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I’m not what you would call an intellectual type. I know it. But I’m not about to start apologizing for the way that I was raised, or the decisions I made about my life once they were mind to make them. I got here on my own terms. Made what I could out of my own material. Out of what raw materials I was given, and the abilities that I could muster to make out of them. Did I perhaps overdo it along the way? Did I forget myself along the way? You bet. But five times out of ten, losing myself was intentional. And if you get to be my age and look around, you know that most folks would have loved to have had the opportunity to lose themselves fifty percent of the time. Most folks are so busy finding the right way to live that they forget to ask whether it’s the way they want to live. And that’s a cliché for all the right reasons, I’ll tell you that much. Some things get to be said a lot because they’re a salve on certain of the most common pains. Other things get to be said a lot because they’re just plain right. I think the fact that we hear all the time that life is short doesn’t mean that we like saying it or re-learning it. It means that it’s right, and that we’re always amazed to hear it again and confront its rightness. But anyway. Like I said. Not here to pretend that I have intellectual things to say. Just here to tell you all why I did what I did, where I thought it would get me, and why it turned out that I was wrong in that estimation. I did what I did because I was tired of answering to a man endowed with a kind of brutality that you can only hope never to confront. Chet was an unrepentant man, and sure, so am I. But the difference is that he enjoyed what he did. I only did when I did it to him. Chet never answered for the crimes that he committed against others or against me. Not until I knocked on his door on his last day. He told me, that afternoon, that it was good that someone would keep him from going on and doing more of the same. He told me that for sure. And to be honest, I hated him for that, because there’s one thing about not apologizing. There’s quite another thing about not taking ownership of the consequences of one’s actions. That might not be enough for you to see the difference between me and Chet. But I thought maybe it would be helpful for you to see how I thought of the differences between us. I’m taking responsibility, though I am not contrite. Chet was neither. And that’s what made him a coward in the end. So decide to take my life or not, that’s up to you. But that’s about where I am in thinking about it.

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