What's a blog, you ask? It stands for "weblog"
and it's basically an online journal of daily thought.
We'll see how long I can keep this up (as though I don't
have enough to do!)
If you must have a title, I'll go with: The daily
thoughts/rants of a Marine Officer, father, scholar, husband,
marathon runner, Flash cartoonist, computer nerd.
of the Day:
don't care who you are, what you are driving, or where
you would rather be.”
April 29, 2005
Travelling Jason Is A Miserable Jason
is the new enemy. I now hate Mapquest with the white-hot intensity
of a thousand suns.
this venom, you ask? Simple: Mapquest totally and completely
screwed me over as though I had said something disparaging
about its lineage. Oh yeah, it got me good.
a good little drone, I pulled up Mapquest to go from my house
to Jacksonville, NC. We are going to attend the retirement
of a good friend and thought getting from point A (Fredericksburg,
VA) to point B (Jacksonville) would be a simple matter. I
mean, come on, almost due south.
printed out the instructions and we were off in the morning.
#1: I trusted Mapquest completely
Mistake #2: I did not notice there were about 36 trillion
little twists and turns on the “best” route it
laughingly wanted me to follow.
Mistake #3: I didn’t bother bringing a road atlas for
of these are of course my wife’s fault including Mistake
#4 which was to lock herself and the kids up in a Honda
Pilot with a raging maniac.
was going fine until we started getting into the deep woods
of North Carolina. My mood took a deep nosedive as we had
to guess at Mapquest’s cryptic instructions. At one
point, it told us to “Take HWY 666” (I’m
making up numbers here but that one seemed apt.) The problem
was that HWY 666 went exactly two direction and the instructions
didn’t say which way to go so I used logic. What an
hate wasting miles. And I mean HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE!!!!!!!!!!!
If there is anything I hate worse, which there are few things,
it’s not knowing if I’m in the hate-filled situation
of wasting miles. I just can’t get it out of my head
that if I’m going along, completely void of complete
confidence that I’m going the right direction (especially
if it’s a coin toss situation like this one) that I’m
doubling my pain.
know that you could have chosen wrong, right?
Yes, thanks for pointing that out
Your welcome. And if you did, these
miles are being wasted.
Again, thanks for the obvious and the rabble-rousing.
No problem. Oh, and not only would you
be covering miles you don’t have to, but you will have
to cover them again coming back which, in essence, doubles
Are you having fun?
Well, only if you let me point out that
you will have double the wasted miles, the wasted time, the
wasted gas, and end up right back at your decision point.
You then will be required to start again in the right direction,
is the internal fight I was waging and it spilled over into
making a very stressful situation for the entire family. I
am not proud of this and actually hate being that way. But
it’s a flat spin and I’ve yet to figure out a
way out of it even when I realize I’m in it. When I’m
like that, I don’t WANT to get out of it. Insidious.
to the highway, the next pubic hair in the sandwich was that
we had about 30 miles to go before we hit the next turn so
if we were wrong, it would take a half hour to figure out,
a half hour back, and another half hour to get to where we
were supposed to be. One small mistake = 1 ½ hours
drove 35 miles looking for the next turn: HWY 111. It never
back the 35 miles was probably one of the low points in the
Grose family. My behavior was, well, less than optimal.
to the decision point only sparked my anger more. But hey,
it was only 30 miles more, right?
11 miles into it we saw a turnoff for 111. Wait a minute,
the directions say 35 miles. Should we… is that…
it meets it again later at the 20 mile mark” chimed
in my wife in an effort to help. Help was not requested nor
would it be tolerated. I was in full dickhead mode. But it
did serve the purpose of providing a blame hook if anything
else went wrong.
got to mile 35, five full miles past where the turn should
be and again, no joy. We were officially lost and I was officially
irate. We turned around and went back to the 11 mile mark
and took that.
we were off course and the directions were of little help.
I questioned were we were on 111 and was convinced that wherever
we were, it wasn’t were Mapquest thought we should be
so all the other directions were suspect.
fed the fire.
don’t you just stop and ask directions?”
first, I have a Y-chromosome so this was a bit of a problem.
My solution: come screeching up to a gas station and kick
my wife out to ask. I was in no mood to interact with civilized
people and to be fair, there wasn’t a lot of civilized
people around anyway. Cooter had us going one way and then
Gomer told us another way. It was getting bad.
my mounting anger, I tried to get across this simple recipe
for guys and directions. I need to know:
Where I’m at
2. How long I will be on the current road (distance or time,
3. What I will be looking for as the next turn
after the initial cycle, I only need #2 and #3.
got in a big argument over this along the lines of Carrie
only giving me either #2 or #3. I need both. Continuously.
Or I turn into a Hulking Dickhead.
final straw was when we stopped at a rest stop because one
of the kids had to go to the bathroom and might, just might,
had wanted to get out of the Pilot and away from Daddy even
if only for a few moments. It was dark and we were already
over 6 hours into a 5 ½ hour drive. We had covered
many miles, a large portion of which were unnecessary.
stayed in the Pilot and Carrie looked at the map at the rest
stop. She got in a discussion with a guy who was obviously
a Marine (haircut) and he told her we were heading the wrong
way. We had somehow ended up north of the cutoff and therefore
would never find it in our current direction. The good news
is that if we continued on from this point, the direction
we were going was the quickest way to another approach to
had a bit more than a little trepidation about conveying this
latest news to me. She did and predictably, I blew yet another
gasket and made the rest of the trip par for course when we
are in situations like that.
finally pulled into town and got our motel room. Top
Garcia, one of my Drill Instructors from 1987, had retired
and ran this hotel. He made sure we got the best room he had
and once again, after all these years, I was under the roof
of Sergio Garcia. Although he was much nicer now and I was
as surly as he was back then.
accept the blame, it's just a part of my personality; a bad
part. But since blame must be shared, let it be known far
and wide that I have banished Mapquest from my use for all
of eternity. No parole, no reconsideration, it now tops my
Shit List. I will now be a Yahoo!
guy. So it is said, so it is done.
went to bed in silence, knowing that I had caused much heartache
this day. Hopefully tomorrow would be better.
Advice for Today:
make eating everything on their plate an issue with children."
consider myself a logical person. I don’t relish debate
very often but when I think I’m right, which is most of
the time because, let’s face it, so does everyone else,
I tend to argue the point.
I’ve corrected a friend on technicalities and all I got
from it was the label “P.S.” Police” and a
statement that no one likes a braggart. See what you think.
person likes to use the “P.S.” concept which is
great. Afterthoughts make up most of my thought population so
I welcome them in writing. But I had to point out that (because
apparently I’m a braggart) the acronym stands for “Post
Script” which means something after the signature
in a letter. Since she never actually signed her email, the
“Post Script” notation made no sense.
let that one slide but I think I pushed the envelope. Her next
email came with the required signature and a proper “P.S.”
but then she followed it up with a “P.S.S.”
normal person (read “not me”) wouldn’t
push it at this point.
I push it. I point out that the “P” in “P.S.”
stands for “Post” which means “after”
or “subsequent” so the proper way to tack
on additional thought would be “P.P.S” which is
“Post P.S.” AKA, after the “P.S.” and
by extension, “after the first afterthought after
she had wrote was “Post Script Script”
which is ridiculous and made no sense, with or without a signature.
this point I was cut off from further “P.S.’s”
and ignoring the use of the acronym as a noun, I humbly apologized
and begged for the return of her informative and delightful
next example comes from my wife. I will say something like “We
should do something next Saturday.” In return, I
get a “What about THIS Saturday?”
what I said, next Saturday.”
that’s over a week away.”
you mean this Saturday.”
goes on and on but let me cut to the meat of the argument.
me, “this Saturday” and “next
Saturday” are one and the same. To her, “this
Saturday" means the one coming up and “next
Saturday” is the one after that.
what is today?”
“And what day will it be in three days?”
“So is that not the next Saturday that we will encounter?”
“Yeah, this Saturday.”
“YES! THIS Saturday. And also know as the NEXT Saturday
as in the NEXT one we will encounter!!!”
“So what is the Saturday after that?”
“The Saturday after NEXT!!!”
seems so clear to me folks. But she will not concede.
last example I have is what is written on a coffee mug we’ve
had for years. It says: “Father Knows Best But Mom
years I took this to mean its likely funny intent, that the
mother is the superior knowledge keeper. But then I got to looking
at it one day and realized something.
is the best. There can be no better that “best”
simply because by definition, nothing can be above “best”
or…. here it comes…. IT WOULDN’T BE BEST.
My Dear, Father Knows Best.”
“Yeah, but Mom Knows Better.”
“Better than what? Not Father because he knows BEST.”
is another one that goes on and on. She insists that no matter
what level “Best” is set at, you can better
it by just adding on the adjective “better.”
This is extremely familiar to the “infinity times
/ infinity plus one” argument which, ironically,
we’ve never got into.
This Saturday I’ll be in Lejeune and next Saturday I’ll
be there too. But we will be there for a total of three days.
Why? Because Father Knows Best.
reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable
George Bernard Shaw
April 24, 2005
what does a super-sophisticated Marine Captain and all around
stud do on a full Sunday off from work and training? Skydive?
Hike up big mountains? Take inventory on the belly-button lint?
I don't know what THAT guy does but for me, it's probably closer
to #3 than the other two, if you must know.
I did nothing so exciting to get your collective juices flowing.
Nothing to write about, nothing to impress, nothing to humor
you like some little monkey throwing his own feces. (Although
that IS pretty funny but I guess a little less so if you picture
me doing it. Unless it’s at someone else whereas THAT
would be freakin’ hilarious!)
I’ve degraded down to throwing feces material. Mom would
be so proud.
did do a lot of catch-up reading, though. I know, I know, but
the excitement just gotta be shared. Now I can say I’m
up to date on the Saturday and Sunday rags they call newspapers
in this pitiful town of Fredericksburg. That doesn’t sound
like much of an accomplishment until you consider I’ve
been known to be behind 6 months at a pop. If I get ‘em,
I read ‘em…. eventually. Then the “news”
takes on a different aspect. It morphs into “history.”
And I’m an “idiot” for waiting so long.
so newspapers, check.
finished an ultrarunning book with a bunch of stories in it.
And I renewed my baseless assertion that I can run a 100 mile
race. The stories were great and the only things they had in
common were that all the people were poor athletes when they
were young, started with really small distances and progressed
up to the 100 mile range, and no matter what, running 100 miles
really hurts. Bad. Like “what the f^#^” bad.
I got that to look forward to.
than keeping in the ultrarunning genre, I started a book I’ve
been waiting to read for years called “Dereliction
Of Duty” written by the Air Force Officer in charge
of “The Football” for President Clinton. “The
Football” is the briefcase that carries the nuclear weapon
launch codes. In other words, “The Button.” The
book describes how utterly corrupt and irresponsible Clinton
was with the ultimate weapon and other aspects of the Presidency,
written from a man who stood next to him on a daily basis. It’s
pretty scary so far.
also broke the seal on a PC Magazine so now I’m
only a few years behnd that. I should be done…. Never.
I started watching the first season of “24.”
I had missed the first season and my brother went nuts over
it and told me I had to start watching it. The problem was,
I had missed the first season and didn’t want to jump
in mid-stride so I put it off… for years. In the meantime,
I couldn’t watch the new episodes.
couple of Christmases ago, I bought Chris the first season on
DVD and a few weeks ago, he sent them back to me on loan to
rectify my long-standing neglect of this incredible series.
So last night I watched episodes 1 and 2 and you know what?
It’s pretty damn good.
there you have it, the super-sexy day in the super-sexy life
of me. Please, I can feel your collective envy and it’s
ugly. Your are all better than that.
hey, there’s no one shooting at me and a bad day at home
beats the best day in Iraq.
Advice for Today:
approaching horses and restaurants from the rear."
was robbed today. My free eating day was discombobulated by
a general rebellion organized by my stomach.
started off fine by waking early and going on an 8 mile run
with Sir Phil at the base. OK, the route is probably a little
less than 8 miles since I run it between a healthy 1:11 and
1:20 depending on how much of a schmuck I feel like that day.
Today was a solid 1:15 which is average until you consider I
had to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty because I didn’t
take the run all that seriously and prep like I should have.
if you must know, I normally get up early, get a little something
to eat, drink a small amount of coffee, and have time to, um,
clear the courtroom before embarking on my run. After going
26.8 last week, today’s 8 mile didn’t seem prep-worthy
so I crawled out of bed, threw on my running clothes, and got
to Sir Phil’s 20 minutes late which, using the Sir Phil
vernacular, made him “huffy.”
legs were Stiffy McStifflies until after mile 4 which didn’t
matter to sir Phil who decided we should hammer the first 3
miles. The thought kept going through my head “I train
almost every day and he never runs. Why do I feel like the anchor?”
