Monday, June 09, 2008


I grew up in Texas, then spent some time in the Corps.

One residual effect common to both of those experiences was an appreciation for rules of good behavior.

When the fecal matter is well and truly impacting the oscillating air movement device, there is absolutely nothing improper about bitching about the situation.

Carp, complain, lay blame... just as long as you are moving in a positive direction, moving toward a solution or at least an improvement in the status quo.

Weather. Fiscal problems. Arterial bleeding. When men (and I'm sorry to say that almost all my situational anecdotes for this subject do not feature women) find themselves ass deep in bad news, whether alone or in a group, there are two positive signs to watch for:

1. Somebody bitches about the problem... but in doing so defines it in relation to his or the group's obvious first step toward a solution.

2. The lone victim of adverse circumstance puts aside the urge to complain and gets on with dealing with the situation OR a leader steps from the group and takes ownership of the problem and initiates the solution.

It's an amazing thing to watch people stop being individuals and consciously work toward a greater, common goal. I have swung a hammer alongside Jimmy Carter in his capacity as an officer for Habitat for Humanity. Most of the houses I helped build I thought were executed quite well; some of the later ones... well, that's why I stopped participating after our first few years in Utah. Way back in the mists of time I held on to my piece of the rope as a battalion landing team of Marines pulled a 15,000 lb howitzer up a slope, through head-high cactus, in a torrential, after midnight rain, and back onto a road on San Clemente Island. I've talked across the body of an accident victim we weren't going to be able to save, about kite flying, with a teenage girl.

She kept on saying, "I didn't want this", but she never stopped doing the right thing.

I wish I saw more of that.

But tonight, I need to apologize for indulging in whining when the time for that is long, long past. I see the light coming, yadda yadda yadda.... or maybe, more accurately, the darkness falling...

So tonight, I light a candle and bend to the task of getting ready.

No promises on content or regularity of posting, but I will try to keep the most ballistic flights of hyperbole off this blog.

You have a fine one. And get to work. There is much we must do.

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