I should try to make up an exciting story every time I miss a week, but in reality I just went to a dinner party and did some other stuff and didn’t get Page 11 all the way done until today. So, here’s last week’s, and this week’s update.
It’s been brought to my attention that the joke where the Brigade Commander walks up and hugs the guy is susceptible of misinterpretation, in that it can be read as “OMG eww two guys hugging!!!” or some such homophobic garbage. If I thought that was how it read, when fully taken in context, I wouldn’t have included it at all, but I don’t think it does. How strangers greet each other is entirely contextually and culturally dependent: if you’re in France, and someone kisses you twice on the cheek, you don’t think anything of it, because that’s normal in that culture and context. If you tried the same thing in America, you’d get some serious weird looks and be seriously off-putting; if you tried it in Afghanistan, you might get shot. I think there’s a pretty strong argument to be made against hugging in the workplace, especially between a superior and subordinate (as here), because of perceived and/or actual sexual harassment, and the risk of creating a climate that’s blind to it. The rest of the U.S. Army mostly feels the same way, which is why the boss walking up to you and greeting you with a big, ten-second bear hug is pretty much the last thing you expect him to do. I wouldn’t have been more surprised if he’d hit me with a fish.
And if you didn’t at least see how someone could chuckle at a cheap double entendre like that, then I’ve got nothing for you.
Anyway, hopefully it’s clear in this that the Colonel has walked off to make uncomfortable small talk with a group of Soldiers, and the Lieutenant here is making conversation with the guy who was standing behind the Colonel earlier. I didn’t include a scene where the Colonel walks off, although I’d scripted it, because it seemed that that would be boring out of proportion to its usefulness.