Monday, December 7, 2009

A Case of Ironic Astrology

I was an MP in the U.S. Army on April 8, 1970, stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. It was a small, quiet little base where helicopter pilots were first training on fixed wing aircraft. Not much going on at all. Actually, it was pretty boring for a guy who loved action.

I was a good cop and tried to be super professional, making rank pretty quickly. I was 20. I was called into the commander's office and told he was sending me to Sergeant's school in Alabama. It was a very high honor because they were able to send only one soldier a year. Upon finishing the school, I would return to Ft. Stewart as a Sergeant. I was geeked to say the least. I had been in the Army for only 15 months.

I decided that I wanted transportation at Ft. McLellan, so I rode my little 350 Honda all the way there. 3 days of mind and hand numbing travel. Just before I got there, in the early morning dark, I was coming down the side of a mountain in the rain. I was scared to death. All of a sudden I saw these huge headlights in my mirror; it was a semi, right behind me. And I mean right behind. Feet behind. All I could see in my mirror now was this huge grill with huge headlights.

The road was slick and downhill. I was having to go 60 miles an hour to keep in front of this truck. I knew I was dead but I wasn't sure when. My back wheel was sliding sideways and I was nearly rigid with fear. The rain was coming down in sheets. I didn't have a visor on my helmet; it had been cracked by a rock thrown up by another semi the day before. It served it's purpose, though, the rock surely would have killed me.

This horrifying ride lasted nearly a half hour but it seemed like twelve. With this bozo blowing his horn all the way down; it surely hadn't helped my disposition. All of a sudden, after coming out of a sharp turn and almost losing it, I saw the lights of an intersection. I made it to the light as the it turned yellow. I stopped the bike, started breathing and the asshole cut out and screamed by me as it turned red. But, I had made it! Oh, man! I was still among the living. I think I cried.

I was late getting to the base and the company where I was reporting. My mission had not started well. The duty sergeant gave me a nasty lecture then assigned me a bunk. Everyone else had unpacked and repacked their footlockers in the manner prescribed by the sergeant. I had no clue. Ah, shit. But the sun was shining and everyone else had gone to dinner. So I sat on my bunk and waited.

Finally, someone else came in. It was another student. We got to talking and he said he, too, had driven in on his Honda 350 and he knew the base. Thumbs up for synchronicity. I had recovered sufficiently so when he asked if I wanted to take a ride, I agreed. We were going to drive by the WAC - Women's Army Corps - barracks to see what was what. Ft. McLellan was a WAC Basic Training base. I had not known that. It was April 12, 1970.

We took off and started cruising the base. We turned down a street filled with WAC barracks and there were girls everywhere! I could see that it was going to be heaven here. In a flash, as I was looking to the side, my right hand came off the throttle. I lost control and started falling to the right, where my new friend was riding beside me. The next thing I knew, I opened my eyes on the sidewalk with this beautiful face looking down at me. I had no idea who it was or why she was there. I remember thinking that she must have been an angel. I'm not sure how long I was out but it was too damned long as far as I was concerned. An ambulance showed up, they put me in and drove to the base hospital.

When I arrived, two doctors in the ER checked me over. My loss of consciousness was never discussed. My right shoulder was getting sore, I had abrasions down the entire length of my right leg and I was having a little trouble turning my head. After examining me without x-rays, the two doctors pronounced me fine and told me to go to the barracks and clean my up my own leg . What could I say? I think I called a cab and left.

It was dark when I arrived at the barracks, and most of the guys were already asleep. I somehow climbed into my bunk with my uniform still on and passed out. No supervisor had asked me about the accident.

I awoke the next morning and I couldn't move. At all. Nothing. Panic hit me and I think I screamed. At this, a supervisor came running. He called another ambulance and back I went to the hospital. This time there were competent physicians in the ER. They took x-rays and told me that I had a broken collarbone...and a broken neck. If I had moved the wrong way during the night, they said, I might have been dead. Cool.

I spent a month in the hospital, flat on my back wearing a collar and a sling. No pillow. Every 4 hours for that entire month I was given a shot of Demerol. All of us in the ward got one. We were constantly high and in rare humor. I discovered after I was released that I was addicted to the stuff, but never having had drugs before, I thought the extreme pain was due to my injuries. I was sent home for a month of convalescent leave.

