Monday, July 20, 2009

Two Spaces

The Army’s media embed application gets right to the point: “In the unlikely event of an emergency, death or declared missing, please list next of kin or other person(s) you would like for us to contact on your behalf for notification.”

At some level, all of us know we’re going to die someday. We do a pretty good job of not letting that knowledge dictate the way we live, and for the most part it’s an easy thought to keep out of the front of our minds.

There are times, though, when you’re forced to confront the reality – I’m going to do something that might get me killed – head on. In ordinary life, these moments usually come after the decision has already been made, on a black-diamond-rated ski slope or a moose you didn’t see crossing the road until it was too late. When going into a war zone, on the other hand, you have the unlooked-for opportunity of savoring the prospect of your death, with a dozen questions on forms you fill out asking about your blood type and your helmet size.

The embed application had two spaces for names of people to contact in case of my death. I assume the second is there in case the first person doesn’t pick up the phone. In the first space, I put my mother. No surprises there. As for the second space, I think I’ll keep that to myself for right now.

Who knows, maybe it’s you.

1 comment:

  1. "in case the first person doesn't pick up the phone"

    Thanks for a laugh, Tom. I thought it was in case the first person denied knowing me.