Here in Marin, it’s sometimes hard to get things done. It’s not just because I’m a procrastinator. It’s also because other people seem so inert. I call the roofer; he never gets back to me. I call the plumber; he never gets back to me. I call the gardener; he never gets back to me. I call Macy’s and, after going through automated answering hell, I finally get to voice mail, leave a message . . . and no one ever gets back to me. And so it goes. I reach out — usually offering money along with my attempted contact — and no one gets back to me.
Marines are different.
I’ve been looking for ways to push my son out of his comfort zone and get him more involved with the world in an active, engaged way. One of the programs I stumbled across is the Marine Corps’ Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy. It sounds like a great program, and I wish I was young enough to do it myself. (You can read more about the program here and, once you learn about it, I bet you wish you could do it too.)
My only concern was that the website looked as if it hadn’t been updated this year, so I was concerned that the program might have been cancelled. I therefore reached out to a Marine friend and (being the belts and suspenders type) I also sent an email to the contact information at the SLCDA website. I then settled in to wait because, as you can see, that’s what I do. I reach out . . . and no one gets back to me.
Marines are different.
Within one hour of my reaching out to my Marine friend, I got an email back (a) telling me that the program is still very active and (b) giving me a telephone number to find out more about the program. When I called the number, I immediately ended up talking to a very nice Marine Colonel who gave me a half hour of his time to tell me about the program and, when it became clear that my son is not a good fit for the program, giving me other suggestions about programs that engage teenagers.
Two hours after that first email, I got an email from a Lt. Colonel telling me the program is still active. And then, another 12 hours later, I got another email, this time from a 1st Lieutenant, also telling me that the program is active and looking for candidates.
Do you think there’s any possibility that I can call the Marines about my roof, my plumbing, my gardener, and my furniture issues? Whether they’re expert roofers, gardeners, plumbers, or furniture repairers isn’t really irrelevant. The relevant thing, and the one thing I know for absolute certain is that, if I call the Marines, they’ll get back to me.
UPDATE: It seemed appropriate here to give a little history about the Marines at Belleau Wood during WWI. When Marines get involved in a project, they stay until the job’s done: