I recently mentioned that fatherhood role models come in all shapes and sizes, including whatever shape and size you become after pitching yourself off the balcony in a spitting contest with your child.
Fortunately, for those of us looking around for role models worth emulating, there are far better examples out there, like this father of a Marine in Iraq, George Somjen, who got to hang out in Gene Simmons’ mother’s basement, which was filled–of course–with Kiss memorabilia. How cool is that, right?
But, rather than being blinded by celebrity, Somjen keeps things in perspective:
He keeps a file, part dopey celebrity news, part scandal and bad behavior, part painful slices of life from the war.
He pulled out a clip. It was about Britney Spears. “Recently I was sent to this very humbling place called rehab,” she was quoted as saying. “I truly hit rock bottom.” Mr. Somjen rolled his eyes. “You know what, Britney? Iraq’s a humbling place. Why do we hear about these people? Sure, we’ll always have celebrities. Where are the Jimmy Stewarts and the Gary Coopers? Where are the good people?”
And Somjen keeps his eye on his goal, writing to Gene Simmons after seeing him on TV:
“In that show, you cried when speaking with a veteran,” Mr. Somjen wrote. “We cry every day.” . . . He went on. “I beg you, implore you to use your fame, power and presence to help our military. I will do whatever I can to help but can never reach the multitude that you can.”
What is Somjen’s goal?
What does he want? He wants to know why military personnel pay for their own uniforms and haircuts and other essentials. Why parents who can afford it have to send boxes and boxes of food and supplies overseas.
UPDATE: Wired has been reporting the inability of the Marines’ bureaucracy to serve the Marines, like Somjen’s son and Mama’s cousin, who are in the field, doing the fighting. The series of reports includes this one:
Beginning in 2005, Marine commanders in Al Anbar began begging for thousands of heavily armored trucks, in production at several U.S. firms, to replace Humvees that were being demolished in roadside bombings. Quantico sat on the requests for nearly two years, and during that period around a thousand Americans — including an estimated 200 Marines — died in attacks on Humvees.
The Marine Corps did purchase approximately 60 of the 15-ton blast-proof trucks on an experimental basis for around $1 million apiece. Those trucks were hit 300 times without a single fatality.