Unlike the other diarist that has some respect for you, I don't. The only thing I have to say to you is, go fuck yourself. You think you're so awesome and independent and wonderful. Maybe in the small pool in which you run you are a big fish, but with the rest of the world taken into account, you're nothing but a hack and a half-wit that hasn't accomplished shit. If you're so inclined, I'll elaborate below the fold and hopefully explain the point I'm trying to make (or just skip to the fifth to last paragraph, where I finally start to make my point).
You were a marine, congratulations. How many people since the very beginning have served in the armed forces of this country? Yeah, there's a lot of them, both alive and those that have passed on. Several of my grandparents, including my grandmother, were marines. They served during WWII and none of them would talk about it. That's how they felt about serving their country, it was too much of a sacrifice of themselves and was too harrowing an experience for them to be able to.
I tried to join the army, but they didn't want me because I'm allergic to peanuts and they were afraid they'd kill me, or so they said. After they told me to piss off they kept hounding me to join them, as did other branches of the armed forces because I aced the piddly little ASVAB test they administer. What was your score? Mine was near perfect. Before I tried to join I went and did early morning PT with a platoon near me, the recruiter that eventually got me to join arranged for it. I could out run, do more push ups and sit ups than those that had been doing this for most of their life, and I wasn't even part of the armed forces. Without training, meaning I've been sitting around for over a year not exercising, I can run a 5k in about 20 minutes. Want to run further? I can keep up. It's called good genes (not too tight and not too baggy).
I work on and fix my own car/truck/motorcycle, everything from Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, Dodge, and others. I'm not a mechanic either. The only thing I don't feel comfortable (and in some places I don't think it's legal) working on is the transmission. I've taught myself how to work on and fix cars. It doesn't matter if it's fuel injected or has a carburetor, I can work on it comfortably. I also repair my own appliances around my house, as most of the time it's easy if you know what you're doing.
I can build a house which will pass inspection starting from nothing but a foundation, which includes carpentry, electrical, plumbing, drywall, paint, carpet, hardwood floor, hanging windows and doors, insulation, roofing, etc. etc. etc. I've helped build houses out of everything from raw lumber to bricks and cement, and most of the time it was by hand as we didn't have fancy equipment. I can install fencing (wood and chain link), repave an asphalt driveway, design and implement a drainage system for an area that constantly gets flooded, and a few other simple things.
I worked two jobs while going to college, and didn't have insurance for several of those years (they were some of the most terrifying for me). I took the maximum number of classes each semester, which was 18-20 credit hours/semester. One semester I took 24 credits, which were physics, chemistry, math, advanced Spanish, beginning German, and human anatomy. That semester I had a 3.6 GPA. This was while working at a nursing home and in construction, about 60 - 70 hours a week. I also had a social life on the weekends. It took me six years to finish my undergraduate work. I finished with a Bachelors in Chemistry, a Bachelors in Mathematics, and a minor in Physics (I was two classes short of it being a third Bachelors, and I was one class short of a minor in Spanish). I'm in graduate school now working on my PhD. in theoretical chemistry, which really is chemistry, physics, applied math, and computer science. I taught myself how to write computer code, including parallelization techniques for more efficient scientific computing. I originally was working on a PhD. in experimental physical chemistry, working with lasers and explosives (the dream job of many guys, I'm sure). After three years I decided it wasn't what I wanted to do. Quit. Started a new program all over at a different university. Do you have the balls (using terms I'm sure you'll relate to) to do something like that with your life? How about when you're married and 30? That was my situation when I did. I've published a handful of peer-reviewed articles on important topics such as catalysis and biologically important chemical mechanisms.
I'm a writer and have published poems, short stories, as well as articles in news papers (not editorials, though I do those on occasion as well). I play the piano, guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, clarinet, flute, drums, and accordion. At 16 I started writing a symphony. I'm fluent in Spanish and can get by in Russian, German, and Japanese (Russian and Japanese are self taught).
From all of this it probably sounds like I'm some spoiled rich kid whose parents were able to pay for lessons and buy me a lot of things. I grew up on welfare, went to an inner-city school, and taught myself how to do the majority of these things as well as paying my way for the majority of these things. However, I would not have been able to do any of this without the help from and encouragement of my parents (my mom graduated from high school and my dad got an associates when I was in my mid teens and both are terrified of math and confused by hard science, which says not a damn thing about their worth as human beings) as well as the amazing and talented teachers I've had along the way. Without support from these state sponsored programs (e.g., public school) and the people that work there I wouldn't have been able to do any of this.
The bigger point, and why I'm writing this, and telling you to go fuck yourself, is that none of it matters.
There's always someone out there better, stronger, smarter, more accomplished, much more eloquent, better looking, bigger penis/breasts, whatever you want to use to measure your success by, than you. Does that mean that those who don't live up to your standards have done less or are not as smart or as useful or as good as you? No. There's is no one way to measure someone's worth and every person, which includes you Mr. 53%, is valuable to society in their own way. To come up with a superficial list of "accomplishments" is one of the most hateful things I have come across in a long time. My youngest sister, who is blonde and gorgeous, has dealt with assholes like you here whole life telling her she's not smart, she can't be because she's pretty. Fuck you. You have no idea who these other people are and least of all know what they are worth and how they matter. We all matter, including you, Mr. 53%.
I can easily come up with a list of people who I consider to be better people and more accomplished and much smarter and more valuable to society than myself. I don't like to share these things about me as people tend to be stupid about it and I don't want your praise or your ire. I did these things because I wanted to, not to show others how "amazing" I am. I'm not.
I want you to think about how other people think and feel. How does it feel for someone else to read or hear the things you say? How would you feel if you were SOL and someone gave you a hand up? I'm pretty sure the armed forces say (paraphrasing liberally, pun intended) "leave no man behind," which translated into republican speak means, "we're going to give those dumb lazy fat asses who were too stupid to get out of the way of a bullet/shrapnel/mortar/missile a hand up because sometimes shit happens and we all need that hand eventually."
So until you can derive Fermat's last theorem or even tell me what a Lie algebra (you need to pronounce it correctly as well without looking it up) is and be able to talk about it intelligently, or if you prefer, let's get down and dirty, break down a car engine and have you explain to me what each part does as we put it back together, don't come showing me a list of things that make you so fucking special. You're not. We're all human. We all have things that make us unique. We all need each other. And in spite of how I've come across in this rant, we all need to be a lot nicer to each other, and if you ever need a helping hand, in spite of your hate, I will still be willing to help in any way I can.