Saturday, March 21, 2009

Myth, tree tops & my little Amazon girl

Four myths or four truths about the Marine Corps? I had these logos left over from the other day, and decided to throw them into the mix now in order to avoid actually thinking about anything more complicated -- and, sort of, to illustrate a point. Incidentally, the guy on the bottom right, Private Gomer Pyle, taught me everything I know, while the T-shirt slogan above him, hopefully, represents me today. I never have figured out why no one ever is playing a guitar on any T-shirt representing the Marine Corps.

Magic Girl as the ultimate Amazon ....

The subject of friends and buddies came up in a sort of conversation. I am not certain when or where or why the word "buddy" came into being, and not curious enough to do any research. Its primary use seems to be in a military context, i.e., the "buddy system," and essentially is just another way of saying "friend." Or is it? Here is a thought and a story from sort of a conservative, male point of view.

I was in a situation once upon a time (love those words) where I had to pick my No. 2. There were six names on the list, five men and one woman. I had known and worked with all of them for a while. I selected the woman. I was asked why, and my reply was to the effect: "All other qualifications being more-or-less equal, she is the only one on the list I would trust to stand back-to-back with if the shit hit the fan."

In other words, under a worst case scenario, in which we both either would make it or we both would go down, it would be back-to-back, to the end. There was not one man on that list I would have trusted to watch my back. Each one of those five men, I believed from having gotten to know them rather well, potentially was a runner should the proverbial "shit hit the fan."

This might be another category under which to define a "magic girl." The particular "magic girl" in my story was, unfortunately for me, happily married and the mother of two children. The circumstances of this story would make a fascinating debate, I think, between "real worlders" such as myself and ivory tower dispensers of opinion regarding human priorities and motivations. I am speaking of those who have little actual experience in the real world, but years of "book study" and theoretical political and social activism. (I am not anti-intellectual and obviously, I hope it is clear, am not anti-book or anti-education, but simply a person who puts more value on knowledge gained from personal experience than from cloistered consultant clustering.)

Believe it or not (and, I am sure most women will), I had to threaten blood on the floor (figuratively, figuratively, figuratively) in order to have her approved for the slot. A few men in this circle, but not all, later admitted to me that I had made the right decision. I had to tell her that, because none of them had the courage to face her and to admit to her that she might be the best of all of us.

But, I also wonder how many women would find it comfortable to be in the company of another woman who is at once a feminine creature at the height of her allure, while also a warrior who possesses primitive survival skills that equal those of any man. I suspect the average woman might be frightened of or, at least, wary of, this Amazon more so than she would be of a man carrying the same set of credentials.

Come to think of it, the Greek immortal Athena was a warrior as well as a goddess and a magic girl. She aided the mere mortal, Odysseus, more than once and covered his back at times. Ah, yes, the blue waters of the Mediterranean have so much to offer. It must be in the water.

Maybe I should have said, "no" ....

I was reading another's blog in which the writer said that when he had been younger and more agile, he enjoyed sitting in a tree while reading a book. It reminded me that there were a few times when I was younger when I would take a bottle of wine and climb into a tree with it when I had a difficult decision to make. It took more time and more wine to arrive at some decisions than it did others.

Do you suppose such an action is from a lingering, genetic memory? Probably not. Seriously now, the first time it happened was by the circumstance of having to decide whether I would rather sit on the ground or on a tree branch.

I had been offered a promotion at work and was not certain I wanted it. I drove out to a friend's home to talk about it with him. He was in his driveway, rotating the tires on his car. Rather than sit down on the ground, I took my wine and climbed into an adjacent tree. Then, I proceeded to drink my wine, talk with him and stare at the woodlands and blue waters of a lake beyond.

I took the job. Money won out, although I am sure ambition and ego were contributing factors. That was one of the pivotal moments in my past in which I now question whether or not I made the best (right? / correct?) decision. I can never know with absolute certainty, of course, but my hunch is that three or four people, including myself, would be happier (more content? / better off?) today had I continued doing what I was doing and said no thanks to the promotion.

Birthday wishes to the tardy one ....

Happy birthday, Diva, wherever you've run off to. Here is a poem, "To Helen," written by Edgar Allan Poe. The Helen he is referring to is Helen of Troy. I think he might have been visualizing The Diva when he wrote it.

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!

Music Note: Nearly 2:00 a.m. here & Guns N' Roses just came on the radio ....
"November Rain," but it's March ....


TheChicGeek said...

Hello Mr. Legs :) (hehe)
I believe your choice of the woman was a good one. When you describe the Amazon woman, you are, quite frankly, speaking of every female judge I know. Having worked with both, I find the females to be far more efficient. The men are wonderful, they smooze, play golf, take forever to make decisions. I think they take so long because they'd rather stay at work then go home. The women judges are definitely more driven. I think women feel they have something to prove, and true, have had to work harder to acheive their positions. All the females I have worked with have been extremely bright. They get in there, focus on the issues and get the job done and then they're off to either have fun or take care of their families. The men want to hang around all day so they don't have to go home and take care of their families. Ouch, that sounded mean...I don't mean it like that, maybe it's just the difference between men and women. Women are more vested in their identity as being successful in their homes; men are more vested in appearing powerful at work.

TheChicGeek said...

Okay, I've got a little more :)
I like the addition to the T-shirts. I'm sure Marines do get better with age!

I see you've changed the color on Magic Girl at the bottom of the must be stealty to find all the goodies on your page :)

TheChicGeek said...

Ooops, spelling error s-t-e-a-l-t-h-y!
I hate when I do that.

Have a Happy Day, Fram!

Fram said...

Hi, Kelly ....

I really crashed, but did not burn. Long sleep.

