Archive for the ‘VIPs’ Category

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

I learned to type on an IBM Selectric, but I learned to be a writer on an Apple IIc.

Photo credit: J Mayrand's Computer Museum

Today I have the option to write on my iPad, my iMac on my desktop, or my Mac Mini in my kitchen. I don’t write as much as I should or even want to, but it’s not for lack of options. Who knows what Steve Jobs would have come up with if he’d had another 25 years?

Thanks, Steve. I hope they’re running Macs in Heaven. Certainly the harps are now on iTunes.

Ooh rah.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

When you’re a child, you vacillate between being scared out of your mind about what *might* *possibly* hurt and/or kill you, and believing that you are immortal. When you become a parent, I think you realize with renewed clarity that the world is a Dangerous Place — if not for your children, but for you. (I’ve written before about my desire to live forever. No need to go into that here.) We do our best to give our children the tools for Survival, and we do our best to keep ourselves alive so that we’re around to continue to scare warn teach our children.

For someone like my brother, J, the world actually is a Dangerous Place. He’s a United States Marine Corps officer, currently stationed with his wife and two small daughters in Japan. (Oh, and his wife is pregnant with their third daughter.) I don’t know that he’d agree with me that the world is Dangerous; hopefully he’ll chime in down below at some point. However, it is undeniable that while my husband, and maybe you or yours, was messing around with a formula on an Excel spreadsheet early on in his career, my brother was being fit for a gas mask, learning how to disassemble a rifle in the dark/sand/mud, and taking 30 (60?) mile “walks” with a 30 (60?) pound pack. None of these things you’d do if you were convinced that there was Peace on Earth. (I will say this about that, however. Talking to my brother in this post- 9/11 world is reassuring to me. It seems like the Marines have things under control – or at least they are working hard on the problems and are getting a handle on things.)

But this isn’t a commentary on World Politics or the War on Terror or any of that. Instead, it’s a rumination on what it means to fulfill your life’s purpose and, for those of us raising children, a lesson on understanding who your child is and helping him/her fulfill their purpose.

Growing up, the only thing my brother ever, EVER, wanted to be was a Marine. We grew up in rural (very rural) NJ, and he would dress in camouflage as much as he could. We ran loose as children — run of the neighborhood and all that — and from the age of about 3 or 4, J would be running free like the rest of us….but he’d be dressed in khaki and olive, and wearing a blaze orange knit cap that my mother insisted he wear so he’d be seen in the woods. He rode a plastic motorcycle (you know, the kind you pushed with your feet) and slung a 2×4 across his back as a rifle.

He never outgrew his desire to be a Marine. (And let’s be clear, *only* a Marine. Other branches? Please.) As he got older and more stubborn certain, there were parameters set by my parents, “OK. Marines. But you’ve got to go to college, and you’ve got to go the Officer route.” From the outside looking in, I don’t know that J ever (as a kid) considered the difference — he just wanted to be a Marine. But he finished college, went to OCS and came out an Officer. (It’s something of a family joke that the kid that was a disorganized mess was now going to be in charge of making sure the enlisted had their beds made and their life in order. Ah, Irony, you must be a Marine.)

He’s had a wildly successful career in the Marine Corps. And although I’m sure he’d argue the point, he’s the happiest guy I know in terms of job satisfaction. (Turns out there are Stupid People in the military too, so he has the same frustrations a lot of us do. {But with access to weaponry.}) When I talk to him I am sure to thank him for the Blanket of Freedom that he’s knitting for us (yes, a corruption of A Few Good Men. Sorry Aaron.), and when he gets some kind of crazy-huge time off or weird vacation time I tell him, “You’re welcome,” since I of course pay his salary. (But then we digress briefly into how he could be shot at work so maybe he could get a few extra days off, if I didn’t mind. Hard to argue with that logic.)

I started thinking about J and his Marine Corps career because of a writing prompt about “worrying about the safety of a loved one.” And how, even though he’s got the most dangerous job of anyone in my Circle of Nearest and Dearest, he would be the one that I worry about the least. His safety is in the most competent hands I know — his own, and that of his colleagues — and we should all be so lucky.

Semper Fi.

This post was prompted by an idea from MamaKat. Check out all her prompts:

Mama's Losin' It

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