02 September, 2006

Stupid Girl

I just had to get this out somewhere!

Yesterday at the USO was Graduation Day: every Friday the newest crop of Marines return from boot camp after the ceremony, usually with families and girlfriends in tow as they wait for their flights out of town. One young Marine apparently had only his girlfriend with him. Here’s how it played out...

I’m in the kitchen doing food prep since the high volume of traffic means the food is practically “flying off the shelves.” I overhear the following conversation between the young Marine who is eating everything in sight, his pretty girlfriend, and her friend:

New Marine: (reaching for a pasty) Oh man, this stuff is so good!

NM’s Girlfriend: Are you eating again?!

NM: I’m hungry.

NM GF: You can’t be. And you eat too much! You need to lose weight.

NM: (eating and reaching for more)

NM GF’s friend: What are you talking about?!

At that point I just had to turn around and look. I was confronted with the typical newly-minted Marine: 19 years old, lean and sinewy. No bulging muscles, but not a waif. Give him another year or two of adulthood and he will fill out his uniform very nicely.

I was stunned. But minding my own business, I returned to my activities as the conversation continued.

NM GF: He’s a got a poochy tummy! He’s not like the other guys. I saw them when they were standing there [in formation at the ceremony, I suspect]. He had a little bulge on his tummy when he had his uniform on. They were all flat under their shirts, but he’s not.

NM GF’s friend: Don’t be ridiculous.

NM GF: You can’t see it cause he’s got his regular clothes on, but you can tell when he has his uniform on; he needs to lose a little weight! So, if he keeps eating like that he's gonna get really fat.

She again went back to comparing him to the other Marines.

I finally turned around and said sweetly to her, “The old joke is that Marines, especially young ones, have a hollow leg where they store all the food they eat. They eat a lot because they’re working hard. I smiled gently. “It’s nothing to worry about. He’s just being a typical Marine.”

She pretty much ignored me, but her friend took up his cause based on my words. Her nagging continued unabated. Every word I heard out of her mouth was critical—whether it was about his weight or something else—and was all said in a piercing kind of voice that reverberated in the hard surfaces of the snack area and could be heard throughout much of the USO facilities.

It took every ounce of my self-control not to pull him aside and say, “Dump her while you still can, son.”

This was the day of Boot Camp Graduation, for God’s sake! She hasn’t seen him in three months, he’s probably in the best shape of his life, he’s more proud of this than anything he’s ever done, and she’s nagging him about an imaginary poochy stomach!!!

Poor kid. I hope he wises up soon. Thinking of the future of these two was like standing on a mountain top and watching opposing trains on a single track in the valley below. Nothing to be done but hope one of them figures it out before it’s too late.