The first soldier I ever wrote to is headed back to Afghanistan soon. So I’ve been thinking about doing something special for him. Technically, this is not necessary because he’d appreciate anything. And technically, this may not be easy. During his last deployment I got creative a few times (like the golf ball episode) and occasionally lucky (help from a hockey team.) After a while I jokingly told him, “It’s all downhill from here.” But I also know this:
1. Little things mean a lot when you’re far from home. Even the smallest kindness.
2. Continuity helps. Contact throughout the entire deployment has a greater morale impact than sporadic contact. Sporadic has a greater morale boost than no contact.
3. Do what you can. I learned this lesson the hard way after taking on projects for him that were too big and/or not asking for help when I needed it.
Obviously, these three things add up to the invention of Snail-Tweets. Or my version of it.
What if I could send him a tiny bit of support for every day that he is deployed? Hearing your name at mail call is a powerful thing. However, if I sent letters every day I’d run out of things to say pretty quickly. But what if I kept it to 140 characters or less? What if, instead of tweeting online, I did it on postcards?
As I started thinking about stockpiling interesting and fun postcards, point #3 -Do what you can, popped into my head. So this is where I ended up:
1. I will try to send him a snail-tweet every day. “Try” being the operative word in that sentence.
2. If I need help coming up with snail-tweets, I will ask for it. My daughter often has memorable lines. I bet my wonderful readers do too. It may even be more interesting if they’re not all from me. If I ask strangers, I could make their “handle” something descriptive like GuyAtHotDogStand.
3. I’ll number the cards so they’re easier to track. I’ve mailed things on the same day before and one will get there in two weeks and the other arrives months later or not at all. I know anything topical becomes historical when I put in a mailbox, but to me they’re moments. Being deployed, our troops miss so many everyday moments. It may be nice to get a few back.
Urban Dictionary has Snail-Tweet defined as, “a conventional postcard.” I think my version of it is less conventional.
So that’s my plan right now. Of course, like all plans related to the military, it is subject to change. Plus, you never know, there could be an outbreak of world peace. And those last 64 characters would be well worth giving up snail-tweeting for.
© Gina left the mall, 2013