Chapter 11: The Marina

Jacksonville is a bottomless pit. You try to get away from the Marine Corps but no matter where you go, you always have a critic. Forget to wear a belt when you go out to dinner? Some First Sergeant from 2nd ANGLICO will make sure you know and your Sergeant Major. Wearing flip flops inside WalMart? Well, nothing like having the Base Order on proper civilian attire quoted to you in the Health and Beauty aisle while holding a box of tampons. Yes, you eat, sleep and live Marine Corps.
The only way to let loose and relax after a crazy week in the fleet was to go out and get drunk. Since I was a girl, this was rather easy as every male known to man bought you a drink. Didn't have any money for a weekend of partying? Never fear! Some fool pawned his goods to buy a girl a drink. For every woman, there were about 100 men trying for one girl. Okay, that isn't exactly true as I didn't have men fighting over me, but I managed to get some free drinks.
Every Thursday after Field Day, I would put on my JC Penney best (don't knock the JC Penney. Jacksonville wasn't really a "fashion forward" kinda city. I wasn't lucky enough to cruise to Wilmington every weekend for the real mall) and head on down to the Marina. Karaoke Night was the place to be.  Looking as cute as I could possibly look in my Unionbay jean shorts (kidding, I wasn't that bad), I would scan the book to see what I could sing. You see, the more I drank, the better I thought I sounded. I would listen to all these awesome singers. Would hear the guy rockin' out to "Pretty Fly For a White Guy" or some angry girl singing "You're So Vain." I searched and searched for the perfect song. Finally, I found the song. I was so excited, I ran up and put my slip in. The crowd was excited and upbeat. I was getting a high from the enthusiasm and I never felt more confident in my singing. As the DJ announced my name, I winked to my group of peeps and the music started. All of the sudden the look on people's faces went from "freakin' awesome" to "what the hell?"
In my best voice ever, I started to sing, "We've only just begun to live, white lace and promises...." Yes, I chose the damn Carpenters. Friends, don't let friends song pick while under the influence of shots.
So, I got booed off the stage and figured it was best to leave. Oh, wait, pool tables?
No matter how hard I tried, I could never get the ball to go into the hole. I was pretty strong, but I could never break the rack. I finally found a way to make them go in; I turned the cue around and shot from the other end. Turns out I like the bigger end of the stick and I sunk the balls well, until I ripped the lining on the table...that warranted a kick out.
I was always jealous of those people that could sing. I wanted to be a cool person, but no, I was graced with the voice of the cat that was being slaughtered at the Chinese Restaurant. God cursed me with bad hair, dopey ears, a horrible voice, pale skin and knobby knees. But He did give me major attitude which made up for the rest. 
After unintentionally ruining pool tables due to my bad pool playing skills or lack thereof, we would malinger over to the Kettle (The IHOP of Jacksonville; NOTE: IHOP doesn't mean International House of Prayer, although you did hear, "Oh, God help me" quite a bit, but that was more for hangovers or the "how am I getting back onto base" type of prayer). It's amazing how hungry a girl like me could be at 2 am. After that big pancake meal, that's when we would remember that we had to PT the next morning at 0530. Not sure how we functioned but we managed to run on semi full stomachs on two hours of sleep. Now I can't even wake up at 5:30 (note civilian time now) to get to work after 8 hours of sleeping.  Oh the Marina, you bring back so many memories for being a dump.


  1. Wow! You have brought back a lot of memories for me. I just started reading this blog tonight. I'm gonna try to finish it tonight if I can. I miss those days. I know you and I had our share of fun. Miss u Diana!


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