After the exam results, Steve Nobody was in a dilemma. He had the grades to go to University, but needed a break from education. His parents insisted he should immediately go to University. A quick decision had to be made. Steve caught a bus to a nearby town and wandered the streets. His stomach rumbled, but he did not have enough money to buy food. He thought about accepting a University place. It felt wrong, but he could not think of anything else to do.
Little did he know it, but Steve’s path in life would echo that of his forebear. He stopped on a street corner, looked over and focussed on the shopfronts across the road. Halfway along was an army recruitment office. He ran over the road and pushed the door open. Inside, Steve looked at the posters on the wall showing soldiers doing a variety of jobs. Some were mechanics, others were cooks. Steve was drawn to images of the infantry and one poster in particular caught his eye. It was a soldier from an elite regiment wearing a disruptive pattern material combat jacket and a maroon beret with prominent winged badge. The soldier looked down the barrel of a rifle. A recruitment sergeant sat Steve down and discussed openings in the army. Steve decided to join the Parachute Regiment and signed some papers. Over the coming weeks, he passed a medical and waited.
Some time later, he held a brown enveloped addressed to him with “On Her Majesty’s Service” printed on the front. He opened it and read the time and place he was to report to a barracks. He was about to become a Parachute Regiment recruit. Steve’s parents were furious with what he had done. They shouted and screamed, and his father made his view clear.
“What do you want to join the army for? You’ll never amount to anything in life!”
But the protestations would change nothing. Steve had committed to join the army and there was nothing they could do about it. His final night living in their house was awkward. They wanted to argue, but he never responded. In the morning, he was up early. With a bag already packed, he walked downstairs and out the door. It clicked shut and he breathed a sigh of relief. Steve jumped on a bus and then waited at a train station. The train journey took hours but, at last, he was lined up with other recruits at the army depot wearing civilian clothes.
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