you want a peace of me?
by tobias crabtree
i was born the son of a preacher. i might have never grown up if it weren’t for the humbling nature of life…and death. i was small as a high schooler and i didn’t make the sports teams in my school. my pa put me in the boxing program at the police athletic club. i got the wind knocked out of me every tuesday, thursday and saturday.
after college i worked pouring concrete and moving furniture. i was still the son of a preacher, i just didn’t say so. i drank and smoked and even fought. this was a formative time for me because i was so very unsure of what i should be…of what i was.
so i joined the marine corps at 28. i was enlisted (not an officer) and i tried out for a special team (this was total tough guy stuff…i’m serious, like, i had to be tough). what’s crazy is i started having a softer heart. all along i had been fighting to be tougher and meaner. can i outrun you? can i out-swim you? can i outwork you? all these questions were being answered. as i found my place among men i also found an internal peace. when i was a sergeant, i was training men to be a marine like myself. i wondered where they would go in the world, what they would become…these powerful, wild young men. i called them by their last names. many of them had a fire burning so hot inside them that they didn’t even know how to apply themselves. and so i took them, these living, walking supernovae, and we ran to the sea and we swam to the land and i loved them. something about that desire to try so hard and be so cold made me see something about the human condition. maybe this is the thinking of the son of a preacher.
i left them boys behind, with all their fire. i still carry my own. i sure as hell ain’t finished breathing and raging and fighting…it’s just that i fight for different stuff now. suffice to say that we must choose our battles.
now i travel. i live out of a bag and live under the stars. i find caves and i look inside them. i smile when i hear laughter around a fire. life is damn good, even when you’re grumpy and grizzled like myself. i guess it’s a good thing my dad is a preacher, i could’a been worse.