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If you really want to hear about it, the first thing youâ€™ll probably want to know is how I got to be this way, not what my lousy childhood was like and all that other David Copperfield crap. That stuff bores me. The truth is I wasnâ€™t much of a fighter and maybe I was more that a little yellow. Itâ€™s not my fault, I didnâ€™t want to be yellow, but I had arms like pencils. Itâ€™s hard not to be a little yellow when you have arms like pencils. I wasnâ€™t yellow when it came to the Nazis though. I was ready to fight. You got to give it to anybody, even old Hitler, if they can make you feel like fighting for whatâ€™s right. He did too. I have to admit.
Stradlater, heâ€™s my roommate at school, heâ€™s a good enough guy except he knows it, he was going down to the Army recruiter to volunteer. I told him was going along. I thought he'd get a bang out of it.
â€œWhat for?â€ he says.
â€œTo sign up.â€
â€œYou canâ€™t. Youâ€™re only seventeen.â€
He was eighteen, just barely, and exactly the kind sonofabitch to lord it over you if you were seventeen. â€œStradlater kid, Iâ€™ll lie.â€ He hates when I call him kid â€˜cause he thinks heâ€™s old enough to be my father.It killed me it really did. The truth is, if you want to know, Iâ€™m one helluva liar. I can really string â€˜em along if Iâ€™m in a mood for it.
So down we went into New York and old Stradlater gets his corny physical and Iâ€™m sure they made plans for him to be a general right away or something because he thinks he has this terrific build. Iâ€™ll admit he does have a great build. Iâ€™m tall, about six two, but heâ€™s almost as tall and weighs probably twice as much. Those Army phonies probably got a good bang out of Stradlater.
...just like that y'know?
What was I thinking asking Tribe?
I must have been off my rocker.
Late nights, with hope to spare...