Rabbi Hawkins
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A Bit About Me, Rabbi Hawkins

My name is Rabbi Hawkins. It wasn’t always that. At one time I was good old plain ‘Donnie’ Hawkins. Once upon a time I was a civilian, a university student nearly through the third year of a four-year degree in journalism. Then, with the speed of a rattlesnake on a caffeine high, my life turned on me. I was offered three years in jail with a criminal record and a full education in larceny. Or, I could accept three years in the Army and come out with a very limited skill set: killing people my government didn’t like.

It had all started when I had tried to save my buddy, Mac, from a beating by a gang of thugs in a back alley. I had tried threatening them with a plastic rifle. Yeah, a toy gun. And the outcome? Three years of using real guns. Makes sense, right?

Before my life blew up, my goal was to be a newspaper reporter and eventually write Canada’s greatest novel. I was already a working journalist, having done a couple of internships; one in Sudbury, Ontario and the other in Nanaimo, B.C.

People say I operate with my own set of rules. Lance Corporal Jake Merryfield and the Depot Regimental Sergeant Major are chief among them. But they’re my rules and I obey them more than most people say they obey the laws of our society.

Granted, I’m a guy who’s a bit of a rebel, a misfit as far as organized authority goes, but I do have a huge sense of fair play. This continually gets me into big trouble because justice in the army is often subordinated to expediency.

I’m in trouble because of what I call the ‘fairness’ gene, but to be honest, I try to pick the hill I want to die on. I’ll duck and weave through the rules and regulations of the Canadian Army, although I deny being a barrack-room lawyer. And on a number of occasions, if I don’t beat the rap completely, I at least mitigate the outcome.

I do admit to a few flaws. I’ve been known to gamble. I drink but I never seem to get hangovers. Any fights I get into, and there have been a few, I make sure that the other guy knows he’s been in a scrap. That has given me a rep as someone not to mess with. If I had to come up with one line that would describe how I live, it would be “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” It’s not mine, I adopted it.

My immediate family consists of my mother, who was a terrific homemaker as they called it and who seemed to understand all of us kids. My Dad is a biggie in the industrial world; his company makes ball bearings or railway cars. He’s a cool guy, great father and an average golfer.

Then there was me, twenty-two when the army came calling. Born on April Fool’s Day, and yeah, I’ve heard them all. Then there’s the mob, two sisters, Jennifer and Gail. Jennifer, two years younger than me- never Jenn or Jenny, was so grown up at the age of three, she skipped being a kid. Now that we’ve both grown up a bit, she and I get along fine.

Next there’s Gail, at seventeen a wild child who was jammed in the middle. Talk about your rebel without a pause. Finally, and bringing up the rear was the little brother, Mikey. Mikey, never Michael, ‘That’s for grown ups. I’m Mikey,” he had said around age four and we held him to it. A bunch of aunts and uncles scattered through the length and breadth of Ontario and that’s pretty much the Hawkins family.

After high school I couldn’t be bothered maintaining my ducktail – too much work and the style was starting to be associated with hooligans. While at university, because it was easy to handle, I had adopted my own shaggy dog style. On completion of basic training my black hair grew back to its unruly mess. At least the stuff that was hidden by my hat. It was only later that I realized that the Beatles had stolen my look.