Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"In the real world, you can do good for good's sake... and still get the girl" or Spider-Man Is NOT Off the Mark!

Well, I've thought about how to say this without sounding like it's horn-tooting. It's not, if you're going to think it is, oh well. But this is a personal account that really applies to the theme currently being talked about in various Spider-Man Blogs. See:

Matt Yglesias and Henry Farrel

Title: In the real world, you can do go for good's sake... and still get the girl

In 1998 I joined the army. Not out of some wish for college money or spirit of adventure, etc. I joined because I wanted to participate in something greater than myself and give myself to it completely.

I had two kids and a wife. She supported my decision to join.

When the air campaign in Kosovo was imminent, a tasking came down for an intel analyst to my battalion. I went immediately to my LT and begged to be sent. He did. I spent two months in Macedonia for the air campaign and moved directly into Kosovo Initial Entry for the next six months.

The marriage didn't make it those 8 months. Though it was a family decision to join, one half of the family reconsidered and bailed. Them's the breaks. I knew the risk going in, I accept the consequences. It may enrage some people to hear me speak about family like that, but if everyone was family first and put themselves and their kin above contributions to society for their entire lives we would still be a tribal, blood-feuding culture. I believe there is a time for family and a time for service and the service I chose required me to be younger and healthy... so it was my time.

So, here I am. Seven years after joining. After Kosovo I was reassigned to the US. I met my wife Alex. Truly, the girl of my dreams. Our marriage is such that forgiveness comes for anything because we know we each act out of good in our hearts. Mushy and soft sounding? Yeah. But true. I learned in my African Civilization class that the European ideal of true love between a man and a woman is an impossible ideal and this is justification for polygynous marriages (one man, many wives). Well, I'm living the ideal. Two years into the marriage and we still rush to embrace whenever one of us comes home, still call work in the morning to say hello, still cuddle at night in front of that modern version of the fireplace: the television. My marriage now holds the same excitement it did when we first met. It's been two years and change and I don't foresee it changing any time soon.

Read: Screw you African Culture teacher! My European idealic love is here, working, and gives me strength each day. Anyway... told you I go off on tangents...

I met her in April 2002, married in June 2002. I was deployed to the Middle East in January of 2003.

That girl didn't even blink. She stayed there for me in ways I never thought I needed. She never once complained, never once said I was being selfish in my attitude for serving and the inconvenience it gave our family. She was pregnant the entire time I was gone.

I never heard one peep of complaint and when I returned home she met me at the airport with the biggest smile I could have asked for. Just meeting her there was better than any parade, party or photo-op those WWII guys seemed to get in the movies.

For seven years I've dedicated myself to serving my country and its causes. Though it was immediately neglectful of my family, in the long run it helped the world they will inherit. Imagine if no one took that road. No army, no public service. Everyone just looking out for number one and their kids. This world would suck. No plainer way to put it.

You CAN serve and, in my case, you CAN be rewarded. Higher power. Fate. Destiny. Whatever. I'm the unlickiest SOB in the planet and I got it. I would bet that if you threw yourself into it and never looked back, you would to.

Another note: I'm an ugly guy. My wife, however, is a super-intelligent woman who most closely resembles Shakira. So closely that's what they call her at work. She wasn't attracted by my looks. She was attracted by my care and intensity, my determination, in everything I do. The moral is that you will get that Dunst if you are true about yourself. Someone along the way will notice. Some of you will think me telling you I have care, intensity and determination is a flouting of virtues. It isn't. These are virtues I work hard to practice on a daily basis. It's not easy. That road never is. But it's brought me Alex so there's no question whether it's worth the effort.

Alex wasn't the reward. That would imply I was doing it to get the girl. She's not a prize... She was the reason. I didn't even know the reason in my head until she took my heart.

Like I said before, sounds mushy and soft. But it's true.

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