I got home, Carrie had waffle batter at the ready and bacon
as far as the arteries could see. I launched into them like
a man possessed by the Patron Saint of Waffle Gluttony but I
noticed that after three squares, I was content. A few more
slices of bacon and I was good. Weird.
had a soccer game so we hiked out to the biggest soccer complex
I had ever seen. We were on field 15 which, you guessed it,
at the far end. We parked by field 1 and got a work out just
carrying all our crap the length of 15 soccer fields.
offered to go get us something to eat seeing how would be there
for 2 hours and through the lunching hour. Back she came with
my perennial favorite: Taco Hell.
it started happening. I ate it, are you crazy? Let’s not
lose our minds, here, folks. I gobbled down two double deckers
and a bean burrito like a starving man. But did I enjoy it?
Not as much as past encounters with the south-of-the-border
staple. I ate it because it was Taco Hell, after all but the
pleasure derived was not all that it was cracked up to be. What
was happening to me? A tear rolled down my cheek and dripped
into the lard-ladened pseudo-meat of my taco.
the rest of the day, I paid for forcing that meal. My stomach
organized a general rebellion and decided that retribution should
be swift and violent. I fought back valiantly by eating a few
pretzels and some thin mint Girl Scout cookies but this seemed
to only inflame the general disarray. By the time dinnertime
rolled around, I was overcome and the battle was all but decided.
The thought of going to Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurant was
about on an even scale with plateloads of baked ass-mud smothered
in a tangy vomit sauce.
I took a pass when my family asked if I wanted to go and opted
to stay home and eat split pea soup. Oh, the injustice.
getting worse, folks. Last week, I was too worried about the
26.2 miles I was to run and passed on a Mexican dinner. This
week, I was cleared hot but my body had other plans. I know
this is a good sign that my body is healthily rejecting the
crap I still crave even when I’m given the green light
once a week. But those craving are still there during the week
and sometimes the promise of the free day is the only thing
that gets me through.
to be some classical conditioning going on these days in the
skin of Jason.
let your life slip through your fingers by living in
the past or for the future. By living your life one
day at a time, you live ALL the days of your
April 22, 2005
Have Email Issues
know I promise that I will answer all the email I get but sometimes
it gets to be a bit much. Not that I want people to stop sending
email, that’s not what I’m saying. Geez, people,
put away the guillotine! What I’m saying is that I have
not been a stellar performer on the email stage. I’ve
been more like Ashley Simpson on the SNL stage. Lazily faking
my way through.
I’ve brought this on myself. I mean who opens up a website
and then promises that he will answer every email, no matter
how repetitive or insane? Uh, that would be me. And then I tend
to let them build up until, like right now, I have in the neighborhood
of 164 emails in my inbox and folks, that’s a heavy burden
to carry around.
wife likes to point out that I really don’t have to answer
every one and it really pisses me off because… she’s
right. But I just can’t bear to kill them so I starve
them. They are like 164 starving chicks with their little virtual
beaks wide open screaming for some digital worms. Even the scary
ones like the following (which is verbatim, pasted out of email):
you please let me know what type of clippers they used for
the marines what is done with all that hair what happens with
the retired clippers please email me at…
here’s what happens, I finally go way back and start the
Typing-O-Shame. I craft some apologetic masterpiece and hit
send only to find out that the email account is no longer active.
procrastination and email do not mix well.
my ultimate excuse for all this? That would be the blogging.
While I’ve really enjoyed the blogging (and who wouldn’t?
A writing assignment every single day), it has displaced a lot
of attention to email and general webpage keep up. Trade-offs,
people, trade-offs. Gold like this don't just fall out of the
sky like shining meteors.
what do I do about all this? Simple, what I always state as
the golden solution: dedicate more time to a balanced web-presence
without it impacting my already busy schedule while simultaneously
blocking out more time for training and family time.
sleep, you’re done!
Advice for Today:
give anyone a fondue set or anything painted avocado green."
it’s time again to say farewell to another electronic
soul that’s been with me for a few years: the laptop is
not even mine. When I was going through the Naval Postgraduate
School, the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department needed
their website revamped. They couldn’t pay me but they
agreed to provide me a state-of-the-art laptop to work on and
I could use it while I was going to school for 2 years. When
I left, they “signed” it out to me on the agreement
they could tap me for support if need be. They got a webmaster
and I got a laptop. It was a sweet deal but only while supplies
was faster than either one of the older computers in my kids’
rooms and I am always on the main computer so the kids like
to use it to play their games. Lately it had a lot of pop up
ads (despite software I put on there to prevent it) and it kept
turning off. You might recall I had a harddrive problem awhile
back that I still suspect.
after spending a few frustrating hours trying to strip all the
malware off of it, I gave up and decided to wipe it clean and
start over. After I did that, it kept shutting off while I tried
to reinstall the operating system. I got so mad, I just got
fed up and decided it was time to return it.
had a lot of good times with that computer and it was my constant
companion at the time I was going to NPS. I even wrote my thesis
on it. But It’s time to let go so I will tearfully box
it up, take it to the post office, and wave to it with a quivering
lip as it floats out of my life forever.
another note, you’ll notice that I seem to be a day off
in my blogs, talking about yesterday. If this bothers you, tough
on a similar note to THAT, I’ve been in a nasty little
mood the last couple of days. Yesterday I about lost it (OK,
I DID lose it) as a result of the laptop. And right in the middle
of that, I was working on the blog and
had to look up the “I Will Survive” lyrics.
I did a Google search (of course) and the first link was to
some place like hugelyrics.com but when I clicked on it, I was
instantly infected with all kinds of pop up and self-installing
these things go, they don’t get on my computer because
I have software in place to catch it but the malware keeps trying.
The result is a pop up box that asks me if I want to allow it.
I say “No” and the malware gets the message
and asks to install again. So every time I say “No”,
it ask again causing the same box to pop up indefinitely.
can imagine how this affected me since similar malware was in
the process of pretty much ruining my laptop.
I will throw in a victory I had today. If you are a runner,
the details might be interesting, even inspiring. But if you’re
not, you might be tired of running stories so I’ll keep
got an idea in my head last night that I should change up my
sprint work out. I run this once a week to build speed and the
nasty thing about it is that you can’t have a “good”
day if you define “good” as pain free.
If you are not wishing for death by the end, you haven’t
worked hard enough. It makes it a little tough to get out there
on these days.
decided to change my normal routine (6 x 800 m which is 2 laps)
to this monstrosity:
x 1 mile sprints (Total = 8 laps)
2 x 800 sprints (Total = 4 laps)
2 x 400 sprints (Total = 2 laps)
2 x 200 sprints (Total = 1 laps)
goal was to do the second sprint faster than the first one at
every stage. Here’s how I did:
x 1 mile sprints
x 800 sprints
x 400 sprints
x 200 sprints
I guess I was mistaken Monday when I
said I couldn't sprint as fast as they can run world-class marathons.
Now if I can find a marathon that only lasts 30 seconds.
that, and smoke it in your pipe, parahumans!!!
a hobbled back to my office and laid down. Luckily no one walked
in. I forced myself up, got halfway dressed, then had to stop
myself from vomiting. Then I had to lay down again and again,
I was lucky no one walked in. I finally got it together and
hobbled over to another building for a meeting. About halfway
through, I started feeling better.
work is evil.
(that's "Post Blog for all you uneducated): I found out
they voted off the ONLY American Idol I had anything
good to say about yesterday. I hope
everyone that has anything to do with that show has their genitals
skewered with hot pokers for all of eternity in Hell.
inevitable result of improved and enlarged communications
between different levels in a hierarchy is a vastly
increased area of misunderstanding.”
April 20, 2005
Shalt Not Worship Idols
got suckered in last night. I just went downstairs to see what
my wife was doing and somehow, I got sucked into the vortex.
Not even my light escaped.
was the 70s disco music that did it. And specifically, the unstated
promise of one song.
folks, I … (face turning a slight blush…) I watched
(God, it hurts, actually hurts to say it), American Idol
other year, I just tune in to see the galactic wrongness that
is the first couple of tryouts in an attempt to feel better
about myself. I mean, if these people actually believe they’re
good, my grip on reality seems firm.
I broke the cardinal rule last night and got sucked in. Not
that I’m a huge fan of 70s dance music. I detest disco.
But if there is one genre that, when done right, can bring down
the house, it would be that one.
song I longed for? Well, I didn’t even have a clue who
the contestants were but if there was a black woman with a big
voice who picked “I Will Survive” by Gloria
Gaynor, I knew they’d tear that mother#%$#%#$ house down.
I watched. And I waited. And I sat through some really horrendous
songs. I refuse to do any research so bear with me while I take
a stab at what I saw.
referred to a guy as “Scotty the Body” so I expected
some big heartthrob –looking guy to come out. Well, was
I wrong. Out came a big fat guy who, granted, could sing but
lost pitifully on style points. Ever since that fat guy (Rueben
sandwich?) won, the big boys feel they got a shot.
you had the farm girl with all her blond curls who could really
hit the big notes. But she had Barbie doll hair and a Sunday
dress on. Plus, when the host talked to her, she was dumb as
a rock, which is quite an accomplishment seeing that the host
was Ryan Seacrest.
was a blond kid that looked about 15 with a hole in his throat
where, as my wife gave me the bio of each one, had a tracheotomy
when he was young and not expected to talk. Gotta have an underdog,
one that turned my stomach the most was the long-haired Don
Juan. Now those that you that follow all this (and accept my
sincere condolences) might be wondering which long-haired freak
I’m talking about. There are evidently 2 of them. I’ve
caught on the radio that this one is the womanizer who seduces
the camera each week and people either fall for it or hate him
with a white-hot passion. Guess which camp I’m going with?
Guy was in there somewhere. Surprise, surprise, I didn’t
like him either. In fact, I make Simon look like Paula throughout
this ordeal and the fact that I actually wrote that sentence
using first names will likely result in my sucking on the business
end of a 9 mm by the end of the night.
was the music teacher with the dreadlocks who did a pretty good
job with some Earth, Wind, and Fire song. He looked
like he was having a lot of fun and just seemed like a great
makes 6 and I had one more shot to hear the song I was waiting
for. There was a black woman with a name I can’t recall
but it was perfect. I assumed she had a big voice (or why would
she be on American Idol) and actually anticipated that
she would choose my song.
mean, how can you have a 70s dance song motif and NOT go for
“I Will Survive?” If anyone sang it, hell,
even Scotty the Body, they would tear that crowd up and bring
that entire audience burning down to the ground!!!!
with bated breath, I waited for the announcement and….
She didn’t sing it. WHAT? NO, YOU HAVE TO SING IT! She
cheesed out with some song that Whitney Houston-We-Have-A-Problem
remade and therefore kind of cheated her way into doing her
weekly Whitney impression.
mean if you started out with a low “At first I was
afraid, I was petrified…”, then the crowd would
just explode and by the time you cranked out,
and so you're back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second
you'd be back to bother me….
even I would have made a call to vote. How do you miss this
song? It’s a sure fire winner if you can nail it.
don’t know what is worse, that I got suckered into watching
American Idol or that the very thing that suckered
me in never happened, leaving me feeling even more foolish.
American Idol. You thought I hated you before. That
was nothing compared to the loathing I have for you now. I opened
up just a crack and you proceeded to beshat the tiny gap. My
heart is cold to you now. May you burn in Hell for all of eternity.
is what should have been sung:
first I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
and so you're back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second
you'd be back to bother me
on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore
weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Did you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive (hey-hey)
took all the strength I had
not to fall apart
kept trying hard to mend
the pieces of my broken heart
and I spent oh so many nights
just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high
and you see me
I'm not that chained up little person
still in love with you
and so you felt like dropping in
and just expect me to be free
and now I'm saving all my loving
for someone who's loving me
on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore
weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Did you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
Oh as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive
old is mandatory; growing up is optional.”
April 19, 2005
have to give me a minute while I compose myself. Just a minute.
