Pay Attention to Detail-Hair Clips Can Kill

At Army basic training, we were grilled with the phrase ‘Attention to Detail.’ They drilled it into our heads repeatedly. Over and over. Look around.See what you are doing. See what others are doing. Where are you walking? Where are others walking? How are they walking?

It all made sense in the long run. When you go to a war zone, you need to pay attention to everything. When you are carrying your loaded weapon, you have to be aware of where your muzzle is pointed, what your finger is doing near the trigger. Carelessness can kill you or your buddies.

However, this end picture was not given to us in the beginning. Or maybe I didn’t hear it. It was just lots of screaming. What are you doing? Why are you walking that way? What is that on your uniform?

One morning, we were woken up with a clamor and rushed to get dressed and into formation. Then we were scurried off to the fitness field in very cold weather. We were allowed to wear our thick field jackets over our fitness sweatshirts due to the cold. When it came time for me to remove my coat and perform my pushups, the drill sergeant started screaming at the top of his lunges. What! Is! THAT! What! Is! Wrong! With! YOU!

I stood there like a frozen deer in the road, staring at him. My mind was racing. What? What is wrong? What did I do? Suddenly, I look down and clipped onto the bottom of my sweat shirt was a hair clip. A big black shiny hair clip on my pale gray shirt.

I have long hair and it’s not at all acceptable to have your hair down in uniform. Ever. So, I would keep a hair clip on my bunk bed for instant oh-crap-they-are-coming moments. It wasn’t pretty, but I could throw my hair “up” for those moments until I could make it more official. That morning, I had done just that, but when fixing my hair into its more official position, I had put the clip on my sweatshirt to put away later. Unfortunately, I never put it away.

So here I was in uniform, with a silly clip on it, looking quite like a girl and not a Soldier. When I realized it, I tried to explain. I forgot. It was just a clip. I was sorry. This was NOT the excuse to tell a drill sergeant. No, not at all.

He proceeded to “tear me a new one” and tell me how careless I was. “It is not JUST a CLIP! It is careless. It is lack of attention to detail! It is no pride in your uniform. It is laziness! It is stuff like this that gets people killed!”

“Yes drill sergeant!” I screamed as that was the only smart response.

Back then, I laughed. Bring it down a notch dude. It is a freaking hair clip. Last time I checked, hair clips don’t kill anymore than spoons. My friends would tease me too after that. “Watch out! She has her hair clip! Everyone run!” We got a good laugh out of that incident.

But now, I see things a bit different. I finally see that wise drill sergeant’s point. He was trying to make me get it. Details DO matter. Carelessness can and does get people into trouble, complacency and sometimes, even killed.

This isn’t just a Soldier thing though. It applies to my life as a civilian too. And I kind of wish I had applied it sooner. For years, hyper awareness and details only came when I put on the uniform. My mistake and loss. Now, I am trying to be more aware of my life, my moments that I am blessed with. I try to look around and really be present in the moment. I don’t always achieve this, but I certainly am more alert now than I have been in years.

I try to watch people’s reactions and movements. It tells me if they are receiving my intended message, if they are upset or ill or distracted. I try to look around and really see the world around me. How does the sun feel on my skin? What are the lyrics to the song playing? What are details in these flowers in my front yard? (I had never noticed this beauty before!)

When I stop to breathe and take in the moment, I find that I am more at peace. I am more receptive to others. I am a better version of me. The hurried, oblivious me does not notice your sad eyes and need to talk. The numb me does not see the wonders of nature. This is the side of me I need to make dormant. I like the more-alert-more-passionate-love-the-world me better. I suppose this is personal enlightenment though and comes with age. It’s the whole wisdom with age philosophy thing I guess. So as nature evolves each season and year, so do I.

I finally get it drill sergeant.

I see the world now. I really see you. And never again will I let another hair clip kill.


For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Nature.


16 thoughts on “Pay Attention to Detail-Hair Clips Can Kill

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I had worked with a female boss for years, her obsession for details nearly drove us crazy. But, I learned to pay details a little better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true on that flip side. Sometimes people get all wrapped around the axel about something tiny (like hair clips let’s say) and in the grand scheme of things, it is not that big of deal. I learned at a very early age when to choose my battles.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great story. A bit off topic but this lesson can and should be incorporated into every artists’ (photographer’s, painter’s, writer’s) psyche. As well as every military personnel’s, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Details can be so important. Like the simple fact of noticing there is a big pole behind someone and in the picture, it looks like they have it coming out of their head. Little things matter indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t yell at my staff, but I do stress that details are important. There are often easy ways to do things and ways that are somewhat harder but, in my opinion, better. I will try to explain why my choice is better, but it’s really a way of thinking about things that needs to be learned. These choices are rarely obvious. Except, of course, for killer hair clips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Listening to others ‘lessons learned’ is smart, but for some reason, us humans are resistant to that at times and must do it “our way,” even if that is not smart. Only then, after painful experiences, do we have that aaahhaaa moment: I should have…. Bottom line still is: people don’t know the dangers of hair clips! When will they learn?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Details are important, very important! I have passion for details: yes, I have passion for details! They make the difference between wisdom and carelessness, between being involved in everyday life and let events overwhelm everything and everyone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (as Fortune Teller) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  6. Engaging images. And your commentary shows how we can apply an experience in one part of our lives to another. That confluence helps us see that our lives are about the big picture versus the smaller one, and how to pull them into our daily living. Great life lesson…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Sally. Sometimes I wonder if my random thoughts and connections make sense to anyone but myself. Thank God I made some sense in connecting hair clips and flowers. LOL, I never would have thought it, but such is how my mind works some days.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s