Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It's raining - you should take an umbrella.

Marines don't carry umbrellas, I replied.

And just like that the conversation ground to a halt in a cloud of frowny faces and incomprehension.

I've been brainwashed.

It is true that Marines don't carry umbrellas. I have been told, and have no reason to doubt, that there is a Marine Corps Order forbidding this.

Naval officers may carry umbrellas, of course. And probably everyone in the Air Force [1] not only may carry an umbrella but are issued their own umbrella in boot camp and lug one around like Marines carry their rifles.

But Marines must be ready to, on a moment's notice repel intruders and do battle with the forces of darkness and E-vil. To draw a bayonet with one hand, an M1911 [2] with the other and with the third hand [4] fire an M16 with cold-eyed precision.

Carrying an umbrella would get in the way of all that.

Now, the forces of darkness are highly unlikely to ambush me on the way to the data center [5] so there is no earthly reason why I should not carry an umbrella. Except I don't. Because it would feel wrong.

Because I have been brainwashed by the Marines to believe it is Just Not Done.

There are a lot of things I now firmly believe with every fiber of my being. How much is a result of spending a few years in the Marines and how much I just picked up on my own is a good question.

All I know is, men don't carry umbrellas

[1] Any Marine will tell you at the drop of a hat that the Air Force houses their men and women not in barracks but dormitories. And they hire maids to clean up after them in the dormitories.

[2] Nothing against that fine, fine ladies gun [3] of an M9 of course.

[3] I don't like the M9 because it's stacked magazine swells out the grip and makes it uncomfortable to hold in my womanly-sized hands.

[4] Marines in a combat situation are incredibly busy acting like the living avatar of Death and are far, far, too engaged for stuff like math. Unless you need to call on the radio for artillery.

[5] I live in Wisconsin - you'd think they'd dig a heated tunnel for us to get from one building to another.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

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