Here at SpouseBUZZ, we've had a few laughs at the expense of civilians (see here and here). These stories remind me of some conversations my husband and I have had with a friend of ours. We'll call her "Amy." The conversation always has the same outcome, but each time we have it, I smile, rather than laugh.
Amy doesn't have a military background, so when she meets someone affiliated with the military, her frame of reference is pretty limited. Amy's naivety comes across as endearing, rather than rude. For some reason, Amy thinks that my husband knows everyone in the United States Army, and that everyone in the United States Army should know him. Below is an example of how our conversations, on this matter, tend to flow:
"I met this soldier at [insert place]. He served in Afghanistan [or Iraq]. I told him about you. His name is so-and-so, do you know him?"
My husband shakes his head and says, "no."
"He lives in such-and-such town," says Amy, fully expecting this tidbit of information to jar a memory.
"No, don't know him." Husband continues to shake head.
"He's about 5'10...." The physical description begins.
Head still shaking.
Amy continues to relay every bit of information that she learned from the soldier. My husband continues to shake his head. Getting nowhere with my husband, Amy looks at me to see if maybe, by some miracle, I know the soldier, although my husband does not. She's still hoping that a connection can be established.
My husband and I have had the same conversation on numerous occasions with Amy. I can't understand why Amy doesn't understand that the Army has a lot of soldiers in its ranks, that we're spread out all over the world and that most of us never get the chance to meet one another. On the other hand, Amy can't understand how my husband, who she thinks is very important because he worked at the Pentagon (heh - if she only knew...), never seems to know anyone she comes across who is affiliated with the Army.
I could try to explain, but I never do. Amy is very proud of my husband, she took great care of him and the orphans of Afghanistan, by extension, while he was deployed. I find Amy's lack of knowledge about the Army, and how it works, to be entertaining. I know that more than anything, Amy simply wants to share my husband with any soldier she comes across because she supports him and is proud of him.
Perhaps one day Amy will come across someone we know. I doubt it, it's a big Army, but sometimes it's a small world. Amy might get lucky one day. One thing is certain, she'll never stop trying - and that's fine with me.
My only concern? Amy is not good with rank, not good at all. Secretly, I have this fear that she may one day refer to my husband as General Hurley, if she hasn't already.....