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Posts Tagged ‘Marine’

Have you noticed that dystopian fiction is on the upswing?   My best friend and I share a love of dystopian movies and books, so we were years ahead of this trend.  I’m trying to get her into the TV series “The Walking Dead,” which is about zombies.  I’ve finished all of seasons 1 and 2 in the past 2 weeks, and I’m excited for season 3!  I’m not normally a zombie person – I read very little zombie dystopian fiction, but this TV show is making me a convert.

I’ve been struggling lately to start exercising.  I’d like to have kids in the next year or so and I’ve been consciously trying to prepare my body for that, hence no longer taking anxiety medicine, trying to use my CPAP machine more, drinking water, and now exercising.  One of the most motivating thoughts I’ve had is just how completely unprepared I would be for the zombie apocalypse in my current physical shape.  Yeah, I look pretty healthy, but I start to get out of breath after 3 flights of stairs.  I don’t want to be dead weight, so I’m going to try to start walking and running.

This train of thought has led to me to wonder exactly what skills I could contribute if we were overrun by a plague of the undead.  My husband normally has a monopoly on all practical skills since he runs a construction company.  It’s pretty easy to see how useful being able to fix things and build things would be in that kind of future, but my line of work wouldn’t really transfer.   I don’t think there would be that much call for linguistics or research.  Here’s a list of skills I have that I think would be useful:

(1) People like to help me.  If you’ve ever traveled with me, you know what a bonus that can be.  There’s just something winsome and innocent about me that makes people trust me.

(2) I can knit.  Mostly scarves, but a blanket is just a wide scarf, so if we broke into a Michael’s and got lots of yarn, I could make blankets for us.

(3) I have scary good aim.  I know this because I visited my brother at OCS when he was a Marine and participated in family day, where I got to shoot M-16’s and M-203’s.  It caused a lot of comment among the Marines that my aim was so good and I got a few extra turns with the M-203 (grenade launcher) to see if it was a fluke.  I don’t rate this as my number one contribution because I don’t like guns and might freeze up if a zombie attacked me.

(4) If there were a book on survival, I would read it and learn a lot of useful things about the plants we could eat and how to tie knots, etc.  If anything is in a book, I can learn it.  The problem would be finding such a book on the run.

(5) I’m good at giving shots.  That could come in handy if anyone needs medical care.

(6) I’m good at languages, so if we had to travel or encountered people who didn’t speak English, I’d be a good choice for first contact.

Hopefully I’ll be able to add, “Runs quickly” or at least, “I can walk a lot” to this list in the next few weeks.

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I read an article recently about Pat Conroy, one of my favorite depressed Southern authors.  I jotted down this quote he gave about growing up as a child in a military household: “We spent our entire childhoods in the service of our country, and no one even knew we were there.”

My father was a Marine, so I moved a lot as a child.  I was perpetually the “new kid” so I had to learn to land on my feet again and again and again.  I mastered how to quickly assess the dynamics in a room – who has power?  Who is a pariah?  Who should be avoided and who needs to be befriended?  I became good at making friends, although not very adept at staying in touch with them for the long haul.  There was a rhythm to our lives that involved moving in May and starting a new school in September.  Except when we had to move and start a new school in October or April during the middle of a school year.

I don’t like it when people ask me where I’m from.  I’m not from anywhere.  I don’t like it when people say it must have been “such a great experience” to see so much of the world as a child and I must be so “outgoing.”  That’s like saying that being poor must have really taught you to be resourceful about finding enough to eat – what a blessing!

The Marine Corps was the source of a lot of tension in my family, and my nomadic childhood was just collateral damage.  My parents made choices for me that I would not have made for myself.  They volunteered me to make sacrifices that I would not require of my own  children.  For instance, I would not ask my children to attend 6 different schools in 4 years in a row during middle school, which everyone knows is like Lord of the Flies under the best of circumstances.

My brother joined the Marine Corps when I was in college during the war in Iraq.  I had known about the sacrifices that powerless children make when their parents serve their country.  During those years I learned about the sacrifices that adults make when their loved ones go to war.  I learned about a different kind of helplessness, and that love can hold you hostage to the choices another person makes every bit as much as childhood does.  Being an adult is still better.

I don’t know what it is to be a Marine, but I see those invisible children who have been drafted into serving their country, and I won’t do that to my children.

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