35.. I guess my life is half over now. Or a third maybe… I dunno, but it’s a big chunk. Been a good ride so far and I expect great things in the next 35… except for my kids growing up. That’s gonna be a headache…especially with a daughter.
But I’m lucky in that I get to share my birthday with the USMC, I got a lot of grief over that when I was in, but its still pretty sweet. I adore the Marine Corps, it’s a cult – a glorious throat stomping, bayoneting, alpha–male dominated cult of awesomeness.
If you watch ‘A Few Good Men’ and you aren’t in the Marine Corps, you probably think that Tom Cruise is the Hero and Jack Nicholson is the Villain. For Marines, it’s the other way around. Jack Nicholson is our hero because he puts the spoiled brat lawyer in his place while defending the Corps unofficial Hazing Policy on Marines Who Suck.
Enlisting was one of the best decisions I ever made, I didn’t have any direction, discipline or drive after I graduated college. USMC fixed that real quick. You never forget standing on those yellow foot prints at Parris Island, with Drill Instructors screaming at you, and realizing you may have made a seriously poor life decision. Fast forward 13 weeks as you are handed the EGA (Eagle/Globe/Anchor), and you realize you’ve never been prouder of yourself or what you have become a part of. It’s done wonders for my ego. 🙂
But it stays with you to the end of your days.
If you’ve never heard of Mike Mansfield, you’re missing out. He was an ambassador to Japan, the longest serving Majority Leader in the Senate, huge advocate for Civil rights, a Democrat, but he wasn’t afraid to bash his own party when they were wrong. Extremely accomplished guy. He’s not buried in Arlington in the ‘politician’ section, he’s buried with the common soldier and his grave marker says nothing but:
Michael J. Mansfield, PVT. U.S. Marine Corps
That’s how big a deal it is to be in the glorious Marine Corps. The lowest rank in the USMC, and his proudest accomplishment!
As for my birthday? It’s been great. I took a day off from work, hung out with my wife and toddler all morning. Then I went to the range and shot for a couple hours. My intention was to sight in a rifle for deer season, but I forgot to bring a screwdriver needed to adjust the rear sight. I’ve been told by my dad for decades to get a Swiss Army Knife – so it is time! At the last range trip, my wife’s Bersa Thunder had suddenly decided to start stove-pipping(where the shell casing gets stuck coming out of the pistol and sticking upwards), so I cleaned it up really well and took it out with me to try again. Still jamming on 4 rounds out of 10 on several types of ammo. Time to search the gun forums and figure out whats wrong.
Luckily, since my rifle and the wife’s gun wasn’t working, I had brought my old Ruger Mark II and was wearing my Glock 19 carry gun. I shot about about 500 rounds through the pair of them.
Good times were still had!
And I learned that the 30 round magazines for pistols are pretty fun. Since I don’t have a full auto Glock 18, I never saw the purpose. But today, I practiced multiple target acquisition drills on a pair of steel plate dueling trees – from the low ready. (Basically, I pointed my pistol at the ground, then swung up and popped a metal plate that swings from side to side. The ‘dueling trees’ have six plates, the objective is for two people to shoot them and the ‘winner’ shoots them all onto his opponents side while he tries to shoot them all on your side. ) Since the magazines I had were already loaded with Corbon PowRball defense ammo and I didn’t feel like unloading them – I realized I had the 30 round magazine that came with the pistol in my range bag. The previous owner even put a +2 round plate on the bottom. Sweet. So I had 32 rounds between reloads. It looks ridiculous as all get out, but it was nice to save the reload time. And it gives your hands a heckuva workout, gripping it for 32 shots.
Speaking of good times, last week I did a Spartan Beast Race (12-15 miles with 30ish obstacles) with a buddy of mine to wrap up our second Trifecta. It was in Spartanburg SC, never been there before, really nice city! Way nicer than I expected. Still wouldn’t want to live there, population density is like 1,000x higher than what I want. But very nice. I knew some Marines that live down there, but didn’t have time to look them up. Sorry guys! I’ll be back next year!
Since it was just the two of us bach’ing it without our wives, we went super cheap when locking down a room online. It was like 55 bucks or something and was a smoking room. (We got upgraded to a non-smoking room upon check-in though.)
We \ran the race then went back to the hotel check in and shower off the caked mud and debris.
Yeah, it was a cheap hotel for reals. The kind you rent by the hour. Ever heard of RoadWay? Not I!
The microwaves laying scattered around the dumpsters should have been a warning. Or the fact that it was situated between a McDonalds, ABC store, Gas Station, and Burger King. (Everything a man needs for a good time with a hot date at the rent-an-hour motel!)
There was a mini-van on blocks in front of our room, next to it was a car with blankets over the windows. Some of the rooms had charcoal grills and lounge chairs outside of them from permanent hotel dwellers. Some Jabba-Hut looking woman in a McDonald’s shirt was sitting(laying?) down outside a room door on the phone and smoking.
But we are two big dudes who carry guns, so we weren’t about to leave.
The room next to us, was a family that consisted of a woman and a little boy and girl. They were running back and forth across the walkway, chasing each other when we showed up. We checked in, got some showers, and my buddy went downstairs to get some drinks from the vending machines. Which weren’t were the signs said they were, because they were moved closer to the office (I’m guessing so people would stop breaking in and stealing all the quarters) when he came back up, the little boy was yelling at his sister that she was fat. (“You FAT! REAL FAT!”) They were like, 6 and 7 years old. Real charming!
The mother yelled a few choice things that I can’t repeat with words that certainly shouldn’t be said to people you like.
I ended up with the bed closest to the door, apparently because my buddy wanted me to soak up all the drive-by bullets.
But we felt reasonably safe, it seemed like the family next door lived here. So we figured the kids were our alarm system, if the mother runs out and grabs them, or if they drop to the ground and crawl into their room – we’ll know something bad is about to go down.
And besides, we had our guns and our white privilege to keep us safe.
Nothing happened to us, so maybe white privilege does exist(!) and that’s why? Or maybe it’s because we are big dudes with little hair, smoking cigars, and looking like we don’t mind brawling. We also wore hoodies outside because it was cold, so maybe they thought we were one of them? Enh, who knows. But good times in deed!
I edited this into the last post, but this picture is to great to not put in again. This is Spartan Race. It is muddy. That wall behind me? We had to go under it, in that thick stinky nasty muddy water. Stuff gets in all your crevices, a week later I’m still trying to get clean.
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