While I won’t say that this is necessarily a true story, I will say that no one I know has actually read the acclaimed Message to Garcia or any other book on the Commandant’s Reading List for that matter. In fact, before I made this strip I asked some of my friends if they had even heard of it, and one of them actually told me they had no idea what I was talking about.
I remember hearing it often though, “Message to Garcia time!” when something important needed to get done. I have never read this book; I can’t honestly say whether it’s good or bad. I’m pretty sure everyone knows the gist of it, but for being such a short book I’m slightly surprised that people haven’t read it. I guess my reason is that I just never really cared enough to do it, nor do most grunts I suppose. I know at one point in time, it was mandatory that Marines read the books on the List. Whether this rule was extinguished or just got lost in the bigger picture of fighting a war on two fronts I don’t really know for sure. I do know that military books tend to be written by military men (and women), and hence are overtly drawn out and boring.
The Commandant’s Reading List, like MCI’s, are one of those things that remain lingering around the Marine Corps with the intention of making us better–but ultimately end up becoming a check-in-the-box at best in practice. Back when I had some remote hope or wish of picking up via cutting score, I recall doing all of the required MCI’s. They didn’t help me in any real sense, in fact I don’t remember anything from any of them. While the mail system for them is no longer in place, I’m not sure if anyone really took those things seriously from the moment they were invented. After all, what Marine didn’t just find the answers in their books and have their Squad Leader sign the answer sheet? For obvious reasons this system doesn’t exist anymore, but MCI’s are still just as vapidly completed as they have always been.
I suppose a “good NCO” is supposed to enforce these things, but ultimately when you’re training to get shot at every day in some shit hole across the planet and learning about all the ways you can die–these things start to become largely irrelevant for young infantrymen. Maybe this is just a grunt perspective–but I assure you that this is the perspective of all of the Marines I’ve ever deployed with.
I will say though, Starship Troopers was a good book long before it made the list.
So in site news, maybe some of you saw the tattoo story in this week’s Marine Corps Times? If not, pick it up for a good laugh. There’s also some more mention of me and the site in the forum bites part. How can I top the tattoo contest? I’m sure you’re all wondering what I have planned next. Frankly so am I; but I do have a couple of good ideas up my sleeve.
In unrelated news, has anyone noticed that Charles Wolf hasn’t updated Sempertoons since Terminal Lance went live? What’s the deal?
Until next time, keep it real gents. Keep it as real as it can get.