na foine ting

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I'm tired.

Desperately, deeply tired.

I can't function on this little sleep, and yet, here I am.

When I was in first grade, we played a variety of really interesting games during recess that involved most of the kids in the class, a high degree of imagination and a fair amount of cooperation.

For example, we would play Lord of the Rings, and a bunch of kids would be elves, and some other kids would be humans, and then we had a hobbit or two, and teeming thousands of orcs. And the periodic dragon. We had a big play yard, with lots of trees, grass, and sand. So all these various creatures and children pretending to be things fit in it.

We'd also play Wolf Pack, where everyone was a wolf and we charged around the playground in a group howling and barking and chasing imaginary prey. Sometimes we'd fight and scuffle amongst ourselves.

Frequently, we'd play World War II. Two of the kids, Bron Scott and Will Sherman, were really big on WWII history, and conveniently, they loathed each other. Bron was the US, and Will was England. Apparently in their version of the war, the Germans and Japanese just didn't figure in much.

But the Americans and English? Hard core, baby. Hard core.

I was kind of crushed out on Will, so of course I wound up in Bron Scott's camp. Bron was very knowledgeable and organized, so the whole war thing was a big complicated deal that involved a lot of behind the scenes work, forming things up, gathering supplies and weapons and drawing plans in the dirt. It was all very exciting. Even now, I imagine Bron over in Iraq somewhere, uncrossing his arms only to point gravely. "No, you can't put the smart bombs *there*. Over *there, by the toilet paper, you idiot.*"

We all scrambled and organized and toted and lifted and pretty soon, all our stuff was ready there under the trees in the US camp. Far away, behind the sand hill on the opposite side of the field, Will's side was ready too. Their preparation seemed to primarily involve Will losing his temper because everyone was arguing with him, and finding a lot of sticks to throw at Bron.

The battle itself had to be short because by the time Bron was done organizing his camp, it was almost time to go inside. But it was fantastic. Everyone -- or mostly everyone -- would line up on either side, and someone would yell 'charge' at random (rarely Will or Bron Scott), and both sides would race towards each other across the field.

There would be a lot of yelling and arguing. "You're dead!" "No I'm not!"

Bron Scott would get hit with sticks.

It was thrilling. That moment, right before someone called the charge and everyone bolted towards each other, utterly fantastic.

Of course, I wasn't allowed to actually do the charging. I stood back at the camp under the trees and watched.

Because in Bron Scott's notion of war, girls had one role: nursing.

The groups would charge at each other. Valiant first graders would come back missing an arm, or a leg, or with big holes blown in them. I would tend them with sand and leaves.

I knew my place.

I posted my resume on recently, and have gotten an influx of interesting email as a result. Headhunters from all over the country have contacted me to offer me jobs I don't want, or jobs I do want in places I really don't want to live.

I've also gotten some mail from the government.

I got a really compelling email from the US Navy Reserve, saying that they'd seen my resume on and they had exciting jobs for people with my qualifications, doing things like intelligence work and being a Master at Arms, whatever that is. It all sounded very exciting.

So I thought what the hell, and answered the email, which process included going to a website and entering information into a form.

I should have known right there, when none of my information fit the form, that I was making a mistake. After I filled in the form, a message page came up saying that a Real Live Navy Recruiter would be contacting me in 48 hours.

Four days later, I got an email.

I know, the Navy's busy. There's a war going on. Sticks to collect and smart bombs to stow in all the right places.

But there it was, more or less a form email from a recruiter saying that in order to enter their officer program, I had to have the following qualifications:

Be 35 or younger (does looking 25 count? On a good day with makeup?)
Have a BA
Be in good physical condition
No bankruptcy or criminal record.

That's it. That's what the email said. I wrote back and said I met all the criteria, but I was a year past the age eligibility. I sent my resume. I said I felt with my background living all over the world, my facility with languages and communications skills I was particularly suited for intelligence work.

(I mean intelligence in the sense of establishing ways to collect, collecting and analyzing information, before you all have a good laugh about intelligence and anything involving me *or* the armed forces.)

I get an email back from the recruiter, this time not a form letter, saying that he's looking for people with Master's degrees and prior service.

And he's referring me to another recruiter.

One who hires health care personnel. Enlisted. Because I had prior health care experience, he said.

I went and took a long look at my resume.

I guess EMT reads as health care.

But that's EMT between Firefighter 1, 2, Firefighter Instructor, Swiftwater Rescue, and SAR. That's EMT with two years of recruit command experience, firefiighter academy instruction. That's EMT in and around 15 years of administrative work.

Honestly, I think I might have been less insulted if he'd suggested I talk to someone about being a military secretary.

So, once again there's a war going on. Sticks are being thrown and casualties are mounting.

And Bron Scott's pointing me back to the camp, telling me I can make my contribution there under the trees with the neatly organized supplies.

Once again, company nurse.

Whoa, the Navy must have some really crappy recruiters if they don't get back to you for four days.

You should call up your local Army Recruiter and ask them what they have. The Army has a very good military intelligence program. Also, if you wanted to go Reserve, you could ask local Reserve units whether they have any intel slots open, and if they do, whether they can give you a line and paragraph number. That way you can go in to MEPS and say, "I already have a job. I already have a unit. Let's do the contract."
Well, SOMEBODY has to sew all of those arms and legs and other bits back on. And honestly, how do you expect your avarage army stick throwing kinda guy to keep track of which bits belong where. Yah need someone with admin. time to get it right or at least find the right form to fill out when something gets misplaced or mis-sewn as the case may be.
Sheesh. Don't listen to him.
You? You need to be in intelligence. Actually, you need to be in charge. If you were in charge, the thing would be done likity-split, and they wouldn't *need* nurses. You know how to run a tidy campaign. You know how to rally the troops while among the troops. Not sitting under a tree.
-From She Who Was Forced to Play Nurse Chapel or Uhura Every Time Except That Once When Peter-Who-Usually-Played-Kirk was Sick.
Some day, I really *need* to see you storming onto the bridge demanding to know "what the he-- heck is going on here?!?", Rebecca. :D

SOMEBODY has to, Max. I'm sure. But really, if I do it it'll just be left to the absolute last minute and we'll still be finishing at 0300 and having to drink a lot of coffee and eat chocolate while we're at it. And probably still be working on it in the car on the way there.
In case I've never mentioned it before, the military is fucking nuts. And the American military is worse.
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