I’ll be right back…
here’s he deal. In 1997, I had my 10th high school reunion
but since I was going through The Basic School in Quantico,
Virginia at the time, I was unable to attend. So I did the next
best thing; copied the email list and shot out a hello to all
my former classmates. It was free and cheesy but all I could
muster at the time.
heard back from exactly two of them. One of them was my junior
high school girlfriend who I often brag about in my blogs because
she was a cheerleader and prior to her dumping me like a trailer
full of toxic waste, actually acknowledged me as her boyfriend.
junior high, she grew up, got married, and had kids. Similarly,
I got married and had kids. Grew up? Some would say “nunt-huh!”
that initial contact in 1997, we have kept in touch and she
frequently let’s me know how my blogs are doing and I
get updates of her Family Circus.
today was different.
I’m 36 years of age and I have to assume she’s around
the same since we graduated high school together. Today she
informs me that her daughter is making her mother a great-grandmother.
didn’t quite sink in for a moment.
going to be a grandmother.
me reiterate that: a girl the same age as me who I went to school
with is going to be a FREAKIN’ GRANDMOTHER in July.
I’m having a moment…. calm, Jason….. let it
don’t know how she feels about this and at this point,
let me announce that this is all about me. See, only young people
can be so self-centered so that proves it: this is an impossible
set of events. No way, no how can an age-contemporary with ME
be on the cusp of grandparenthood.
here it comes again…. Whoa, horsie!!!!....
I run marathons. I still listen to top 40 music! I... I... I.....
wait, I’m found a gray chest hair recently. Wait a minute,
I…. I have a teenage son. What is this? A conspiracy?
to think of it, I've completed 18th grade and have two degrees.
retire in 2 years from a 20 year career in the Marine Corps.
Holy Mother Of The Living God, I get irritated at the dozens
of cars parked at my neighbor’s house every Friday night!
Damn kids… AH! Did you hear that? That came out of me?
I FEEL THE COLD, DEAD HAND OF THE REAPER AROUND MY LIVER-SPOTTED,
don't give me that "It's not all that bad to realize
you're getting old" crap! If you're saying that, you're
already old. I'm not! I''m not I'm not I'm not....!!!!!
Stephanie. I got to take my pills and finish the Reader’s
Digest crossword puzzle before getting into my Hydropedic.
It’s almost 9:00, after all. <wheeeze...>
is the best teacher; Unfortunately it kills all its
April 18, 2005
minute miles! Five minutes!!!! OK, 5:01 average but come
was the pace that won the Boston Marathon today. The final
time, 2 hours, 11 minutes, 45 seconds.
put this in perspective, people. I’m not a world-class
athlete by any means. Hell, not of ANY world. But here
is how I stack up.
I ran the same distance at 10:11 pace. That means this
guy ran twice as fast as I did. TWICE AS FAST!
Negussie: Cyborg Runner
my 800 meter (or is it yard. Oh screw it, ½ mile!)
sprints, I can eek out a 2:45 if I want to drool for the
rest of the day. That puts me at a 5:30 mile pace and there
is no freakin’ way I could keep that up for an entire
mile. So that means Boston Marathon Guy did BETTER than
that for over 2 hours. 26 times!!!!! No, wait, I did 1/2
miles... 52 times!!! Who does he think he is?
OK, let’s do it this way. We Marines have to run a 3 mile
run for out Physical Fitness Test. To get the max points (100),
we have to run it in 18 minutes which is three 6-minute miles
in a row. For every 10 seconds we come in after the 18 minute
mark, they deduct a point. Six points a minute. You get the
Marathon Guy would clock a 15:03. And not be winded. In fact,
he could do it about 8 ½ times in a row.
on the other time, try to do it once and hover around 20 minutes
on a good day.
is just inhuman. Five minute miles. How does it feel to even
run a 5 minute mile? It must be effortless at the beginning
for him. How does that feel? It can’t feel like even one
mile at that pace feels to me. I just can’t wrap my mind
can’t sprint as fast as this guy can marathon.
minutes!!! Dammit, it’s making me angry!!! How….
but…. five minutes…
Very humbling. Mustn’t get angry. Resist the desire to…
FIVE MINUTES, PEOPLE!!! FOR TWO FREAKIN’ HOURS!!!!
I got TiVo and a new Honda Pilot. I gotta go (door slams…)
are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.”
April 17, 2005
Like You Race: Same Distance, Same Dimentia
today was the big one. Ever since the last
marathon, I’ve decided I should incorporate at least
one marathon distance training run. Today was the day.
first clue that it might not go well was a freeze warning shown
on my computer weather watcher. That and the 32 degree temp.
Yikes. But the high was supposed to get into the 70s so I knew
it would warm up.
it warmed up.
getting to TBS, I could see my breath. I had brushed my teeth
so I knew it wasn’t that, it was downright cold. But cold
was good on the beginning of the run. The rule of thumb is you
heat up 20 degrees when you run so if it had got up to 40 by
then, I was going to be running at 60. Perfect.
last week, Sir Phil decided that 26.2 was just a bridge too
far. Apparently 6.2 miles too far so I was going it alone. No
support, no aid stations, no help except the body I had been
working on. Talk about self-sufficient. Talk about stupidity!
had “dialed in” the full 26.2 miles in my head so
the beginning was a breeze. I clocked off the first mile effortlessly
and was feeling good about the whole thing. My gear was even
cooperating so that was a good sign. Sometimes, things want
to ride up or the Camelback doesn’t want to get with the
program. The headphone wires want to get tangled and pull the
buds out of my ears. Any number of games the gear wants to play
but today, they all kind of accepted this run was going to happen.
was ahead of my pace for the out and back portion of the run
which consisted of the first 17 miles in 2 hours and 48 minutes
which I was happy to find out was a 9:16 average pace. I took
my Gu every 5 miles and filled up my Camelback at the TBS barracks
after using the facilities. Legs felt strong and temperature
and wind were ideal. Everything was going fine.
this 5 minute break, I stepped off to run again and I was a
little disappointed to discover that my body had taken a vote
and decided they weren’t playing nice with each other
any more. I shambled along for about 3 minutes before I could
get everyone to cooperate and then they grudgingly agreed to
at least tolerate each other.
second part of the run consisted of “The Loop” which
takes me from the start/stop line, through TBS, around the fire
station, past the rifle and pistol ranges, past the FBI Academy,
past Lunga Reservoir, and back around to the finish line.
Wall was helped along by the ½ mile uphill nightmare
that finished at the fire station. Last year when I took this
run, it was a lot hotter and I wasn’t in as good shape
as now. I bonked and had to sit in the shade of the fire station
for 10 minutes, drink water, and slam a Gu. Today, I triumphantly
slogged past it with my head in the air.
I was feeling it by now and it was starting to warm up. The
last 6 miles would be a bastard and I knew it.
I got near the 1.5 mile mark, I had to do some calculating.
If I took a left, it took me to the finish line 1.5 miles away.
So that means I’d have to hit it at about mile 25. But
I was only at about 23.5 coming up to it and as much as I wanted
to finish, I knew I had to turn right and make up the distance.
easy now: 25 – 23.5 = 1.5. So .75 out and .75 back to
the 1.5 mile mark will put me at 25 and then the last 1.5 will
get me to the finish line ~26.5.
with 23.5 miles behind me, my math abilities left a lot to be
desired. I know how this sounds but trust me, these simple calculations
are extremely difficult when you are road weary. And you know
they are easy but your mind just won’t do it. Same with
stuff like remembering who sang the song you are listening to.
Normally, you know it as fast as your mouth can move but I found
myself unable to recall such tidbits. It’s intriguing
how your mind DOESN’T work when you get to such a state.
I was asking my mind the impossible, I just said, screw it,
I’ll just run out a mile and back. If I do a little more
than 26.2, then it’s just training, right?
told you I had dementia.
last ½ mile to the finish line is uphill. I didn’t
design it that way, it’s just the way it goes with this
course. As I approached this last monster hill (it qualifies
as “monster” at this point), I kept an eye on my
GPS. Through the haze, I realized I was going to reach the 26.2
mile point before I got to the finish line so I decided to see
what my time was when I crossed that point and then to keep
running until the finish line because I’m stupid like
hit 26.2 at exactly 4 hours and 27 minutes. And I was actually
worried that I wouldn’t remember due to my shredded state.
didn’t exactly race up the hill in a blaze of glory but
I didn’t slow down either. I just trudged along and tried
not to analyze exactly why I was still running AFTER a marathon
final time was 4 hours and 33 minutes and the distance was 26.8
miles. So that means I covered ½ mile in 6 minutes which
is a disgusting 12 minute per mile pace but uphill and at the
end. So I held my head up high as I crossed the line for the
a marathon is always an emotional event but the only feeling
I had afterwards was that I had run a marathon, stopped, and
stopped my watch. No crowds, no medallion, and no congratulatory
affirmations from strangers. No curious looks from those in
the finish area whose face reads “How did you possibly
do that?” just as clearly as if they spoke it aloud.
Just me. And my time.
final pace (thanks to an online calculator many hours after
I finished) was 10:11 per mile.
mantras kept me going. The first was “Ragdoll.”
I had read this recently as a tip to repeat to yourself as you
run. It reminds you to stay loose like a ragdoll and every time
I said it, I could feel my shoulders drop and my body loosen
second one was one that I heard, or read, or picked up from
somewhere. Maybe in a Badwater discussion. But it was an apt
mantra and stopped me worrying about time when things got rough.
The statement that held so much truth was “To Finish
Is To Win.”
I finished. I won.
was usually coherent after the run. I went home, showered, ate
a turkey sandwich, and slept for 2 hours. When I got up, my
body was tired but not sore. I even mowed the lawn (price per
mow now down to $82.35).
ready for the 2005 Wild
Wild West. My goal: to beat my best time of 5:21:39 from
10:55 pace but through a lot of crazy terrain. Stay tuned.
Advice for Today:
encourage rude or inattentive service by tipping the standard
remember you're unique, just like everyone else.”
April 16, 2005
Amityville Horror. I can’t remember if I saw the
movie or read the book first. But I do remember having the holy
living daylights scared out of me as a kid. I think it was the
book first and it was after my brother read the book so after
his description, naturally, I had to partake in the fun.
remember that each chapter had flies on the first page and as
the book progressed, there were more and more flies. For some
reason, that scared me. But what about this book DID’T
scare me? Yes, I awoke at around 0315 every morning for a month
with my head hidden under my pillow.
original movie kept the theme going and I don’t think
I was near darkness for a few months after that. Or home alone.
I may or may not have withheld urine at night for years. I’m
not confessing to anything, I’m just bringing up the possibility.
the years, they have come up with lame sequels which, although
I’ve not invested money or time in many them, appear to
be extremely bad. Who can forget Amityville 3-D? Apparently
everyone. All I remember is seeing one where the Earth opens
up, swallows the house and what’s left is a big open pit
to Hell, literally. Ah, the sweet smell of exploitation based
on initial success.
I saw the 2005 version. There were a few scary parts but the
most horrifying part was when two ladies came in right as the
movie was starting, accompanied by their fiveish-year old little
girl, and plopped their conversationalist asses right behind
couple things were just wrong. Obviously, did they realize this
was The Amityville Horror and not Spongebob?
We’re talking future therapy up the yang for little miss
bed-wetter until she’s 30.
know this pales in comparison to scarring the poor child for
all of eternity but she was one of those little girls who has
no filter between her little brain and her big mouth. Yeah,
I know, like all 5-year-olds. But in a movie theater, this constant
barrage of questions made the entire movie unenjoyable by all.
should have said something. But I chickened out. I really thought
that after the first scary jump-out, the Clueless Duo would
rush their little darling out of the theater.
even the raunchy sex scene which culminated in the man seeing
a decomposing little girl on a noose in the mirror did the trick.
mean, what was I supposed to say? Is it illegal to bring a young
child to a rated R movie? I don’t know. And it seemed
that pointing out the glaringly obvious wasn’t going to
help. “Excuse me but you do know this is the Amityville
HORROR, right?” or the even more obvious “You
two are idiots.” Where would that have got me?
thought they’d get the clue after the first few horror
scenes but I obviously underestimated the depth of their brain
there you have it. The Amityville Horror showing at
the Virginia Land Of Imbeciles. And we wonder why we have kids
lighting up their schools with automatic weapons.
Advice for Today:
willing to lose a battle in order to win the war."
have the capacity to learn from your mistakes; you will
learn a lot today.”
