Mr. Sensitive

August 26, 2010

Waiting For The Tanks

Filed under: Me Myself and I — lbej @ 11:02
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I have been forced this morning to make a complete and unflinching assessment of my offensive capabilities.  Many of the symptoms of mononucleosis have abated or disappeared altogether in the last ten days, most notably the fever and the severe headaches.  Yet fatigue and cardiovascular distress, especially heart palpitations, seem to be intensifying.  An especially vexing aspect of this particular ailment is that strength returns to the afflicted over time and by degrees rather than as a restorative surge.  When I’ve had the flu or strep throat or a bad cold in the past, there’s a distinct and perceptible period of time during which my body is struggling against the invading pathogen and it diverts a significant portion of my energy for that purpose.  Then there is a watershed moment when the disease is overmastered by my immune defense, and a rapid disengagement and demobilization occurs, releasing huge amounts of energy, which feels awesome.  That hasn’t happened this time and it seems that it isn’t going to.  Systemic weakness persists, and the doctor says I shouldn’t “overdo it,” whatever that means, lest the more prominent symptoms return.  Those who know me understand why I would have difficultly with that sort of open-ended injunction.  To my mind, one is sick or one is not, and so I make a lousy convalescent.  But I can’t deny that my offensive powers are diminished.  Endurance is the element I’m lacking; I can summon the strength to strike hard–a definite improvement over my condition a week ago–but I am easily spent.  That means I can’t apply the principles of deep battle, which would require sustained pressure in depth.  Deep battle, if correctly executed, would never create an unstable salient, because penetration would be furthered and consolidated as a matter of course, and would be designed to cause catastrophic failure of the enemy’s supporting echelons of defense.  Deep battle theory recognizes implicitly that a breakthrough can be incredibly hazardous to the army scoring the tactical victory if that army lacks a plan and/or capability to follow through.  Germany lost both World Wars in precisely this manner, first with the Michael Offensive of 1918 and then with the Stalingrad disaster of 1942.  I must, therefore, only advance when I can be assured of a safe retreat or of a defensible new forward position.  Sustained operations in depth are simply beyond my capacity.  It sucks.

I am reminded of the approach taken by Philippe Petain when he succeeded Robert Nivelle as commander of French forces following the latter’s disastrous offensives of 1917.  The French army was in disarray and experiencing widespread mutiny, as the soldiers on the front lines became convinced that their lives were being squandered by callous and inept commanders (they were not wrong about that).  Petain decided to forgo large-scale offensives for the remainder of 1917, focusing instead on re-establishing internal discipline while at the same time improving everyday conditions for his men.  He realized that the French army had reached the breaking point, and France was fortunate that she had not succumbed to the same revolutionary convulsions by then paralyzing her Russian ally.  Petain passed 1917, as he himself admitted, “waiting for the tanks and the Americans,” because he understood that France herself was spent.  Of course, there were no Americans and not enough tanks when the Germans returned in 1940, and so it should have surprised no one that Petain would decide no alternative remained for France but surrender and collaboration.  I would never go that far, and I would embrace annihilation before acquiescence.  But I believe this is 1917, not 1940, and the tanks are coming.  I’ve just got to avoid a Passchendaele while I wait.

August 12, 2010

Biological Warfare

Filed under: Me Myself and I — lbej @ 13:17
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Blood test results have today indicated that I have mononucleosis.  I will not call it ‘mono,’ which is the opposite of stereo or an illness that teenagers get.  This development I did not expect.  I don’t go anywhere or see anyone, and so the contagion must have been introduced into my environs through the machinations of my enemies.  I had imposed a limited quarantine of myself as soon as I knew something was wrong but before I knew what it was, meaning that I asked that the huggy people I live with to stop hugging me.  Reagan is convinced that I’m going to die because I’m sick and has thus been even huggier than usual, but I’m having none of it.  I don’t want my children to be sick for any reason, and certainly not on my account.   Upon learning of my diagnosis and undertaking further research, however, I have found that children often carry this particular virus without suffering any symptoms whatsoever.  So not only might they have contracted it from me already, but I might have contracted it from one of them.  In fact I would say that the latter is more likely than the former.  In recent weeks they have been to sleepovers, and play dates, and concerts, and I have been…here.  Reagan in particular is notorious for taking sips of my Cheerwine, some authorized and others not.  Thus the agents of contagion stand revealed.  The agents of contagion who are now at Brittan’s house.  Whoops.  At least Brittan’s pool is chlorinated, unless it isn’t.

Interestingly, I haven’t felt as fatigued as I would have expected.  I’ve had a nasty headache for ten days so I’m not up for much that involves moving my head, and I feel a little like a crab in a pot what with running a fever for so long, but I’m not incredibly tired.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  Perhaps it means my native energy is so abundant that it can be greatly depleted without apparent effect, much like the Russian army.  Or perhaps I had so little native energy to begin with that I don’t notice the rest of it being gone.  I suppose in that case I will keep running on obstinance and arrogance as I have been.  August 25 remains the date for Plan Vier in either event.

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