I did thirty years in the field before finishing my first associates degree. Only after those towers fell did I actually wear a uniform so as to appear uniform but I knew I was not as well as they did. A year and a half later I was getting an award for my post 911 service...and then received my first AA.
I wore the uniform but was never an employee of the Federal Government, who I had openly disagreed with since the mid 1970’s. Attempts to modify my thinking worked, but perhaps not as planned.
I never officially attempted a PhD. The email that finally came from the feds said that I had not properly completed the application and that they were no longer offering the program I applied for. I had thought I was just about done when I sent them a poorly executed draft of my dissertation a year earlier. The feds admission policy was don’t call us, so I had not. I was ok not talking to the feds. Being from New Jersey, I was quite comfortable not talking to the feds.
I work in the field every day. I write. I teach too...I teach Rule Number 2. My early work was in physics, but not just physics. Decades later I came up with Rule Number 2: There is always a higher level of play. I have been teaching this since 911...to kids like me who had game but were not in on the joke. I don’t mind admitting I was played...I volunteered.
I had volunteered before I was played, and thus unknowingly participated in decades of plays that almost always ended up with my peers being introduced to the folks who had outplayed them... after I was already gone.
The Senator who handed me my AA decided not to run for office ever again. Telstar? Who remembers Telstar? Fade to black....