April 15, 2005
Home Across This Great Land, Confused
If you wake up later, everything takes longer because the mass
of humanity is trying to do the same thing you are. If you wake
up early, no one is around and everything goes infinitely faster.
there should be a point somewhere along that continuum that
is optimum, right? Logically speaking, yes. Mathematically speaking,
absolutely. Life-of-Jason speaking, you will never be allowed
to even come close to finding that sweet spot.
opted for the early path so at 0415, I got up but really, that’s
0715 so I can’t complain too loud. OK, I can. DAMMIT!!!!
got up, got ready, checked out of the hotel, loaded the car,
filled it full of gas, got to Thrifty, turned in the
car, got on the shuttle, checked in, got my ticket, and headed
to the USO seeing that I had 2 hours before my flight. Impeccable
timing Grose but you got the USO, right?
time: 0800. DAMMIT!!!!
up, let me make quick comments about the above list and I’ll
let you match them up:
The alarm sounded like a foghorn strategically placed between
2. The “Privacy Please” sign I put on the door
yesterday but took off at about 1000 was obviously interpreted
as “Don’t Service This Room At All Today Because
I Feel Like Using Dirty Towels.”
3. The windows were so soaked with dew I could hardly see
what I was doing
4. $2.65 per gallon. And not even flowers beforehand.
5. Thrifty is on a corner where there is no physical
way to get into the lot without a 3 mile circling episode
complete with numerous illegal U-Turns.
6. Said goodbye to the red Dodge Neon which I thought was
pretty studly (the car, not the fact that I actually said
7. Loaded my bags on the shuttle but had to go to the bathroom
so I experienced irrational fears that he would drive off
with my luggage.
8. “American Airline counter? Oh, that’s on
the other side of the airport. Have a nice day, NEXT!!!”
9. Bastards tried to sit me in the row in front of the emergency
exit which, if you’re a seasoned traveler, you know
that translates into “This seat don’t recline.
Have a nice day. NEXT!”
flight was OK but I dreaded the second leg because of the whole
“careening to Earth in a massive ball of terror and flame”
thing. I was seated next to an elderly gentlemen who, as seatmates
go, wasn’t too bad. He sat quietly and read his book but
tended to take up most of the armrest we shared. And fidgeted
a lot so I had to cold-cock him with my elbow. I’m such
a socialite, I know.
though a 2 ½ hour layover wasn’t long enough, they
decided I needed another hour. This was decided, of course,
after I was at the gate and the one beer I had (instead of my
recommended “two or nineteen” for Terror Flight
100), was completely worn off by the time we boarded.
flight wasn’t as bad as the one a few days ago but there
were a few moments that I took inventory of my life up to this
point. But I didn’t cry so that’s good.
I had to do was get in I-95 via I-295. Simple, right?
what I kept telling myself and went over and over this like
a mantra. I was tired and didn’t want to screw this up,
not because I didn’t think I could get back on track but
because I knew it would make me pissed off all to Hell if it
came to that. That’s just me.
I’m coming up to a sign that said “I-295 North
pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Well, I had it stuck
in my head that I was wanting to go south. Why? Why do you ask
such stupid questions? I don’t know. If I was smart enough
to know the answer, the question would never had been asked
in the first place.
I FREAK OUT and fumble for the phone. This level of idiocy cannot
be kept under wraps. I have to prove to my wife what a moron
there’s a sign that says “I-295 North to Washington.”
Aren’t I supposed…”
then, realization hit me. Mid-sentence.
how I described how I get pissed off if I got turned around
just for the sake of being turned around? Well, the next layer
was that I was now pissed because I was all freaked out about
going the wrong way. I had tried so hard to make the airport-to-highway
transition without confusion.
Jason, you went the right way. Doesn’t that mean something?”
with the stupid questions.
Advice for Today:
your children's athletic contests, plays, and recitals."
was a slug. I admit it. I slept until 0700 which doesn’t
sound all that sluggish until you consider that I was still
on Eastern Time so in essence, I slept until 1000. I present
to you, Sluggo.
knew I had to run. I gaffed off the sprints yesterday (close
your mouth, it’s not THAT surprising. Really, it isn’t)
so I knew I had to get some miles in today. I got on my running
gear and set out to follow the sad, hefty, obviously forced
Navy runners who looked like death was near.
was staying at Point Loma
so I had limited opportunities of courses, so I thought. Later
I learned what I suspected all the time: I was nearby hundreds
of miles of good running trails. But if you don’t where
to look and are too anti-social to ask, you end up running on
the main road to the front gate and back twice.
getting cleaned up, I went to earn my pay and talk to the MCRD
users of my system and basically take face shots for the sins
of my program. It wasn’t too bad and I spent a few hours
milling around talking to different people and them telling
me why my system sucks. Such is the life when you come to do
a site visit.
the base, there were hundreds of families since tomorrow is
graduation. The families get to come on base and visit their
recruit for a few hours and what that means to everyone else
is that there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people
milling around the base looking totally lost and clogging up
every roadway, store, and service on the base. Not their fault
and I remember what it meant to me when I was a recruit but
when you encounter this from a permanent personal perspective,
it becomes a weekly dreaded event. Not that I’m permanent
personnel but I always seem to be there when this happens.
it meant to me was that I was on display because the recruit
would salute and I would be the participant in every recruit’s
first exhibition to their families about how they’ve been
trained to greet officers. They salute, render the proper greeting
too loud (and usually say “GOOD AFTERNOON, SIR!”
in the morning and “GOOD MORNING, SIR”
in the afternoon), then I salute and return the CORRECT greeting,
and the families gawk at me like I’m some peacock.
was to meet Sir Bashman at
the bowling alley where they were having their “team-building”
event. I must explain that this was a collection of all the
Commanding Officers from the Western Recruiting Region which
means they are the guys in the middle: they get pressure from
the Colonels and Generals to make mission each month and they
depend on the enlisted instructors to get these recruits to
sign the dotted line.
other words, this was a collection of very highly stressed men,
some for the last 3 years. The most time they get off in that
time is Christmas where they get two full days at home. Most
of them are lucky to get some time on Sunday to see their families
and while you could be a hero for months in a row, the minute
you miss mission, bad things happen. The pressure is enormous.
bowling “team-building” event was a sight to see.
All these highly stressed men forced to have a good time resulted
in my realization that it’s virtually impossible for them
to make the switch. They couldn’t relax. One guy had a
phone in his ear while he walked up uninterestedly and threw
the ball, turning around without even noticing if it even made
it to the end of the lane.
a cell phone would ring, you had 50 guys reacting with cat-like
reflexes to see if it was theirs. They were mid-month and a
mandatory 3-day conference meant that their mission was in serious
jeopardy. I knew not to even ask if this was taken into account.
Nothing is taken into account. There is mission. Period. You
make it or you don’t and if you don’t…. the
thought makes grown men convulse with fear.
had a mission of my own. Last time I came to this base, I visited
my old bootcamp barracks and wrote a blog
about saluting ghosts. The one thing I didn’t get that
I really wanted was pictures so I wanted to make sure I didn’t
leave there with regret again.
barracks was empty
again, obviously cleaned up after a recent graduation. The squadbay
across the hall was occupied and once again, I felt nervous
being in there uninvited, unattended, and snapping photos. As
a Captain, I would never be challenged but that didn’t
stop me from wincing every time I heard someone. No one actually
came in but I was nervous as a cat the entire time.
I got a lot of the pictures
I always wanted to get. I’ll be posting them soon with
explanations of why I took them.
will not rehash the emotions that ran through me because I described
it in that other blog entry.
But I felt a lot more at ease with my past and what that room
represented to me. I saw my reflection
in the mirror and once again saw a Captain
and not a recruit. I had a “Count
of Monte Cristo” flash as I stood there but the overriding
feeling was being at peace with this difficult period in my
wasn’t in my food plan but if I would have left San Diego
without eating a taco pizza, I would have endless regrets and
even nightmares. I just had to. Judge if you want but I went
and had a small pizza, devouring all but one piece despite the
fact that they put the onions on it that I specifically told
them to leave off. But it was taco pizza and all was good.
planned to take the last piece to Sir Bashman but he never called.
He had a mandatory dinner with his boss and said if he got back
early enough, he’d call and we could sit in his room,
drink beer or wine, and shoot the bull, just like last night.
But he never called and I packed up for the trip home tomorrow,
hitting the rack early. We thought this might happen so we said
our goodbyes at the bowling alley, just in case. It was good
to see him again and he promised he’d get back into this
marathon thing with me once he was done with recruiting.
BACTERIA - THEY'RE THE ONLY CULTURE SOME PEOPLE HAVE.”
April 13, 2005
morning I had a presentation to give to the conference but my
portion was a rather small portion of the Marine Corps Recruiting
Command’s (MCRC) presentation.
if you will, a large collection of Majors and Lieutenant Colonels
who, being in the middle of a dark period for Marine Recruiting
in general, are brought together for a conference which takes
them away from their struggling efforts around the country.
Then you put two representatives (a Chief Warrant Officer and
a Major) from the headquarters in Washington D.C. in front of
them to show them what’s on the horizon, technology-wise,
to help the recruiters. Instead, the crowd saw them as headquarters’
representatives and more than a little frustration peeked through
in the form of very pointed questions about the state of affairs
in the field and the support from above.
the Chief Warrant Officer fielded these questions, I was in
the wings waiting for my turn to speak and a bit dismayed at
the latest mood shift from the crowd. Although I was from a
totally different command from the MCRC guys, I was afraid that
I would be so closely associated with them that I would inherit
the understated animosity that seemed to be growing in the crowd.
I had an advantage. I had a deliverable which represented the
only tangible product ready for use. We worked through MCRC
HQ and that was why I was there with them but I felt confident
that since I had a golden egg to show them, I would be allowed
one particularly contrary exchange, one of the Majors from the
crowd stated that we could show them all the dog-faced boys
and bearded ladies we wanted but what they really needed was
basic tools right now and not whiz-bang gadgets for the distant
that, I was introduced.
CWO had been out there a long time and I wondered if my 15 minutes
were going to be shortened along with the attention span and
patience of the audience. Did they need a break? Did they have
to go to the bathroom? Did I have a chance in Hell of getting
a fair shake with these Marine Officers?
the CWO’s portion, I had time to come up with a completely
new attention-getter. The CWO had used a TDG (Tactical Decision
Game) where he described a battle situation and asked people
to write down how they solved it. that gave me an idea and here
is what I came up with:
I don’t know if I’m the dog-faced boy or the bearded
lady in this situation but I do have something deliverable
to you right now. Good morning, Gentlemen, my name is Captain
Jason Grose and I’m from TECOM, Formal Schools specifically,
and I’m here to brief you about the TIMS system.
will only take 10 or 15 minutes but before I start, I’d
like to follow he Chief Warrant Officer’s lead and throw
out a little TDG. This won’t take but about two minutes
and you don’t have to write anything down.
are a dumbass Lieutenant going to The Basic School. It’s
Saturday morning and you are leaning against the outside of
the barracks in civies, waiting for a buddy who at the moment
is getting his ass royally chewed to the bone by his SPC.
While you feel for your fellow dumbass Lieutenant, you just
want the Captain to finish his bloodbath so you and your buddy
can go out to Georgetown. The ass-chewing is epic and the
SPC is really giving it to his dumbass Lieutenants. Blood
is splattering everywhere and this SPC is performing his duties
as only this particular SPC can.
the bloodletting, the SPC turns around and storms off but
is coming towards your direction, wild-eyed, hair on fire,
and tail in full puff. As a good little Lieutenant, you don’t
salute (civies, remember?) but render the proper greeting
("Good morning, Sir"). But as a dumbass Lieutenant,
you continue to lean against the building with your arms folded
as he passes.
Captain, fresh from the kill, turns on you and commences to
rip several new assholes located at various points on your
body, centered mainly on the fact of what he believes is not
a proper greeting to a superior commissioned officer, and
lets you know this.
now what do you do? Most of you would say just take the ass
chewing, learn from your obvious mistake, and march on.
I submit to you an alternate course of action. What if you
were to never forget that Captain and march through your career
knowing that some day, somewhere, you would run into him again.
Maybe you are invited to speak at the Western Recruiting Region
Commanders’ Conference many years later. And say you
bide your time after all those years to be in a position to
put this Captain who has since become a Major on the spot
in front of his peers?
that said, Major McDonough, can you tell me what TIMS
have no idea.”
Sir, it’s right up there on the screen, all you have
to do is read what it says.
I turned to him and called his name, he turned was standing
along the side and with a smile said “DAMMIT, I KNEW
IT!!!” as he snapped his fingers across his body
and jerked his head sideways. At this point everyone was laughing.
then said, “Major, I’ve been waiting 7 years
for this moment and I want you to know that despite your predictions,
I have not wrecked the Marine Corps and have not embarrassed
the Officer Corps…”
this point, just as I expected, I was interrupted by just about
every conference attendee who yelled “YET!!!!”
followed by uproariously laughter. While the laughing continued,
I added "... but I still have 2 1/2 years to make it
began my presentation.
