through the eyes of an eighteen year old man as the memories of my childhood and the voices of those much wiser than myself raced through the back of my mind. In front of me stood a well-dressed man with a face as stern as could be, wearing a nametag that read, “CSC Caretti, U.S. Navy Recruiter.” He smelled of a familiar fragrance, like the old local barbershop with the red, white and blue candy cane pole. I’ll never forget the words he muttered. With a deep, stern voice he said, “So young man, what are you going do with your life?” The words bounced in my head like a game of racquetball as I stood there silently digesting the words he had spoken. Then and there it dawned on me, in the haze that is high school life, I hadn’t really thought about the answer to his question.
I can remember at that moment the visions flooding my concentration of the gruff sound of the man’s voice, the mental photographs of society’s perception of the good life for a teenager, partying, dating, and doing what ever you wanted. Thoughts flurried in my mind of the parties, the smells of local coffee shops and the sweet scents of my peer’s perfumes. Yes, the college life! It’s what every acne-challenged high school kid dreams of and talks about for that entire four miserable years of homework, heartbreaks and curfews. It’s the chance to really live outside the realm of your parent’s shadow and your first scintillating taste of freedom.
Before, I even had the chance to reply, he sounded off again, “well son?” Suddenly, my palms were sweaty and I could hear the sounds of a wild stampede only to realize it was my heart pounding as he pushed me into vocal delivery of some kind of reply. So, I looked at him and with a squeaky stutter I said, “I don’t know sir, why do you ask?” Now, of course, I knew who he was and...