A Conversation in the Ladies’ Room

General Leonard Wood departed the Philippines ...
Hey, that's General Leonard Wood! To my knowledge, he didn't frequent women's restrooms either. If you really want to know about this guy, check out what Mark Twain thought of him. Image via Wikipedia

Before I start this, let me make one thing abundantly clear:  I was not creeping around ladies’ washrooms today.

However, a female colleague of mine happened to be in a restroom in a public building at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. While there for a relatively extended tour in one of the stalls, she overheard a conversation between a couple of basic training soldiers seeking a restful bathroom reprieve from their drill sergeants. As with most basic training folks, they talked loudly as though nobody else could hear through their imaginary bubble. They spoke about usual things: which drill sergeant was handsome, the next weekend break, graduation… Then, however, the conversation took an unexpected turn. They began talking about finances. Not just finances, but they spoke of giving their money away to family members. Bear in mind, they each earned approximately $1450 each months before taxes.


One of the girls just mailed $200 to her mother, and she was afraid that something might happen to the cash. Careful eavesdropping uncovered a story about an unemployed mother who lived off government assistance. The daughter felt it was her duty to give her mom whatever she could, even if it caused financial discomfort and going without niceties.

The other girl lamented about the cost of clothing. Not because of the cost of her own clothing, but because she bought clothes for her nieces and nephews. Why would she be such a doting aunt? As my friend soon discovered that she was concerned because they lacked the finances (or parental concern) necessary to have decent school clothes. So, she bought hundreds of dollars of clothes at the Post Exchange (military WalMart) and mailed them to her nieces and nephews.

Imagine, 18-20 year old young ladies thinking about needy family members before themselves. Imagine, members of the supposed “what’s in it for me” and “overblown sense of entitlement” generation. It sure doesn’t sound like it to me. Their acts sound more like those of the generation that came of age at the beginning of World War II. They are not alone, as I am aware of many acts similar to theirs by a significant number of their peers. Some of them were even clients of mine (*gasp*).

To think, people still question why I represent servicemembers accused of crimes (some horribly distasteful and serious). In my experience, the acts of these young ladies are not unusual. In fact, they are, in many ways, the norm.

I hope they never have a need to call me, but, if they do, the honor and privilege will be mine.

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2 thoughts on “A Conversation in the Ladies’ Room

  1. They sound like very special, and unusual, young women, so it begs the question of whether their selfless attitude is because they serve in the military or whether the military attracts selfless people. Or perhaps both.

  2. I agree that they are two outstanding young women. Soldiers never cease to amaze me with their positive regard for humanity. I hope they never become jaded.

    Similarly, I never cease to be impressed by some of my clients who are decent, conscientious Americans. Unfortunately, one night of excessive drinking or emotional turmoil often stains an otherwise sterling reputation. I’ll never forget a client of mine, accused of (and later convicted of) murder, whose primary concern was whether he would have a chance to help his little sister afford college. The most difficult conversation during my representation of him came when I had to discuss his ability to provide for his sister.

    I often quip that the greatest thing about the Armed Forces is that it is a representative sample of all walks of life. At the same time, one of the greatest liabilities is the fact that it is a representative sample of all walks of life. You take the good with the bad.

    Perhaps many of us have been selling their generation short. After all, the WWII generation complained that the Baby Boomers were lazy, spoiled, and suffering from an overblown sense of entitlement. I’ve heard Baby Boomers say that GenX was lazy, spoiled, and suffering from an overblown sense of entitlement. I’ve heard GenX say…well, you get the point. Perhaps every generation suffers from the prior one lamenting its early faults, but they all recover during their 30s and 40s into a productive, well-meaning generation.

    I have no background in sociology, but it seems plausible.

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