I was finished, I walked right over to the Major and was met
with an extended hand and a big smile.
first, I was just going to introduce myself and then turn to
Major McDonough and explain to him he was an SPC in my TBS company
and assure him I had not wrecked the Marine Corps. But with
the extra time, I got the idea of following the CWO’s
lead and incorporating the past and the present into one satisfying
I got a chance to talk to the Major and learned that he was
a very nice man, despite his reputation at TBS. Back then, he
was much more muscular but his schedule had kept him away from
the gym. The effect was that he had lost size and was downright
skinny. I completely screwed up the topic when I told him that
he had lost size and it almost sounded like an insult. But in
fact, as a runner, I associate skinny with good running so contrary
to my comment, I was impressed if not a bit envious of his appearance.
If you can’t get to the gym and all that happens is that
you stay slim, well, there are worse things such as what I tend
to suffer: oozing nastiness resembling mashed potatoes in a
Major has a wife, 4 kids, and is just starting his stint as
the San Diego area Recruiting Station CO. We had a good talk
and I explained to him all of the crazy stories me and a fellow
lieutenant (Leon who was actually in his section) used to make
up with his intense persona filling the main character role.
comment: “I’m glad I could provide such entertainment
for you guys.” And even though he said it with a
smile, the Boston accented voice was a blast from the past.
again, I had confronted and befriended a one-time tormentor.
The lesson that I learn every time is that I can now stand toe
to toe with these people (impossible at the time) and that they
are normally high-quality people filling their role at the time.
I guess I was too but it’s cleansing to make peace and
I seem to have had more opportunities than most to accomplish
this. I’m thankful that I'm running out of tormentors.
LOVE DEFENSELESS ANIMALS, ESPECIALLY IN A GOOD GRAVY.”
April 12, 2005
Flight To Paradise
not too proud to admit it. I was scared. And I mean "yelp
like a little girl" scared which, being a Marine, kind
of, well you know, sucks.
did I have this public display of unmasked fear? Simple. It
started when the Captain announced “Looks like we’re
going to have a bumpy ride.”
never got better than that.
in the plane I was on. I’m practically retarded when it
comes to knowing the official designations for different airplanes
so I’ll go with the tried and true: one seat on the left,
two seats on the right, have to duck to walk down the aisle.
In other words, the Speedo of commercial airlines.
my favor I had a lot of room to be scared out of my mind. The
plane was about 1/3 full so I abandoned my single left-hand
seat for the opulent room of an empty two-seater on the right
side. Seems I would need the room to house all the terror I
was to manifest.
plane took off and I said to myself, “Self, stay calm,
no matter what happens. Yes, I heard the Captain but how many
times per day does this flight take off and how often do you
hear of it crashing? They did it yesterday, no crash. They will
do it tomorrow, no crash. This has been going on for awhile
so what are the….”
plane drops what seems like 100 feet)
of a BITCH!!!!!”
I gotta have beer."
was the overriding thought.
would solve everything. I don’t get airsick so the soothing,
numbing effects of a nice cold one, or screw it, bad warm
one, whatever, just give me some meds because we are going
down in flames in the motherf…. Get ahold of yourself,
Grose, here comes the stewardess.”
only stewardess looked calm. How could she look so calm when
it was obvious that we were one dip away from becoming national
news? It had a calming effect but I expertly ascertained that
she must be on Valium. There’s no other explanation. But
it did have a calming effect, just like the guy reading the
paper and the guy getting a few winks. Maybe it’s just
me, I’m over-reacting, just being sill…..HOLY
MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD WE’RE AUGERING
down Grose, it will pass."
one point I reached up to grab the seat in front of me an instead,
brushed the head of the passenger in front of me. I believe
that, up to this point, I had successfully kept my squealings
under the hearing threshold of those around me but this obvious
grasp for survival betrayed my obvious panic.
tried to read and would get only so far before the roller coaster
started again. I rarely actually sweat when I’m not exercising
but the knowledge of beads of sweat starting to roll down my
forehead penetrated the fog of pure terror. I cannot remember
the last time, if ever, I have experienced actual beads of sweat
as a result of fear before. Never. My shaking hand turned on
the air vent right on top of my head.
found that if I put both my feet on the ground, hands on my
legs, sat up straight, closed my eyes, and talked quietly to
myself, I could almost control the fear. I could ride the dips
and the banks, the shudders and the jarrings. The bumps, the
slides, the vibrations and the shimmies. But this would only
last for a few moments and the fear was back.
the cart of relief finally got to me, I asked how much the beer
cost. It didn’t really matter because I was desperate.
Name your price, Stewardess Calm-While Death-Is-Near. Just give
me a sedative.
thought was dependent on its sister thought of unknown origin
that it would be $2. I would pay that for sweet relief and it
would be a bargain at that.
real answer came: $5.
dollars? For a can of Miller Light. Are you f%$% nuts?
…. Said someone inside I didn’t recognize.
being caught off guard, my tight-assedness took over and I waved
her on. Like I was watching from afar and yelling inside “NOOOOO,
you dumb bastard! Pay the five spot you freakin’ imbecile!!!!”
it was not to be. I was left with the realization of how deep
the current of cheapskateasity existed in me and I was shocked,
knowing the depth of fear I was experiencing. It was a sad moment
in the life of Jason, the magnifying glass being turned on myself.
now I was to ride out this express train to Hell without the
aid of alcohol. And it just kept getting worse. I counted the
minutes and wondered which of my pictures they’d use on
the news channels. I couldn’t help but imagine what a
full barrel roll would feel like and the terror involved in
a flat spin on a full on nosedive. I couldn’t help it,
these thoughts just jumped in my head and it didn’t help
when “World On
Fire” by by beloved Sarah
McLachlan started in my headphones. Not now, Sarah, for
the love of God, not now.
for the bumpy ride, folks but we’re being told it’s
the same way all up and down the Mississippi so there was
no way around it. We’ll be landing shortly and thanks
for flying American Airlines.”
he announced this, the plane took a vicious dip.
he should have said was:
for making you shit your underwear, Jason, but that's how
me and co-pilot Beelzebub get our kicks. We'll be searching
out the most vicious air pockets for ya so sit back and get
ready for some really nasty aerial acrobatics in this small,
heavy metal tube flying at a couple of thousand feet above
the hard, unforgiving ground. And thanks for paying us all
the money for this."
again out of Richmond. Never again.
I got off the plane, it was to find the nearest bar. Beer, I
must have beer. No way I can handle the rest of this day without
sedatives. And here is how I ordered it:
need a beer the exact same size of the suck-factor of the
flight I just took.”
rest of the flight was uneventful and I ended up in San Diego,
but not before seeing a sheet of snow across the Midwest, the
majesty of the Grande Canyon, and the open desert of 29 Palms
which we flew right over. Landing in sunny San Diego, the entire
city was bathed in golden sunlight and enjoying the 70 degree
weather with a cool sea breeze.
got my car, drove to Point Loma Submarine Base, and checked
into my hotel. I was unprepared for what greeted me as I entered
the room. When I got out of my car and walked toward the hotel,
I heard the sound of the ocean and realized I was RIGHT on the
into my room, I was met with an incredible sight: the
open ocean in perfect frame out the back window. I was on
the second floor so I had a higher view than normal and I couldn’t
believe I was so lucky as to have this room. It even had a balcony
where I stood and took in the expanse of ocean and rolling waves.
almost made up for the plane ride. ALMOST!
Advice for Today:
buy something you don't need just because it's on sale."
it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of it.”
April 10, 2005
Miles Before Beer Is A Helluva Carrot
deal was that I pick up Sir Phil at about 0615 which, when you
add in the fox oscaring time, would put us at the back gate
of TBS at about 0700, when it actually opens.
miscalculated a couple of things. First, that there would be
ANY fox oscaring time because Sir Phil is the King of the Timepiece
and when he says we’ll leave about 0615, he means it.
Sunday morning traffic at this hour is non-existent which is
the ONLY time in this over-congested hell hole that is Northern
Virginia when you spend less time stationary than moving when
you are within an automobile. So all I gotta do is get all my
work done on a Sunday morning and I can bypass the daily scotal
spike of traffic. Easy.
end result of making good time was that we pulled up to the
gate about 12 minutes before they opened.
the fact that the MPs were just on the other side of the locked
gate waiting for the magical seconds hand to cross the 12 mark
of 0700 would really bother me but I was sitting in a warm car
on the lip of a 20 mile run. So I was not too nonplussed.
there were others that were plussed at this turn of events.
By my watch, it was about 6 minutes past the hour and again,
for me it was no problem. Hell, to me it was the differences
between watches. But one of the cars behind us opened and a
rather irritated looking guy in civies walked up past us and
toward the gate.
arrived at the gate just as the MPs were getting out of their
car to open the gate and the first indication that this was
not going to go well was when the MP snapped to and rendered
a salute, telling us he was talking to an officer. I was not
privy to the conversation but Sir Phil and I determined it was
not a happy good morning type of exchange, especially when the
officer started pointing at the MP’s face with an open
hand, ala a Drill Instructor.
occurred to me that you would never see this anywhere else.
When could a cop get an ass chewing by Joe Citizen for being
a few minutes late opening a gate? Where, by virtue of rank,
would put the law enforcement representative at a disadvantage
was probably not too happy about the late opening but again,
I considered it a bit of an asshole move because it could be
the difference in watches. Sir Phil tended to disagree with
me because he noted that they were three minutes late and 0700
means 0700. I asked him how he could possibly know that his
watch time is superior than that of the MPs. He told me he syncs
it every day with the official atomic clock and all on duty
watchstanders should do the same for flag-raising duties. Official
time is official time.
run went great (I kept the time) and we clocked about 10 minute
miles again. It was a bit cold that early but I knew that it
would be a misty dream soon so I did not complain. It was Sir
Phil's first visit back to TBS in 18 years. It had been a week
Phil is a freak. He really doesn’t have to train and he
can decide to participate in a 20 mile run on a whim and do
just fine. He humored me by stopping at the 9 minutes marks
and walked with me for the full minute. I train myself silly
and still have to adhere to this little game and can’t
seem find the ability nor the desire to get any faster. But
as long as I keep the distance going, the pace will be fine.
For Sir Phil, a walk in the park.
had a few of those serene moments way out in the middle of the
woods (stop thinking dirty thoughts, pervs!). The morning air
was cool, the dew was on the grass and the sun sparkled off
if it in a brilliant display of spring beauty. We saw deer watch
us curiously as we ran down the road through dense woods. We
saw Dragon's Breath (ground fog over sunlit fields of green).
We talked (OK, I talked) most of the time and by the time we
got toward the end, it really didn’t seem we had been
running for 3 ½ hours. Only the last ½ mile was
a bit of an attention-getter because of the increasing heat
and the fatigue but even then, it wasn’t much of a struggle.
And I only ate a Gu at the beginning, at mile 6, and at the
half way point. I was too busy talking.
got done, drove home, and Sir Phil invited me in for our ceremonious
beer. This started back in 29 Palms when we would run through
the desert on Sunday mornings and return right as the heat was
nearing triple digits. We would crack a well-deserved beer,
but only one.
learned back then that when your system is shredded up, the
alcohol from one beer hits you like a hammer. But it soothes
all the aches for about 15 minutes and because your body is
still in overdrive from the run, it processes out the alcohol
really quickly. In a half hour, you can’t tell you ever
drank it. It gets in, hits hard, and gets out.
I’ve also learned that there is a brutal mistake that
I made once and only once. NEVER, and I mean NEVER EVER grab
a second beer. Slam water or sports drink but for the love of
God, do not be temped by the good feeling that first beer gave
you and decide to have another. Your body is very unforgiving
in this situation and just as it was welcoming and quick-processing
with the first beer, it is rejectful and slow to expel the alcohol
from the second beer. This happened once at Sir Phil’s
house in 29 Palms and I was a blithering idiot for the rest
of the day. Lesson learned, Beer Gods, lesson learned.
I got home, I ate the turkey sandwich Carrie made for me before
she and the kids left to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms.
