On a much needed afternoon off in Vietnam, me, David Hamilton, (on my left) and Fitzy, got orders to go into the local Cam Rahn Village and catch us a little “boom boom”. (It didn’t say that on the orders, exactly)
Before we left, we decided to get high, so we went way up behind the battalion ammo dump, you know, for some atmosphere. We were already pretty buzzed in this shot.
When we got there, there were half a dozen shirtless, shiny and sweaty troops lifting up barrels, squatting with chains on their back and bench pressing a truck axle. Oh, my, what a sight. Never saw anything like it.
Back in the 60’s, if you saw a tanned, muscular man, he was usually standing in between Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.
As we got higher and took in the show, I started to come down with my first (of many) sexual identity crises. What the hell was this about? Bad enough I gotta dodge bullets, but now I gotta worry about my sexual preferences?
I had no frame of reference for what I was seeing. I just stared at them.
I felt like a girl.
These guys were peacocks. They had it and they knew it. They strutted around between sets, sticking their chests out, spitting on their hands for effect and glorying in their masculinity.
They were beautifully developed humans and the sight of them had an effect on me that is still with me today.
I realized then that nothing is more beautiful than a well conditioned, tanned and graceful, human body. David was no stranger to weight lifting, as you can see by his arms in this photo. The guy was jacked.
He promised he would show me how to train myself but he was killed in a tragic ambush not long after this photo. That’s another story.
But the hook was set. When I got back to base camp I got one of those long poles we used to stir the burning human waste with, cut it down, put two number 10 cans filled with cement on each end and would pump myself to distraction trying to look like those guys.
Over the years I never stopped. I would train drunk, sober and everything in between. It’s a drug in itself.
It is with me today. Having muscle not only looks good, it feels good. It affects your confidence, your well being and your bearing.
It stands me up straight and helps me survive all the unnecessary bullshit I put myself through.