When his Iraq deployment seemed to be winding down, he received notice of an involuntary extension of his active duty service obligation.
“If you’re in and they invested into your training for a year or however long, they feel they have a ‘right’ to an extension,” Chris explains.
At the time, Chris was already registered at the University of New Hampshire and began reading Kerouac in order to get into the college swing-of-things to pursue a degree in English. Feeling an increasing lack of control and stability, Chris focused even further on surviving his extended active service obligation and used literature as an escape.
“Reading was the only thing I could rely on,” he explains. “I was always on call because my schedule was all over the place so I would read Orson Wells, Steven King, Douglas Adams, and Kurt Vonnegut. The worlds and communities they created in these books were rich, something to explore, and an escape.”
This more thoughtful and reflective man was a far cry from the extreme sports teenager from New England who only wanted adventure.
“It’s not like I had a full understanding of what I was getting into, and if I would have, I wouldn’t have signed up,” he reflects on his younger self. “But, I guess I did figure out who I was in the military.” Eventually, Chris finished his Iraq deployment in 2004, feeling more confident in himself. “I don’t think I had an original thought until I was confronted with it in the military,” he says.
“I started getting into philosophical things because I witnessed how fragile everything was.”