Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Tom Armstrong,
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A.

I am sitting wondering if I can make the grade for next fall at the University of Idaho. I have just come into this hobble I live in from watching the videos at school for a Mythology course I am enrolled in. My situations is that I am currently a victim of my own inability to function in the American way of life. Why? What the hell is my problem? I am not entirely sure but it seems to me that the Vietnam war raged with concise servitude around the psyches within the family frontroom as dad fought like hell some billion miles into the nowhere of my mind to keep this American style of buoyant.
Dad was a flight deck officer aboard one of the almost unsinkable aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy. He launch aircraft that men flew to dump bombs, or defoliants, or simply death onto the people in the jungles of Vietnam and into the hearts of their families back home. No one is to blame, no one is to be justified, no one is to take responsibility, especially the creators of such an enterprise. Mean while, 20 years later, I am separated from my wife and children trying like hell to rise above the dysfunction the war created within my very own being.
The day that I went into the master bedroom, in the house we lived in, at Toledo court, in Fremont California, back in 1971 was a memory that will forever be etched in my mind as I sit here in fated depression. I was 11 years old and my father kept guns in the house because he had grown up in a time when guns were what people needed to feed themselves. Dad was on a ship that was part of one of the flotillas that was conducting air raids on the Kong. On that day, in that room, my brothers, also being part of the manís family, were playing Russian roulette in and I came in to see what all the excitement was about. God how I had prayed that the gun did not go off while I was in the bedroom somewhere in nowhwere at 11 years of age. It never did in a literal sense but ever since I have been fighting that scene in my head: in my smoking of pot: in my need for homosexual acts: in my need to fill the void of fear and emptiness as I need to be with and at the same time to get away from the controlling vigor of my wifeís desire to simply put her world in order.
In 1971, there were many times I went into the garage to find one of these same brothers ventilating through a bag of model glue. Same place, same house, same stupid war. I sit here now a perfectly talented man. I can work wood enough to build guitars; I can play guitar; I can work on cars; I can write poetry; I can tear a house down and rebuild it from scratch; I can do a lot of things that would be productive and helpful to a lot of people in this society. But I canít keep a family together, I canít see my kids today, I canít do the work in school or keep a job; I canít be at peace. I am afraid that God Damn Gun is going to go off any fucking minute.


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