I have told this story a few times to some lucky randoms in the past, but recently the COVID-19 scare sparking everyone’s new found interest in personal hygiene and hand sanitizer has presented me multiple opportunities to tell it again to anyone who will listen. 

In Marnie boot camp from DAY 1 one of the biggest ways to get your ass handed to you by a drill instructor is by touching your face. They are just waiting to light your world up if they see you lay even a finger on your face.

It was funny because at the time, a young 18 year old me didn’t realize how much I actually touched my face until I wasn’t allowed to do so. The irony of it all, at first, the idea of NOT touching my face almost made my face FEEL itchy. It was annoying, but the reasoning behind it was meant to potentially delay the spread of germs within a platoon.

I say “delay” and not “prevent” because being in a platoon comprised of 50-60 recruits in a company of 3 platoons, you are bound to be exposed to a myriad of germs and sicknesses.

One of the most common and most rampant was pink eye. 

It was almost inevitable that pink eye would eventually sweep through platoons like wild fire. 

Again, young 18 year old me was terrified of doing something wrong, or having something bad happen that would delay my training and push my graduation date back. I would see recruits who would get sick or injured to a degree that depending on any training they missed due to their physical setback they would be recycled to a different platoon, and their graduation date would be pushed back.

I would see recruits getting caught with pink eye, and proceed to be hazed and berated by the drill instructors, and while I had never had pink eye before, I knew I did not want that to be me. I did not want that kind of attention.

One fateful morning when reveille sounded, I woke up and hopped out of my rack (bed) like I did every morning, but on this day, for some reason, my eyes felt “goopy” for lack of a better word…


It felt like it took extra effort to pry my eyes open. I knew instantly, I had pink eye. 

Let’s rewind a bit…

At the beginning of bootcamp you are issued a debit card, and then promptly marched to the base store (PX) to purchase necessary items that you will need during bootcamp (mostly hygiene products and cleaning supplies).

Among those purchases are numerous travel sized bottles of hand sanitizer, AKA “Germ Juice”. Upon purchase of the germ juice, you were to fashion a necklace out of it by using athletic tape to fasten a boot strap to the lid, and wear it around your neck for the duration of bootcamp. The germ juice was meant to be used before every meal, and at other times during training if you needed it.

Let’s resume the story…

I must say, jumping out of the rack and not being able to open my eyes sent me into a panic…so instinctively, I reached for the germ juice…

I lathered a generous amount on my hands, and proceeded to rub the juice into my eyes. 

It burned…A lot…

…But only for a bit.

I clenched my eyes shut as hard as I could…and slowly at first but then rapidly I started blinking. 

The more I blinked, the better my eyes felt

Within a few seconds, my eyes felt brand new. No goop, and no sticking…germ juice for the win! 

As the day went on, I could feel my eyes developing “crusties” around the edges, and all it took was another dose of germ juice to eyes, and I was good to go for the rest of the day.

The next morning I was ready for my eyes to be sticky, and applied the germ juice again once more then, and again in the afternoon, but after day 2, my eyes were never sticky, crusty, or red, and best of all, I never got caught. 

So, in the name of science, medicine, stupidity…I can say that germ juice cured my pink eye. 

Thank you, purell! 

But for real y’all…try not to touch your faces (Not even to face-palm as you read this…)