I've only known one higher court judge (called circuit court in that particular state) well enough to have a real opinion of him. He was a canoe nut, very serious, could not handle liquor and, therefore, had great stories to tell at the evening campfire. I enjoyed reading your observations and distinctions. They make sense.

Me, too, on typos. I cannot read my own stuff.

We stealth well.

A Cuban In London said...

OK, first to pay off the debt and then to comemnt on your thoughtful post.

I was born in '71, therefore never got to live the terrible 60s (long story) in Cuba. What would have happened if the marines had been given the green light by Kennedy in 1961 you asked me?

Honest answer: I don't know. But what I DO know is that the merceneray troops that landed on the Bay of Pigs were trained in the States and in Nicaragua. What I also know is that the fight against Marines or not would not have been easy. As to why JFK did not green-light the project, all i can think is diplomacy. The USA was already eyeing Vietnam and there was also the small matter of the defeat in Korea. I think that the US government thought Vietnam would reap better results than Cuba for various reasons: further away, not a bearded guy in sight with hairy chest and beas around his neck who could inspire those romantic progressive feelings First World middle-class intellectuals love so much and last but not least, they could bomb the beejesus out of the native population (which happened) without affecting US soil.

Speculations, speculations, my friend, that's all I can give you. I do think, though, that had the mercenary troops triumphed in '61 we would have had the 82nd Airborne Division landing in Cuba in no time.

To your post, now. Amazing story between you and your buddy. ANd greatly told. I do like a story told from the heart. On the subject of intellectualism vs empiricism, I quite agree with you. Nothing makes angrier than an armchair socialist/communist/marxist/leninist (delete as appropriate). Even more than Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. And that's pushing it.

I love Poe, what else can I say? I performed 'Tell-Tale Heart' many years ago as a monologue and my favourite Poe's short story to this day is 'The Pit and the Pendulum' which I can only read every so many years. You can well imagine why. As for Guns N Roses... Axl should have quit after they released the two 'Use Your Illusion'. I love 'November Rain' by the way.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Katy said...

Yep, pretty much what Kelly said! :-) I like working with (and for) women as well.

Kelly also makes a very interesting point about the differences between men's and women's motivations. I have many times observed that in work or other semi-formal settings, men's conversation is of the "this is what I do, this is what I drive, what about you?" type variety, rarely if ever touching on the personal. It is a difference in the way men define themselves (mostly externallY) from the way that women do.

I have also fallen for the *deadly sin* of flattery in the work place; in my case for a job with a great title as well as a promotion. I hated ever second of it and resigned after 3 months. But I don't regret it - if I hadn't taken that job and then left it, I'd never probably have set up my own business.

Fram said...

Cuban, the depth of your comment left me in amazement. Thank you.

My fascination with Cuba began as a teenager, immersed in Hemingway, feeling his love for the island and battling sharks alongside his old man. Add to that, a tendency to over-identify with people and situations, and wonder how I would react should I stand in their shoes.

While no one can live all of history, I have had some great good luck at encountering people and drinking with people who have lived through events I can only read about. Such is the case with the Bay of Pigs and its aftermath.

The long and the short of it is that I have known a few people who felt guilt from being prevented to assist in the "liberation" of the island from Castro and damned JFK for what they viewed as his betrayal of the Cuban people. Life would be simpler if grunts ruled the world.

Stay safe, man ....

Fram said...

Katy ....

Men are mostly superficial idiots, and we all know it. Some men just happen to realize we function much better if we have a woman around to keep us aware of that fact, as long as she is a woman who has the ability to do it without rubbing it in our faces.

The events that occurred after my first tree-sitting-wine-drinking adventure would make a good book, part action thriller, part political intrigue. I should have turned down the job, quit like you did or stayed in the tree. It was a great view.

TheChicGeek said...

Awww, come on Gomer...I know it's you :)

You are such a tease!

Fram said...

I can run pretty fast, too, Kelly.

J.T's Tale said...

Well, what can I say?

Fram said...

You might say, J.T., that you and I are lucky fellows.

I keep meaning to mention that I tried to be a drummer in school, like your son, but I lacked both the talent and the ambition.

The Fabulous Diva said...

Here I am, tardy as always (chuckle). Sweet Fram, thank you for the poem, that is very sweet of you, I am familiar with Poe but more for his short stories, now I’ll have to read more of his poetry, thank you for encouraging me in my reading adventures.

About the Marines? I like the quote from late President Regan that you have posted from the t-shirt. I think I’ll post it at my desk at work. No, I’m not a former Marine, but the awareness that in some way a person has made a difference even if they are not aware of it, is important.

Your “magic girl”, the one that you chose to be your #2 to back you up, I like your reasoning in choosing her, to be feminine and a warrior at the same time is hard, but I think of all the pioneer women who came across the plains, I think of Harriet Tubman, and other women during the time when women had no rights, not even to vote and yet defied convention to be themselves. All like the goddess Athena.

I like Chic Geeks’ response, especially about women judges. Thank you Chic Geek for your birthday wishes and the “heads-up”.

About locations that one sits in or goes to, to make decisions; when I was a child, I had my little work table and chair next to my bedroom window, I could look from there and think on things, I still do that even at home, I think that by being “elevated” it takes one out of things and gives it a different perspective, it might be psychological, I’m not sure but I’ve found that sitting high up seems to help, for some reason.

I had a great Birthday, but right now I also have a mild headache—too much partying I think.

Again Fram you have given me much to think about, and as soon as I get over my headache, I will start blogging again. Much to think about and ponder upon.

Thank you again Fram.

Fram said...

Hi there, Diva ....

You are very welcome. Nice to see you out and about visiting again.

I suppose "magic girls" do come in different shapes, sizes, etc. I am just working to create a definition for my own version.

Something special ....