by Andy Weddington
Friday, 12 August 2016
Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud. Sophocles
Not three hours ago that's what the gent seated to my starboard said, "Yeah, I was a Marine."
Seated, along with a handful of other folks all my senior, in a waiting room to see a specialist, I noticed this guy check-in with the receptionist.
About my age, he was clad in a Harley T-shirt, biker black leathers, and carrying a black gym bag with helmet strapped to and dangling on the outside.
Not tall, he carried a big bowling ball type gut.
He set his bag in the seat next to me taking the next seat.
Marines notice the eagle, globe, and anchor - like a great big sore thumb.
An inch and half medal U. S. Marine Corps seal pinned to the top of his bag caught my eye. And that surprised me because the guy did not carry himself like a Marine.
He sat, looked my direction, and nodded so I asked the obvious question, "Are you a Marine?"
"Yeah, I was a Marine."
"Was?," I said.
And he said, "Well, still am."
So, I asked the next obvious questions.
He hemmed and hawed and stammered and all but broke into a sweat unable to answer where he completed recruit training, years of service, and MOS.
A couple of gents eavesdropping took interest.
Unable to answer the basics, I quit talking to him.
He chose to keep talking. And dug the hole deeper saying, "I didn't have an MOS but was assigned to the IDF." And he mumbled some other nonsense.
I didn't say anything.
The eavesdroppers took more interest. One caught my eye and raised an eyebrow.
The "biker" asked, "What about you?"
In the most gentlemanly demeanor I could muster, "Yes, I'm a Marine. Retired. Infantryman but did other things, too. I have never met a Marine who did not know their MOS and I'm not familiar with what you described about the IDF."
The eavesdropper who raised an eyebrow took more interest still and got a smirk on his face. So did the other gent take more interest. Both old enough to be Korean War veterans and maybe World War II. They looked the part. A faded nautical tattoo on one's lower right leg, lateral side, more than a hint.
About that time I was called back to see the specialist. The awkwardness left behind apparent.
So I left the waiting room leaving a guy, claiming to be a Marine, who knew I knew he was a fraud and two eavesdroppers who also knew he was a fraud.
With a free moment, I sent a text to a retired Marine pal reporting the fraud and he came back with, "Busted!"
Yes he was.
Departing forty-five minutes later through another exit, I've no idea if there was any further discussion in the waiting room.
But I imagine not. To what point?!
Everybody knew the score.
One of them a zero and knows it.
But he'll continue the charade.
No doubt about it.
A taste of Sophocles might help.
Semper Fi, Marines!