When I returned to the base, healed, physically and psychologically, I discovered that I was persona non grata. I had screwed up their plans for a new supervisor and there was no changing their minds. I tried. The next day I was washing scout cars. I did this, and other menial tasks, for 2 weeks before they finally let me back on the road. I was angry. Very angry. Prior to my assignment to Alabama, I had filed two requests for transfer to Vietnam. My buddies were over there dying and I needed to go. Requests denied. I tried again. Request denied. I couldn't understand it.

On the road again, I developed a plan to piss people off, thinking they would send me to 'Nam as punishment. Writing tickets to officers for traffic violations was a no-no. Rank had it's privileges at Ft. Stewart. Unwritten policy. So, I began to write officers tickets. One was the Deputy Post Commander, a colonel. The next day, I was standing in front of the Post Commander's desk. On a red carpet, actually, while I got the crap kicked out of me verbally. I remember a lot of "yes, sirs" before I was ordered out of his sight and back to my company. My plan had failed. I was assigned to wash scout cars once again.

After a week, they needed another body to go out on patrol. Back on the road again but with another plan. There was a company on the base called the POR Levy Section. These people were responsible for putting names in blanks, filling requests for more troops to go to Vietnam. I began to mess with them. Severely. Tickets, minor arrests, just your petty, basic harassment. Within a week I had my orders for Vietnam. I spent 13 months there and was subjected to the defoliant, Agent Orange, and other dangerous things.

I made it home safely - having been promoted to sergeant in the process while receiving a Bronze star - and joined the Detroit Police only to leave seven years later. After that, my career was varied until I finally opened my own Private Investigator Agency. I had banked no retirement savings, no 401k, no stocks or bonds so my future financial situation looked pretty bleak.

One day while on a moving surveillance, I felt a sharp pain in my back. Just about where I had injured it in a jeep accident in 'Nam. It went downhill from there until I was unable to sit in a car for more than a few minutes or walk any distance at all. I was done as a private investigator because I was it for my company. I hadn't grown to the point where I could hire another person. On my way but not there yet. One day flying, the next augering into the ground. Gone, just like that.

On a visit to a doctor, I discovered I also had diabetes and I didn't have any medical coverage. No place to go but the VA. Not at the top of my list of providers but the only one I had. I qualified for free treatment at that time because I was broke. Nothing coming in. Very tough situation for my family and I. Two daughters and a beautiful wife.

During the course of my "treatment", and I laugh at what they called treatment, I was told that my back was too degenerated to be helped by surgery. Not that I would ever do that, anyway. They said, "you're 50, your back is 80. Live with it." So, I did but I couldn't work. On the way out of the VA hospital, I ran into an old friend from the police department. He told me that my diabetes was compensable because I had served in Vietnam. Elated, I applied. I asked my doctor why he hadn't told me this and he replied, "it's not my job." Ah, the VA.

Three long years later - my wife had been working and supporting us while I was battling with the VA - I was awarded my disability. 100%. Now I had enough coming in to retire. We were able to move up to paradise here and I'm covered medically for the rest of my life. Isn't it strange how things work? If I had not attended that sergeant's school and had that accident, I would have spent the rest of my enlistment at Ft. Stewart. Did I unconsciously make some kind of Faustian deal, would I have ended up here anyway, just by a different means?

Uranus was conjunct my Mars in the second house on the day of the accident, which trines my stellium in Aquarius (6th house - Sun, Venus, Jupiter). Mars was conjunct my Mercury in the fifth, part of a grand trine in earth and Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct my Part of Fortune. Seemingly lots of good luck and opportunity there, but obfuscated by Neptune. Oh, and Saturn had just conjoined my Moon and MC. Another third of that grand trine.

Astrology is a tough nut to crack and in life it's usually only through hindsight that we can understand what happened to us. I could go deeper into my chart on that day but I don't know if it would clarify anything any better. The aspects were good yet in the short term it was bad then good again. In the long term it saved my family and I. So, who knows?

But, God, I love it anyway!

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