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The Bengali Princess

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a young Marine Corporal. He was not too tall, but barrel chested, and thin waisted. There was a slow, drawling, Southern charm to his speech. The Sun in the places he’d been had baked his skin to a dark mahogany red. His beakish nose had been sportingly broken several times and each break had healed. The breaks of the nose had left it healed slightly off center, adding to his youthfully handsome face the air of ruggedness. Having come from an infantry battalion, the air of ruggedness he possessed otherwise had some basis in fact. Additionally, this young Marine looked pretty good in a uniform, and was generally squared away. All in all, this young Corporal was the epitome of a United States Marine.

The time was the early 1980s. The place was Calcutta, India, a very large city situated out in the jungles of the Bengal Plane. The young Corporal was me. I’d gone from hapless poverty to working in an American Consulate in about three very short and eventful years. I tend to think now that I was very full of myself at that time in my life, though I didn’t think so then.

Incidentally, I did get promoted to Sergeant a relatively short time later and moved on to an Embassy … not that being stationed at a consulate is diminutive.

To raise funds for the annual United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball, each Marine Detachment farmed out to the Department of State holds weekly parties in their Marine House. Each Marine House has a bar, and the parties focus around this feature. The parties are like a cocktail party, one doesn’t just walk into the Marine House without knowing someone at least familiar to the Marines. However, it’s like a regular bar on the street wherein one has to purchase their drinks. The party is called a TGIF, thank God it’s Friday, and I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept.

Once in a while the Ambassador or the Consul General will pop in to show their support. However, in general, the TGIFs are a forum for the more junior members of the diplomatic community to network, and hone their diplomatic skills.

One Friday night during a TGIF, a fellow Marine and I were sitting at the bar. I noticed a girl. Her escort was introducing her around to those in attendance. The girl was ugly. She looked like someone had shaved a jungle monkey, wrapped it in a silk sari, and brought her to the Marine House as a guest. In fact, my ship mate and I were making jokes between ourselves about someone playing a practical joke by shaving a jungle monkey, wrapping it up in a silk sari, and bringing it to the Marine House. I’m sure we were not as discrete as we could have been, not that we should have been making fun of a guest anyhow.

When she moved on to greet another grouping of guests, I noticed this little jungle monkey wrapped in a silk sari floated with cultured grace across the room. Charming! Yet, the cloisterdly sophomoric giggles and wise cracks between my ship mate and I about the girl did not abate.

The girl and her escort made their way round to my ship mate and I sitting at the bar. Of course, we suddenly became the most gentlemanly and friendly of those present. I know for a fact that the girl didn’t buy into it, but she was very nice anyhow.

Up close, the girls eyes were bright and inquisitive. Every move she made was graceful. When she spoke, she had the voice of an angle with an alluring Ragite accent. She was a Siren. Suddenly, in the place in my head where cartoons are born, I saw in my future a house full of little jungle monkeys causing mayhem, each spoiled rotten by their father, and each sporting mahogany red skin and a very large, beakish nose. I think I’d fallen a little bit farther than in lust for this ugly young woman, whose initial presentation did very little justice to the depth of her person.

The girl was very polite, overly polite, and did not linger long with my ship mate and I. Despite my best efforts to get this girls attention again, and attempt to develop a relationship, she would have little to nothing to do with it.

A lot of what I talk about is reflective, how the person can better deal with themselves internally. However, we should not ignore the external World, and all it has to offer. In particular, we should not ignore the needs and feelings and accomplishments and potentials of our fellow Humans. Who knows what that bum on the street, down on his luck at the moment, may have in store for the benefit of Mankind, and who knows whether or not that jungle monkey you’re making fun of at a party is actually a princess sent to make your life full and happy.

Treat other people as though they are going to give you the best that they can, you might just get it out of them.

You are spectacular.

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