I was reading Skippy's blog and it reminded me of an incident that took place awhile ago. Backstory: I'm the sibling of many military members, and I'm my generation's military objector. They all kind of look at me with bemusement, and I send them care packages even when I despise the entire reason they're stuck in a Middle Eastern sandbox for years longer than intended, so it all works out.
The yellow ribbon bumper stickers and magnets offend me. Especially when there are many of them on the same vehicle.
Which is what leads us to the story.
I was getting out of my car at the post office, trying to carry more than one care package, and as I am a paragon of grace and coordination, dropping one as soon as I'd manage to get a handle on another. A man stepped out of a truck next to me and offered to help, and I gladly took him up on it. He noticed the package was to an APO and glanced at the others, noticing they were APO's. "Goodies for the boys, huh? That's great. They need all the love from home they can get." His tone was approving, so I didn't bother to tell him the box in his hand was actually full of tampons, panty liners and wet naps for my sister in law's troop.
Then he glanced at my pristine and undefiled-by-sticker bumper, and he actually chided me. "I see you don't have a yellow ribbon yet." I glanced at his tailgate - he had four. FOUR! With various anti-war slogans on them. "No," I replied, trying to be polite, "I have better things to spend my money on." He scoffed, "Oh come on, they're not that expensive. They sell 'em in the post office. I'll even buy you one." "It's not the expense. The boxes I'm holding and the one in your hand are how I support the troops. It means more to my siblings than a bumper sticker that doesn't support them, that they'll never see." "Well, you could do both," he challenged.
"I see you have four on your truck. For the price of those, I'd be able to add two more calling cards, a half pound of bulk candy, another magazine, a used paperback, another package of socks or t-shirts, several hundred more wetnaps, another can of shaving gel, or many other items that my siblings or their 'toons could use, and you want me to spend it on something to put on a vehicle thousands of miles away from the troops it supposedly supports? As I said, sir, I have better things to spend my money on." "I support our troops, too!" He was getting defensive, "I'd send care packages, but I don't have any buddies over there anymore, and you can't send to All Soldiers anymore."
See that space? That's where I didn't go off on him and list all the other resources that he could have found out about just by asking around or doing a cursory Google search. However, that's because I had a more handy resource in my pocket. "But you would, if you had someone to send them to?" "Of course!" "Oh good. I have a list of other siblings who aren't getting a box this week. If you want a soldier to send a package to, I can give you a name and address right now. There's a gas station right across the road. I can even tell you what kinds of things they'd love to have." He opened his mouth, looking slightly like a deer in the headlights, so I interjected, drawing myself up to my meager height and giving him my best pleading look, "Sir, you were willing to put your money where your mouth was a few minutes ago and buy me a yellow ribbon that I neither need nor want - are you willing to do it now? Because it would mean a lot more to me, and to the officer you'd be sending the package to, if you'll go over there with me right now."
He was. He spent a lot of money - and I mean busted out the gold card 'a lot' and we filled another Ready Pak box and shipped it off to yet another sibling. For lo, I am small and cute and have a great rack, and that combined with my powers of pouting should be considered dangerous weapons. While in the post office, he challenged me, "I did my part, now will you let me buy you a ribbon?" I said sure. He bought me a ribbon.
I went back the next day and exchanged it plus another $2.50 for a calling card that went in the next care package. Dude has since sent another package to my brother, and in the accompanying letter, asked him to hook us up.
My brother responded that he didn't think it'd work, because I only date servicemen.
Someday, he's going to hell for lying.