Friday, March 6, 2009

24: The Wal-Mart Wars

The Following takes place between 1:00 and 1:30 PM.
It’s Wal-Mart time. During university, one of the books I studied was on war, by Clausewitz, translated from the original German. The name of the book is, ironically enough, “Vom Kriege,” which in English means: “On War.” Subtle, I know.

Clausewitz’s most famous phrase is “Fog of War.” Basically what “Fog of War” means is, you can lay the best plans in the world, but everything from real fog to faulty communications to misfiring weapons to almost anything you can imagine can ruin those plans once operations commence. Sort of like Murphy’s law for the military.

Before D-day, General Eisenhower said it well—“The Plan is nothing. The Planning is everything.”

Which basically means, if you know what your objectives are, you can overplan to the point that even if quite a few things go wrong, you can still make it back from Wal-Mart (or the park, or the mailbox, or whatever) alive and with most of the things on your list. Even if you have an 18-month old thunderbolt along. Today I am Wal-Marting solo. It’s a strange (and very rare) feeling. My own challenge is to survive the Fog of Fatherhood.

Operation Wal Mart is commencing.—I pull out of the driveway. But at my normal left turn onto the highway, a truck is blocking the whole left lane. Unsafe situation. I deftly whip around in time and use my alternate escape route.

Anyone watching would never think I’m existing on caffeine IV drips and 4-5.5 hours of sleep a night. Fog averted. Finally I make my way onto the highway. The church garage sale that supposedly had a very cute and cheap toddler size dining table that Asia would love is still open. I pull in. The table has already been sold. I’m back on my way to Wal Mart. Tomorrow: The Trouble with Milk, Air Filters and Checkout Lines!

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