Sunday, January 30, 2011

"A Period...Not to Exceed 400 Days"

So I know I've had a dry spell lately with the blog.

Had time permitted this week, I might've hit everything from excitement for new possibilities in Egypt and its neighbors, the particularly dangerous snow banks in town (like the one that blocks visibility to anyone leaving Target trying to make a left on Plain), Patrick Murphy's excellent letter in the Sun, and some stuff that was just kind of neat, like the way the American flag flying high between Central and Prescott literally froze in some icy tree branches during that Arctic snap last week.

Anyway, as you can see, I was overcome by events and am now just dashing off this quick entry now. Tomorrow, I'll start a journey "not to exceed 400 days" (yup, it's in my orders so it must be so) that will just be local for the first couple weeks...technically, that part still isn't federal duty, but it's Annual Training...but rather than split hairs with Guard jargon let's just call tomorrow Day One.

The general theme will be a single snapshot whenever possible and then maybe just some kind of reflection on what it captures and why it does (or doesn't) matter. Some days I won't post at all and then may have to play catch up ball on others. Overall, expect more of the mundane than the profound. Maybe tomorrow it's just a full parking lot that didn't use to look that way. Maybe it's our guys doing pull-ups in the door frame between training events. Maybe it's some armchair philosophy about how the first people to complain about having their time "wasted" by taskings always seem to be the least busy in the first place.

There is no shortage of excellent storytelling out there on the Internet and on bookshelves about Iraq and Afghanistan. Typically, when written Italicby a Company Grade officer (that's a Lieutenant or a Captain) the storyline goes something like, "I am awesome. I was the awesomest, awesomest ROTC cadet at [insert college name] and then I went to [insert badass Army branch and schooling], where I was admired by peers, seniors, and 'the men' alike. Then I went overseas, had a brief taste of combat - and could've won the entire war singlehandedly - but I found that everyone above me in the chain-of-command was I had to get out and write this book instead."

Well, I can't promise much, other than being the antithesis of that claptrap. I'm a lifer, I'm not a combat arms guy, and if you spent more than 5 minutes with me, you'd know I'm more likely to walk into a parked car lost in thought about an Atlantic article than to recount stories of broken glass and barstools from spring break.

I have no idea how the upcoming 400 or fewer days will unfold, but I promise you more thoughts and words in the spirit of Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut than I do Rambo and Mr. T. Either way, it'll be, as always, thanks to all seven of you for reading! ;-)


Murph said...

Hey Greg,

Here's to wishing you the best of luck and a safe and speedy return. I pity the fool who doesn't read this blog. Maybe your readership can prove here in the comments section that you have at least double digits. I know there are other well-wishers out there...

The New Englander said...

Haha Murph thanks for the Mr. T-ism..either way I love writing, echo chamber or not. Okay, time to pass out..I'm exhausted.

JoeS said...

Well, best of luck with your adventure. Let's hope that the Lowell you return to is even better than the one you leave.

Murph said...

By the way, Greg, we were talking about this the other day--this is the only place where I comment as "Murph." I log into my gmail and it automatically comes up that way.

And an "amen" on Joe's comment. Let's find the capital when you get back to build Lowell's version of the Somerville Theater!

C R Krieger said...

Best of luck, but don't believe that number.  A bunch of my squadron mates at DaNang (and then Bitburg  We went throughout training together, deployed together and then went to Europe together) had been in a squadron, the 559th, that spent 180 days on Okinawa on a 90 day deployment.  Just a little military humor there for you.

Here is hoping all your self study pays off!

Regards  —  Cliff