Anyone paying attention will notice that I have not written in this Blog since February. I thought about sneaking in and writing eight months worth of posts and claiming some technical glitch but; a) you are all smarter than that, b) I couldn’t write eight months worth of posts in eight months…how I imagine I could do it in a few days is somewhat illogical, and c) the wonderful technology of Word Press puts the date stamp on each post as it is published. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that no one would have been fooled by 120 posts that were dated 5-8 October. Oh well.
So what has inspired me to find my Blog password and clean the cobwebs off of my keyboard after all of these many months? A colleague at work. (I suppose that should have been “who” as opposed to “what” but don’t be picky, I have to ease back into this. )
In a somewhat normal (well, for me anyway) moment today, a work conversation with one of my highly intelligent colleagues led me down a stray path of synapses and dendrites into an intriguing mental room. What if we wrote book reviews for books that we haven’t actually written, as if we really had…
Here, lightly edited to lightly protect just about everybody, is the first “Book Not Written.” I look forward to reading yours as well.
The General Doesn’t Eat Eggs
Simone and Schooster, $16.95 Amazon Hardcover Price
It’s December 2004 and Army Lieutenant Colonel Jervis Pax is sitting with guests at his breakfast table in a small Asian country when the deadly tsunami hits, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. When the phone rings moments later and a contact tells Pax that a “big wave” has hit the coast and that several hundred people may be dead, Pax is initially unmoved. “Several hundred people,” Pax says glibly, “why that’s a bus accident in India or a wedding tent collapse in Pakistan. Call me back if it turns out to be really bad.” In the days and months that follow, Pax is responsible for directing the relief efforts of nearly 2000 U.S. military members that descend on the Asian nation bringing money, manpower and misguided good intentions. Pax recounts this and other tales from his many years as a Defense Attache, the U.S. military’s equivalent to the Foreign Service Officer. Whether relating his hours of consternation at having “lost” a senior foreign general in Asia only to find him sleeping in the wrong hotel room, or describing his indignation at watching junior staff officers sort M&Ms by color for an incoming group of dignitaries who “don’t like the red ones,” Pax’s descriptive power and dry humor will have you crying one moment and laughing out loud the next. He describes, for example, an ordinary day of travel in Asia and the unusual occurances that routinely punctured all notions of reality. “I noticed that I was hurtling towards a cluster of saffron-clad Buddhist monks who had gathered at the bottom of the ramp for reasons known only to them. Great, I thought, I’m going to be the first and last contestant in the international bowling for monks tournament and by evening, I’m going to be in a prison in Hong Kong.” Told through intimate portraits of Pax’s interlocutors and unsparing yet fascinatingly detailed descriptions of life as a U.S. Army officer abroad, The General Doesn’t Eat Eggs- the culmination of years spent struggling to herd cats in support of U.S. Foreign Policy —illuminates both the droll mysteries of executing the U.S. national security strategy at the “tip of the spear” and the realities of attempting to wield the spear and finding “that all you have is the shaft.” 383 pages.
“A must read for anyone interested in lives truly lived.”
“Just how a good story should be told.”
“I laughed so much, I almost threw a shoe.”