June 17, 2007


Found a comment over at Buzz.mn that narrowly applies to seatbelt laws but broadly applies to almost everything we cover in the blogosphere:

Anecdotal Evidence Can Be Fun!
Submitted by jhugart on Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:36am.

My dad used to wear seat belts only when he was driving on the interstate; he explained it by saying he could hold on to the steering wheel at lower speeds.

Then one day he was driving to the interstate, and had his belt on. Another driver ran a red light and smashed into his car, rolling it, and shaking him up a lot. He was uninjured, which all agreed would not have been the case had he been unbelted. From that point on, he always wore a seat belt.

For my part, I always put on the belt, and expect passengers to do so as well. I used to get the response, "Oh, I trust your driving!" My reply was, "It isn't my driving we're worried about." That always resulted in a thoughtful look and the click of the belt.

The entertaining part about anecdotal evidence is that it is great for supporting something you already believe in. If you believe seat belt use is a good idea, you can find stories to back it up. If you think seat belt use is dangerous, you can find stories to back that up.

Humans being human, I suspect that no scientific assessment of seat belt use, non-use, accidents, injuries, and fatalities would sway people from whatever positions they have already adopted. They are much more likely to be affected by a friend or relative who survived because of behavior X, whatever it happens to be.

The short answer is that there are all sorts of ways to die with a car involved. You can do your best to protect yourself, but sometimes you can get killed in spite of those efforts...and other times you can survive in spite of what may seem terminal stupidity. C'est la vie.


(Thanks to this ColdFury post for leading me there.)

Actually, it reminds me a lot of something that's been bugging me immensely lately over at SpouseBUZZ: the idea that the new Lifetime series Army Wives is unrealistic because officer wives would never deign to hang out with enlisted wives. I say that my three best friends in Germany were all enlisted wives, and someone else says that in her entire Army life no officer wife has ever once spoken to her. And so our anecdotes cancel out. Ace says nicely today that "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'", and I don't know if there's any data out there on this subject, but it sure does bother me to read over and over that I am too snobby and uppity to ever be friends with my three best friends.

Posted by Sarah at June 17, 2007 11:15 AM | TrackBack

I think it's funny how civilians perceive the Army life. I heard all sorts of things (mostly from prior Army folk) about the division between Officer and enlisted personnel before we moved to Germany. (duty station #1) I knew nothing about the Army and it seemed silly to me but I believed it, nonetheless. When I arrived, I found what I usually find...some of it was 100% true and some was 100% false. It's just another way of pigeon-holing people...I always had both enlisted and officer's wives as friends and never really thought a thing about it.

Posted by: Nicole at June 17, 2007 11:41 AM

I've seen both. I've met wives that wore their husband's rank. I also recall meeting one woman that was very down-to-earth and insisted on being called by her first name, despite being married to the Corp Commander (LTG).

I think field grade officer wives were the worse. My wife always refused to play that game and has pointed out that she's not subject to the UCMJ.


Posted by: R at June 17, 2007 12:08 PM

I'm glad you brought up the officer/enlisted wives discussion (or rather, the anecdote bomb throwing). It's been driving me nuts. I have to say that I have met imperial officer's wives (as Marna would say)including one who demanded to be called "Mrs. Colonel So-and-So", but I also met one wife who's husband was lower ranking that would come to every function hubby's unit had, and when volunteers were asked for EVERY SINGLE TIME would say, "You don't command ME!" Sweet baby on a stick, woman! We were asking for someone to bring the chips!

I never ask what someone's husband's rank is. Never. It has no bearing on whether or not the wife and I get along well. As a result I've been blessed with friends who are Colonel's wives and friends whose husbands just got out of basic. I've mentored and been mentored (both of which are an ongoing process).

And for those of us whose husbands started out enlisted, I wonder what the "no mixing" rule means. Am I not allowed to talk to myself? That would totally ruin my week.

Posted by: airforcewife at June 17, 2007 01:43 PM

My best friends at this duty station were also enlisted wives. Frankly, none of us thought a thing about it.

But at one point, when there were a lot of rumors and craziness going around, the battalion Commander's wife that maybe it wasn't in my best interest to be friends with them. That perhaps they were only friendly to glean information. I don't think she meant to be a doofus but was just trying to share that it can be lonely at the top if you have any leadership role.

It goes both ways. You have some imperial Officer's wives and you have some suck-ups that want to hang out with the wives of higher ranking folks to feel important. That will always be the case.

But hey, if in this crazy life, you can find someone, ANYONE, who gets you and can make your life that much less lonely, you make sure to hold on to both hands no matter the number of stripes or squiqqlies on his velcro patches.

Posted by: Non-Essential Equipment at June 17, 2007 03:41 PM

The O vs. E thing gets tiresome with me...

heck I do not even know what anyone over at SpouseBuzz DH or DW rank is oddly enough...

for that matter I do not care, never have.

doubt if I will.

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at June 17, 2007 05:55 PM

Dang. I just wrote a lot and had to erase it all. I can't even start on this subject without writing a novel.

Bottom line: If one defines herself by what rank her husband is, she is a loser.

Posted by: Erin at June 18, 2007 12:23 AM

Well, my best friend was an O wife, I was an E wife. what got US was that everyone in the Chain had a pink fit about it. the Col's wife (who wore those eagles with PRIDE, y'all) castigated me, the Sgt Major's wife told me it just wasn't DONE! her DH was not in my DH's direct chain, but in the same unit. But still... disapproval everywhere.

going back Active, as a WO wife (now, where do we fit???) and I sure hope things have changed in these many years!


Posted by: Liberal Army Wife at June 18, 2007 08:01 PM

I never heard any grief over my friendships, but I do remember a couple of strange glares from one or two enlisted wives who looked at me like I had infiltrated their private group. I got more grief over being too friendly to a civilian boy I worked with; despite the fact he was five years younger than me, people warned me he'd be considered my jody if we were ever seen together. The things people get all up in...

Posted by: Sarah at June 18, 2007 10:06 PM

I cringe when someone asks what my husband's rank is. I have been guilty of leaning down at that very moment and pretending my littlest needs her nose wiped, hoping the question will go away. Unless you are from protocol and currently working on a seating chart and need to know where he needs to place his booty, what does it really matter?

I have two very close friends here. One is an officer's wife, one is an NCO's wife. I know that I can count on either of these two women for absolutely anything. Am I living in some fantasy world friendship with the one who happens to be married to someone who wears his rank in a different place on his uniform than my husband does? Hardly.

I always wonder if those who insist that wives of Os and Es can't be friends immediately write someone off as a potential friend based on their husband's rank.

Posted by: Michelle at June 25, 2007 06:30 AM