by Thomas Booth
Before I joined the Navy in the pursuit of catapult shots and broken sound barriers, I tuned cars to go as fast as my minimum-wage-wallet could take them. All my mother saw were cars that broke a lot. She didn’t understand that was the accepted reality of pushing any machine to its limits. At the time, I didn’t understand that principle applied to the driver as well.
This analogy hit me shortly after watching the documentary “Stutz” on Netflix, where he states, “The three aspects of reality that no one can avoid are pain, uncertainty, and constant work.” If you operate a machine well within the design limits of the system, all three will be significantly reduced, but they will still be there. When I wanted to push those limits, I immediately accepted the trade-off of increasing all three, for the joy of finding the limit–going where fewer people had been. I was unaware the trade included the driver as well.
Without going through the spiritual journey that got me to where I am today, I am no longer ignorant, but I am still pushing the limits. That same journey gave me the tools I needed to tune my machine. Unlike the days of my minimum-wage-wallet, the parts are free, the better ones just take more work to bolt on. The machine will still undoubtedly break, but it will also go further and faster and where fewer people have been.
Thomas Booth is fourth-generation military but certainly not out of blind patriotism. More like inertia and familiarity. A Marine Corps brat raised just outside the gates of Parris Island in Beaufort, SC, who joined the US Navy in May of 2001 to pursue TOP GUN dreams and get out of Beaufort, SC. Eventual F-18 Driver, followed by tours as forward deployed Operations Support to the Joint Special Operations community and multiple Clandestine Agencies. Currently working in sales strategy for an enterprise software company.
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