I asked the delivery guys to help me lift the replacement TV onto the wall mount. “I can put the brackets on myself real quick, but I can’t really lift the TV alone,” I told them. “Could you help me?”
The lead guy started shaking his head the minute I opened my mouth. “Oh no. That’s extra.”
Yeah. It’s $239 extra. That is nearly half the cost of the broken TV. I barely had the money for the TV, much less the $239 to have a ten second lift. So I dared to lay down the Deployment Card.
“Hey, my husband is deployed. He would do this if he were here. This will take less time than mounting it on that stand. Couldn’t you give me a break?”
The delivery guy could not have cared less. Playing the Deployment Card -- that thing we do when we let someone know our servicemember is deployed so that they will cut us some slack -- clearly meant nothing to him.
So I seethed. I know he probably has a set of rules to follow, but am I so wrong to think that there is a social fabric to this society and we all gotta give a little?
Like most military spouses, I’m proud as hell. I am proud of Brad’s choice to serve. And, mostly, I am far too proud to ask for help.
The majority of the things Brad would do if he were not deployed I do myself -- or I do without. Some things I pay other people to do (lawn, taxes, babysitting). When I have a business trip my parents or my grown daughter swoop in to help. My beloved neighbor Fred has been known to surprise me by plowing a snow covered driveway (what a sweetheart!).
So I rarely lay down the Deployment Card. But when I do, I confess that I think it should be honored on the little things. Is that too much?
I’m not expecting a free car. I don’t think I deserve a trip around the world because I married a military guy.
I’m saying that the deployed servicemember is clearly out there doing something for the group. I’m clearly stretching to fill his role in our family. So is it too much to ask for the very occasional lift, break, nudge, pat?
That kind of mini-help makes such a difference to spouses. This may not even be fair, but when I do get a little break on the Deployment Card I feel like the rest of my countrymen appreciate our military. I feel like these Americans deserve everything our military members sacrifice to provide.
When the Deployment Card is discarded, I can’t help but want to stand up from the game. Because that kind of thing reminds me that the stakes are awfully high for that kind of return.