I was scanning a few pics for some friends on facebook and took the inevitable trip down memory lane.
1987 was a busy year for me. I was still in the closet, unsure of my future so during the summer break from college I decided to join the National Guard. It wasn't the wisest idea, but it was the plan.
The recruiter was excited to have me, I looked to be in good shape, had great grades and would be entering at a high rank. I was nervous, but ready for the challenge. The above picture was the night I was to leave for processing/orientation and then onto basic training. Several of my friends showed up to see me off and I remember my dad being mad because I didn't want any pictures....but I relented, he calmed down and I was on my journey. (I'm the one getting the hug).
The next morning during processing I vividly remember, having some young officer slide my paperwork in front of me with several items requiring my signature. He would clarify certain provisions before I signed and I'll never forget when he got to the part where you had to swear you were not a homosexual.
"This part here" he said, "just says you're not queer. I can tell you're not queer so just initial here...and sign here".
I actually did think about how there must have been others like me who signed the same oath...and how they must've felt lying. My rationale was that I could lick the whole gay thing and I could change. In fact the whole endeavor was in the hope the service would change me. As it turned out, I was 12 pounds over the weight limit for my height, and my blood pressure had spiked making them think I had hypertension. The truth was, I didn't have high blood pressure...I was just scared shitless. And the 12 lbs? Well, look at that pic. I worked out regularly, ran, and had a 34 waist at 5'11. I was not fat, but the army was in a time of surplus of funding and man power and because of that, they deferred my entrance until I lost the 12 lbs and had a doctor certify my blood pressure was normal.
They actually flew me home on a commercial flight and I ended up at the airport with the same group of guys who were heading on to basic training. They were a bunch of really cool and handsome guys who hung around me in a show of support (though I was secretly relieved) when Miss Idaho, complete with entourage and her sash ran up to me. Yes, me. She was a classmate of mine from highschool and the most beautiful girl I had ever known. All the guys freaked out that a beauty queen was hugging one of their own (sort of) and went nuts. I introduced them all (after my hug) and it was a good moment.
It turned out she and I were on the same flight home, and we sat across from each other on the jet and chatted the whole trip. She dulled the dissapointment (and relief) of my experience, and I was both excited to see my classmate and a little proud that "I" was chatting with a Miss USA contestant. While we were talking across the aisle...I saw (in slow motion) a little bit of spittle fly out of my mouth.....arc....and crash into her eye. I was humiliated and I'll never forget her beautiful face flinching as it made contact. Neither of us acknowledged it, but the conversation died down significantly.
So that was how I ended my (brief) military experience.....by being rejected because of a ridiculous standard and spitting in Miss Idaho's eye.
I got off lucky.