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The Peanut Butter Shot


There are few experiences as universally despised and ubiquitous to Marine Corps bootcamp as the dreaded “peanut butter shot.” This penicillin cocktail is the bane of new recruits across San Diego and Parris Island for its thick consistency and 12-gauge needle that gets administered directly into the buttocks.

I’m not a doctor, so I can’t tell you why a penicillin shot needs to be thick as Skippy (with nuts), but I can tell you it sucks to be on the receiving end of it. The worst part? They make you butt-roll on the ground immediately after to squish it deeper into your muscle tissue.

Those with the red dog tags got lucky with this one.

On a personal note, I just want to mention that I recognize that I’ve been absent a lot lately. Those of you that don’t know, I am now utilizing my GI Bill to do a graduate program at UCLA, and we just finished finals. Hand-painting animation cels is not as fun as it sounds, let me tell you.

It’s been a tough balance this time though, especially now that I’m a father as well. I have a lot more thoughts on it, but I will leave it for now…

Infantry Marine turned Combat Artist turned animator turned bestselling author turned dad.

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  1. Another reason to be glad I joined the Army. I got those mofos a lot as a kid, in our first Congo tour. It got to where a doctor just saying the word “Penicillin” would send me into a screaming fit of rage / terror.

  2. Good for you and keep on getting after it.

  3. Penicillin isn’t easily soluble and often crystalizes out (‘crashes out’) of solutions. It’s also prone to doing that due to compression, so the shots are high-volume, viscous and need to be administered through a thick needle. From what I recall, you need to do them in the ‘large muscle’ because that way penicillin actually gets absorbed.

    I didn’t get them in the military, but remember running away from a doctor and locking hospital bathroom before they gave me another dose. I couldn’t have been older than six.

  4. max, please please please change “buttocks” to “ass cheek”

  5. Having gone through Marine Corps bootcamp myself, I can attest to the fact that the ‘peanut butter shot’ is truly a nightmare for new recruits. I still remember the thick consistency and the intimidating 12-gauge needle that was aimed at my buttocks. And to make matters worse, they make you butt-roll afterwards to push it deeper into your muscle tissue. Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones with the red dog tag. On another note, as a new father and a graduate student utilizing my GI Bill, I’ve been struggling to balance it all. But I know the responsibility and dedication of being a Marine has prepared me for this. Cheers to all the fellow Marines out there!

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