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Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Fat Spouse like the Blacksmith who left out the 'Nail' that Lost the Kingdom by Mojo

Most agree that the marriage is a form of a contract or agreement of one form or another, either secular, civil, ecclesiastical, individual or a combination of all to varying degrees. Regardless, I could relate this to the binding contract or oath of many, both men and women, who serve in the Military. Most all Armies of the world, without exception, have certain health standards that are based ,among others, mainly on height to weight ratio or BMI. These standards exist for many obvious reasons, namely, the Battlefield is not “normalized” to give weaker enemy soldiers a 'fair shake'. Certain standards are required prior to enlistment or commission, and are expected to be maintained throughout. Failure to maintain these standards usually results in various forms of disciplining, counseling, or outright termination and discharge; usually under 'dishonorable' or 'less than honorable' conditions. The military considers the soldier's body as not his own, but the Army's. However, the soldier has 'stewardship' over what the Army considers 'government property'.
While in the Service, I witnessed a soldier receive a Article 15 (reprimand) for not wearing his uniform top while digging a fighting position in the desert sun. The soldier stated that he was hot and that he felt “more comfortable” not wearing his shirt which he said made him sweat, even though he had been previously counseled to avoid exposing the bare skin to the sun’s intense rays. The over exposure resulted in a severe sunburn, and subsequent issue by medical personnel, a temporary 'profile' that prevented this soldier from performing all of his expected duties. His superiors charged the soldier with "Destruction of Government Property." The reprimand he eventually received was considered by many of his peers to be "too extreme"-at the time, I felt as did the others. However, with experience that usually accompanies age, I now see the wisdom of the commanding officers in meting out the form of punishment ultimately given. No others followed suit. The details here are not as important as the principle. The soldier had taken an oath to the organization to which he joined himself voluntarily. The oath of his allegiance required certain performances and expectations of duty or sacrifice. In exchange the soldier received certain basic necessities, like food, clothing, housing, and pay; and other privileges like funding for future education, along with other benefits. Although the soldier's actions were judged not to be due to 'malingering'(feigning illness to avoid combat or duty), his neglect had the same end result, in that he was unable, for a period of time at least, to fulfill his duty. Therefore he became a liability to his unit rather than an asset, in that he was using organizational resources, but unable to carryout the responsibility untrusted to him. He thus became a "weak link" in the organization chain. His neglect to use 'common sense' in a combat environment greatly compromised not only his own safety and ability to safeguard his position, but the safety of his "fellows" who trusted him to watch their flanks while they watched his, and ultimately the safety of the entire unit and its ability to accomplish the mission. He had not become a casualty while fighting the enemy or in the performance of his required duty, but was a casualty of his own wanton ignorance and neglect. The derelict soldier can be likened to King’s Blacksmith in the fabled story,"For want of a nail the Kingdom was lost.”

I’m reciting this from memory so, to paraphrase:
The King’s Blacksmith hastened to shod the King's horse, but in his hast he neglected a single nail. A single nail that earlier that very day he neglected to make to have on hand for any horse of the King's that might require shoeing. Instead of cutting the required numbered of nails for the day that his master demanded to always be on hand for the horses of the King's stable, the Blacksmith instead went fishing in the King's ponds and spent the day relaxing while the King was away beginning briefed by his Generals. the Blacksmith reasoned that he could always do it later, or tomorrow even. But now, the light was fading fast. The King's messenger was impatient. A nail, to be made would require the lamps to be oiled then lighted, the wood to be gathered, the forge to be fired, the bellows to be worked, the fire to be stoked, the iron to be tempered and the nail to be struck. "Why make such a bother for such a trivial thing? After all it's just 'one' nail," he reasoned to himself, "Of what consequence is a single nail? No one will ever know of it?"
The King's messenger sped swiftly away upon the newly shod horse to deliver the King's order and the report of his “spies”, to the King's Commanding General who was waiting impatiently at the battle's front. But, the shoe that wanted the ‘single nail’, for it was loosened on a stone, and because of the sped with which the rider rode the loosened shoe was thrown. Because the shoe was thrown the horse broke stride and stumbled, and the rider was bucked off. In the darkness the messenger was lost. Because the urgent message was not delivered, the General hesitated the battle plans to rally his troops. Because the General hesitated to rally his troops. The King's Army was routed and battle was lost. Because the army was routed and the battle forfeited, the Kingdom was lost!, and 'All for want of a single nail'.

You may say, what in the heck does all that have to do with marriage and fat spouses? I think they are good analogies. Although the circumstances are vastly different the underlying principles are the same. The military has claim on the soldier’s body for its survival and success of the mission. Likewise, the soldier has claim on the Army for his sustenance, well being and survival. The soldier’s relationship to the organization can be likened the union of marriage. Each has their own and different role, but each is vital to the success and even survival(or happiness) of the other, neither can exist as an entity without the other. In the traditional Judeo Christian marriage and most western secular marriages the body is considered to be the “property” of the other spouse. Both spouses are considered to have a "legal" and "moral" claim on the body of the other. Thus to neglect one's own body is to neglect the other member of the union. "Thus the two twain shall become one flesh."

In the second analogy the King and his Blacksmith can be likened to the different roles in a marriage (not in a way to show servitude, but rather duty). The Black Smith’s ‘single nail’ is likened to the uncomfortable and sometimes demanding task, such as purchasing, making, and eating healthy foods instead of choosing the quick and easy deceptively sweet fast-food junk-food crap; and/or exercising instead of watching TV, or going fishing like the blacksmith instead of attending to his duty. Making an effort to keep the flame alive, the forge fired, and the iron hot; or the marriage union alive and well by maintaining as well as is reasonable, the attractiveness that in most cases was the catalyst which sparked the union’s beginning like a steel to flint. The Kingdom lost, here, being likened to the marriage broken.

I am not necessarily eluding to the dynamics of the “Chaos Theory”. Although the movie, "The Butterfly Effect" is an interesting example-not the weird reality altering theme-that illustrates the concept of how it is logical to conclude that such seemingly small matters as being overweight can often over time result in “huge” or vastly altered and unpredicted or undesired consequences.

Mojo is a regular on the My Fat Spouse forum

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