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Exploring My No Skill Zone

Usually I like training.  Not this time.  Some things are cool.  I thought the body armor and helmets were interesting.  But then I started to remember WHY we need to wear such things all the time in Iraq.  They are also heavy.  It will be good exercise to walk around with the things on.   I used to have a weight coat when I was young and more vigorous.  I never thought I would get another one.

I really didn’t like the first aid course.  I am squeamish about such things and some of the things were were “squeam inducing”.

I learned what a to do with flailed chest is and how to do preliminary treatment on a sucking chest wound.  At least I know in theory and I have a wallet sized card re the proper order of things, but still have little confidence in my abilities.  They tell us that we are unlikely to be the only people available to to help.  We will play at best a supporting role.  One of the marines said that maybe I could help carry the strecher.  In fact, they say, one of the reasons they give us this course is to let us know that we are not super heroes.  It worked.  Even in the training sessions I feel clumsy. 

This afternoon we went up to West Virginia to train with guns and learn how to drive cars as if the bad guys were chasing.  Very macho. They assured us that we would probably not have to really do these things either.  Diplomats do not generally get the opportunity to drive or shoot in Iraq.   This is a good thing.  A man has gotta know his limitations.

I am a reasonably good shot with the pistols, but I really am no threat to the enemy with an AK or M-4.  I suppose if a couple hundred stood in a line like the Redcoats during he revolution, I could hit one or two.  I just cannot shoot.  We did identify a possible reason for my extraordinarily poor aim, however.  I am right handed, but evidently my left eye is dominant.  I just do not look down the barrel properly.  I could probably learn to do a little better, but never would be Davy Crockett.  Fortunately, this also is not one of my core activities.

I am good at talking and not bad at writing or understanding what I read.  That is how I got into the FS.  I like to think up all sorts of permutations and scenarios for organizations and management.  Sometimes they work.  That is how I can add value.  People tell me that I can be persuasive and even charming.  That is why people cut me some slack.  Lucky for me.  I probably could not earn much of a living if I actually had to make physical things on my own.  If I lived in the cave man times, or even in practically any age before our own, I would not survive long unless I could find work as either a the local soothsayer or the village idiot.  I am happy that I live in a society that values and rewards the things that come in my skill cluster. 

Tomorrow we have to do the defensive driving section.  I didn’t own a car until I was 28 years old.  Neither of my parents even had a driver’s license.  I bike to work or take the Metro.  Suffice to say, I just don’t know from cars.  I suppose I will enjoy crashing them – one time. 

I will be glad when this week is over.  I do have to mention, however, that this area is really nice.  Lots of horse farms and restored old houses.  I should not complain so much.   One of my colleagues commented, "Getting paid to drive cars and shoot.  It don't get no better than that." I am not sure I agree entirely, but it is more fun than getting poked in the eye with a pointy stick (oh yeah, we learned about that injury too).

 

John Matel

Winchester, Virginia

September 19, 2007


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Comments

don't worry, if you can't shoot the enemy you can talk 'em to death.

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