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1/11/2009

100 Word Challenge - March

The following is in response to the 100 Word Challenge authored by the always in step Velvet Verbosity. The word is 'March'.

"I can't do it, Sir."
"What do you mean you can't do it, son? Of course you can. You just get up and dust yourself off and get in line. It's just that easy."
"But, General, there's an awful lot of Yankees up there, and there's so few of us left down here."
"Are you afraid, son?"
"No, Sir, General Pickett, Sir. I ain't afraid. But I don't want to die. There ain't no way we're gonna bust that line."
"We have our orders, son. We have to follow orders. Now get in line."
"Yes, sir!"
"DRESS RIGHT!! FORWARD ... MARCH!!!"


Legend has it, that after "Pickett's Charge", General Lee, while planning furtherance of the days operations, asked of General Pickett, "Sir, where is your Division?", to which Pickett is said to have replied, "General, I have no Division."

Oh. In military parlance, the command, "DRESS RIGHT" refers to the process soldiers are taught to use to line themselves up properly while in formation. Your left hand goes to your waist, your left elbow then sticks out to contact the man next to you, and your head turns to the right to line yourself up with the man next to you on the right. Simple. And tight.

In the early 1920's, at a re-enactment of Pickett's Charge in a day long event marking the anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg, the aged and tottering Union veterans refused to fire on the Pickett re-enactors, but instead, threw down their weapons and came down the hill to embrace the few of their old enemy who were left. They wept openly at the memory of what was done on that day, so many years before.

We are now going to go to a completely different subject - and given that I don't know how to manage a segue, I just thought I'd tell you.

The systems at work continue to be problematic. I am taking a more relaxed and longer view of these issues, now. I don't seem to be able to get ahead - so I'm just going to pick 'em off, one at a time, until I run out of targets. It isn't hardware anymore, now it's software - mostly communications stuff. But these little niggling things COULD drive me nuts if I let them, but I'm beginning to realize that I'm dealing with the computer version of "Group Theory" and it's just going to take a while.

What do I mean? I'm SO glad you asked.

"Group Theory" says, essentially, that a group that has been unchanging for any measure of time achieves a certain 'harmony'. And the group functions well as a group. However, if you make changes - additions, deletions or replacements - in the form or structure of the group, there will be a measure of time where the group will be 'unsettled' and have the 'jitters'. That's what my stuff is going through these days. The jitters. Things will calm down - harmony will once again be achieved. And I will once again be free to do the many other things I love to do besides my job.

Someday.

Ndinombethe.

19 comments:

Karen said...

When I visited Gettysburg and went up to Devil's Den, I was overwhelmed knowing that so many men died on that field. They were trapped, surrounded, and really had no chance. Seeing that battlefield and the surrounding areas put the story of the battle into perspective.

Julie said...

With two or three kids downloading stuff and visiting all kinds of websites and changing stuff all the time (three if Zach is home from college. He left yesterday morning. Sigh.) my computer is permanently beset with the jitters.

We visited lots of WWII battlefields and museums and stuff when we lived in The Netherlands. And watched the Band of Brothers several times. I kind of ignore that stuff these days. Too close to home these days I guess.

I was watching a change of command at Fort Lewis, WA, on a rainy day, and there was a big big patch of muddy ground right in front of the bleachers. All the soldiers in formation marched right through the mud, which was fine, except they all had BAYONETS ON THEIR WEAPONS. The whole time they were marching by, I was imagining of them slipping in the mud and either stabbing the guy behind him or stabbing himself in the head on the bayonet ahead of him. I have a very vivid and gruesome imagination sometimes. It's a curse.

Julie said...

Wow. If I added one more word to the last paragraph, it could be my 100 word challenge on MARCH.

Shadow said...

interesting. this is one of the subjects i know nothing about. a good read indeed.

NicoleB said...

Thanks for a bit of education & great 100 words!

Tara R. said...