In snake-like fashion, I unhinged my jaw and swallowed the sandwich
whole. Although I was feeling oddly good for just completing
a 20 miler, I was ready for a hot shower and after a few minutes
of reading, collapsed in bed at exactly 1:40 PM.
seconds later it was exactly 3:45 PM.
got up and was more groggy than sore. I don’t know why
this is. I’m not asking for it but I SHOULD be sore. Really
was my day, folks. Next week I’m going for the 26 miler,
a 12-15 miler the week after that, and after that is my weekend
in Lejeune so either I take that weekend off or I just go for
a light jog. The week after that is the marathon so this last
spike followed by a tapering off period seems like the way to
don’t think I can get Sir Phil to do the 26 miler next
week. He thinks all this distance training is destructive. But
to me, so are 6 hour marathons and my freakness does not manifest
itself as good races from bad training.
Advice for Today:
drive while holding a cup of hot coffee between your knees."
AND EGGS - A day's work for a chicken; A lifetime commitment
for a pig.”
April 9, 2005
Mowing, Soccer, Pizza, Popcorn
free-for-all food day but it’s getting better.
had conflicting logistics problems today which left a confusing
set of negotiations to occur. I didn’t want to have my
all-you-can-cram-down-the-piehole day on my long run day, simply
because I’d miss out on a good hearty breakfast and spend
valuable gorge time recovering from the 20 miler I had slated
was going to be gone all day so she didn’t want the free
day today. She wanted me to get the run out of the way today,
while she was gone, so all arguments pointed to running today
and eating tomorrow.
Sir Phil had to go and eff up the whole deal. He’s getting
a hot tub put in and he had to wait around all day and wait
for the workers to show up. I could have gone without him (he
regretted agreeing to go with me anyway because he has not been
training for the marathon next month, but he’s a freak
and doesn’t really have to) but for a 20 miler, I could
really use the company.
end result was that the kids and I had the free day and Carrie
would have hers tomorrow when I had my run. Yes, I got to push
off the run until Sunday. YES!!! And I get to gorge today! How
can this be a bad plan?
wanted the Full Monty for breakfast. The menu item requests
just built up until we had this on the list:
understand, I could take care of the toast. The eggs, I’ve
been known to accomplish that too. The pancakes… well,
Bisquick, right? The boy could take care of the bacon. Orange
juice is a no-brainer. Hash brown, frozen, baby.
problem was timing. I could make, more or less, all these items
but the true talent in all this was Carrie’s innate sense
of getting everything to the table hot. My talent, on the other
hand, is not pissing on the closed toilet seat and frankly,
my talent is sometimes found lacking even there.
had to leave early but because she just can’t stand it,
she jumped in and prepped most of the items and rattled off
a list of instructions that likely rival the Space Shuttle final
launch check list. I stood there with bed-head, crunchies in
the corner of my eyes, holding a cup of coffee wondering if
she really expected me to remember this uber-list when I count
having brushed teeth as the height of the morning’s accomplishments.
she left, it was up to me and I leapt into action.
eggs got cold but not as cold as the iceberg, just-short-of-burnt
pancakes. The overcooked hashbrowns were a bit chilled by the
time I sank my teeth in them. There was a full batch of bacon
that went untouched. The butter didn’t even melt on the
one piece of toast I made.
orange juice ROCKED!
that was fun.
cleaning up, I got this weird motivation to mow the lawn. Be
like me and don’t ask. When the mood strikes, strike back.
spent the next couple of hours on the riding lawn mover which
brings my amortized cost-per-mow down to a mere $87.50. Stay
tuned as the mowing season continues.
it was time for lunch and I gave the kids a choice. Their choice.
Yeah, Burger King. As because I would rather eat my foot (post-marathon)
than BK, I opted for Wendy’s. Here is how the conversation
at the drive through went:
I take your order.”
“I’d like two hamburgers. What do you put on that?”
“Mayo, mustard, and pickles.”
“No lettuce or tomato?”
pause while I put my desire to kill in check.
you PUT lettuce and tomato on it?”
“I can give you a junior cheeseburger without cheese.
It has all that.”
“Does it have mayo and onions?”
“Please leave off the mayo and onions.”
been eating Wendy’s since I was a kid and I’ve NEVER
heard of the base ingredients like those for a basic burger.
I ask them to rattle it off every time just so they are clear
on what we’re working with and in my warped sense of reality,
makes it easier for them to grasp the concept of leaving off
the onion and mayo, adding catsup. But I had never been offered
junior burgers to replace the basic burger on the basis of condiments.
I was rattled and confused. I believe I cried a little.
was also sure they would bone me on the order. So I didn’t
leave until I checked them and while they got the ingredients
right. I noticed the burgers were smaller than the ones I’m
used to. I didn’t want to fight this battle any longer
so I drove off, convincing myself that I usually feel sick if
I eat two regulars but eating just one leaves me wanting.
were cold. Bastards!
I ate it and all was good.
got home and I scored major points for mowing the front and
the back lawns and cleaning up the kitchen to sparkling perfection.
We even ran the dishwater, emptied it, and loaded up a second
batch. I was a hero!
then all loaded up the Pilot and went to Alex’s first
soccer game. They lost but my boy scored one of the two goals
for his team. It was a perfectly arced pass in front of the
goal right into my boy’s wheelhouse and he kicked it in
for the goal. It was the only shining moment in a rather dull
game. Here is a conversation I had with Carrie when we noted
the boy’s general lack of competitiveness:
“I think I’ve given up on hoping Alex’s
sports will improve. He doesn’t even want to play next
year.” Me (joking): “He gets that from you.” Carrie (laughing): “Yeah, right. I’m
not competitive. He gets all that from YOU!” Me: “Carrie, I’m a Marine. I’m
a marathoner and an ultra-runner. You are saying he gets his
non-athleticism from me? That’s what you’re saying?”
went on to point out that she didn’t question the athleticism,
just the competitiveness and although I continued to protest,
I knew she was right. I was not and am still not a competitive
person and was a wallflower sports player as a kid, when I did
sports, just like my boy.
we had a pizza party. The coach called it in order to promote
team unity and cohesion. Good in theory but we at the pizza
joint, all the tables sat 4 people and were lined up along a
wall. So each family ate at a table and there was very little
intermixing. So it was really just all of us eating at the same
place but without mingling.
the way, CiCi’s pizza sucks. The taco pizza left me unimpressed
and it wasn’t just because they put real hot sauce on
it, insulting my virgin infantile tastebuds. It just all-around
I finally had my popcorn. Yeah, it was 11:30 PM but dammit,
I wasn’t going one more week without popcorn.
gorge day down. Breakfast feast, Wendy’s, pizza, and popcorn.
Will it carry me another week? Don’t have to, I’ll
be having the next one early. Thursday in San Diego is the designated
time and place. Beware Southern California, particular Godfather’s.
I’m coming and I’ll be hungry.
Advice for Today:
this statement by Coach Lou holtz" 'Life
is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react
don't have a solution; but I do admire the problem.”
April 8, 2005
Hero Returns Safe
busy, busy, busy day. From the time I got in until I stumbled
out of the office just in time to hit Friday afternoon traffic
on I-95, I was moving. OK, maybe only mentally most of the time
but still, there was no wall-staring this day.
filled out all of my paperwork for the trips I talked about
yesterday, made phonecalls, reservations,
and attended meetings. But the big news was waiting for me as
I opened up my email at 0745.
got an email from fellow Horseman and all around dear friend
who just got back from Iraq after 13 months. In Fallujah!
classic style, here is the sum total of his email to me after
13 months in combat:
“4-leaf clover thingy” was a laminated 4 leaf clover
sent to me from an “Any Service Member” pen pal
when I was in the first Gulf War. It got me home so I sent it
to Brent on the condition that he give it back to me in person
over beer. Looks like he will fulfill that requirement next
month when he meets us in Vegas the day before the Wild
Wild West Marathon.
tried to goad him into running the marathon but many months
in battle zone had somehow deteriorated his ability to run 26.2
miles through trails. What a wimp!
was so excited to get this email that I called his office right
away but since he’s in 29 Palms California, it was about
0500. I called a bit later and was happy to get in touch with
bad news is that he’s not being stationed in Quantico
like we had hoped. The good news is that they ARE going to Lejeune
so at least him and his family will be about 5 hours away. Close
enough to see them a few times a year. Maybe even once again
"roll the felt" which means breaking out the poker
table if I can get Sir Phil to make the trip.
asked him what was the most different thing about him after
being over there for so long. He told me that it was that he
gets frustrated a lot easier. I had assumed he would get LESS
frustrated because when you have had people trying to kill you
every day, running out of staples just wouldn’t seem all
what he meant was that he gets frustrated at what other people
perceive as important now. BECAUSE he had people trying to kill
him every day, he can’t get very empathetic when someone
is freaking out about late reports. Thus, higher frustration.
he will not running with us, he agreed to meet us in Vegas (big
sacrifice, stud) and drive through Death Valley and into Lone
Pine. He would be our logistics (which only seems proper since
he IS a Logistics Officer) before and after the race. There’s
not much opportunity to hook up along the course since it goes
through wilderness somewhere around what most people refer to
will then drive us back to Vegas and get us a comped room (he’s
a borderline dangerous gambler) after the race where we can
attempt to walk around Vegas after a 6-hour marathon and a 5-hour
drive. Should be a sight but at least three of the four Horsemen
will be together once again.
last Horseman is having battles of his own on recruiting duty.
If you haven’t heard, the Marine Corps is doing worse
in recruiting that it ever has in its long history. The recruiting
commands are getting the heat so we don’t expect Gary
to be anywhere near. We’re even afraid to call him for
fear he might try to talk us into resigning and re-upping to
meet mission. Or he might start asking how old my children are.
Times are tough when you’re a recruiter these days.
Advice for Today:
an older person you respect to tell you his or her proudest
moment and greatest regret."
is where people go who don't believe in Gosh.”
April 7, 2005
I Go, On The Go, Again
it rains it pours. I’m homebased for months and then suddenly,
I get a flurry of trips that almost by heavenly mandate, are
required to butt up against each other.
I found out that I will be going to San Diego next week. I had
a meeting where we showed the Marine Corps Recruiting Command
what our computer system could do for them and they mentioned
they were presenting at the Western Recruiting Region’s
Commanders’ Conference next week.
idea: what if we sent a rep to San Diego. In April. To present,
of course. Why are you looking at me like that?
was all good until they told me their travel plans: catch a
red-eye on Tuesday, get in late Tuesday night, present Wednesday,
catch a red-eye home, arrive on Thursday morning after flying
gonna to go with “Not a freakin’ chance in 10
just so happens that the Recruit Depot just transitioned over
to our system so the second bright idea of the day was to show
my face their and provide live support. It’s in the general
gameplan anyway and I could spend a day on the depot fielding
questions and getting pummeled for the sins of our system.
because it would give me an extra day in San Diego and relinquish
me from the red-eye travel plans from Hell is completely beside
with the look. What?
I get a visit from a fellow Captain who wants me to go to Missouri
during the last week in the month for an inspection. OK, they
call it the less-ominous-sounding “Assist Visit”
but let’s face facts, it’s an inspection.
are picking up the dime and the time frame is open so I agreed.
I’ve never been to Fort Leonardwood so why not? They don't
hunt Marines in Missouri, do they? Because I don't want to suddenly
discover that I do indeed have a pretty mouth.
had to make my own arrangements and for the first time ever,
the travel agency we use offered me a choice between flying
out of Reagan (the airport, not the corpse) and flying out of
Richmond. I live in Fredericksburg so going out of Reagan (stop
it!) involves a few hours of driving and battling the D.C. traffic,
which you all know I adore. Flying out of Richmond is a breezy
45 minute drive opposite of traffic.
also solved another problem. I get back on Friday and we had
planned on driving down to Lejeune for a retirement ceremony
for a good friend. I was looking at flying cross-country, getting
in on a Friday night, battling the worst traffic of the week
in the worst place on the eastern seaboard, picking up the family,
and driving for 5 hours into the night to get to Lejeune. And
my crankiness level MIGHT, and I’m going with “might”
here, be a bit elevated.
in the background my wife mumbles “oh my God!”)
flying into Richmond, which is 45 minutes toward Lejeune from
my house, Carrie and the kids can pick me up and we can continue
down the road.
almost like it was meant to be.
here it is folks: San Diego next week, a week home, a week in
Missouri, 3 days in Lejeune, one day back, back to California
for the Wild
Wild West Marathon (which includes Cinco De Mayo in VEGAS!!!!),
back on Mother’s Day and then two days until Sarah
McLachlan concert in Norfolk.
I come home and drool a lot.
Advice for Today:
lightly or not at all before giving a speech or making a
at first you don't succeed, redefine success.”
