Bonus: Thoughts before I leave you; my final Chapter







Never thought I was mature early in life (or even now) so, I’ll begin my observations in 1961 when I was 14, and realized you could turn the number upside down and it was still 1961. It was also the year that I seriously began longing for a paying job. I’m not making this list to be dissimulative, I’m serious. (All listings in random order)




Failure of Bay of Pigs


Kennedy assassination

Berlin Wall

Vietnam War

MLK assassination

Kent State killings

Charles Manson

OPEC embargo

Invention of Smiley Face

Man buns


Closing of Project Blue Book


Death of Elvis

Al-Qaeda, ISIS


The story of Kathleen Willey’s cat


COVID-19 (Had to think long & hard to come up with that one).


Polio vaccine

Civil Rights Legislation, respect and treatment of  women, the disabled, and our efforts to understand people of all ethnicities.

U.S. first on Moon


Experiencing Combat

Ronald Reagan

Internet, WWW, HDTV, Fox News

Spell check & word processors

Cell phones & digital cameras

Microwaves, ATM, On-line shopping

Improvement in taste of frozen foods, especially pizza.


Google Maps & GPS



Food & Shelter

Love & Relationships, Women who were in my life.

Great Food

The absence of excruciating pain

Martial intimacy


Living in freedom in the USA


My accomplishments

Achieving a goal and the satisfaction that comes with it.

Continuing to learn

Children playing (at a distance, of course)

A good nap

Working actually, (well sometimes)


Love from my pets & my satisfaction of doing things with them, they most enjoy (& me trying to be the person they think I am).


My wife, my brother, my friends.

My wife’s hummingbird feeding addiction & her art, like the drawing of flowers.

Reading & Writing

Did I mention citizenship & living in the USA?

A good fire in the stove with wood I gathered and split.

Paying off debt

Looking through my tools, die cast cars & admiring other stuff I’ve collected.

Driving my sports cars-fast, in appropriate confines, of course.

Cheri’s Car

Keeping the faith

My sense of humor, my positive outlook, my retirement income.


“Pundits,” especially on TV, most have no clue about which they speak. 

People with their own agenda who have convinced millions — who don’t bother to look for themselves — an inaccurate and dishonest interpretation of the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state. 


Don Lemon on TV

Joy Behar on TV

No, I like him. (Courtesy Fox)

Casey Anthony

Chuck Schumer in politics.

Trust Fund Liberals who don’t have to work, just make life miserable for those who do.


The Nobel Peace Prize to: B.O. & A.G.

An Academy Award for: A.G.

Women & Men who stay in abusive relationships.

Churches destroyed by acts of God

Terrible things happening to good people.

How awful live must be for the scores who are affected by COVID-19, especially for those who were already struggling. 

People who prey on children.

 Why Karma isn’t always 100% and Sooner rather than Later

People (like young U.S. citizens) who proudly wear Che Guevara T-shirts are apparently unaware of whom he really was.

Why so-called Progressives seem to believe that Caucasians must be classified Bad — and other Races Good  —  if we are to redress past injustices.

Why pets lives are so short and not forever. 

How I finished a book when I can hardly spell or type. Approximately 81 percent of Americans think they should write a book;  2 percent have completed a manuscript.

A World without Love

WHAT I’VE LEARNED (I don’t claim all were my original ideas):

Ninety percent of the things we worry about never happen.

That said, If I don’t have anything to worry about at any given time, I’ll think of something.

There is no safety in Denial.

I have a Conscience.

The harder you work, the luckier you are (Attributed to Abe Lincoln).

I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.

There is no failure except in no longer trying.

You can’t build a reputation on things you’re going to do.

You can be a Victim or You can be Successful — You Can’t be Both, However.

Equal opportunity doesn’t mean equal results.

Self-pity costs nothing, and it is worth just as much.

A good way to fail is to try to please everyone.

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill

Only a Mediocre person is always at his best.

There may be a time to slow down or even quit, but never give up.

If you’re not complaining, you might be too sick to, or you’re not sick enough.

Wish I didn’t know Now what I didn’t know Then.

Nothing is more conductive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all. Lichtenberg (1742-1799)

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. George Orwell.

Life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.

A person convinced against their will is a person not convinced. 

It’s easier to be tolerant of others, when not worried about your next rent or mortgage payment.

The trouble with loving is that pets don’t last long enough and people last too long. 

Parenting is by far the hardest job.


Everything is relative.

A happy medium is the secret in balancing family & career.

Serious depression is the worst malady.

Screw up a little, you’re a jerk, screw up a lot, you’re a victim.

