I Got Called a Dependapotomus and It Doesn’t Matter

You can find the definition of dependapotomus here.

(I was going to post a picture but you can Google for yourself…the pictures are all very…creative?)

Here’s the scene:

I was sitting in a Starbucks on post working on my nuclear chemistry homework (OMG the brain cells…they hurts us, Precious) and there were two female soldiers waiting in line to order their drinks. One of them starts chatting with me about my school work and what I’m going to school for and what’s what about my life. The other one says, “You don’t even have a job?! It must be nice to be a dependapotumus, but I actually have shit to do all day.” and she laughed with her perfect teeth all over her perfect face. At which point I got all sweaty and nauseated and my vision went all wonky (adrenaline can be so inefficient sometimes) and I said something like, “You don’t know my history, or my spouse, and you should be more careful to whom you speak. And in some cultures having a fat wife is considered a sign of success and virility.”

(Seriously. Where is this culture? I need to move there.)

Then a CWO (Chief Warrant Officer. Respect them. Love them. Fear them.) politely asked the lieutenants if they would please accompany him to a “sidebar”, only he said it like if they didn’t go with him he’d murder their puppy twelve times before lunch. I don’t know much after that because I just stared at my chemistry book, trying not to cry from shame, and cursing my stupid brain for not coming up with a witty, soul-crushing response.  I’m sure I’ll think of something in the shower tonight and it will be epic.

I texted a couple of friends and made a Facebook post. Everyone is on my side and they are all sufficiently pissed off on my behalf. Also, everyone has wonderful retorts and I am going to write them down and keep them in my pocket like Mr. Collins’ keeps compliments. Folks are like “they are just jealous” and “what bitches” and “you are awesome” and “lets cut them” which leaves me feeling incredibly warm and fuzzy. Nothing says love like the prospect of violence on behalf of friendship.

The fact is that I am a dependent. My home, the food in my belly, the clothes on my back, the classes I’m taking, the children (who are clean, well-behaved, and brilliant, by the way) I’ve birthed are all dependent on my husband. I would have none of these things (at least not in their current, blissful iteration) without my husband and the work that he does. I am aware and I am grateful and I won’t spout off about “my role is just as important as his” because that argument makes me very uncomfortable. I am blessed enough to be able to study at a Starbucks…my life is pretty good. We are a team and the execution of our contract isn’t anyone’s business; he’s happy with the state of his life and I’m happy with the state of my life and we will skip off into the sunset together just as soon as the next FTX or JOAX or JRTC or deployment or PowerPoint Rodeo will allow.

I could defend myself with “I’m not fat” (but I could lose some jiggle, its true) and “we don’t have that many kids” (we have 3 and if it weren’t for miscarriages we’d have 5) and “I do stuff all day” (its school work so my house isn’t really that tidy and won’t be until after finals). Really, though, who cares? I’ll be the size I’m gonna be (and finish marathons, by the way) and have as many kids as we want to have (we’re Catholic…we should have a squad by now) and I really am busy all day (with three kids in sports and scouts and clubs-this is obvious to anyone with, like, eyes.) and I was studying fricking nuclear chemistry for Pete’s sake… “I am Spouse, Hear Me Roar” defenses are pretty hollow sounding.

I don’t know why that female thought it was funny but my guess is that she’s seen someone who fits whatever mold she thinks warrants the name dependapotomus and was looking for an excuse to use the word. So that’s fine; she’s entitled to her opinion and I’m grateful for her service to my country. I hope she can get to know other dependents and gain some perspective on military family life. I hope she grows as a person, sees the error of her ways ,and befriends a military spouse in order to appreciate the other side of the tracks. I wish her success in her career.

Also, in the cozy little cockles of my shiny, patriotic heart I kind of hope that CWO made her cry like the crusted over barracks bunny she probably is. 

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I probably shouldn’t have said anything or made a Facebook post or even written this blog post. But…what is technology good for if not rallying one’s friends for a bitch-lynching?

Sticks and stones, Love…sticks and stones…

Now, I have to get back to my studying for finals, laundry, making dinner, running 4 miles, organizing the garage, getting the oil changed, paying the bills, burying the family pet and consoling kids, getting kids to baseball camp, making everyone’s dentist appointments, electronic griping, preparing Cub Scout meetings, hiding my true emotions about family upsets back home, arranging the prospective purchase of our future home and farm, wrangling the teenager and all of her social contacts, cleaning out the car couch and preparing to get blasted on Easily Offended Military Spouse websites…

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5 thoughts on “I Got Called a Dependapotomus and It Doesn’t Matter

  1. Oh the outrage boiling inside my heart right now. There’s a lot of things I want to say about that butterbar that would not be appropriate for my children to hear. However here’s what I have to say…you are awesome. You run marathons, raise children, go to school, and support your husband as he serves our country. There’s no need for a witty retort to an ignorant person because you are amazing.

  2. My dear, you just gained another follower. I just chatted with Christina Karrels, who I know from waaaay back. We went to high school together, joined the same National Guard unit, and went to Iraq. She is an awesome person, and I have tons of respect for her. So when I read your post, which she put on her Facebook timeline, I was incensed at the insensitivity of these so-called officers toward you. I feel your pain! If I had a dollar for every time that painfully condescending question is asked: “So do you work, or do you just stay at home?” And the nasty assumptions that come along with the stereotype…I have been wanting to address some of these in my own post, but believe it or not, I have been too busy being a stay at home mom 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your work, and wish you the best. And, just remember, you have more allies on your side than you know. For example, that CWO handed those lieutenants their asses, I guarantee it. That sidebar was an eye opener and what we call a come to Jesus moment in the Army. I wish you the best, and as a fellow milspouse, you can always get in touch if you ever need anything. 🙂 Georgeann

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support. That’s one of the great things about being a MilSpouse- the support and friendship of strangers who share experiences in This Crazy Life. 🙂

      Christina and her family are a fine group of Patriots and I was very lucky to get to know them at Benning. I miss that street and all its people…

      Thanks for taking the time to respond and I hope to bump into you! It’s a small Army, after all. 🙂

  3. Having been on both sides of this (active duty for over 12 years and now a dependent) I would have lost my mind on those Lts. I really hope the CWO took care of business. The First Sgt in me would have come out hard! You are dping the most important job in the world….being a mom! I understand your uneasiness with the “most important role in the military” arguement but I will tell you from experience as a First Sgt that it is amazing how much more effienct the military runs when things are good at home….when the military member knows everything is taken care of and they don’t have to worry they can focus on the task at hand. So you need to know you truly do have an extremely important role in the military and for that I would like to say Thank You! Keep on being you and Nuclear Chemistry? for real??? Lol!!!

    1. You are very, very kind. Thank you for your service! ❤ …and I must confess that the nuclear chemistry sounds fancy, but it was the easiest chapter in the book. There's almost no math! 😎

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