There is little sympathy in bootcamp. Drill instructors
have seen it all and anything that happens is foreseen. Once
a recruit realizes that there are no excuses and thequickest
way to get out of bootcamp is graduating, his concentration
turns to training. But sometimes things happen that could only
happen to a recruit. Here is my story.
It was the second phase and we were out in the field. During
field training we are taken out to El Toro where we spend a
week surviving out in the elements...and the DI's. With little
sleep and long days, the week is one of the toughest in training.
I was assigned as an aggressor for another group of recruits.
I had finished my turn and was told to lay down and act as an
enemy sniper. I was on a small hill in knee high grass. The
combination of laying down in the warm California sun for an
extended period of time took its toll. It was not long before
I was making an imprint on my cheek from the handgrips of my
rifle. Juggling with dynamite, I caught a few winks.
When I awoke, I had a very bad feeling. The feeling was
one not usually found in recruit training. I was alone. I poked
my head up to see my platoon in the distance and I was scared
silly. In a mad dash, I ran and caught up to them and slipped
into formation. Mere seconds after I caught up, the DI's took
a head count. One more Z and I would have been toast. I thought
I had gotten over. I did not.
When you arrive at bootcamp, they box up everything you
own and then return it to you once you graduate. I mean EVERYTHING!
Being a die-hard briefs man, I was more than a little dismayed
when they replaced my usual snug-fits with boxer shorts. Let's
just say I do not enjoy letting gravity have its way. Why did
I bring this up?
If you have ever worn boxer shorts, you would know that
sometimes, the turtle tends to wander out of the shell for a
look around. And if you have ever worn utilities, you would
know that the buttons in the front do not exactly form an airtight
seal. Put these two fact together and throw in a nap in the
wild and a pinch of poison oak at waist level, and you have
the makings for a bad day.
Oh, yes. It was true. I started to itch. It did not take
long before the rash spread. Before it was through, the only
parts of my body that did not break out was the palms of my
hands and the bottom of my feet. The itching was horrendous
and as hard as I tried, I could not stop from scratching. I
was sent to medical and prescribed what would become the source
of massive embarrassment.
It had to be pink. Of all things, it had to be pink calamine
lotion to be applied before I went to bed.
Every night we would have what was called hygiene inspection.
All the privates would line up in front of their respective
racks stripped down to their underwear. The DI would go down
the line and inspect the privates. He would look for bruises,
infections, cleanliness, and any other discrepancy he could
find. One by one, he would go down the line and you prayed he
would bypass you.
As SGT Robinson (it HAD to be SGT Robinson) stepped in
front of me, I could see the look in his eye. It is much like
the look of a Doberman stepping in front of a wounded kitten.
What he saw was a stupid looking private covered from head to
toe in shimmering pink. It probably seemed just too easy for
Needless to say, I was not "bypassed" by any DI for three
weeks. Some of the names I was bestowed were "Pink Panther,"
"Pretty in Pink," etc. I was told I looked like a cat's butthole,
a walking clitoris, and my personal favorite, a faggot Dalmatian.
I guess this only goes to prove: what comes around, goes
around. And boy, did it go around. Now I am probably known by
a handful of men until the day that they die as that recruit
who got poison oak on his, well, you know, and ended up looking
like a faggot Dalmatian for three weeks. Not exactly what I
want my "Who's Who in Marine Corps History" entry to read.