I was always an Adjutant (administrative officer) in the Marine Corps. It was my assigned Military Occupational Specialty from the beginning. As there was almost always a shortage of “real” adjutants, unfortunates were often placed in the adjutant role of their unit for a year or so. These temporary adjutants were the bane of my professional existence. The paperwork they forwarded to our headquarters was usually late and/or incorrect. I spent a disproportionate amount of time with these officers, directing them to the appropriate references so that they could “fix themselves.” Some of them even had the gall to argue with me. One such adjutant was Lieutenant Mike C. We exchanged many heated emails.
After a few months of animosity, Mike surprised me by bringing me a gift when he returned from leave to his home state of Texas. He gave me a small, stuffed armadillo with a magnet glued to its belly. The armadillo wore a red bandanna on its neck and a red cowboy hat on its head. I kept the armadillo at my desk until I left the service. I am still puzzled by the gifting, because we were never on friendly terms.
A few years later, I moved here, to Cincinnati. My Mike (not Mike C) and I adopted kitty Cleo. After I removed the magnet, Armadillo became one of her favorite toys. She loved to bite one end and attempt to tear out his entrails with her back claws. In May, we brought home Mr. Tibbs and he appropriated all the cat toys. He, too, spends time disemboweling Armadillo. In his vicious attacks, he managed to remove Army’s, once firmly glued, hat.
All is not lost, though, because Mimi finds the hat itself an entertaining toy. She stalks the tiny red hat and bats it around our hardwood floors. (Ever tolerant, she allowed me to photograph her wearing it!)
Armadillo has gone from souvenir to beloved cat toy. Mike C., I hope you aren’t in a horrible adjutant billet any longer and I’m sorry I was such a queen bitch. Thank you for the armadillo. I’ll never know why you gave it to me, but it’s been thoroughly enjoyed.