6 December 1999

"Call In The Marines"

Tony Tang 
Master Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, (Retired) 


On the first full day of our anniversary trip to Paris this November 28, the wife and I were having a bit of a fit figuring out the labyrinth of a Metro system the French have there.  

Swallowing my pride and realizing my urban map skills needed an upgrade for Paris, I spied an old gentleman and asked in my very rusty schoolboy French how to get to the Tour Eiffel.  He happily obliged and in rapid fire French told me to which stations to go and where to transfer.  

Well, I barely caught the gist of his directions and began to stare at the spider web map of the Metro when the old man turned around, smiled and in impeccable English told me again the directions.  He then almost gleefully declared, "...with such instruction even you can get there!  If not then call in the Marines!"  Stunned, I said something in French that passed for thanks and that we greatly appreciated his help.  

As he started to walk away again, he paid one complement to me saying that my French was pretty good, but keep practicing.

No, I did not have the heart to tell him I was a retired Marine but the wife and I never had a problem with the Metro from that point on.