I’ve earned it

Manas Air Base,
Kyrgyzstan —
Me, enroute to the ‘stan. (That’s a C-17 Globemaster in the background.)
Yes, I have a fancy pillow with tassels hanging off of it … YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?!?!

In our house, there are lots of things that are “just for looks,” meaning that you aren’t supposed to actually use the item as it is intended.

For example, you have those really nice towels in the guest bathroom … Just for looks. But the paper towels?… She’ll say you can use those (“you messy neanderthal, you.” That part, she says to herself.) Then, there’s the nice porcelain dinnerware, staring at you from the kitchen cupboard … Just for looks. But the cheap, Wal-mart dishwasher-safe plates?… You can use those (“you disgusting little pig,” she probably thinks to herself.) “Better yet, why don’t you use the paper plates so I don’t have to wash dishes?” (She says THAT out loud, of course.)

And, then, there are the pillows. You know … THOSE pillows. The ones on your bed, or maybe on your couch. The ones that come in fancy colors and exotic fabrics. The ones that invite you to come lay your big neanderthal pig head on ‘em and just take a little nap or two. You’re not supposed to use those.

This makes no sense to me. If you don’t want me to lay on the pillows, then WHY put them on the couch? I often ask Muna this question. The answer: “They’re just for looks.” (Apparently, we are SOOO wealthy, that we can afford TWO of everything. One to use, and one “just for looks.”)

By the way, this rule really only applies to women (as do most rules in marriage.) For example, I wonder what would happen if I bought that second BMW I have been drooling over. I’m sure she would be upset …

“What on EARTH makes you think you need ANOTHER BMW?!?!,” she would ask me angrily. With a smile as wide as the grand canyon, I’d slowly reply:

“Oh, it’s okay, Nunu.” (‘Nunu’ is the Somali word for ‘baby.’) “The second one is (wait for it) JUST FOR LOOKS. I just park in the driveway, but I don’t want you to ride in it, okay?”

I’m sure this idea sounds much better in my head than in real life.

Anyway, one day, Muna sent me a care package with some goodies and treats I had asked for. In the box was one of the “just for looks” pillows. See the picture above. It’s a nice, gold colored pillow with swirly designs embroidered in it, with frilly tassels on all four corners. Masculine? Not so much. But it is comfortable as all get-out. Very soft and plush. At first, I wondered why in the WORLD she would send me one of those.

Of course, I took a ribbing for it from some of the other fellas on the team.

But, after thinking about it, I think that maybe she thinks since I’m deploying to the ‘stan, now I’ve earned the right to actually sleep on the pillows. Maybe her sending me the pillow is her way of letting me know that she wishes I was still home to fight about the pillows.

No matter what the reason, I take the pillow with me everywhere now. Partly because it reminds me of home, and partly because most of the places I go, NOTHING is “just for looks.” Every little bit of comfort is welcomed. Maybe that pillow will make my ride to the ‘stan (in the cargo bay of a military aircraft) just a little more bearable. Or, as I ride around in Hummers, my lil’ derrière will appreciate how the pillow makes the hard seats tolerable.

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