The Marine Corps is well known for its physical fitness, and things being what they were, I kind of didn’t fit in. For those unaware, I spent most of my life as a shut in, neck-bearded closet nerd trolling GameFAQs and other online forums. Ferdinand is quite hard on places like these – and justifiably so – but they taught me a lot of lessons which applied later in life…but I digress. The point here is that becoming a Marine had been a childhood pipe dream of mine – the way kids dreamed about being President or an astronaut or what have you, I thought of Marines as super heroes (perhaps because my grandfather had been a retired Lieutenant Colonel who survived the battle of Iwo Jima; look it up, get learned).
Suffice to say, the adjustment from a sedentary life to the rigorous demands of the Marine Corps was a rough one. I struggled to keep up but mostly I struggled not to be a burden on fellow recruits during training and later my fellow Marines in the fleet. When I first went down to my recruiter, I was a “triple threat,” which meant that I could not pass a single event on the IST or initial strength test – which is kind of embarrassing. All it required of me was to perform two dead-hang pull ups (I went down to boot camp without being able to do a single one and in the three months only managed to get up to three just by the skin of my teeth), 44 crunches in two minutes, and run a mile and a half or something like that in some paltry slow time. (I don’t remember exactly.) Point is? I was out of shape – I wasn’t fat, I just wasn’t fit. Continue reading