OPSEC is one of my least favorite parts of military life. As a top-tier control freak, the amount of information (e.g. travel dates and details) Jonathan holds back in the name of operations security is migraine-inducing. (Although honestly I think he sometimes uses OPSEC as an excuse not to feed my TOTALLY WARRANTED ANXIETY ABOUT EVERYTHING. How dare he try to curb my worrying. I can quit anytime I want.)
I’ve come to understand that what I might have seen as “careless spontaneity” in military life is not an optional disposition; you have to fly by the seat of your pants because the army has control of your pants, and at any moment can decide you’re done with that pair and it’s time for some new, more useful trousers. Maybe bell-bottoms! Those could come back in style anytime. But in order not to compromise the safety and integrity of your new bell-bottoms, you’ll have to wander around pants-less for a bit until the new pair arrives. I hope you didn’t go commando today.
As the pants come and go, I’ve relied on hinted communications from Jonathan that help me guess when I should expect to hear from him, or when a sudden cut of all communication shouldn’t worry me to the point of vomiting. I’d like to think deployments are like big, tactical games of covert charades: Movie. Two Words. First Word. Two Syllables. Sounds like…big explosion? …Bomb? Bigger bomb…nuclear bomb? Keep going?…Nuclear warhead…uhhh…Nuclear fission? NUCLEAR FISSION! Fission? Fission sounds like…precision…condition…permission…mission? Mission? Mission Impossible? YOU’RE GOING ON A MISSION! Okay talk to you in a week love you.
With one deployment under our belts and the second one winding down, I’ve gotten more astute to the subtle hints of timeline. By which I mean that, when charades isn’t cutting it, I’ve memorized nearly every important date in Jonathan’s family in case he should mention his tentative departure is “around my dad’s birthday.” Having even a give-or-take-a-few-weeks idea of a timeline makes me feel much less exposed while wandering around half-naked, waiting for my bell-bottoms.
The problem with this system is that sometimes there is no corresponding birthday or anniversary that matches his general timeline. To remedy this, I’ve created a reliable and delicious calendar that Jonathan and I can reference, and always have a code:
The Candy Code Calendar: Use Your Sweet Tooth to Stomach OPSEC
I did some research and, thanks to CandyUSA.com, discovered that there is a national or international day each year to rejoice in dozens of the celebrated ways we consume our sugar. Using the candy days as codes, you’ll always have a set frame of reference when timelines are vague.
Candy Code Calendar Key
So the next time Jonathan tells me to keep National White Chocolate Day free, I’ll know to expect something in late September. And I should hope so, because it turns out our wedding is planned for National White Chocolate Day. Chocolate’s always trying to steal my thunder.
P.S. By putting this calendar on social media, I realize that I’ve completely defeated the purpose of OPSEC. I’m new at this.
Do you have a special way of communicating with your loved ones that leaves others baffled, or thinking you’re a bit insane?