I have been told many times I should write a book about my life.
I am not sure who would buy my story in print.
Books are so expensive these days and I am hardly a celebrity; definitely not powerful, nor influential.
I think this page will have to do.
So let’s start way back in 1990.
Once had broken the shackles of high school (for which I hated), I was in desperate need for some excitement.
Which was an epic fail.
Australia was going through the recession “we had to have” according to Prime Minister Paul Keating. The adolescent unemployment rate in the City of Casey was 17.5%.
So I smoked marijuana, played Dungeons and Dragons and watched late night television with a multitude of out-of-work friends.
The grunge movement was in full swing at this time, Kurt Cobain was King. Being against the system was considered cool. So I didn’t feel so bad being human garbage.
After 3 years my brain became stale. Passing a filthy bong and the growing demonic paranoia wasn’t fun anymore.
It was downright boring.
So I found a crappy job.
Working in a petrol station, painfully saving my pennies.
At home I had made a mural, photos from all over Europe and dreamt of escape. I became a hermit and worked as many hours available, scratching enough to catch a plane to freedom.
Exploring Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia was brilliant but expensive and I was quickly out of cash.
Washed up on the Greek isle of Rhodos, I found grubby work in a steel mill. With extra savings I caught a ferry to Israel, where I would remain in Tel Aviv for the next 6 months.
Slaving away in pubs, moving furniture and washing dishes for the Holy Lands paid ok. I would go on to backpack across Egypt and Jordan in style. I stood at the foot of the magnificent pyramids and walked the beautiful ghost city of Petra.
Returning to Australia, I cashed in my Commodore (it’s a car) and with that money I opened up a tiny store.
“Drifters Comic Shop” was an overnight success. Within six months the shop was bursting with customers and imported stock. By the end of the year I had opened a second shop in Dandenong.
They say never make your hobby a business. And it is true. By the end of the second year, having seen the worst of customer greed and competitor thievery I closed the doors disgruntled.
The very next day I walked into the Australian Defence Force Office and signed up
Then off to my new home 1st Brigade in Darwin for the next 4 years.
Australia hadn’t seen any armored operations overseas since the Vietnam War. Ironically I would be sent to East Timor in less than 6 months.
The experience of a warzone cannot truly be described in writing. Real horror is raw and satanic, challenges a human to take stock of who they are and what they believe.
After the success of East Timor, our unit would be going to Iraq.
Smelling a rat, I immediately discharged. I have no regrets about the decision. Iraq was and is an occupation.
Leaving the army and finding suitable work for a qualified ASLAV 25mm Bushmaster Chaingun Gunner in civilian life isn’t easy. Such job applications do not appear in the newspaper.
Sucking on humble pie, I would find myself working at nights I in a petrol station on the graveyard shift.
I felt like I was back to square one. My big adventure had led to zero. After everything I had done I was back to shitsville. I was struggling to make rent and I was becoming increasingly depressed.
It was at this time a Yoda–like old man would come into the service station and spend time chatting. I was happy to talk, it meant I didn’t have to restock the freezer or mop the floors.
Eventually he would hand a Bible to me. I try not to judge a person by what I don’t know. So I read the book from front to back and then thought long and hard.
Within two years I would be preaching from the pulpit.
Finding God, I would become the Youth Leader at Chelsea Baptist Church and with the help of other selfless Samaritans we would build a large congregation of teenagers and children from the local community.
Just as the outreach program was surging towards 100 kids, I was crippled. Mind scattered and jumbled, I had to cancel the event and turn the children back out into the wilderness.
The doctor suggested I was bi-polar and prescribed a packet of red pills, Exefor-XR 75.
The little pill cured my ailment miraculously. I was able to function once more. I did not return to church. While I was in His service, God had struck me down. To be honest I was confused and a little angry with Him.
So I drove trucks, delivering parcels. My life became long grinding hours and big pay packets.
Despite making more money than I could spend I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied.
And then one day while camping I saw my destiny in the agony of a mange ridden wombat.
So that is my story in a nutshell. If you read to the end well done.
The story is still being written, I am only half way through my life. Hopefully the second half will be as interesting as the first.
Loxley Smithett earthknight.org