A Slate Soldier Goes to War

Slate has a series on one of their regular contributers, an Army reservist and lawyer who is going to Iraq–as a soldier, not as a reporter. It looks very promising. But this part was interesting not for that reason, but for the subtext.

Telling my family and friends about the deployment was the first and hardest thing to do. My first call went to my best friend in New York. Like me, she had been expecting this for nearly the entire time we had known each other, and we had actually been through false mobilization alerts with the National Guard. However, this time was different, and she understood that as soon as I said I had orders (instead of a mere verbal warning). My subsequent calls went to my father, then my mother, then my grandparents, and then my aunt, then my best friends, eventually closing the circle of my immediate family. The next day, I told the partner I worked for at my firm and shared the news with the other junior attorneys over lunch. That afternoon, I shotgunned an e-mail to a few dozen of my friends, former colleagues, and people I hadn’t spoken to in years but I thought might want to hear.

This is very interesting…the first call goes to his “best [female] friend in New York [the author lives in San Francisco]”. But he tells us later, that after he calls his family he calls his “best friends”. Now maybe he is just distinguishing between “bestest friend” and “best friends”, but to my ear that sounds like something more, for instance the “you’d be my girlfriend if we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country”. Or the “I don’t write about my personal life”, frustrated by the fact that he is in fact here writing about his personal life.

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