03 November, 2008

Joining the Marines

In comments over at Lex's, on a post about the Marines' "unique" recruiting pitch, juvat shares this great story:

After retiring from the Air Force, I took a job as a teacher in the Hill Country in Texas (AKA God’s Country). My first year, I had a class the first period each day. In it was this cute, cheerful young woman who was in her senior year. Her most consistent characteristic was that she was ALWAYS late. Could be two minutes, could be 15, but she was late. Now, as a fighter pilot, where late was only slightly worse than not at all, I found this condition irritating. However, nothing I had been taught in the military had any impact on this young lady.

So, we get around to early in the spring semester. It’s Monday, and things are going to Hell in a Hand Basket. In walks the young Senior, with a jaunty “Hello, Mr. Lang,” not a care in the world.

It snapped. I growled, “Young Lady, do you know what you need?”

She pauses, blinks a few times uncertainly, and says, “No, what?”

I reply, “You need to join the Marines!”

Tears start gushing. She says, “Why?”

I say, “You need self discipline.”

She bursts out crying. I’m thinking “Great, now you’ve done it. Arrest, Firing, Lawsuit, getting shot (it is Texas after all), all are in your future.” I look back at her after a few minutes, she’s back to her smiling bouncing self and it slips from my mind.

About 8 months later, there’s a knock on my classroom door. I open it and there’s a young Marine standing there. She’s dropped a few pounds, trimmed up a bit, stands quite a bit taller. I ask her what she’s up to and she says she just wanted to say thanks. I ask “what for,” having forgotten the above incident, and she’s says for “talking me into joining the Marines. ”

Now, I remember. I said, “Megan, I’ve got to ask a question, have you been late since you joined?”

She replied, “Well, I was a little slow getting off the bus, but they made sure I understood that that would not be acceptable behavior.”

And who says Teachers don’t get enough rewards?