April 6, 2005
blew it. I met with early success and then in the same category,
I got goose-egged.
Marine Corps Marathon sign up started today. I actually considered
waking up at midnight to make sure I got in but decided to wait
until the morning. But then I thought that would be as stupid
as running 26.2 miles ... wait a minute. Never mind. Anyway,
they couldn’t sell out 30,000 entries in 6 hours. Could
up they couldn’t, despite the ominous announcement that
it might sell out in 24 hours. There’s no lottery this
year so as long as you are one of the first 30,000 people to
log in and sign up, you can gleefully part with $89.25 and run
26.2 miles in October. What kind of moron would...
I got signed up and have my confirmation number.
I went to work, there was a skip in my step. After tripping
thusly, I realized I was happy that I was signed up for this
marathon. I’ve run it the last two years but they haven’t
been the most successful of my marathon career. The first one,
two years ago, was a few days after arriving in Virginia. A
month of vacation and traveling cross-country with my family
was not the recipe for marathon success. Neither was unpacking
boxes for three days straight before the race. I was fat, out
of shape, and miserable. Hence the 5 ½ hour fiasco.
year was better, just over 4 hours. But I had trained hard
to get under my magical 4 hour mark which was not to be. But
this year, it will be different. Yes, that IS what I say every
year and it IS what I will be saying at the start of EVERY marathon
I ever run so if you want to go and burst bubbles, excuse yourself
to the latest Michael Jackson sleepover.
I got in. I’m running the 30th Annual Marine Corps Marathon
on October 30th.
on the heels of this excitement, I re-remembered for the umpteenth
(OMG, Word’s spell checker was copasetic with “umpteenth”!!
WTFO?) time that I needed to sign up for the Down &
Dirty race. This is an annual 5 miler that the base puts
on where you run through some pretty difficult trails at the
Officer’s Candidate School. Last
year, I opened my goodie bag and discovered I happened to
be number 69. So yes, my bib said “Down & Dirty
was the king for the day.
year, I had picked up an application months ago and it was sitting
somewhere in the mountain of stuff on my computer desk at home.
I seem to remember that early registration ended on April 7th.
That was the only date that stuck in my head and I guess I thought
that since most early registrations end weeks before the race,
I had plenty of time.
the morning, I looked up the info on the website and to my horror,
I discovered that the race was THIS SATURDAY!!!!! Huh?! (ala
Scooby Doo). Shit! (ala Jason).
ends “early” registration two days before the race?
my way out to run my weekly track work out (WHITE HOT HATE,
WHITE HOT HATE, WHITE HOT HATE, WHITE HOT HATE, WHITE HOT HATE,
WHITE HOT HATE, WHITE HOT HATE,…) I grabbed my wallet
and decided to stop by the gym to sign up. I thought it strange
that I would be signing up for two races on the same day and
that was likely a bad karma moment.
get to the gym and I’ve learned that it’s easier
to just swipe my ID card to go upstairs rather than trying to
explain to the half-sleeping gatekeeper I wasn’t there
to work out. I got to the top deck where the gym is and where
all the offices were and as usual, I spent a few minutes trying
to locate anyone who was supposed to be working. Check behind
the front counter you say? You’d think but alas, not a
high-percentage success rate.
my head into a few offices, I finally found someone who worked
there. She told me to go to the next office. The door was shut
so I knocked and was told to come in.
this where I sign up for the Down & Dirty?”
“Nope. Sold out.” Blank stare on both faces.
“Yep, we got 400 sign ups.” Two more blank stares.
“There’s no way…”
“Is there… a cancellation list or…”
“Nope.” A last set of blank stares.
“You’ve been over-so-helpful”
slammed the door and left.
then as the most heinous example of compensation ever conceived,
I was able to go do six 800 yard sprints. Wonderful.
line: I WILL be running the Marine Corps Marathon this year
but I will NOT be Down, nor will I be Dirty. Such is life.
Advice for Today:
a tie with cartoon characters on it if you work with kids."
we Marines aboard Quantico, accomplished an annual ritual. We
rolled our sleeves up.
reading this are nodding their heads knowingly. Others are wondering
why this would be blog-worthy. Allow me to explain.
we wear our cammies, we either have our sleeves up or down,
unless we are in the field (combat zone) when they are always
down. And if you think the choice of having them up or down
is willy-nilly, then smack yourself. This is the Marine Corps,
case you didn’t know, we are kinda big on uniformity.
You might say regimented. You might even go as far to say militant
about it. I know, crazy, ain’t it? The Marine Corps? Really?
the powers that be decide that we should have our sleeves up,
officially dubbing the it the summer seasonal uniform, everyone
rolls their sleeves up. It’s that simple. Everyone…
Private to General, up with the sleeves. No choice, no excuses,
no mood or weather-dependent exceptions. And yes, it’s
always cold for the first few weeks and standing outside in
formation (ironically to inspect the rolled sleeves) is an exercise
caught with their sleeves down are open game to get punked out
in public by any other Marine regardless if you know them or
not. We are not shy about self-policing.
Honey, it’s 20 degrees out. Can’t you just roll
them down because it’s cold.”
I love you so don’t take this the wrong way but…
he thought 20 degrees was cold…)
it used to be that you could tell a lot about a Marine by his
uniform. With cammies you had to press and boots you had to
shine, you could take one look at a Marine and know where he
was at in his professionalism. But now with wash-and-wear cammies
and suede combat boots, you could roll out of bed half drunk
with your uniform on from the night before and look pretty much
like the guy who spent hours ironing his uniform that morning.
(Not that I’ve tested this… let’s move on…)
with the sleeves we have one last indicator. You see, when I
say we roll up our sleeves, I’m not talking putting it
on and using one hand to sloppily roll up the sleeve any which
way your manual dexterity can handle. Oh no, Gentle Reader.
It’s an entire evolution that involves hours of ironing,
starching, cussing, and many restarts. That is, if you really
give a crap about it and therein lies the indicator. It’s
pretty obvious who puts the work into or not.
mellowed a bit over the years but let me explain the apex of
my obsession with this (and it is not even to the most violent
degree that some Marines go to.)
I washed the cammies and turned the blouse inside out (yes,
we call it a blouse. Go ahead, make a comment). I used a bead
of washable Elmer’s glue along to sleeve and once it got
tacky, I would carefully turn the sleeves right-side-out. I
would soak the sleeve with sizing and hit it with a hot iron.
A couple of applications at it was ready, indicated by a sheetrock-style
rigidity. The washable glue guaranteed a sharp crease that stayed
would then fold over a tapered wedge starting from the armpit
to the cuff, making a cone shape. This allowed the roll to proceed
neatly by folding in the material at the cuff and allowing more
room as you move up the arm.
would carefully fold over the cuff 4 inches, push hard on the
fold, spray it with starch, and hammer it with a hot iron. Waiting
about 30 second for it to cool, I would repeat the process complete
with starch and iron. This would go on until I got to the mid
Golden Rule of Sleeve-Rolling Pessimism: Only one sleeve
will roll easily. If it’s the first one, you know
you are going to play hell with the second. Often what happens
is that you get to the top and it falls apart on you (the long
fold comes out and then suddenly the cuff can fit around your
leg) and the only thing to do is cuss real loud, angrily unfold
the whole sleeve, realize you just lost 45 minutes, and start
over. But at least you know the second sleeve will go up beautifully
the first time. The Golden Rule.
are three levels, tests if you will, that you must accomplish
before claiming success.
Is the sleeve rolling and the long fold staying in place?
You can tell how things are going by the third fold. Rarely
you can salvage a bad start but most of the time, you know
if you are pumping the pooch as you are rolling.
Did the final 4 inch fold end up where you wanted it to on
the tricep? Sometimes you are unfortunate and the sleeve is
still too long but one more fold will put it up too high.
Again, in rare instances, you can try to pull down on the
cuff and squeeze one more cheat roll but success is almost
The final test: You put on the blouse and see if you nailed
it. This will clarify if your roll was as good as you thought,
if it ended where it was supposed to, and most importantly,
if it all really worked. Many times I have thought I had everything
hooked up only to put it on and find to my shock and dismay,
it just didn’t work. Most often this was a miscalculated
long-fold that made the cuff too tight to the point of pain
(and how many times have I had a hell of a time even getting
one of these travesties off my arms? It’s embarrassing
combined with extremely frustrating, knowing 1.5 hours are
going down the shitter combined with another 1.5 of needed
investment to fix it).
there is sometimes that you put it on and the fold just comes
out and you have the monster cuff again. I’ve made up
cuss words during these times.
you see, something as simple as rolling sleeves becomes an entire
event for Marines. But the end result is obvious if you have
ever seen us with our sleeves rolled up. They look professionally
done because frankly, they are.
was recently discovered that research causes cancer
April 4, 2005
tend to be lucky in some respects. You wouldn’t know it
if you read my rants and knew my Grose Family Curse, riddled
with intricate conspiracies which boil down to “The
world is against me.” Just ask my brother. Or my
dad. Or my parole officer.
there is one area that I’ve always enjoyed more than my
share of good fortune: serial murder. Oops, I mean, meeting
my Marine Corps career, I’ve run into Vice-Presidents,
Commandants, Assistant-Commandants, Sergeant Major of the Marine
Corps, and even a boxing champion.
folks, it happened again. But this will take some explaining.
people I’ve described up to now are famous to the general
public. OK, the Rose Garden DI is a little nichey but most people
would at least recognize the famous poster. But what I’m
about to explain is a bit different because most of you will
have never heard of him. So why does he fall in the “Famous
People Jason Has Annoyed Over The Years” category?
Jones is an icon. To who? Well, only a select few. To all others,
he’s just some old guy in the desert but to the very small
population that call themselves “Ultra-runners,”
he is larger than life.
a population, a small percentage of human beings are considered
“runners.” A smaller slice are "distance runners"
and even further up the pyramid are marathoners. As you climb
higher up, there are the ultrarunners (defined as anyone who
runs races greater than 26.2 miles but purists hold it at 50
miles or more).
take that sliver of the population and you have those people
who are unique because of the distance they run. But add a few
more variants into the mix and you get those who feel that distance
alone is not unique enough. Add in purposely-adverse weather
conditions and inhospitable environments and you start to whittle
down to a few deranged individuals.
the grand-pubah of all this kind of insanity is the Badwater
Ultramarathon. It is the end-all, be-all of all ultramarathons
because of its distance (135 miles uphill), starting point (282
feet below sea level in a bottom of Death Valley, A.K.A. lowest
point in the U.S.), ending point (Mount Whitney portal, A.K.A.
the highest point in the U.S.), time of year (mid-July), and
average temperature (130 and that’s Fahrenheit, people).
you do this race, even finish it, you have scaled the pinnacle
of ultrarunning and you have nothing left to prove. Ever.
do you have a picture of what this race means? Got the general
Jones is the widely accepted grandfather of this race. He
is a doctor, his wife an expert on foot care, and they have
both completed the race several times. They call him the Mayor
of Badwater (although it’s really just a sign near a salt
pond in the ass of Death Valley). He has become such an expert
at this race that the reverence one must pay to him, if you
ever even thought about attempting the race, is akin to going
to the man on the mountain for the answer to life.
the general public, the reaction would likely be “Ben
who?” but to anyone who ever put more than one brain
cell toward considering ultrarunning as a hobby, it would be
more like “THE Ben Jones? Really?”
goes to show that a man can be utterly unknown to the average
man but to a very few who are involved in a specific culture,
the same man can loom large in almost god-like proportions.
here’s where my luck unfolds. I write the Lone Pine Chamber
of Commerce (where they host the annual Wild
Wild West Marathon) and ask a few questions. I make an inside
joke intended for the Four Horsemen (my buddies) who are CC’ed
on the email but the lady at the Chamber misunderstands my comment
and thinks I’m complaining about some portion of the race
in past years.
was weird but if you looked at it just right, it could be misconstrued
if taken out of context.
after she wrote back to ask what exactly I meant and if she
could rectify whatever the cause of my heartburn, I returned
the email with profuse apologies and explanations. Within my
blathering, I explained my love for this race and why I was
traveling from Virginia to California (2 years in a row) to
run my 6th Wild Wild West Race in a row. I gave a little history
of my running adventures and she was so impressed with my explanation,
she said she was going to forward it to Ben Jones.
Ben Jones? Really?
told her if she was going to do that, to tell him I was shooting
for the Badwater in 2009.
this is like telling an angel to give a head’s up to God
next time she talked to him that I’ll be coming up. Or,
considering the temperature, maybe Hell would be a better analogy
but I didn’t really want to compare Ben Jones to Satan.
