Tomorrow is November 10th also known as the Annual Festival of Jarhead Inebriation.
As such, thousand of Marines will lift a glass or twelve to celebrate the 229th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Barking noises and random vowel sounds will probably also be uttered, in a time-honored expression of otherwise inexpressible maritime delight.
Those that feel that public and prolonged drunkenness may not be the most appropriate way to celebrate such an advanced age are not necessarily naÃ¯ve. They are simply unaware of the finer points of Marine Corps history.
The illustrious United States Marine Corps, like many other fine militant organizations, was formed in a bar. Early job qualification included surliness of demeanor, advanced degree of pistitude, and propensity for standing in harmâ€™s way. Being musket-proof was also considered a great advantage, but not one widely tested outside of battle.
The duties of the early jarheads included guarding the shipâ€™s captain, enforcing the orders of the shipsâ€™ captain, striking terror into people not currently the shipâ€™s captain and keeping their boots shiny.
You wonâ€™t find it in many history books, but if there is one thing that I learned from my many military adventures, it is that nothing strikes terror into the heart of an enemy like a mean pair of shiny boots.
At this point, some of the more thorough-thinking readers will not doubt be asking, â€œWhy wear such a nicely camouflaged uniform as modern Marines do, if youâ€™re just going to polish your footwear to the point that it could serve as speed-laced solar reflectors?â€
Allow me to assure you, from personal experience, that questions of this nature are basically unappreciated by Marine Corps hierarchy. In fact, questions exceeding â€œHow high?â€ in word count and level of abstraction are generally frowned upon.
“Why?!!! Did I hear the word why emerge from your lips?!!!”
What is not frowned upon is promptness and punctuality. One tenet of Marine Corps doctrine is that, â€œBeing on time is being late. You should be at least 15 minutes early to everything.â€
This is exactly the sort of thinking that led to the U.S. Marine Corps to be founded a solid year before the county itself. Which basically confused everyone:
Early Civilian: What are you doing?
Early Jarhead: Defending the country.
Early Civilian: But itâ€™s only 1775, weâ€™re still British colonies.
Early Jarhead: Itâ€™s called being proactive!
Early Civilian: Oh. (slowly backing away, being careful not to make any sudden or threatening movements.)
This very same proactivity is alive and sounding-off in todayâ€™s 21st century Marine Corps, and is no doubt being used somewhere at this very moment to justify an early commencement of Birthday festivities.
So as leathernecks far and wide promptly embark upon this fine celebratory debauch, I have only one piece of advice for you:
Keep both hands on your refreshing beverage, especially once the dancing starts. You wouldnâ€™t want to spill it on your boots.
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