Brigadier: (n) a rank of officer in the army, above colonel and below major general.
Sometimes foolishness gets a pass, but it has to be legitimate foolishness. I’m talking about that fresh kind that just slipped out of your stupid brain because of your ignorance. If you’ve done foolishness before, you can’t claim that it’s “innocent foolishness.”
I did a foolish thing.
I was so young, self-inspired and full of false confidence that life decided not to punish me for my presumption.
My younger brother decided to join the army. Considering he had never even played with army men and walked with the sensitivity of a marshmallow, the idea was ludicrous. But it was in full swing before any of us realized that he had sauntered off to be a soldier.
The first we knew of it was upon receiving a call from basic training, where he pleaded for us to “get him out of there”–or he was going to commit suicide.
Now, I can discuss with you the unfairness of him placing me in that situation, but instead, I will tell you that in an attempt to be a good big brother, I called the army base where he was doing his imitation of G.I. Joe, and talked to a Brigadier General. Now, I don’t know exactly what a Brigadier General is, but it sounds a whole lot more important than me.
For some reason, he took my call. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just a nice guy. Maybe he couldn’t believe that someone was asking for his younger brother to be released from basic training.
His first inclination was to laugh at me. After all, you can’t maintain a volunteer army while promising a money-back guarantee. If everyone who was displeased with the accommodations at “Fort Kick Your Ass” was released immediately, we wouldn’t have enough soldiers to march in a small-town parade.
So on the first call he chuckled.
On my second call, he took the fatherly approach, explaining how the military works.
On the third call he appealed to my patriotism.
On call 54, he asked me if I knew how powerful he was.
But somewhere along the line, on the 93rd call, he paused. This is what the Brigadier asked me:
“You’re going to keep calling me until we release him, aren’t you?”
I replied, “You can just stop taking my calls.”
“Then I would have a suicidal assistant to deal with,” he presented.
I really don’t know what happened.
I don’t know if what I said made any difference at all.
But this fine Brigadier General realized that I was sincere and that my brother was not even suited to the rigors of being a back-up in the chorus line.
They released him.
It was a miracle.
But actually, it was an expansive piece of grace … granted by a man who was trained to be ruthless.
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