It came to me slowly, as all great things do.

I had, for many years, marched to a martial beat in the service of others. Or, at least, that is what I had told myself. I gloried in the marching, the brass clusters and percussive taps. It was my structure, my life, the rack on which I hung the baggy canvas sack which my life had become.

In narratives like mine, the chain is always broken by an unlawful order or a massacre, a big evil blade to sever the chain forever. But, as I said, it was a gradual thing.

When you’re in a rut, when you’re relying on orders to fill a void within you that you refuse to address yourself, you notice little things. That robotic adherence to the letter rather than the spirit. That cynical manipulation to get what you want rather than what they meant. And the annoyance of watching the young and the idealists, matched only by the annoyance of watching them wilt into you, into your successors.

Everybody has a point, even if it’s just a fleeting one, in their lives where the straws are piled high enough that they can see the break coming, even if the camel can carry another bale or two. For me, that time came one morning when, as I had done a hundred times before, I had to write somebody up.

Only this time, somthing was different.

Only this time, that somebody…was me.

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