By Jeff Lund
If you ever want to feel like you’re living a Nerf life, then pick up a book and read about how things used to be.
As a high school English teacher, I know how we make things like reading and history not fun, and make even simple curiosity too much work, but now that you’ve survived, maybe give it another chance. There are no tests except the ones you write for yourself.
Anyway, I was reading about George Washington’s army during the Revolutionary War. Dudes were hardly equipped, hardly fed and rarely got paid. After eight years of war, the tide-turning battle at Yorktown started with the plan to attack. But first Washington had to march his troops from Providence, Rhode Island, to just outside of Yorktown, Virginia. It would take 9 hours to DRIVE the 569 miles today. Back then it was over 600 and they marched up to 25 miles a day to arrive and take Yorktown and defeat Cornwallis after a nearly month-long siege. Are you kidding me?
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Last Saturday I felt that my five miles in the woods wearing premium boots, fleece pants and the promise of a steak and a beer was a solid day. General Washington would probably have told me to stay home.
Now, we work out for fun. Oh, wall balls blow? March from Rhode Island to Virginia in a uniform that’s falling apart for promised pay that hasn’t arrived so you can fight the British.
Before that book I read one about the final years of Comanche rule on the Great Plains. Imagine establishing a homestead and having it brutally attacked by Comanche warriors on horses in a raid. Imagine having your land invaded by people making homesteads.
It doesn’t really matter if your family was here during all this or not, somewhere, your great, great, great, great, great something wasn’t complaining about expensive beer at professional sporting events and certainly wasn’t turning down meat because it involved harming animals.
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This isn’t one of those political columns I want to draw attention to the injustices of the past, promote toxic masculinity, whatever else. I’m not saying ignore it either. I’m saying let’s take a moment to recognize the type of person we all descend from. Not timid folk who spent time and energy finding ways to be triggered or complain about Mondays.
Yeah, we’ve got it easy. But remember what’s in your DNA. If you don’t have any specific stories of family baddassery, at least know whatever hardships your ancestors endured, they lived.
You will too.
Jeff Lund is a freelance writer and teacher. He lives in Ketchikan, Alaska.