I mean, I haven’t even met the man. Check back at about
mile 100 in 2009.
few weeks later I get an email and the “TO:” field
reads “Ben Jones.”
Ben Jones? Really?
was a really kind letter and when we continued our correspondence,
he said he’d look forward to meeting me when I came to
Lone Pine next month.
Ben Jones! Really!
so excited because although it will mean little to anyone outside
the Badwater world, I have a meeting with THE Ben Jones when
I go to Lone Pine this year. If this blog has not explained
what that means to me, then I am unable to convey the significance
the way, it wasn’t the first time I had seen him. I just
didn’t know it. Here is how I explained it to him.
really looking forward to chewing the fat with you.
You know, I unknowingly bumped into you before. At the packet
pick up of the Wild Wild West one year, I noticed your Badwater
t-shirt but it was before I ever considered the race. I knew
what it was and its reputation but had no idea who “Ben
Jones” was. Since then, I’ve come to know your
history with the race and in hindsight, feel like I missed
out on an opportunity that I’m excited to rectify this
Here is the link to the pictures I took that year. Long story
short, I tried to sneak some pictures of you just by virtue
of being in the presence of a Badwater participant. I had
no idea it was THE Badwater participant.
can't have everything, where would you put it?”
April 3, 2005
was supposed to be 16 miles. How did I come up with that number?
Well, I’d like to say it was part of an organized training
plan like I’ve used for every other marathon I’ve
ever ran but the truth be told, my last few long runs evolved
something like this"
crap, the marathon is coming up in about a month and I haven’t
run more than 6 miles since October. I should go and run 12
miles next weekend.
lot of time, pain, and depression centered around how difficult
12 miles that turned into 10 miles was…)
I did 10 last week, I should really do 12 this weekend.
12 miler, if there is such an animal…)
go 15 this week…oh, bad weather both days so I’m
I bagged last week so it’s 16 miles this week. Pay,
brings me to today. But there were issues. Of course there were
asked my wife if she wanted to go with me, her riding the bike
and me slogging along at about a 10 minute pace. At first, it
didn’t seem possible since we had slept in a little (after
yesterday’s gut-fest) and she
had to get Alex to a soccer practice at 3:00. But we managed
to dump him off at a friend’s house and we were ready
was glad to have company and since she was riding a bike, she
could carry the Camelback full of water and all the Gu packets.
I could run relatively unburdened, compared to my normal traveling
gypsy show. I even ditched the headphones because I didn’t
want to drag her out there and then ignore her. Something about
rock throwing and/or my water supply rolling off back to the
weather was great for running. But for biking, well, not so
much. She was cold the whole time but because I heat up when
I run, it was ideal for a long run. So, yeah, I'm good (dagger-stare
from the missus).
was going great and to answer my original question about how
I came up with the distance, I based it on a cross street that
I thought was exactly 8 miles out. Let me repeat a portion of
that last sentence: … that I thought was exactly 8
miles out. So round trip would presumably be 16
miles. And presumably I'm not a math dolt. That’s
what I dialed in upstairs and that’s what I was ready
the 10 minutes per mile pace I normally hover at, I should have
hit the halfway point at 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Go ahead, check
the math, I’ll wait….). But at that mark, I was
nowhere near the cross street so I logically deduced that I
was going too slow. It would be right here beyond the bend.
Well the bend bended and no cross street. Just a little farther…
and no joy. What the hell was going on?
the 1 hour and 30 minute mark, we came up to the cross street.
I couldn’t have run that slow so I recalculated the mathematical
gymnastics that convinced me it was 8 miles in the first place.
see, it was last year and I needed a 20 mile run. I got to this
cross street which fed onto a busy street off the base. I remember
every step after that because I hated the busy, no-shoulder
gambit and it was just to get a couple of miles of distance
in. I went one mile on this road, turned around, and made my
ahead and do the math and you’ll be able to see my mistake
before I explain it.
it was 9 miles (instead of the 8 I got stuck in my head) to
the cross street, add one for the extra gambit bafoonery, one
more back to the cross street, and finish up the 9 miles back
to the start and you get, yes folks, 20!!!
that ever got turned into 8 miles instead of 9 miles in my head,
I don’t know. But it did confirm, if you believe a year
old calculation based on a 20 mile run, that I had run 9 miles
today. This is further supported with what I was pretty sure
was a 10 minute pace which put me on the spot at the exact time.
does all this mean? Well, I guess I was in for an 18 mile run
vice a 16 mile run. You would think this a major blow to my
abilities but for some reason, I was up for the task and felt
great. Maybe it was the fact that I had all the water I needed,
didn’t have to carry it, and had opened Gu packets ready
for me at every 5 mile mark. Whatever the reason, I made it
back in the same time and maintained a 10 minute pace for 3
whole hours. I felt amazingly good coming across the line and
could have continued. Not that it didn’t hurt or that
I wasn’t ready for the run to be done, mind you, but I
wasn't drooling and asking for my 2nd grade lunch box with the
Six Million Dollar Man on it.
lessoned learned and I got a bonus of completing an 18 mile
run today. It was a good day, despite my temporary retardation.
folks for the hard landing. It wasn't the pilot's fault,
and it wasn't the plane's fault. It was the asphalt.”
April 2, 2005
Pope, Hello Eat-O-Rama
big events happened today:
It was our first “free day” where we, as a family,
could eat as much of anything our guts desired and
Something about the Pope kickin’ off.
let me start off by saying that if you are Catholic and/or get
easily offended by irreverence, you are really gonna be pissed
off so you might as well just stop reading. I am not Catholic
and while it’s sad that the man won’t be converting
oxygen into carbon monoxide (or is it dioxide? Damn high school
chemistry!) any more, my everyday life will not be changed.
for the first (OK, “next”) reason to get mad at
me, I’ll start with the free day.
are Eating For Life,
in case you didn’t know and it’s been working out
pretty good. I mean, we’re all still alive and have not
clawed out each other's entrails or anything. That’s always
a good start.
day a week, we get to go hog wild. Exactly how wild it is to
be “hog” I won’t dissect but suffice it to
say that the green flag was waved at putting anything we wanted
into our mouths and swallowing, but I drew a line at furniture
and the dog, much to the dog’s relief. An frankly, since
I even had to involve the furniture in this is a cause for concern
but I digress.
this shameless display of wanton consumption was going to have
to wait until Sunday because Alex’s soccer game and my
16 mile run was going to use up valuable gorge time. But last
night, storms rolled in and I made the announcement that if
Alex’s game was cancelled, I would put my run off to Sunday
and we would eat like kings. Big, fat, glutinous pig-like kings.
game was cancelled before we went to bed so we all went to sleep
with the thoughts of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Deep-fried
breaded sugar plums dipped in chocolate.
first order of business in the morning was waffles. Carrie stayed
in bed and the kids helped me to mix up a big ole batch of scrumptious
waffles. Alex made an entire package of bacon and we all just
went at it. I was even a bit disappointed that we ran out of
real butter and had to resort to the low fat kind.
lunch, there was no question at my choice. Taco Hell. Two double-decker
tacos, a 7-layer burrito (no onions, please) and an order of
chips and cheese. Follow all that down with a beer and I was
kids chose Burger King for lunch. Eh, who can account for taste?
the time dinner rolled around, I wasn’t feeling too good.
I think it was the …. fake butter. Maybe
the Taco Hell didn’t help but I was determined to have
a guilt-free day.
all discussed what to have for dinner and although none of us
were particularly starving (having consumed more junk than the
prior two weeks combined), we settled on some form of pizza.
I was leaning more toward the order-out kind but the kids wanted
the Chef-Boy-Ardee kind that I make so they won out.
ate the pizza but it wasn’t as satisfying as it would
have been if I was really hungry. But dammit, I only had this
day and I was not going to waste it, no matter how much it hurt
or how much damage I caused. Bring on the ambulance, this is
my free day!!!!
we finish two pizzas but tonight, ¾ of one was left to
rot. Our healthy diet had done us in and I think that’s
part of the plan.
wanted one more thing. Popcorn. It’s something I’ve
really missed for the last couple of weeks and I was determined
to have a nice big heaping bowl of it while watching a movie.
But I was gut-blocked by the missus who sprang an unforeseen
attack on my culinary desires. She had gone to the store and
had…she bought… the freezer contained…. Oh
the horror…. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food
got about half way through it and I was done. I mean, I had
absolutely no desire to put anything even near my mouth. The
good news is that I didn’t eat nearly as much as I had
fantasized during the week. The bad news is that I ran out of
steam before satisfying all those food fantasies. And I had
a gut ache. And I had a 16 mile run the next morning.
last thought before going to bed: “What the F@#%*@#
was I thinking?!” which, ironically, will be the
exact same thought the same time next week.
and the Pope died today. He was old. He died. A billion people
are losin’ it tonight and if there is an upshot to the
event, it would have to be that I don’t have to read anymore
about Terry Schiavo for a few days.
discussion I had about it today with my wife:
“I hope he gave his heart to Jesus or he’s in
“He’s the Pope, I think he has a by, regardless.”
that, a Pope who somehow never got around to actually believing.
Now THAT would be an awkward moment at the Pearly Gates.
yeah, here's the thing..."
Advice for Today:
you're buying something that you only need to buy once,
buy the best you can afford."
drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.”
April 1, 2005
another year without a practical joke. Neither given nor received,
and that’s OK with me. Like a described last year, I don’t
partake in this annual event and rather than rehash the reasons,
I’ll just throw the link
at you and let you do the research.
I will share a couple of intricate jokes I’ve heard about.
can go in to your boss’s office and if he has a wooden
desk or a wooden chair, this would work great. Just go in there
when he’s not there and use sandpaper to shave off a tiny
bit of each leg. Repeat this over a matter of months and eventually,
either his chair will seem to high, his desk too short, or whatever
combination you try.
next one works great for the military. If you have a roommate
or someone leaves their uniform in the locker room, take it
and have the waist taken in overnight, but just slightly. Do
this every once in awhile and watch how he can’t figure
out why his pants are getting tighter. Most likely he will work
overtime in the gym to lose the inches. Then one day, after
he’s had enough, let out the pants way too much but not
enough for him to suspect anything. He’ll think he lost
a bunch of weight over night.
else. Oh, this one actually happened. At Tanks, the S3 office
had two adjoining offices; one for the S3 officer and next door
for all the other officers. The S3 was a great guy and future
Battalion Commander. They bought a regular doorbell and wrapped
tape around the bell to muffle it and then hid it in the ceiling
tile of his office. They ran the wires to the adjoining office
and hooked it up out of sight. Every once in awhile they would
push it and it would give off this barely audible ring.
kept this up for months and since everyone was in on it, sometimes
they would ring it while someone was in the office with the
S3 officer who would exclaim
Did you hear that?!”
“Hear what, Sir?”
“That ringing. Like a doorbell.”
“No, sir, I didn’t hear anything.”
“I could swear I hear it every once in awhile.” (they would ring it again)
“THERE! Did you hear it? You had to have heard that!”
“Uhh, no Sir, I didn’t hear anything. Maybe you
should see Doc.”
kept this up for months and finally let him in on it. I think
his reaction was “Communists!!!”
the same spirit but a lot meaner happened when I was a barracks
rat as a PFC and LCPL. Every Friday morning we would have a
Marine Corps white glove inspection that literally had a white
glove. I mean it was brutal. We would have to buff ourselves
out of the room and a single sock print on the floor would fail
you. They even checked the inside of the light bulb receptors.
meant that every Thursday night consisted of hours and hours
of field day to get your room immaculate. Come Friday morning,
there was not a molecule of dirt in the entire room.
late Thursday, early Friday we decided it was time to show our
displeasure for one of our fellow Marines. It was simple but
as effective as it was mean. We got a bottle of talcum powder
and set up a fan to blow right at the crack under the door.
The duty, over the course of the night, would add powder in
small amounts. The result was hilarious (at least to us).
talcum is so light, the fan blew it under the door and it was
airborne, thus floating to every square millimeter in the room.
The unlucky resident never knew what hit him and when he awoke,
we heard screams and the entire floor was waiting outside his
door when it flew open to expose a ghost white young Marine
covered from head to toe with a fine layer of talcum. Cussing
(showing an amazingly red mouth that stood out from his ghostly
appearance) as he ran down the hall to the head, we peeked into
the room and it looked like a winter wonderland. It looked like
there was an even layer white foam on every single surface.
I don’t even think it was April 1st. Maybe I'm better
at this that I thought.