September 29, 2006


There are times when I step back from my life and try to observe it as a third-party, detached observer.

And I think, usually without fail, that I lead a pretty interesting life.

Then I think about my friends.

Yesterday, I got a call from Alan. He's at a ginormous bicycle show in Vegas this week.

Four months ago, he was in a dead-end job and questioning his place in the universe. Today, he's staying in a podunk hotel in the shadows of The Venetian, hobknobbing with fellow gearjamming freaks and so endlessly happy, it sounds like he's mainlining nitrous oxide.

"Imagine 10,000 Alan Snels in one place all hopped up on energy drink and energy bars," he says.

I can't imagine. More likely, I don't want to.

Last weekend while I was waiting for my tragic haircut, I called my college buddy Larry. He's a tour guide in Washington D.C.

Larry was standing in some historic place or another as we were discussing the fate of his Seminoles and my Buccaneers and comiserating about both.

He's taking his three girls to Boston this week to see a Red Sox game. He's from Beantown but he's never been to Fenway. One of his daughters is already a freak for the BoSox. He's going to get to share one of his lifelong dreams with the ones he loves the most, including the Indifferent Teenager who actually asked to go with them.

Then there's Drew. I got an e-mail update about his battalion's work in Iraq. There was this tiny little bit of information in the Friends of the Wolfhounds e-mail blast:

At the battalion level, LTC Drew Meyerowich, on any given day, can be found in meetings with district police chiefs, Iraqi Army Brigade and Battalion Commanders, and local tribal leaders to discuss the same issues. Just recently, LTC Meyerowich was able to convince Three Grand Tribal Sheiks (men who lead tribes of up to 10 million people) to sit down together with him for the first time to discuss the concerns of their tribes.

Then you see a photo of it.

Sure as shit, there's Drew. Sitting with sheiks on the world's biggest area rug.


Then you read on a little longer:

KIRKUK, Iraq - Transferring a safe and secure Iraq back to its people will depend, in large part, on the establishment of a legitimate, representative government. Legitimizing the government may depend on how well coalition forces integrate Iraq's tribal culture.

For centuries, tribal sheiks have influenced the social, economic and political landscape of lraq. They have the people's ear and influence their action. Leadership of the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team recognizes this cultural reality and is taking historic strides to give a voice to tribal interests in the Kirkuk Province.

Coalition leaders and elders from the prominent area tribes convened a historic meeting in the Hawija District Sept. 20 to discuss tribal needs and concerns, and to develop approaches to include tribal interests in the development of the district's future.

Hawija is located in the Kirkuk Province and has been the scene of significant opposition to coalition forces this year. In the Hawija District, several influences compete with democracy according to Lt. Col. Drew Meyerowich, battalion commander, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3lBCT. One of the most significant influences is the tribal leaders.

"The people in this province have lived thousands of years within a tribal system," said Meyerowich. "So when you are trying to help provide a representative government in a society where tribal grand sheiks are the ones that historically provide for the people, [our effort] will not be successful unless the tribes are a part of the process," he emphasized.

The meeting was the first such cooperative meeting between American military leaders and the heads of each prominent tribe. Each sheik confirmed that never before had they all gathered under one roof with American military leaders to discuss solutions to the tribes'
mutual concern over a lack of inclusion in the future of Iraq.

During the meeting, the grand sheiks expressed their need for fair representation in local and regional government, and their mutual desire to have a role in reconstruction. Afteward, elders shared a traditional meal with their American military guests as a symbol of cooperation.

And then you see him doing the sheik buffet:


Now, I've been to buffets with Drew before. I saw him and his offspring mow through a CiCi's Pizza one time like nobody's bidness. Training courses at Ruby Tuesday's are still taught on how to repair the Endless Salad Bar after a full-frontal Meyerowich assault. But I never thought I'd see him noshing with the Iraqi elite.

Need more? My friend Rod races dogs in Alaska. My neighbor Patrick flies gigantic gas tanks everywhere in the world. My cousin Domonique is a break-beat deejay. My cousin Bruno rescues seat turtles.

My point: Everyone leads interesting lives in one way or another.

Me? I make rack of lamb and roll trucks over. No big whoop.

Posted by Jeff at September 29, 2006 08:28 AM | TrackBack

Like they said in JSchool, everyone's life is a feature story.

Posted by: emil at September 30, 2006 08:45 AM

10000 snels. a terrifying thought, indeed. glad he's having fun though!

Posted by: jolie at October 3, 2006 02:30 PM
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