Col. Austin Bay: Iraq war vet, renowned blogger, syndicated columnist, novelist, radio commentator. No writer is more respected on military matters. Now Col. Bay has turned his talents toward creating this first dictionary of “Milspeak”--the soldier's argot that is rich in irony, brutally efficient in conveying the immediacy and dangers of warfare, and can be a shorthand way for separating combat soldiers from fobbits.*I heard this story on NPR this morning and – once again due to the strange way my mind works – immediately thought of education (or, more accurately, my recent angst regarding the challenges we face in education).
*Fobbit: Derogatory term for soldiers who never leave an FOB (Forward Operating Base)
There are several similar – yet slightly different – takes I found on the definition of “embrace the suck.”
- The 101st had a saying during the initial push into Baghdad - "Embrace the Suck." Which means," Yeah, it's bad, but this is what we do."
- A phrase an officer used to remind his troops that their job is to understand that the suck is supreme and their job is to suck it up and drive on.
- The Operation Iraqi Freedom phrase "embrace the suck" is both an implied order and wise advice couched as a vulgar quip . . . "Embrace the suck" isn't merely a wisecrack; it's a raw epigram based on encyclopedic experience. Face it, soldier. I've been there. This ain't easy. Now let's deal with it . . . "Embrace the suck": Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.
So, I’ve decided (for today at least, no promises about tomorrow) to embrace the suck. This is what I do. The situation is bad (please note: my opinion only), but deal with it – suck it up and drive on. (Please also note that I am in no way trying to compare my situation to that of the soldiers in Iraq – or soldiers anywhere. I just like the phrase.) I posted earlier that my goal for this year – naïve as it is – was to change the world. And I posted another time that you can’t change the world by whispering. So I’m vowing to put my head down and move forward. No whispering. No angst (well, okay, some angst, but not too much). Just embracing the suck.