Sentence of the Day: Phil Klay

It’s been one whole day and self is still reading the same story she began this morning, “Money as a Weapons System.” She sincerely hopes she won’t still be reading it,  this time tomorrow.

I was new to the cc game, a game played with skill by staff officers throughout the military, but I knew enough to know that the more senior people you could comfortably cc on your e-mails, the more everyone had to put up with whatever bullshit your e-mails were actually about.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

And STILL More From “Money As a Weapons System” (Story # 5 in Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT)

The title’s a little too obvious. The story itself is layered with irony. It’s all about how American good intentions are worthless. (“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” a quote from who, self knows not, but you’re welcome)

The narrator is an adviser who gets sent to Iraq as part of the Rebuilding. Shortly after his arrival (via helicopter, a true gift from above!), he has this conversation:

“Cindy’s a true believer . . . “

“What is she working on?”

“She’s our womens initiative adviser,” said Bob. “She used to be on a local school board back in wherever the fuck she’s from. Kansas or Idaho or something. She handles our women’s business association, and she’s starting an agricultural project for widows.”

“She knows about farming?” I said hopefully.

“Nope, but I taught her how to google.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More from Story #5 of REDEPLOYMENT: “Money As a Weapons System”

The narrator is introduced to his translator, “a short and pudgy Sunni Muslim everybody referred to as the Professor.”

“Why do they call you the Professor?” I asked him.

“Because I was a professor,” he said, taking off his glasses and rubbing them . . . “before you came and destroyed this country.”

We were getting off to an awkward start. “You know,” I said, “when all this started I opposed the war . . . “

“You have baked Iraq like a cake,” he said . . .

Self really hopes there aren’t too many nasty stories left; it is really hard to read about IEDs and “light’em up” and night patrols, especially when it is in fact night, which will be arriving in less than 12 hours.

After Redeployment, the next two books on self’s reading list are:

DSCN1180

And she will read them in this order: SPQR first, followed by Rubicon.

She ordered Conspirata, by Robert Harris (a novel about Cicero), and it was delivered to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre a few days ago. Unfortunately, the copy was in French. She contacted the bookseller and they told her that in fact the only other copies they had were in Italian. But Mary Clerkin came in and saved the day and put in a request from the local library in Clones.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story # 5 in REDEPLOYMENT: “Money As a Weapons System”

Phil Klay richly deserves his National Book Award. All the stories self has read in this collection so far are very, very good.

Story #4 was made up almost entirely of acronyms. Story #5 is from the point of view of some “liberal” do-gooder who arrives in Iraq to assist in the rebuilding of that country. It’s almost entirely conversation, and the characters say “Look” as in “Look, I don’t mean . . . ” a lot. A lot a lot a lot.

Self decided to take the opportunity for a little reflection. About her own use, in RL (Real Life) of the word “Look” in conversation:

“Look, I may seem crazy to you, but I am definitely sane.”

“Look, I don’t mean to be judgmental but . . . ”

“Look, I really want to go home, but I have no friends.”

And then she realized that “Look” is one word she never, ever uses. She doesn’t hear her women friends using it, either.

Does that make “Look” a gender-ed word? (It means: I am so exasperated. For the nth time, let me show you what I mean. Rather than say all that, you could get away with just saying: Look)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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