My grandfather is to this day my hero. He was a navigator in a bomber in WWII, and broke his neck bailing out his plane when it was shot down. He landed behind enemy lines, and spent -- if I am remembering this right -- 18 months in a POW camp, trying to dig his way out and smuggling the sand outside in his pantlegs.
Now, I have a long and glorious history of being the only child/grandchild/etc. interested in the things that my family has to pass down. As the only child interested in hearing his stories, I was given a wealth of knowledge and fascinating adventure stories. I was told about smuggling sand out of the camp. I was told about shaving chocolate bars into wormy porridge to make it easier to eat, and how the prisoners ended up stronger and healthier than the guards, who were given porridge without worms, and therefore without protein. I was told all sorts of things.
I'm not sure if this hero worship is what contributed to the child of a pair of hippies ending up sitting in a coffee shop in a Marine field jacket and Israeli combat boots writing a comic about sky pirates and the british airship navy. However, it has been remarked that I was born for Military Chic. And I know that this pisses off my parents to no end.
My mother sat down in front of the troop trains and protested at ports. My father can be seen flashing a peace sign in his highschool graduation photo. I myself am an anti-military, hardcore pacifist.
And yet I love to look the part of the tired nam vet. I look considerably better in olive drab and russet brown than I do in tie-dye, and my favourite bag is a medic satchel. I am tall and have shoulders that would fit better on someone six inches taller. I hate looking like a hippie. I do not fit in the aesthetic that they have cultivated. Long hair doesn't really look right at this point, tie-dye just makes me look like I got caught in a holi celebration, ripped clothing looks... awkward... and sandals... just no.
But about the boots.
I have been searching for the prefect boots for years. I think I finally found them. Black, nine-eyelets, shined so bright you can practically see your reflection in it, and I love them. Among other things, they complete my look. Beyond that, they're waterproof, warm, full of traction, and make me feel like my grandfather is smiling at me.
At some point, I think I have to make a comic out of my grandfather's stories, if I can delve back to when I was eight and remember them.