When I was in junior high school, all my buddies had name brand BMX bicycles such as Haro, Mongoose, and Diamond Back. Many of these were purchased at The Bike Shop in Auburn.
I wanted nothing more than to get one of those “high dolla” bikes for Christmas.
When I walked into the living room on Christmas morning of 1984 and saw a red dirt bike from Sears next to the tree, I was less than enthused.
I was a good kid and deserved better, or so I thought.
I remember removing every Sears and Roebuck sticker I could find from the bicycle itself.
When school reconvened in early January, I proudly rode my bike to school and chained it up at the bike rack. I recall telling my buddies that it came from The Bike Shop in Auburn.
One of my more snobby acquaintances decided to inspect my ride, and in doing so, found an isolated Sears sticker that had somehow eluded me. I played it off and told them it indeed came from The Bike Shop, the bike shop at Sears in Auburn.
That dude moved a year or so later. No one liked him anyway.
Sometimes, we simply do not get what we want and that is a part of life. Life is not always fair. We have to adapt and overcome, which is oftentimes easier said than done.
A few weeks ago, I was passed over at my first look at being promoted to Major in the Alabama National Guard.
We’ve all had that feeling of getting kicked in the gut. Well, I felt as if I was kicked in my gut, head, shin, and hind side, followed by multiple slaps to the face and another kick to the gut.
I won’t go into detail because the last thing I want to do is burn any bridges. I’ve never been a bridge burner, but I always keep a can of kerosene in my garage just in case I need to do so at some point in the future.
During the War on Terror, our military was promoting soldiers, officer and enlisted, at unprecedented rates. In the National Guard, there were two officer promotion boards a year, but that was scaled back to just one a couple of years ago.
Unlike the Active and Reserve components of the US Army, there are only so many slots within the ranks of a state’s National Guard.
There were approximately 50 of us vying for less than a dozen of those slots, and I know that those selected were highly qualified and deserving.
Be that as it may, I’ll put my qualifications up against any of them. I was not a happy camper.
It appeared to me that most of those selected were able to do more pushups and sit ups than me. They could run faster, too.
Yes, that’s what I look for in a leader. Too bad there’s not a sarcasm font.
I contemplated transferring to the Reserves or to the Georgia National Guard. In a brief lapse of sanity, I even contemplated getting out. I didn’t feel they deserved me.
I speak to thousands of people a year and often talk about the great honor of serving in the Alabama National Guard.
It doesn’t take a marketing major to see this as great marketing for the guard. By the way, I did major in marketing in college.
I was upset, disappointed, and hurt.
During many of my speeches, I harp on adapting to and overcoming the challenges we all face in life.
Many of us are very good at giving solid, sound advice to others but sometimes find it difficult to apply that advice to our own lives.
In the past couple of weeks, I have spoken to several high ranking officers, active and retired, who were also passed over at some point in their career but went on to get picked up at subsequent boards.
No matter how hard we work and no matter how deserving we may think we are, we don’t and won’t always get our way, but that doesn’t mean we should quit or give up. It means we keep fighting; we keep doing the right thing.
I applied to Uniroyal in the late nineties when they were hiring. I was incredibly disappointed when they never called, but I continued to go to school and continued to work at Kroger.
A few years later, they were closed, while I was a college graduate and an officer in the United States Army. I often thank God for unanswered prayers.
There is no way I’m leaving the Alabama National Guard. I take no greater pride than wearing our nation’s uniform and will continue to do so for the next three years, eight months, and nine days. But, who’s counting….
PS. Thank you for the bike, mama. I know how hard you worked to pay for it, and I can’t thank you enough.
Jody Fuller is a comic, a speaker, and a soldier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.