I swear on the Bible to the entire E2 community that I will not achieve Level 2 with a daylog. I promise you and myself that one thing for right now. If anything else happens, however, that might be the case.

Bring on the GTKY-ness.

Slowly, I’m figuring out my path. My way past here. But it’s going to be tough. And nothing is set in stone.

On May 1, 2003, I took a bike ride (no car, license, or insurance) to the local US recruitment center. This involved a bus ride as well, thank God for bike racks.

My parents want me to join the United States Air Force. In light of all the recent events and the 4-6 years I’ve spent in educational limbo, I’ve apparently shown them that I am not ready for college, and they both think I need to join the military to learn some discipline. Which is fair enough considering that I’ve not had a GPA at the end of a semester that was higher than 1.7 or so. However, I’m not sure that the military is the right option. First of all, I’m a scrawny nerd. I wouldn’t make it past Basic Training. Second of all, it’s a very large decision, and a huge life change that I’m almost sure I’m not ready to undertake. My little comfort bubble that I’ve maintained probably needs to be popped, but I’m one of the individuals that has to make his own way. I’m going to have to discipline myself. And the only way I can achieve that is control. I need to be able to control my own life, and so far, as my previous daylogs maintain, everything I’ve done so far, every educational choice I’ve made, every life choice I’ve made has been so only with consultation from my parents, primarily my mother. I’m tired of collaborating. I am completely dependent upon them. If I wanted to up and leave, I would have to live on the streets and save enough money to get a slum apartment.

Mind you, I’m not going to up and leave.

But I’ve got to do something. I am going to make a decision by myself, this time. I’m going to sit down alone, no distractions, and write a path for my life. It most likely won’t include the military.

Life right now is tough. I’ve got 3 weeks of school left, and my best friend, Crawn2003 on E2, is becoming more and more distanced from me and life in general. I’m very worried about him, and my worry came to a head when he decided he wasn’t going to helm the movie we were filming anymore. His frustration at his life has apparently become unbearable, to the point where he just 'doesn’t care'. That’s his standard answer and mantra now. 'I don’t care'. Anything I say to him, any anger I have towards him is taken in and directed at himself, and he uses that against himself. I can’t talk to him, I can’t explain anything to him, I can’t be a friend, because he doesn’t want one. He’s moving from our home state of Ohio to Florida just to get away from everyone. He thinks he’s going to live a life of solitude.

I’m not sure how he’s going to accomplish that. Read his February 19, 2003 writeup for more details.

To top it all off, our family dog, Kelly, was not at home yesterday when my sister and I came in the door from school. My father came home with her in tow, but when I went outside to greet them, my father solemnly told me to retrieve my sister.

Kelly apparently had a uteral inflammation, and was going to be euthanized in 2.5 hours.

Kelly was a Black Labrador/Chow Chow mix, Lab body, chow face, tongue, and tail. This dog was a member of our family for 11.5 years. When my mother brought her home, about 2-3 weeks after we moved into the house we live in now, my father was extremely angry at her. She didn’t tell him until 6 months later, when he inevitably became attached to the animal, that she had paid $35 for her. So much for anger.

Kelly grew up a loyal mutt. The playful puppy inside all dogs was active all through her long life, and she never failed to bring a smile to my face with her antics. If my parents argued, she’d slink into my room with sad eyes and hover around my legs. The mention of the words 'bone' or 'walk' were always somewhat taboo, unless the treat was actually going to be given, because Kelly would become too excited and rambunctious, to the amusement of all. If a stranger or shadowy figure walked within a 20 foot radius of our backyard, Kelly would let us know right away. To all those who tell me that dogs can’t smile, I say bullshit. This dog was one of the happiest I’ve seen, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure, is being in the examination room when Kelly was given the injection that would end her life.

My sister elected to stay home and watch my disabled half-sister, and my tearful mother and very quiet father and I all piled into the car, Kelly in tow. She sat on the backseat, and laid down on the blanket we had placed there for her. As the car moved, she did something that she’d never done before in a moving vehicle. She got up and looked out the window, panting solemnly. She seemed to know what was waiting for her, and her movements were pointed and fluid.

We arrived at the hospital, and were shown to our 10 foot by 15 foot exam room, and told that the nurse would be in shortly. We waited for about 20 minutes, the three of us, as Kelly walked around, slowly, panting all the while, and dripping small drops of blood from her rear end (which she then proceeded to lick up). We all took turns petting and stroking her, and as the nurse came in with an assistant, bottle of fluid, needle, and electric shaver, we all said our goodbyes. My father and mother both knelt down beside the dog, and the nurse began briefing us, in a quiet, solemn tone, on what was going to happen. She then began to shave a small patch of Kelly’s right foreleg. Being afraid of small buzzing objects, or larger ones like vacuum cleaners, Kelly was surprisingly still when this happened.

The nurse then said she was going to insert the needle, and begin the injection. As she did so, I stood up and leaned on the exam table, heart beating in my chest. My mother and father both had hands on Kelly’s back and side and the assistant was down next to them. The nurse kept a running dialog of what was happening, how Kelly would slowly drift off, and how she might cry a little bit in confusion. She did not, and as I gave in and knelt down behind the assistant to put my hand on the increasingly lifeless body of our beloved family pet, I could tell that she was almost gone, and when her head finally fell, and the nurse withdrew the needle and let her go, my parents broke down. It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry. He rarely ever shows emotion more than anger, or happiness. He’s not an angry man, but when he gets angry, he’s unbreakable. Seeing him break down was probably the hardest part of the entire procedure, and a sight I will never forget.

To those who wonder how a family can grieve over an animal, I say get a dog. If you treat it right, and you nurture it, it will no longer be an animal. It will be a part of your life, and family, and I dare you to tell me that you don’t feel any emotion when you have to make the decision to end it’s life.

We walked out of the veterinarian’s offices into the overcast, mild weather of Dayton, Ohio, got in the car, and my father started the engine, and flipped on the radio. As he flipped stations, the familiar climax of Led Zeppelin’s epic 'Stairway to Heaven' began to play. My father, who normally would flip the radio in frustration at the classic, but overplayed song, made no move to change the station.

Sitting in the back of the car, and leaving behind the fifth member of our family in a limp, lifeless heap after watching it die, I just had to laugh at the irony.