Friday, October 10, 2008

Do you remember... Jodies?

TBS, July 1986
I probably was the least likely candidate to be a Marine Officer.  I mean, I'm really glad I did it now.  I'm proud I was a Marine.  I'm proud I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and that I worked for Oracle and that I lived in Barcelona five years... but being a Marine was in a different class.  My memories of the Marine Corps get fonder the older I get.  I loved my Marines, I remember every Marine who worked for me.  Trouble is, I think war is a bad way to solve problems-- in the words of the Dalai Lama, war has become old fashioned.  I'm with him.

I ran the route from FEMA to my house today.  It's about six miles home.  I had to take some stuff home with me so I filled up my backpack and started out.  So I was running along with my backpack and some guy I passed yelled out "OORAH".  I thought-- yep, I'm a guy with a crewcut running with a backpack-- guess I fit the description.  It reminded me of jodies.

Jodies are the Marine equivalent to Gregorian Chants.  They're the rhythms that Marines march and run to.  They start out with, "C-130 rollin' down the strip...", "A yellow bird with a yellow bill...", "Around her neck she wore a yellow ribbon..."  Man, I started getting homesick for the Marines, which pretty much never happens to me.

Just then I passed a bunch of tourists.  They all had white shoes and visors and cameras around their necks.  DC is a big deal to them.  I guess it was for me, too, when I got here the first time in 1989.  Anyway, they all got in line and started to march off-- and one of them started calling out a call-and-response jodie.  Weird.

Running with a backpack was good.  I hadn't done it for a long time.  It screwed up my stride and made me feel the run in different parts of my legs than normal.  In TBS we ran 12 miles every day with fifty pound packs and our weapons.  How the hell did we do that?  One of the other things I forget about the Marines-- it taught me what the limits of my capabilities were.  And those limits are generally further out than you think.

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