“I would rather come back without my arms and legs then come back without my brother,” said a World War II veteran. He and his brother were part of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion. His brother was killed the first day. This poignant example of loyalty to a loved one can be seen in Ken Burns’ remarkable World War II documentary, “The War”.
Sadly, this kind of loyalty is rare. What’s equally sad, though the anger that boils up in me when I encounter it delays my feeling sorry for the perpetrator, are the people who tell others they can be counted on if times get tough when, in truth, the can’t be counted on at all. I call it lip-service loyalty. Lip-service loyalists are more than willing to say they are loyal to others as long as they don’t have to be loyal to others.
For those of you who fall into this lip-service category, let me just say, shut your mouth. I mean it. Shut-up. You do damage and wound when you offer up some gussied up sentence about how loyal you are and how much you care. Those who believe you get badly wounded when they find out you are a bullshit artist, an earlier term for the lip-servicers among us.
I am not saying there is no loyalty out there. Recently I took a truly hard hit in life and even wrote an e-mail to those I believed in asking for help. In response ,some folks have been breathtakingly loyal and helpful. And then there were those who didn’t respond at all and those who said they would help and never did. Some years ago I would have told this latter group to go fuck themselves. But I think I’ll just let it go. And that’s not lip service.