Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Price of Honor - A Review

If you believe "Honor Killings" (an oxymoron if there ever were one) exists only in remote and socially undeveloped areas of the Middle East and African countries, a watching of this film will tell you otherwise.

Mike Sledge

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day as Bittersweet

From the movie, "The Thin Red Line"...and possibly the book but I haven't read it: "This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doing this? Who's killing us? Robbing us of light and life. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've done? Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed to this night?"

Veteran's Day is bittersweet for me. Bitter because of the horrible loss of life everywhere. Bitter because we often accept war as inevitable. Bitter because some people who had rather not fight, kill, and die seem to have no other recourse.

And yet, in my work to do my book, I spoke with servicemen and servicewomen, veterans, and families of those who died and have come away with a deep and everlasting appreciation for the dedication shown by them. Almost to a one, they would have not undone that which was done, even if having to relive the carnage, the horror, the remorse, the sadness of their experience.

If you see a military person, stop and take a moment to honor them. Tell them "Thank you." If you know of someone who was in service in times past, look them in the eyes and say, "I appreciate your service." Even if you do not support any particular struggle or conflict, I would ask that you consider supporting the people who were engaged in such an unpleasant and unfortunate endeavor.

Mike Sledge

Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury, and Honor Our Military Fallen

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

"I'm Out of Clothes," She Said

            "I'm out of clothes," she said one day ("she" being my girlfriend).  She was standing at the doorway to her walk-in closet, one hand on the door and the other on her hip.
            "What did you say?" I asked, coming in from the living room.
            "I don't have anything to wear.  You've already seen everything I have."  She turned and looked at me with that frown on her face.  (We guys know exactly what I mean when I say, "that frown.") 
            After reading Men are from Mars and Women are from Outer Space, I have learned not to use logic in a situation like this.  (What do you mean you're out of clothes?  A whole family in the third world has less space to live in than you do in your closet.)  Instead, I said, "I see."
            "No you don't!  You don't understand at all," she said, closing the door none too gently. 
            At this point, I did what all smart men do...I shut up and sat down on the bed.
            She went into her bathroom, opened and closed a couple of drawers and came out, saying "Why do you say, 'I see' when you really don't?  Why don't you just tell the truth...that you think I've got plenty of clothes?"
            "Well, when I said 'I see' I was really trying not to discount your feelings.  But, yeah, now that you mention it, you're right.  You do have plenty of clothes.  I mean I think you've got a lot of my opinion, anyway."
            "Oh sure.  You've seen all my work clothes, church clothes, and jeans.  I've mixed and matched and you've seen all those combinations."
            I busied myself studying the pattern on her bedspread, wondering if there was something I needed to be doing, like getting a root canal or emptying the cat litter box. 
            She strode over to her closet, opened it again, and began sliding hangers back and forth.  I tried to sneak out of the room.
            "What about this?" she said, sticking her arm out of the closet, holding a cute pair of grey tights, turtle neck, and black knit vest.
            "Looks great," I said, turning back quickly.
            "No, I mean have you seen me wear this before?"
            I was stuck.  If she had worn it before and I didn't remember I was in trouble.  And if I said I had seen it, then we were right back at the beginning.
            "I think it looks great on you," I said again.  "You've got the kind of figure that looks sexy in those tights and the top really accents your neck."
            She stuck her head out from the closet and gave me an extremely contemptuous look.  I came back and sat down on the bed again, chastened like a whipped puppy.  At this point, I was thoroughly exasperated.  I was thinking to myself that it really didn't matter how many clothes she had, women were always the same when it came to this...they never have enough clothes.  But why involve me with their personal demons to battle?  I mean, if I'm having trouble with my forehand or if Dallas loses twice in one season to the Redskins I don't whine and moan about it to them.
            Then, while all of this was going through my mind, I realized that it was quiet in the closet...too quiet.  What had she done...hung herself over what to wear to dinner?  I got up from the bed and slowly tip-toed to the closet and peeked in.  I saw her with a finger to her lips, in deep thought.  Without saying a word, she turned, looked me up and down, and said, "Well, with what you've got on I think I'll wear this, and she pulled out a pair of burgundy corduroy slacks and a sweater with a small print that coordinated with the slacks.  
            I nodded approvingly and peeked at my watch, thinking that I had gotten off relatively lucky...her mood had come and gone like a summer thundershower. 
            "Good," she said, smiling.  "Now, how do you think I should wear my hair?"