Friday, January 26, 2007

Bring on the funny

Before yesterday, if you had asked me what the funniest thing I had ever seen was, I would probably have come up with a few different answers. If you had asked me when I was active-duty if a sergeant major yelling and going off on someone in your presense was funny, I would have said no. However, yesterday changed a lot for me.

One of my additional duties is taking promotion photos for our Marines here. As you can imagine, I have a variety of people come through the office. Some of these Marines are super sharp. I barely have to adjust their uniform, they are that squared away. Most require some minor adjustments; Marines, by and large, take a good deal of pride in their uniform. Then, there are those that don't seem to care too much. Their uniform doesn't fit correctly, their ribbons aren't right, their shirt or trousers may not be ironed ... you get the picture.

Generally, most Marines show up with their supervisor who helps get the uniform squared away. Sometimes not. Regardless, I almost always have to move some fabric here or there to get it to look right in the camera.

Yesterday, one of hte poor souls who obviously doesn't care too much about his appearance came through. His ribbons looked like they were going to fly off his chest. His shirt looked like it was two sizes too big. His trousers and shirt both needed to visit the iron. But I was going to do my best. I was working hard to get his uniform looking as good as I could. His NCO, however, decided that it was a good time to sit down and watch the news.

It was at this unfortunate time that our base sergeant major decided to walk by. It took barely a look in the room for the veteran devil dog to see that the young Marine's uniform was far from sharp.

He says to the corporal, sitting watching TV, "Hey, corporal. Aren't you supposed to be up there (fixing that uniform)?"

The corporal, thinking the sergeant major was joking chuckled, "Heh."

The sergeant major, not joking in the slightest says, "Heh? HEH!?! Do you think I'm joking with your corporal?"

At which point the corporal shot up to parade rest and I was given the opportunity to reflect on my own service and how this kind of experience had now taken a completely different kind of significance. I actually had to stifle a smile.

Needless to say, the young corporal got yelled at for a good amount of time. He and his junior Marine left my office to get "fixed." I didn't expect to see them again that day, but about an hour before closing time, they showed up again, the junior Marine looking far sharper and camera ready.

I've reality TV happening all around me.

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