May 18, 2009

Name:Toby Nunn  
Posting date: 5/18/09
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog url:

Lately there has been something weighing on my mind that requires some action, but I have been procrastinating. The old reenlistment decision has reared its head once again. I have been commuting a great distance to finish out this contract with the Cal Guard and feel a strong sense of loyalty to the guys out there. It's true that many in the company are Bad Voodoo Members, which makes them family, and it's good to still be able to track their lives and to participate in them since these guys are truly special and enrich my life and yes, even the Knuckleheads.

Is this reenlistment a Gateway Drug? If I do it will I then get sucked into Dancing with Mister Brown Stone? Undoubtedly yes! I am not sure what it is about me, but I cannot seem to do something halfway. I have always been compelled to max it out and push myself very hard, so if I sign back up will I go back over? It's easy for me to look at the kids and say no and have talks with Jeff and Patti and others and say I'm not interested, but I also know in my heart that I would not shy away from it if asked and would not fight to get out even if I was given an out. So what's wrong with me? Am I an addict to serving this country? Am I an addict to the lifestyle of danger? Am I just plain stupid and selfish with no regard for others? I don't know but I am starting to get some insight.

I have been reading a book called No Angel, which is about the infiltration of the Hells Angels by an under cover ATF Agent. As I read the book I saw the point of view and behavior of this agent change. He started out a proud cop that was thirsty for busting bad guys and getting them off the streets because his children used the same streets, and turned into a guy that respected these villains and was estranged from his wonderful family.

It took me back overseas and to my efforts to be a good family man while getting sucked into the realm of my role as a Hard Ass Platoon Sergeant and forgetting to call home and making excuses for not finding more time to do it. I saw this guy's life change and realized that mine too changed when I entered into these roles with the Army. For me to be successful as a Warrior I had to lose my tender side. Toby could not exist, at least to me. Through the past couple of months I have been debating who I like better, Toby vs. SFC Nunn, and it took a weird set of events to set me straight.

In Tampa, I assisted a friend with an unusual request and it took SFC Nunn to do it, but I realized it was Toby that agreed to do it. In California I met up with an old Soldier of mine and realized that the reason he still keeps in contact is not because SFC Nunn taught him something great or saved his life but that Toby was someone he wanted to be friends with. He feared SFC Nunn but respected Toby. At home, SFC Nunn is a nobody that is definitely not who the kids know or want to know; there's this stranger there called "Dad" that I am getting to know, and Toby really likes him. Living in Austin has kept SFC Nunn in California, and Toby runs around freely with this cool cat named Dad.

So recently, after a morning work session with Patti and shipping out some cool swag to the 'Ghan with Jeff, I got home and hopped on my road bike. I had a ride coming up the next weekend from Bethesda to Gettysburg with the Invincible Chuck Z and his Angels and Asphalt Team so I had been "attempting" to prepare myself. As I was riding I decided to take a road I have seen other cyclists go down in the past. I had no idea where it would lead but saw a sign that said "Boat Launch 6 Miles," so to me that sounded like a nice little loop that would be a good keep-the-legs-loose ride.

I'm plugging along thinking to myself about the Bonus and what I could do with it, and how cool it would be to have a Sucker Punch Sally Bike.The road started to twist a bit and I got aggressive so as not to get stuck in a turn with traffic, even thought there was no traffic, and I was starting to lean towards re-upping when the earth dropped out from underneath me. As I made it through a blind corner the road started to go downhill and I mean down hill. This change of events was a commitment and I was in it, going at breakneck speed and no room for error, and it reminded me of how much I like risks.

As I picked up more and more speed I leaned into the corners, reliving past glories and forgetting the obvious. I could handle the risk; in fact my heart rate didn't climb too much, it was exhilarating but manageable. As I finished out that leg I continued to ponder my future, and turned around to head back home.

As I approached that hill that had brought my hair up I realized how far down I had traveled and that the commitment was not to my safety coming down the hill but to my body going back up it. I struggled and panted and dry heaved and puked and gave all I had and hit failure and didn't have the strength to get my cleets out of the pedals.

I cursed myself, perhaps my maker, definitely the bike manufacturer and a bully I hadn't thought about in years. The hill was the ride home and away, but to get home I would have to suffer. A car pulled up behind me and they suffered too since I held them up, but finally I reached the top of the hill -- but was still eight miles from home with more hills to climb.

I have heard that God works in mysterious ways and has a good sense of humor. Yesterday I cursed him and that hill got longer, but before I cursed myself he placed that road in front of me. Lessons on a bike. I never thought I would learn them as an adult, but it seems that I have learned more from a bike now than I did when Darcy and I were kids chasing bears away from my fishing holes on them. By the time I got home and the lactic acid in my legs had reloosened there was no need to make a decision, because there was only one option and it was in front of me all along.


Did family and children concur?

I guess when you marry a tiger you can't be mad when they turn out to have stripes...

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