Where do we draw the line?

Women, From a Partner, Want:  You to make a good living but not be away too much, well known, but not too. Good-looking, but not too. Your love and affection when they feel the need in just the correct dose, naturally. 

A person is the sum of his/her experiences.

If not for people, this world wouldn’t be a bad place.

Some people are alive, simply because it’s illegal to kill them.

Life isn’t fair, nor will it ever be, and it’s full of little injustices.

Goodness is not always Rewarded.

Living Well is the best Revenge.


I don’t want much; I just want more and I have an overspending problem.

Meaning of life; if you have to ask you don’t need to know (OK, OK, it has something to do with love).

But you don’t have to know the Meaning of Life to Enjoy it Fully.

Some people, no matter their profession, are just inept jerks.

Today, nothing is sacred.

We’re too damn soft, we’re too damn sensitive.

Beliefs you thought to be mainstream 30 years ago probably wouldn’t be welcomed in mixed company and people of different political persuasions.

If you’re a conservative (even a compassionate one, like me) you might be careful where you speak, or even if you should speak.


Professional Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines guarding the gates of freedom have an average salary of $38,000 annually; Professional athletes in the top four sports have an average salary of about $4.0 million.

We often take for granted, the things we should appreciate most. (Cynthia Ozick)

Those who fought for freedom enjoy a peace that others may never know.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

He who Laughs, Lasts.

Nobody ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have while trying to write one.  Robert Byrne

I infer, You imply. 

There is probably a good reason for the road — less traveled.

Something to do and someone to love and something to hope for. (Rita Mae Brown)

Maslow had a good theory.

Forgiveness is an important cleanser of the soul.

I believe you Clarence (Supreme Court Justice).

A top biochemist working on a life-saving vaccine can make up to $100k a year: Top professional athletes can and do make at least $32 million in that same time.

A handicapped diplomat can park anywhere she pleases.

You haven’t lived until you’ve almost died (Special Forces maxim).

Mary Tyler Moore watched Fox News.


She/He who dies with the most toys was probably overextended.

Never trust someone based solely on the knowledge of the back of their hands.

When I’m down, I feel bad for feeling bad, and feeling bad just makes me feel worse.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.

Sorrow is the great equalizer.


We make time for things we really want to do.

You always remember what you’d like most to forget.

If we don’t do something, they are going to do nothing.

If you don’t live it, you don’t really believe it.

Not for systemic racism, a relatively unknown, first term senator from Illinois might have gone far in life. Sarcasm aside, He had the gut’s to give the OK for the UBL raid, when most of his advisors disagreed..


You Never Know.

That I can’t remember all I’ve learned that is worthy of imparting.

Had I been born with half a brain, natural talent and not befallen with a debilitating  and incurable malady at age 27, I might have amounted to something.  

My assets must be in a blind trust, because, I can’t see any of them.

In many of the so-called aspects of life, I consider myself to be less than average; in a few though, I’m pretty damn lucky.

Who knew?

If I could, I really would.

“People say, ‘I’m taking it one day at a time.’ You know what? So is everybody. That’s how time works.” (Hannibal Buress)

Statistics provide overwhelming evidence that we (you) are going to die.

It is oft said, the two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why (Mark Twain). I can’t remember the first, and I’m still working on the latter.


I've had the occasion to interact with, be around, and know all kinds of people all over the world. I can say with certitude that some are evil, incorrigible, and malevolent, as to be unfit for habitation in a free society. (You need not be kind to these people.) Fortunately,  these wicked cretins are in the minority. Overwhelmingly, people are decent law-abiding, altruistic members of the race we commonly refer to as human, err, humankind. So, I leave you with this: 

Be Kind, Everyone has a Cross to Bear. 

If my story kindled a Smile, a Laugh, or, most importantly, inspired you to Think, neither of us wasted time; Not me writing, Not you reading. 

Swan’s-Song Publishing, Copyright © 2023,

The next time you spot a grey-haired man ambling about (possibly on a cane) wearing a Vietnam veteran cap with a distinctive Cav patch, you may be in the midst of, minus 55 years: The Baddest Ass in the Jungle.

About the Author: Swan is a decorated Vietnam veteran who served in the U. S. Army as a Combat Correspondent with the elite 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). He’s authored several feature articles about veterans and their combat experience. Swan holds both BA and MA degrees from the University of Denver. He was a senior Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Air Force, a Denver DJ, and a Pro-Am race car driver.  My Life At The Limit is his first full-length book, an autobiography. He lives on the Pacific in Northern Calif. with his wife and three canines.

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