I’d taken my shower and was sitting at my desk in my pajamas finishing up some school work before going to bed when the Old Man rapped on the door and then stuck his big, square head inside my room without waiting for me to respond. He never waited. He’d just bang on the door a couple times with his ham sized hand and then open it. I couldn’t even indulge in my favorite hobby, jacking-off, when he was home.
“Come down to the den,” he ordered. “I have a few things I want to talk to you about.” Then he left.
I figured it was another review of my duties. He was supposed to leave for Vietnam in two days and he’d made out lists of the stuff I was supposed to do during the year he was gone. It was all there on the corner of my desk. Sheets of duties. He’d had his secretary at the base type up for him. There was a list of daily duties like clean my room, take out the trash, help Mom with the dishes and make sure the house was locked up before going to bed, and there were weekly duties like mow the grass and clean the garage, and there were monthly duties like trim the hedge and check the oil and tire pressure in the car, and there were even seasonal duties like winterize the car and fertilize the lawn. In addition to all those duties there was also a sheet of Do’s and Don’ts. Do be home by ten on week nights and eleven on weekends. Don’t date more than one night a week, etc., etc.
In the days preceding his departure we had been periodically reviewing these lists, ‘directives’, as he called them, to make sure I completely understood them. Of course I understood them! What was there to understand? You’d have thought I was six instead of sixteen and had an IQ in the single digits.