Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Humps, Tender Tootsies, and Comfort Is King

I've tried to explain my love/hate/hate relationships with humps to some friends and family, with varying success.

'What's the big deal?', some think, 'it's just walking around with a pack... kinda like hiking, or something'.

Or something...

I try to explain it by suggesting they find someone roughly 1/2 of their own body weight. Have that person hop on your back, or boost them up so they can kneel on your shoulders. They are now your pack. Have them hang so that they inflict maximum pain and discontent on your lower back, upper back, baby got back, neck, everywhere else, and generally make life as miserable as possible. Go out and find some hills - now 'hike' for say, 10 miles. For added fun, break out into a run every once in a while. Bonus points for having your friend talk trash about how fat and nasty you are throughout the hump- er, sorry - 'hike'.

That's more-or-less the level of fun in boot camp. In your unit, it gets even more fun, due to the added weight from ammo (rifle and mortar), crew-served weapons components, bodily dragging the snivelers, etc.

Early on in my Corps life, humps weren't too bad. As I both aged and gained a bit of rank, I found that they sucked more, but I still didn't have any issues keeping up (physically, that is. Mentally, sometimes I felt like a whiny little turd). Even when I was away from the guys so as to attend a school/class (and therefore missing some of the shorter humps in the interim), when I would rejoin the unit, well, it sucked quite a bit but I still got through it. Getting notice that one memorable welcome back to the platoon involved SAPI plates and full combat load in addition to the regular gear was a bit of a gut check, I admit...

One thing that always helped me out was foot care.

This is a pretty big deal in training, and even more so deployed. As a Pfc, I would take note of boot brands that worked, and those that didn't. Foot powder always. I would always pack additional pairs of clean socks and change socks every time that an opportunity presented itself. I would roll the tops of my boot socks, as to avoid them slipping down and bunching up in the boots (don't care how it looks, if it's comfy and works, I'll do it).

Might want to make a note of that last sentence...

Another thing about picking up rank, is the fact that it's just a given that you take care of your Marines. Like I've mentioned before, while mission accomplishment is always first, troop welfare is always a close second. During breaks (both for rest and of bodies), the Corpsmen, many of the Staff NCOs, and Officers are all constantly on their feet, checking on their Marines. This pretty much mandated to me that as a Sergeant, I would also be on my feet, from start to finish of the hump. Every hump. There was always canteens to fill, feet to inspect, and stragglers to be threatened (with the infamous 'silver-bullet') during the breaks, so there was progressively less and less time to take care of my own footsies. Take a wild guess as to what started next...

I started getting some nasty foot issues.

Never really had any problems with blisters before I picked up Corporal, but afterwards -man!- I started getting some doozies. We're talking blisters that leaked (not dripped) when I couldn't take it anymore and popped 'em, blood-filled blisters that covered a fist-sized space on the bottoms of (both) my feet, and boots that eventually conformed to the shape of my blistered feet to the point where I couldn't even wear flip-flops to the shower, I had to put back on those stanky-assed boots.

Good training, huh.

After one particularly hellacious hump, I had some extra time to spend with Lovely. Upon seeing me hobble through the front door, she suggested some treatment for my tender tootsies. I gingerly took off my boots, peeled off my what-was-shortly-before-new, clean-socks, and whistled. My feet were... grody.

A brief word, re: my Lovely.

Lovely Love has a foot fetish like you wouldn't believe.

Hold on, that didn't sound right...

My Love looooves her some foot massages. Loves 'em. If you offered her a choice between a foot rub and chocolate-covered strawberries dipped in wine, sprinkled with crack and served on a tight-bodied cabana boy named Raul (¡Ole!), -let's be honest, here- she might think about it, but she'd choose the foot rub, every time.

If 'Raul' ever figured out how to do foot rubs, I'm totally screwed...

Lovely has all kinds of foot-oriented stuff. Lotions, oils, comfy footwear, foot-care tools, nail paints, the list o' crap goes on about as long as everything else does re: the ladies. Allow me a moment to grab some sack and thank every deity known and imagined for making me a dude... Ok, good.

One look at what passed for my feet convinced her that this was a moment for her portable Orgasmo-Ped 3000. This contraption was a sort of small tub that you filled with water, plugged in and apparently were immediately whisked off to the heights of... somewhere. The fact that she allowed me to use her nearly-most prized possession should indicate either that she really loved me or that she still had her uses for me - possibly even both.

So I sat down on the couch and stuck my feet in the thing. She filled it with hot water, flipped the switch, and I watched as the water started... buzzing(?) bubbling (?). The ridges on the bottom felt ok, I guess. It was relaxing, but I couldn't help but feel kind of guilty at the fact that apparently it didn't do nearly as much for me as it did for her.

Eventually, she got up and went to go grab some towels for when my feet were done. When she placed the towels on the armrests, she asked if perhaps I wanted a sandwich or something.

I love this woman.

We continued our conversation while she made herself busy in the kitchen and I dried and inspected my feet. Looked kinda shriveled, felt a bit better than before, probably just needed some additional airing out and they'd be fine. I shuffled over to the kitchen to wash my hands and for some strange reason she started to laugh at me!

See, as I was sitting on the couch, just after I finished drying off my feet, I noticed a pair of old slippers.

They were comfy. I wore them. The thought process was completely natural to me.

The fact that they were a pretty yellow color and had little duckies on them had no significance to me.

They were comfy.


Bobby G. said...

You're killing me, Sarge...LMAO!

"...Kinda like hiking"!

Yeah, like ROOT CANAL work is "kinda like" flossing!

But 'ya left out the best part...getting up at 0230 to DO a "commune with f***ing nature, ladies"!

But I'm with ya 100% when it comes to "da feet"!

After 56 years on this rock, I am paying for all the FUBARs I made along the way in how I treated those feet of mine.
And you get NO "do-overs"...what you have is what you got.

I STILL powder my footwear every night...force of habit.
( they're duckies-DEVIL DOG duckies)

Carry On.

Snigglefrits said...

The ending of that story just totally quacked me up!

Anonymous said...

I used to soak my feet in a big bowl. I know what you mean about the pain. Especially after them seven mile runs...

Still, I would have avoided the ducky slippers. Just keep on the couch and put your feet up. Get spousal unit to get you a beer.

Gotta keep up appearances!

Old NFO said...

Good story and good points Murph! As an airdale, we were stuck with the cheap steel toed boots, BUT we didn't have to hump (other than to/from the airplane). However, we DID do a hump or two during survival training, and I do remember the blisters and having to literally carry another crewman after he screwed up his feet (socks slipped down). I never was lucky enough to get the last part though :-)

BSMonitor said...

Ah the "hump" I remember it well. Ever try it in the Texas heat with the gas mask on? Crack the mask at the bottom to let the sweat and puke pour out and keep on humping.

Brought back memories that were dulled by the passage of time to almost be fond.