Archive of Reader Reactions & Anecdotes

Reader Comments on Outflanking the Enemy

From Jack K, 12 April 2008:

“Outflanking The Enemy” could not have come at a more appropriate and meaningful time in my personal and professional life. Why? I am a member of a military reserve unit currently on active duty orders, performing a vital stateside mission in support of the global war on terrorism. Our orders end with the fiscal year in September. Our unit was given the opportunity to extend our orders for another year provided we agree to do the same mission in the great “sandbox” across the water, and in the same, comfortable, non-combat-zone capacity as our stateside duty. Not a big lift.

There was nearly a 100% volunteer rate in our unit. That number included a handful of us, myself one of them, who are approaching that magic birth date whereupon we reach the age of 60, one day beyond which, we are deemed no longer capable of performing the same function we were successfully conducting just twenty-four hours before. We can, of course, apply for an age waiver, provided we meet certain criteria, not the least of which is the physical fitness standard. All of us in that magic age group meet or exceed that standard, and even meet the benchmarks required of the twenty-and-thirty-somethings in our unit. Being a past member of the military, I’m sure you are aware that requesting a waiver is no guarantee of receiving one. We were told as much. I’m not hinting for publicity to plead our case. I’m merely venting along the same lines, hopefully as wryly as you have done in your latest blog. Please continue to outflank the enemy!

Kind regards,

Jack K.

From Pat, 12 April 2008:

Dear Jack,

Your blog this morning made me smile . . . and remember.

While visiting Portland, Oregon, this summer I observed an Elvis impersonator on the street corner across from where I sat with my daughter at a coffee shop. He wore the silly white sequined bell-bottomed pant suit and a red cape. The top of his black hair touched the limbs of the tree under which he stood, wearing big yellow glasses and a scarf, always a scarf. But when he turned on the boom box and began to sing, he sounded nothing like Elvis. But worse, when folks walked by without a glance or a toss of a coin, he stopped singing, drooped his shoulders and turned off the music. It was absolutely the worst Elvis impersonation I have ever seen. And watching it, I was filled with a deep sadness.

This poor man probably spent hours preparing for his street corner gig, and he looked ridiculous. But all that could be forgiven if he simply had worn the hat he obviously had chosen. I wrote in my journal that day, “If you’re going to be Elvis, be Elvis, or just be yourself.”

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