While I am close to my brothers, we rarely call just to chat. If the phone rings, there's usually news attached to the other end.
My brother John called the other day. "Why don't you write about me in your blog?" he asked.
"What would I write about?" I asked back.
You see, my brother is in the Army. Special services, Ranger, etc. Much of what he does is sensitive in nature and SHOULDN'T be written about, and on the rare occasions that I HAVE written about him or what he does, he's called and asked for an edit or removal of said post. So I don't write about him as a rule. His private life is his and not mine to share, so other than the fact that he has three wonderful kids by his ex-wife and an interest in opening a dojo someday - there's not much I can tell you about present John.
Past John - well, that's another story. Being the brother right behind me, we grew up together, hated and loved each other and have embarassing pictures of each other (yes, John, I still have the "Phasers on Stun!" picture and the tricycle picture...). But I won't go there today.
No, I'm writing about the phone call. Being me, and knowing John for as long as I have, I hear things in his voice that other people don't always hear. So when he asked me why I didn't blog about him, I could feel an undercurrent of excitement that was, well, unusual. Was he calling to tell me that there was something I COULD blog about? Actually, yes.
I don't know how long John has been in the service exactly. He was there for Desert Storm, and he'd been in a while when that happened, so perhaps that gives you an idea. During this time, he's been promoted at irregular intervals, but this last promotion has been in the works and had so many weird and bureaucratic setbacks that we were beginning to wonder if he would retire at his current rank.
Maybe not. His phone call was to invite me to a ceremony on Wednesday that would elevate him to Lt. Colonel! Oh, great joy and happy dancing commenced! Of course I would be there! I went to work that day and busted ass because, of course, Monday was a holiday and I would have to travel on Tuesday, ceremony on Wednesday and return home Wednesday evening... making this upcoming weekend a 5 DAY WEEKEND in essence - which meant a lot of work for me on a Thursday and Friday.
Yesterday I was at work, slaving over Tuesday's log and working on Wednesday's when my desk phone rang. It was Dad. The trip is off. The promotion has been delayed yet again due to a missed "t" cross or "i" dot in the chaotic bureaucratic world that is the Army.
My boss switched from Army to Air Force for exactly those reasons - screwed up promotions due to bureaucratic errors. I know John won't switch, but I hope he knows that we all love him and sympathize with his predicament. It must be awfully frustrating because, like my boss, John is a man of action and being stymied like this has got to be irritating and frustrating as hell.
Hang in there, John. Your day is coming and I'll be there to see it!