I took an unusual step to prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow: I ate an MRE for lunch today.
I have had a couple of them around the office to use as props for media interviews. There are times during major when the Red Cross can’t yet reach everyone with fresh hot meals, so where possible these MRE’s (or ‘heater meals’) are pre-positioned to tide everyone over for a day or so. Many chapters stock them for local use as well.
I had the meatloaf with mashed potatoes. It was… edible. But the whole process was hampered by the lack of a heating bag. You’re supposed to get a big plastic bag to envelope the entree pouch, the heater element, and the water. I’m told you’re supposed to get one for each pouch – but I only had the one. So I elected to heat the meatloaf, and made do with setting the mashed potato slab on top to get whatever residual heat I could leech.
The meatloaf was not bad. I wouldn’t order it in a restaurant, but in extreme conditions it would have been quite comforting. The lukewarm panel of mashed potato was not so hot. It’s not as good as homemade, but for someone with limited time and resources, it’s a great start. Sort of like memes.
I’m not a huge fan of memes that float from blog to blog. I used to see them on Livejournal when I was there quite frequently. (I rarely had the time to answer 150 Intimate Questions about myself.) Occasionally, they provide a useful template for revealing new information about yourself.
None of you are going to jump to my Thanks for the Influence post and start tracking down the people who made me who I am (and it’s debatable whether you’d be tracking them down with guns or roses.) What is important is the thought and meditation I underwent to answer the question with a degree of candor and honesty. That is the secret ingredient of personal revelation that connects people.
A meme is little more than a BRR (blog ready to read), and like its MRE counterpart, it is designed to be digested at an appropriate time and place. Since it comes in a consistent packaging, you can more easily spot the similarities and differences – the flavor – that other people bring to the assignment. A diet of BRRs would become tiresome and bland. But consuming one every now and again can be an exercise in self-discovery.
I know my next BRR will be more enjoyable than my next MRE. And I know the coming spreads at my folks’ and the in-laws’ will be met with a deeper sense of appreciation and gratitude.
(Let me add a hearty salute to all who are serving overseas – who don’t have the choice of where to dine tomorrow – and who navigate the instructions and preparation of those MREs with a grace and anticipation that makes my fumbling all the more embarrassing.)
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, Thanksgiving, military, memes, MRE[/tags]