short narrative nonfiction: Some Tours are Worth Marching

      …  Memories of an UnSat Plebe’s Cost Benefit Analysis…

     I was chopping down the hall after breakfast, almost to my room.  No upperclassmen around.


“Miss Jones!”

     Him.  And of course, I’d not had time to memorize that damned menu for tomorrow’s evening meal.


“Yes, Sir!”

“Hit a bulkhead!

“Ay, ay, Sir!

     Before I had even gotten to the side of the hall, he was standing there, waiting.  What did this guy do, camp out in his classmate’s room by my door?  F***’in-A!


“Miss Jones, did you try to hip-check Mr. O?”

     That fat Firstie I ran into on the way to Morning Meal Formation?  Seriously?  He’s twice my weight!  Actually, almost every upperclassman was twice my weight.  This one probably weighed three of me.  Why on earth would I ever try to hip-check the guy?


“No, Sir!”

“He says you tried to hip check him this morning!  What the hell, Miss Jones!”

     Mr. Dizane stared at me with open contempt.  He was Marine Corps option, with muscles on his eyeballs.  I was 105 soaking wet, which was 5 pounds and several weeks below my “allowed” weight.  The day he’d jumped up on the scale with me to shout that I was “screwing up, Miss Jones, you’re not eating, Miss Jones!” was a study in stupidity.  How on earth was 10 minutes in the Wardroom, while hefting tables and singing Anchors, Away, followed immediately, of course, by the Marine Corps anthem, supposed to be enough to eat anything?  Being the only plebe in my company not getting chow packages was a serious problem.


“I didn’t see him, Sir.”

“Bullshit, Miss Jones!  Give me a Form 2!”

“But Sir -”

“Are you being a Sea Lawyer, Miss Jones?!  You are not getting Liberty until you graduate from this place!”

     That was it.  I knew he wanted me gone, but this took the cake.  My fist curled around the edge of the demerit form as I pulled it from the lining of my cover, placing it back on my head just so, before handing over the form.


“Permission to speak freely, Sir.”

     He’d looked me up and down, taking his own sweet time, my frickin’ study time, to answer.


“I bet you want to hit me, don’t you, Miss Jones.  Don’t you?”

     He stepped closer to me, his nose nearly touching my forehead as he looked down at me.  I gritted my teeth harder as I stared straight ahead, forcing myself to un-clench my fists.


“Go ahead, Miss Jones, let’s hear this one.”

     By the time he’d stepped back, I was shaking with anger, my jaw nearly locked closed.  I looked him in the eye, imagining him swallowed up by the Atlantic.  I could even smell the salty air beyond the Severn.


“Sir, I suggest we take our rifles, and both run the sea wall.  Let’s see who drops in first.”

     Had I just said that?  Oops.

     Cost of “correctly” insulting an upperclassman:

          1. yet another 15 minute full military briefing on the Pheonix II missile system,

           2. blowing yet another calc or chemistry exam, and

            3. likely going to the Ax Boards, if my GPA fell enough.


Benefit: the look on his face was priceless.

I look forward to your thoughts.


(P.S.:  too bad I didn’t think of the new title, or the handshake and ‘brain-dumping’ C-PTSD symptoms I arrived with, until after posting this, and partly thanks to commentors…



Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this anecdote may encourage out of the box thinking about our military, and might also help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.  Writing is my personal contribution to Project Do Better.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

   This, btw, was the first time I’d been given the respect that men generally only give to other men.  The second time was when I lived and worked in Izmir, in 2005, and the third time was when I was a PhD student in Bath.

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past via Stayed on Freedom’s Call,

        by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plan list) in the present, to

                     We can  Do Better: a Vision of a Better World to create a kinder future



Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 17 of 67 plans…),

  Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning.  There is also my historical fiction series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that these stories will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools….

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can.


Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


14 thoughts on “short narrative nonfiction: Some Tours are Worth Marching

    1. Decision? This expedited my decision to fight harder, not bilge out. I never resigned, much to the disappointment of several: I did make some bad decisions about what to study, choosing those menus and extra briefings over my calc and chem, resulting in non-passing grades in those courses (my A’s in English and History were not enough to pull up the rest of my GPA), and the Academic Board, where the Superintendent informed me that I would be involuntarily separated due to issues that included my continuing weight loss, and my Company Officer’s report fearing for my health (who, having threatened to send me to Bethesda Navy Medical, I admitted that I had a history of weight loss, anemia, and amenorea under extreme stress, insisting that I could deal with it).

      But, not resigning, not even looking for the CIR brick, made a difference.

      On the day I was leaving my company area for the last time, on the stairwell, an upperclassman, the only one I liked or respected, as I recall, stopped me, commented that he respected the hell of a fight I’d put up, asked me if I was part Native American (he was from one of the SWern states), and when I said that I wasn’t sure, but the family legend said yes, he said yes, too, held out his hand to shake mine, and when I said ‘Thank you, Sir, he said, not Sir, and thank you for fighting.’
      That handshake and comment taught me:

      “Sometimes you gotta fight, when you’re a man.”

      And he respected me as if I were a man -the first time in my life that I had won such respect.

      That mattered.


      Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you, Ma’am. I only did the best I could under the circumstances. Knowing, now, that I entered the place having C-PTSD might have made a difference: that brain-dumping thing that one upperclassman in particular mentioned would have either been a preventative in my going there in the first place, or could have been dealt with before or during my Plebe year. But being told that I “panic” when being yelled at, as the freeze response is now understood to be an adaptation from earlier conditions, didn’t make sense at the time, and I had no tools to work around it, as I do now.
      I’d still like to know the results of all those psych tests we took on Induction Day: even when I got my DD-214, I never got any results from all that testing we did on that day: I was just glad not to be one of the people who passed out after getting, what, 4 shots/sprays of vaccine that day?!

      We were all just relieved not to see any Plebettes pass out!


      Liked by 6 people

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