01 January 2014

Will 'Tactical Fortune Cookies' Work in Garrison Life?

A couple of years ago, while preparing for deployment to Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division, I wrote a few blog posts about tactical fortune cookies.

During breaks in pre-deployment training, the story went, my buddies and I would often lunch on Chinese food. Afterwards, we'd read aloud the predictions found in our complimentary fortune cookies, adding the words "on the deployment" to each. Hilarity ensued.

As I wrote at the time: "Yes, it's awfully similar to the sophomoric practice of adding the words '... in bed.' We have no problem with that."

Good jokes and old habits die hard. To this day, I continue to collect those little slips of fortune-filled paper.

As the pendulum begins to swing back from the regular overseas deployments of an Army at war, to the cut-budget, cut-throat, spit-and-polish chickensh--tery of an Army stuck at home, I thought I'd revisit our pre-deployment practice of quoting cookies. This time, however, with the words "in garrison."

I am pleased to report that the cookies continue to deliver worthwhile results.

Some messages, for example, sound like the comments snarky raters might write on job performance evaluations. Perhaps these should be filed under "damning with ambiguous praise"?
  • "You always find yourself at the center of attention ... in garrison."
  • "You have an active mind and a keen imagination ... in garrison."
  • "You are a bundle of energy, always on the go ... in garrison."
  • "You have the ability to do several things at one time and do them all well ... in garrison."
  • "You are sociable and entertaining ... in garrison."
Some sound more like philosophical (or maybe political?) advice:
  • "He who walks with wolves, learns to howl ... in garrison."
  • "What you plant now, you will harvest later ... in garrison."
  • "A modest man never talks to himself ... in garrison."
  • "Some folk want their luck buttered ... in garrison."
  • "At 20 years of age, the will reigns; at 30, the wit; at 40, the judgments ... in garrison."
Finally, there are those that sound full of doom and foreboding. Take these as warnings:
  • "You will attend a party where where strange customs prevail ... in garrison."
  • "That one is not sleeping, does not mean they are awake ... in garrison."
  • "People learn little from success, but much from failure ... in garrison."
  • "No man is free who is not master of himself ... in garrison."
  • "Heroism is endurance for one moment more ... in garrison."
Happy New Year! May you find contentment in your cantonment in the months to come!

As always, thanks for your readership of the Red Bull Rising blog! Best wishes for a happy, peaceful, and prosperous 2014!

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