I hope your system recovers from its 'jitters' soon. We had a whole team of IT people come into our office Friday. I am now working with updated systems throughout... it was like Christmas all over again.

Loved the challenge and the backstory was very touching.

Christy said...

I never get how soldiers just march into death. I'd run. I would.

Let me know when the 100-word challenge is "Flee".

abritdifferent said...

Lou, I'm so very sorry I haven't been around in weeks. Sadly, I haven't been doing much blog walking. I need to.

I LOVED this. Reading this has made me realise how much I've missed you. Sorry.

Ashlie- Mommycosm said...

Always love your take on 100 Word challenge and this is no exception :)

Jientje said...

Yes, I loved it too. And for me too it's a subject I know nothing about! I always thought they shouted LEFT-RIGHT for some reason!
Well, at least now I know better, thanks to you!
You know,I think I'm cursed. Every time I wish you a good weekend in a comment and time to relax and do the stuff you like, something goes wrong at the plant and you get to sacrifice your time off again. Maybe next time I'll say, "I hope something goes wrong at the plant" and then maybe, just maybe you get to stay at home?

Theresa said...

I read this Zen thingy about accepting the situation as it is, and something about that acceptance making it not really a problem anymore. It just is. Or something like that.

Eric S. said...

I've found that I just about have to start my day with your blog. As you can tell, My day started late today, LOL.

Can you imagine the sense of profound desperation and dread those soldiers had way back then. I can't even imagine the emotions involved.

I hope your "jitters" find a quick relief.

Indigo said...

I can relate waiting for the group to get back to some sort of cohesion. Great story dear friend! (Hugs)Indigo

warriorwoman said...

Peace and harmony and love for all. What a goal to aim for, however, until it arrives and slaps me I'll be hangin out with Misery and Evil Stares. And just have fun.

Joyce-Anne said...

Yuck, I'm sorry you're still having problems at work. I hope the system will get back to normal very soon.

Great 100 word challenge.

The Hotfessional said...

See, now, that's one thing I don't miss. Trying to fix broken things that people don't want to spend $ fixing. ;-)

I love your take on the challenge, though.

Patsy said...

I love your dialogue. You always manage to catch the character so well. I purposely didn't read you earlier because I wanted to get my 100 words done before reading what others had written. I used March the month.

Hope works settles back to a dull routine soon.

LceeL said...

Karen: Gettysburg is the saddest place I have ever been to.

Julie: You should try a 100 Word Challenge. They're fun.

Shadow: I'm sure there's everyday knowledge in South Africa that we have no idea of, here.

Nicole: You're welcome. I love making Jientje google stuff.

Tara R: I would like, I think, to write a story - maybe even a book, about fear in combat - and set it in the Civil War.

Christy: The urge to flee exists in all of us.

abritdifferent: I'm glad you miss me when you're away for a while. That's very flattering. And you don't have to apologize. Not ever.

Ashlie: I had thought to do a piece about the 'March of Time' - but this came out, instead.

Jientje: They do shout "Left, Right" - but as they march - to establish cadence. "DRESS RIGHT" is used to line everybody up.

Theresa: I can just see it - Zen warfare. But I understand you're referring to my change in attitude.

Eric S: Yes, I can imagine what they felt. The face of war has never changed - every soldier that has ever been has felt those same fears.

Indigo: Yes, I believe you do.

Warriorwoman: I'm with you.

Joyce-Anne: I'm sure we're going to get back to normal soon enough.

Hotfessional: Thank you, Ree. It was, as always, fun writing it.

Patsy: Thank you, Patsy. I haven't read any of the others yet - but I will.

Hyphen Mama said...

What a variety of thoughts you give us today!

I would be the soldier laying on the ground playing dead. I'm a sissy like that.

Good call on letting the Group Theory take its course and not stressing about it. I used to do Y2K software upgrades for clients and it sometimes took MONTHS to work out the kinks and get back to where they didn't call me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.