learned good habits in the Marine Corps, that still help me now, as a student. Like, in the Marine Corps, I learned that successful people, on average, wake up three hours before they have to be at work. Lucky for me, one of the lessons I learned in the Marine Corps is that I am not a successful person. So it’s 7:50 AM, I have class at eight, and I’m trying to slam the slightly less than half a pot of coffee my roommate made, and then left for me, brush my teeth, and put some pants on, all in about four minutes. It’s totally doable, and thanks to my Marine skills I’m really crushing this whole life and being an adult thing.
Responsibility. It’s one of the 14 leadership JJDIDTIEBUCKLE things. Well, maybe not. There isn’t an R in that acronym, but I honestly can’t remember the leadership traits, and responsibility seems like it should be one. And there is nothing more responsible than waking up ten minutes before you need to be somewhere. It’s all good. Professors aren’t dicks like SNCO’s. You can totally show up late to class everyday of the semester, and they won’t be mad. Or maybe they are mad, they just don’t want to speak up against one of those psychopath infantry vets, cause he (or me in this case) would probably snap and go on some PTSD-induced rage. So they just repress that shit like normal people. Which is healthy. I didn’t learn that in the Marine Corps, I learned that growing up in the Midwest. Press those feelings down.
Looking out my window, it’s snowing. Ok. Decision time. What is the appropriate footwear for the day? I see my USMC combat boots, in my closet. Beautiful, insulated, three hundred dollar Danner’s. I got issued them before my Afghan deployment, but never wore them while I was in, sticking with a pair of Altima’s I had already worn in. God I loved those boots. I can’t remember how I wrecked them, but in five years in the gun club, I had picked up some skills and managed to get about 5 other pair of boots for free, so I probably tossed those old ones at some point.
Montana is serious country and calls for serious boots. These are serious boots. But they scream “military” – coyote tan, and a big fucking EGA stamped on the heel. I so deliberately strove to be the maximum allowable level of shit-bag while I was in, was I really going to be the guy rocking rough-outs on a college campus? Would people think I was some kind of nut-case three percenter, a pyscho self-styled samurai who believed in a “warrior class” and “warrior spirit?” Or worse, would they think I was a motivator? Or, god forbid, a POG? Swarms of junior Marines cover Oceanside and San Diego on the weekend, always in packs. They are easy to spot, just look for the holy trinity: combat boots, backpack, and a Tapout or similarly douchey T-shirt. Fucking boots.
On the other hand, as Tevye would say, I’m broke. Not, “can’t afford my rent” broke. Just, can’t buy nice things for myself because my money mainly goes to beer, weed, and tubes of cookie dough that I pay the high mark up on at the college grocery store instead of getting cheaply at Wal-Mart cause whenever I want cookie dough I’m usually too fucked up to drive, but I can walk over to the local store. Fuck I love cookie dough. One time I bought cookie dough and ice cream, baked half into cookies, then put that cookie in the bottom of a bowl, put ice cream on top of it, and mixed the other half of raw cookie dough into the ice cream. I had like, three stages of cookie dough going. Amazing. Without a looming war as a motivational tool, it’s much easier to justify being fat and happy.
Back to my boot choice for the day. It’s 7:56. I’m definitely going to be late for class. Fuck it, I’m wearing the boots. Decision made. As long as I have them on, I think I’ll try and sit next to that cute twenty one year old. Maybe I can drop some heavy hints about being basically a modern day Spartan. See if I can’t get her to ask if I’ve killed anyone. All the separation classes told me that people would ask me that question and tried to prepare me for it, BUT NO ONE EVER ASKS. I wish they would. I’ve got all kinds of great, hilarious, macabre answers thought up. What good is having fucked up stories if people never ask you for them? Nurses and doctors get to tell their medical horror stories, why can’t I tell my war horror stories? They are funny as shit. This one guy… Well you had to be there.
Ok, combat boots on, and I’m walking to class. As long as I’m less than ten minutes late I should be able to sneak in. Who shows up to an 8AM on time anyway? Motivators. That’s who. Or whatever the student equivalent is. Try hards?
I’m walking and a question pops into my head. Are jeans more comfortable than frog bottoms? I’ve got a backpack on, so this kind of could be compared to patrolling. Boots and jeans is a pretty classic look. But then, they match cami bottoms pretty well too. Jeans definitely make my ass look better. Cami bottoms are so formless... Holy shit did I just say that? College is making me soft. DAMNIT, I forgot my coffee back at the house... Thats ok, there is that cute chick who works at the library coffee place. I’ll stop on the way. It’ll put me over ten minutes late. But who cares? College is a joke. Wait, how old is she? And how young is too young? I mean, they are all 18 right? But really? 18? I'm going to hit on a girl who can't go to a bar? What would we even do? That's the only place I hang out... Shit, here come some students. Do you think they notice the boots? Wait, is one of them? He’s got tattoos. He’s got a beard. And, yep. There it is. A Grunt Style shirt.
Peter Lucier faithfully and honorably occupied the lowest echelons of the grunt hierarchy from 2008-2013, first as a FAST Marine and then an LAR scout. At Montana State University Lucier relentlessly pursues a degree in political science, focusing on using mathematical models to quantify exactly how much Forest Gump sucks. He also serves as RTB Media's Editorial Director; his views are his own. Follow Peter on Twitter.
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