Robin Amy Bass

I GOT LUCKY

I got lucky – he says to me
The fates pitched me a curve
Yeah… when it came to Vietnam
I didn’t have to serve

I know some guys who were in Nam
They all came back fucked up
It’s funny how things work sometime
Was just a stroke of luck

When it began, I was of age
But my number was high
Well that was when they had the draft
You kissed your ass goodbye

I had some friends who had to go
My best friend was a Vet
The nicest guy you’d ever meet
They haven’t found him yet

“I got lucky”, he says to me
They say that war is hell
But those guys got a shitty deal
And I can always tell

The look I see in someone’s eyes
It’s like an icy stare
The next time they called numbers out
I was too old to care

You know I’m from a tougher place
You can’t buy your way out
The Bronx is such a noisy place
In SPANISH, HEAR THEM SHOUT

Amigo you a lucky dude
Jesus was on your side
My cousin Anna calls to me
You know her brother died

He didn’t run to Canada
He didn’t hide in school
He didn’t burn a draft card
Some say he was a fool

And worse than that – they was it was
Opinion polls were split
The liberals – and that movie star
They gave our boys such shit

For something that few men can do
Our boys – too young to be called men
Were sent to serve their Uncle Sam
So where’s their Uncle when

The ones – not blown to smithereens
Come back in to the States
A Wall and ticker tape parade
They even made them wait

For any true acknowledgement
It’s not what they deserved
They spit on them – they over looked
But me? I didn’t serve

“I got lucky” – I say to him
It’s funny how roads swerve
Someone sent you back to me
I get to preserve

All the memories that we had
Make some new ones too
Course I don’t say it out loud
You wouldn’t want me to

List the facts or document
Things just meant for us
So I turn to Robert now
“There’s so much to discuss”

He does not know the other half
But I know that you do
I got lucky – I repeat
The irony shines through

I am on Queens Blvd
Shaking off The Crouch.
“Well I should get on the floor
Go and sell a couch”

“I got lucky! I’m in love
And it was not planned,”
Robert winks, “I’m glad for you”
We both understand

Author’s Note: There is a manager at work that was transferred back into my store. We have always been good friends, but it’s been about a year, since I’ve seen him. When I walked into the store, he called me over. It’s no secret that I write… I try to keep it low key, because Ben has asked for anonymity, but because of this website – it’s easy to see where my sympathies lie.

“I hear you hooked up with an old boyfriend” Robert the manager says. “What does he do?”

“He’s a musician and he writes”, I reply. I am always a bit vague (at least in the beginning).

Because, Ben and I are making a home movie, I proceed to show him a very funny tape of Ben imitating an aging rock star. I play the straight man (not that kind)… For some reason, I have been carrying my mini-cam with me everywhere.

Robert starts laughing… then sobers up “I read your story” – he is literally referring to My Story – on that website. “How’s Ben doing? Are you happy?”

“I got lucky”, I say. “I reconnected with someone I really belonged with.” I don’t say anything about Ben’s being a Marine or in Vietnam or PTSD. I don’t have to say anything – my index page speaks for itself.

“How was Memorial Day?” Robert asks.

“Biz was slow, ‘cause of the closing”, I answer.

Our company is being bought by a larger company. 500 people in a state of flux… unions yelling at non-union. Liquidations… it has not been a good 6 weeks. July 20 is the official closing date.

“That’s not what I meant”… Robert… is a true retailer – with a sell, sell, sell mentality, so it surprises me when he says, “It’s rough for those guys. It was rough when they were there and worse when they came home.”

I say, “Every day is tough for those guys… “Robert tells me about his own experiences…