"Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am. Stands amused, complacent, compassionate, idle, unitary, looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest. Looking with side-curved head, curious at what will come next. Both in and out of the game, watching and wondering at it."
—— Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.
If it is a few weeks later and I have not changed the date above,
then please try to contact me: 260-241-1432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I don't answer within a few days, please have
the Fort Wayne Police (260-427-1222) do a welfare check.
Hopefully this will prevent someone from living off my Social Security
after killing me.
My name is Franklin Thomas Hoffman; my family calls me Tom, everyone else calls me Frank. I have enjoyed a very good life; having been to a lot of "cool" places (including Norway, Alaska and Montana) and met many truly great people. I have been a follower and a leader, an insecure office worker and a working security officer, an engraver and milkshake-maker, an artist and artilleryman. Therefore, when the original equipment of my primary functions start to fail (heart, lungs, brain), I have no intention of having them significantly repaired, modified or replaced. I would prefer not to be a withered shadow relying on others to continue to exist. I am only trying to be useful while waiting patiently for my heart attack. I don’t think that “god’s plan” includes the sale of my estate… currently committed to an organization called Army Emergency Relief… to instead purchase a little more comfort or time for myself and maybe a second yacht for some corporate hospital administrator or third home for a pharmaceutical company shareholder. Also, when I die, if there is any organ that someone might be able to use (unlikely), go ahead and take it.
By working up to 3 jobs at a time (security, customer relations, manufacturing, etc.) I paid off a total of over $70,000 debt from my failed business (printmaking services for artists — it turns out artists don't have much money… who knew?), I found that if I was judicious, I could get a mortgage on a small house in the midwest and live on only my military retirement income. So I left the rat race. The generosity of the people of the United States grants me monthly an amount of money which, carefully spent, permits me a gracious retirement. Currently I act as a conduit through which the federal government supports the local economy because my military retirement pay (primarily) ends up with local business (think of me as a federal economic stimulus, or a way for local businesses to get some of their federal taxes returned to them). I am the steward of a 75 year old house and 40 year old truck, which I maintain in working order for posterity — or, perhaps, the bulldozer. My particular DNA sequence will die with me; but I have siblings and cousins on two continents, so my contribution to the gene pool is, in effect, neutral. I do give quite a bit of money to charity. Having been active in the Lions Club, I am now active only in The American Legion, however I will in these few years volunteer more often in service to the local community. To conclude; with all those things in mind, I am aware of serving various purposes, but they are not ones that others could not fulfill just as well; so I'm not going to hang around any longer than necessary. Just letting you know where I stand. …..Oh, and if at all possible, I want to die with my boots on.
Note to medical practitioners:
Any medical treatment which I do not specifically authorize will not be paid for ; not by me, not by my insurance, and not by the government. Any and all procedures must be authorized by me, and if I am physically unable to authorize it and it is not covered by the forms here below, that procedure will NOT be employed. If you decide to employ it, neither you nor the institution you work in will be paid.
“I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
― From "The Shootist", John Wayne
"The fewer people I see in the course of a day the happier I am ; …and most days now, I’m ecstatic."
— Frank Hoffman
"I love mankind; it's people I can't stand."
— Charles M. Schulz
Upon completing nearly 2 years of college, Frank Hoffman enlisted in 1973 and was assigned to the 71st Aviation Company in Wertheim, Germany as an aircraft refueler (PVT-SPC). He completed his Associate Degree while on active duty. At the end of his first enlistment, he separated but then re-entered the Army in 1976 as a Field Artillery Surveyor and was assigned to the Cold Regions Test Center a Ft. Greely, Alaska for 4 years (SP5).
In 1980 he again separated from the Army for the purpose of attending the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Graduating Distinguished Military Graduate from the ROTC program and with a degree in Fine Arts, with honors, Frank Hoffman was commissioned in 1982 and assigned to 2nd Armored Division (FWD) at Garlstedt, Germany. He served as Recon/Survey Officer, Battery Fire Direction Officer, and Target Acquisition Platoon Leader for 4-3 FA and as Battalion Fire Support Officer for 3-41 Infantry Battalion.
After attending Field Artillery Advanced Course, Frank Hoffman was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery as a division-level Assistant Fire Support Coordinator. He was then assigned to 1-82nd Field Artillery (155mm-SP, a subordinate unit of the DivArty) as an Assistant S3 and Battalion S4. On 17 March 1989 CPT Hoffman assumed command of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, and relinquished command on 23 July 1990.
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
Note: At the time the above was written, I was serving as ROTC MS-IV Advisor and Commandant of Cadets at Montana State University.
In 1995 I retired from the Army while in Montana, began an organization called Bozeman Pass Printmakers which survives there, held various jobs in Montana, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, and am now fully retired in Fort Wayne, Indiana.