Looking back in my Life’s strolling in the park
From the beginning, already more than 40 years have passed since this young boy has opened his eyes to the world. And he was and is in love with each moment lived on it.
Being the son of a carpenter, the love of wood and woodwork was a constant in my life. From an early age and already with 5 years, one of my “hobbies” was to hammer down nails. I would do it all over the old wood that I could find and my father’s wood bench made out of that reddish-brown timber mahogany that was used so many times to fix doors, windows, chairs, and so many others.
My natural talent has early arisen and soon enough, I’ve built with my father’s help…better, my father built it with my help, a little pine bench. The bench rapidly transforms itself more like a nails agglomerate thing made out of pinewood than as a working bench.
The aim of the bench was there, to work as well alongside my dad, one of the many wars’ marine vets from the ’70s, from Portugal’s and Colonial war, converted since then as a full-time carpenter.
I still remember working alongside him as a young child, doing the thing that a child does best: imitate what he sees. So, hammer and nails… I’ve spent a lot, really a lot.
One of my main hobbies was to spill the nail box all over the floor and pick them up with my little fingers or with a magnet. Then hammered them down to the bench, and to be honest, I don’t remember hurting myself then. That would come later on, already as a teenager.
For carpenter’s apprentice was enough to have;
- A pencil behind my ear,
- A ruler,
- A square,
- A hand saw,
- And rule #1: measuring twice to cut just once.
Mathematics = Source of frustration
As time passed by, new interests came to my mind and new goals are set, a brand-new universe presented itself to be discovered.
After doing and being a regular student in the public government school program, at age 17, I was confronted with something senseless that made me frustrated during a couple of years: Mathematics. and all the world of numbers and illogical logic around Math.
Like many others, the simple day-to-day math was not an issue but the fractions and the complex mathematics of high school, just blow out my mind in a bad way. And the crazy part was that I was studying already at that time to be one accountant.
The math linked to becoming a professional bookkeeper like calculating a tax return or IRS, calculating the TVA, and percentages to calculate of a total amount, was logical and to me, it had a purpose. Geometry and similar, I did not see the utility of that in my life, surely in others, it would make all the sense… simply were still far from my understanding and did not have space in my mind.
By 18, I would say that the 1st big “upgrade” happened to me: taking my driver’s license and becoming, legally, the only person responsible for my actions, whether good or bad.
My father reminded me about that by saying just a couple of words, and I took them seriously. And why? They came from a man that saw death a couple of times and was lucky enough to still teach me today and share with me some truths:
Son, as of today, you are legally a man, there is no turning back for you, today you can be arrested and go to prison when being guilty of committing a crime.
And I don’t believe that crime is a decent way to live your life, you just need to find some work that you like to do, to get an honest pay by the end of the month.
And he continued:
It would break my and your mother’s heart if you would choose to become a villain but if that would happen…. know that once a son, always a son, once a father, always a father ,and always a mother, but there are some roads to be walk all alone.
No small talk about alcohol, drugs, or sex… but for me, it was enough. These words were my rules, and I’ve been following them ever since, laying out my path according to them.
I’m in the army now, oh oh oh I’m in the army, in the army now…
Soon enough, my patriotic duty towards my country came, and the Army called me to pay my dues. The total cost was giving 6 months of my time/life to military training, by becoming first a soldier and then a quartermaster-at-arms, doing part of the logistic branch of the armory.
As a military procedure, were often the regular surprise alcohol and drug tests controlled. And I was OK with them, I had nothing to hide. I was even reassured of the fact that they did it… can you imagine some random guy having access to weapons and real ammo, grenades … it could go quickly and very wrong for a lot of people in seconds.
I remember a small “prank” that was done during the first week:
- To make an inventory of all the weapons/riffles still on active duty.
And there I was, with my First Corporal in arms and Sargent counting the rifles. I counted first the rifle barrels and then the other way around counting the rifles butts and there was a discrepancy of 30 rifles.
Needless to say, that my facial expression … I was pale, and I was speechless because I did not understand 30 rifles difference… so, I started to do a second count, surely, I had missed some…but 30? I doubt even myself because I’m human, thus I do also mistakes.
By the end of the second count, still, 30 rifles missing. I just said to my watchers… I can’t explain the difference and that it should be better to lock all up, me included, until finding the missing rifles.
Both of them smile at me and my Sargent told me that the inventory was well done by me and that nothing was missing, and explained to me that 30 of the rifles had a retractable butt.
Automatically, the one-ton weight came out of my shoulders and I could stand upright again, shy smiling, and embarrassed. That feeling of impotence and powerlessness towards something that you aren't aware of… I still remember it today with a laugh.
I’ve never slept in such peace, completely locked down with the company armory with one undisclosed number of Walters P1 9 mm automatic pistols, G3 automatic rifles cal. 7.62 mm, Mauser SP66 sniper rifles, and many other sorts of sub-machines guns and ammunition, hand and smoke grenades, some old swords, and some 1900s century or earlier muskets, that were taller than me, I’m 5'11 (1.8 m tall).
By the end of my military service, I could have joined the Police Academy, but perhaps I had my share of under somebody else orders or wimps. I did follow them as a soldier without any second thought, but I would rather try something else.
So, I decided to resume studying at night school and working with my father during the day.
Sprechen Sie Deutsche?
From the early age that I was listening and seeing all the big foreign TV shows and in their original language, so English, French, were regular, Spanish, and German less, but still present in the Portuguese official TV.
And as I was done with Math, I’ve just followed my new love, foreign languages.
After having English and French for a couple of years in school, I was helped by foreign original TV shows and from the subtitles. I increased my vocabulary and knowledge and trained my ears to foreign sounds not common in Portuguese. French is a close cousin but English… and those were, at the time, the 2 main foreign languages that we had at school.
English and French were regular sounds to my ears besides the Portuguese, but now, I did stumble on something new.
For the first time in years, I started again to process mentally and join the words that I saw in the subtitles, with the sounds of the German language. And the “distant” phonetic of Latin’s sounds towards the ones in the Germanic language became clear to me.
Needless to say, I’ve ended up having German classes at night school, and it upgrades me again another step.
As for the upgraded Carlos, at this time on Version 1.1, I have already the second part of my story baking.