We were at a party over the holidays where there was a highly intoxicated guy bashing the military (in the wrong company). He could have gotten his can kicked rather easily had his audience not extended a generous amount of grace his way, perhaps out of respect for the guy’s old man.
The party was getting fun. Nearly everyone had graduated from beer to shot glasses of something cloudy and orange.
I was doing the cooking so my buddy, the hostess, didn’t force me to drink that awful stuff like she did everyone else. You know when a bunch of fortyish married women start dancing in the living room to Run D.M.C. (It’s Tricky!) that the guests were well overdue for some fun. But no amount of alcohol could coax me into that living room. They were falling all over the place.
A few of us spectators were nearby in the kitchen. I was serving prime rib to a clean-cut ominous mountain of a man, obviously very intelligent by his demeanor and smart spectacles.
"Are you in the Navy?" I asked, while plating his late dinner.
"No. I’m in the men’s room. Marines." He replied in a commanding voice, before cracking a smile.
My husband, Ranger Joe (that’s not really his name but he was an Army Ranger in his previous life) came over to help me and to meet Marine.
We were the only sober souls at the party. Marine and Ranger Joe quickly engaged, discussing military politics. I was an arms length away, checking the temps on the food when another guy stumbled over. He was buff, clean-shaven and heavily tattooed.
I assumed Tattoo was active duty. He interrupted Marine and Ranger Joe to tell them about his dad, a Navy BA in Vietnam. Marine (who also thought Tattoo was military) asked Tattoo what branch he’s in. Tattoo then began to share (rather proudly) the reason why he did not serve (this is when Tom Weiss’ December 2nd blog post immediately popped into mind).
I understand that military life is not for everyone, but instead of feeling some degree of gratefulness or at least showing a little respect in the presence of those who sacrificed, this guy started bashing the Navy.
It seems that Tattoo wanted to be a mechanic. However, he scored high on the ASVAB acuity test and was told by the recruiter that he was suited for Naval Intelligence, not mechanics. Tattoo said that he told the Naval recruiter to *&#$-off and *&%$ the Navy if they wouldn’t let him do what he wanted (I find this highly unlikely). Increasingly louder, Tattoo continued on about how Naval Intelligence sounds lame and he wasn’t going to serve if they were going to tell him what to do…
The look on Marine was pretty funny at this point. His irritation, hard to miss. He and my husband were giving each other the eye. I was cringing, hoping Tattoo would quiet down rather quickly so as not to cause a scene. I knew Ranger Joe would let the guy slide since he was drunk and we were at a friend’s house, but I was unsure about Marine. He looked pissed.
Apparently, no one ever told Tattoo that cred is non-transferable. Just because his dad was awesome doesn’t mean he can trash the military while hanging with the big boys. One must serve to talk trash or bash the various branches (for example, the men’s room comment–it was funny because it came from a Marine).
Obviously Tattoo is proud of his father…But I doubt his father would have appreciated that *&%$ the Navy talk. Hopefully someone will convey cred protocol to Tattoo before next year’s party….Just in case Marine isn’t as gracious on the second date.
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