Saturday, August 25, 2007

Musical Insubordination

'Cadence' in the Corps is a sort of call & answer type song used to keep a group in step while running. It is sometimes called a 'Jodie', as a nod to the guy who is at home, schtupping the lady while we are away. It is sometimes also used in a slower tempo, during marching. There are an infinite number of cadences ranging from simply introducing a singsong of foot placement, to traditional song, to more modern... creative works.

One day, way back when I was a Lance Corporal, one of the platoon's Corporals was marching us around to some classroom or the other. He decided that it would be a good training opportunity to have one of the 'Lance Criminals' get some experience marching a small unit around, on the return trip. His intent was to call out one of us, provide some direction in the vein of simple marching commands, salutation of any and all Officers, etc. and let us go to town.

CPL - I need a motivated Marine to march the detail back!

*not a peep, no eye contact, nada*

CPL - You (pointing to me) thanks, for volunteering, get yer ass up here!


CPL - You know what to do, just try not to screw it up too much.

As I already had a fairly decent grasp of the basics of drill movements and commands, I did ok, I suppose. Good enough that the Corporal decided that he wanted to hear a cadence, or my version of what would pass for a song.

CPL (marching a few steps behind the group) I'm bored! Sing something! Better make it good, too!

Oh, I got your good cadence right here, buddy...

ME: (singing to the group) Who can take your Grandma....!

LCPLs: Who can take your Grandma...!

Cpl: Hey-

ME: Bend her over a chair....!

LCPLs: Bend her over a chair...!

CPL: Wait a minu-

ME: Stick it right up her-!

CPL: WHOA! SHADUP!!! How about something that won't get me busted down to Pfc, numbnuts!

Damn, foiled again...

ME: Roger that, Corporal!


ME: Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream!

LCPLs: Row, row, row your boat, gently down th-

CPL: No, no, damnit! Something serious!!

Hey, harmony can be hard work!

ME: Aye, aye, Corporal!


ME: AAaaaaaaavvveeeeh Mariiiii-iiiiiii-iaaaaaaa!

LCPLs: ?!?!?!

ME: Graaa-aatziah ple-eenaaaaaa!

CPL: You're fired! Get back in formation!

Everybody's a critic...


SpeakerTweaker said...

Dude's about an uncultured sumbitch, ain't he...

The Ave Maria. That made me laugh loudly enough to pull The Little Girl away from Dora the Explorer.


Deborah Aylward said...

I am in compete agreement with Speakertweaker...the Ave Maria was a super idea!

The full hymn would have made a great cadence, by the way.

Thank you, as always.

Veitas et Fidelis Semper

Dan O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan O. said...


In bootcamp we did something, not a cadence, but the Platoon Leader would call out "To the Groucho....March!" where we all bent at the waste and waggled an invisible cigar, all the while maintaining perfect in-step marching.

Don't know if we originated it, but I do know it wasn't well thought of and usually did it to amuse ourselves or a passing company without a Company Commander present.

Jean said...

dayummmmmm! :)

...found you through AD.

RevMedic said...

Great! Kinda reminded me of the 'work song' scene in Blazing Saddles...

Chris Byrne said...

For the sadistic PT instructors out there...

"Tiny bubbles
in your puke
makes me happy
when you juke..."

The Captain said...

This post made my day. Thanks, M.

Epijunky said...

I have a cadence tape somewhere, reading this made me want to dig it out and improvise next time I go run.

The Ave Maria had to have been priceless. :)

Squeaky Wheel said...


Oh, to have been there...

(I'm an opera nerd. Totally would have pissed myself if I'd heard that.)

Mrs. Who said...

Being Catholic and a former ANG member, I'm drying my eyes with an extra-large towel at this point.

Sabra said...

Sheesh, we got away with rougher stuff in high school JROTC. (I remember something about KY Jelly...)

And if Ave Maria is good, then Gloria in Excelsis Deo is great.

phlegmfatale said...

You can always keep the Britney Spears catalog in reserve to whip out at choice moments, too. Great story.

Tam said...

But... but... you can't get much more serious than Ave Maria!

Ray said...

Here is a joke for you. Why does a Marine have an IQ 1 point higher than a horse?

So they won't shit during the parade. Ha.


Snigs said...

Hilarious stuff! My sides hurt. Thanks!

Cybrludite said...

That ranks right up there with singing the Marine Hymn to the tune of "Gilligan's Island". (BTW, you never, ever want your DIs to catch you singing it that way...)

Murphy said...

I just couldn't figure out a way to work Bocelli's Tremo E T'Amo into cadence.

'Oops I did it again' is actually a secondary motto of my Marine Corps career (first one is, of course, 'oh shit!). But I don't do the Catholic school girl mini skirt. That would be more of a thing for the Navy boys.

It is a general rule of recruits that you never want your DIs to catch you. At anything. Ever.

Spook, RN said...

I about bust a gut laughing.

I think we had someone just as colorful in my platoon back in the days.

gmcraff said...

In ROTC, I learned a cleaned up version of a jodie that nearly got me in trouble with those that knew the original lyrics. If I ever got called out for it, I'd innocently say, What, how do you think they're supposed to go?

For example:

Lulu had two boyfriends,
And both were very rich!
One was a son of a doctor,
The other was a son of a... lawyer!

Lulu and boyfriend Buddy:
A picnic on the grass!
Lulu got a piece of cake
Buddy got a piece of... pie!

The heavy pause at the end of each lyric is what broke people's bearing.

Tacobell said...

Hey Murph,
You are good to go. Drop me a line at
talk to you soon.

perlhaqr said...

I just about laughed 'til I puked at AAAAAAAAAAve maREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEaaaa...


Completely awesome.