My Work At The Pentagon


Every once in a while, I wear a sports jacket that has a lapel pin on it of ‘The Pentagon.’ People seem to take note of it because they often bring it up in our conversation. More often than not they will ask if I used to work at ‘The Pentagon.’ I proudly tell them yes. They seem impressed. Then I tell them, “This pin was given to me as a gift in recognition of my work!” Now they are really impressed and ask breathlessly, “Really…who gave you the pin?” I shouldn’t tell ‘the rest of the story,’ and I know they want to hear that it came from a Senator, or Congressman, or maybe someone from the White House…but…I cannot tell a lie. And besides, I enjoy a good laugh! So I continue. “Well…the summer after I graduated from High School a good friend’s father hooked me up as a carpenter’s ‘apprentice’ on the new subway being built in the Washington D.C. area. While working there I was assigned to help a team of carpenters frame a number of huge flower boxes on the grounds of The Pentagon. It took several weeks and ever since I like to joke that I used to work at ‘The Pentagon.’ My wife jokingly gave me this pin in recognition of my work.” A good laugh usually ensures!

In a time when the truth can be hard to find, we must remember that often behind spectacular tales of glory and accomplishments lies, as Paul Harvey said, “The rest of the story.” Let us look for the joy in our lives. Let us not feel like failures when social media paints that the life of others is so grand. Often, behind the photos; behind the wonderful stories and paintings, lies ‘the rest of the story’ that is privy to only those who need to know.

Let us be happy and embrace the good things that lie therein. There are always problems…for everyone. Each of us tends to put a good foot forward, and that is fine. But never let us get discouraged in thinking that somehow our lives do not measure up to the lives of others and that we are the only ones dealing with issues. A good ‘rest of the story’ tale was told by Henry B. Eyring who was advised by a church leader to treat everyone as if they are going through a tremendous trial in their life. Because, more often than not, they are!

Fake lives have become a common source of unhappiness in our lives. Let us not be fooled into accepting that life is a “bowl of cherries” for everyone else and full of only “pits” for us. I love the story about how a group of people got together and wrote on a piece of paper all their problems. They put the papers in a bowl and everyone drew another’s problems out. They all traded the papers between them until they had their own back. And they were happy to take theirs back. They all felt blessed to have their ‘trials’ and not the trials of others. Look for the light; it’s there. Sometimes, you just have to search a little harder for it!

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