The Hess Report

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dolls and the Army 

We're back from the beach, and I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt that I had a desk job with the Army, working in some bright office building. I wasn't sure exactly what my job was, but I had a bunch of nicely typeset documents on my desk to review. I was the junior guy.

But, in my previous assignment, I had been tasked with making a diagram of a male soldier, and one of a female. Think plain outline paper doll diagrams, with accompanying cutouts for clothes that folded around and stayed in place. I did as directed. It came to light in my new assignment, though, that these diagrams were the talk of the service. They were, apparently, wonderful. I was shown one of the presentation pieces they were handing out to all officers and NCO's. It consisted of the two dolls, about three inches tall, cut out of stiff white cardboard. Surrounding each doll were the clothes pieces, including helmets, etc., made entirely from velcro.

I remember asking one of the military judo instructors, who was raving to me about the dolls: "So they just used my design out of the box? It worked perfectly without changes?"

"They're great," he replied, while his students practiced throws and chokes in the background. "The pieces fit right together. It's beautiful. It's helped us a lot."

Cool. And then I decided to grab an iced coffee on my way back to the office, because it didn't matter if I was late. I was the guy who made the doll diagrams for the Army.

How cardboard dolls with cut-out velcro military outfits helped the U.S. Army, or how I came to be affiliated with them, I'll never know. But I'll keep it in mind, just in case.

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