As a new Ensign, I was assigned duty at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, and carpooled to work with a veteran Marine sergeant. One afternoon, I showed him a pair of brown shoes I had purchased to go with my khaki uniform. He examined the leather carefully. "Let me take these home," he said, "and I'll show you a real Marine Corps shine."
The next day I wore my old shoes, expecting to switch them with the ones the sergeant was polishing. From a grocery bag, Sarge pulled out the right shoe, shining like glass. "This is the way a Marine shines a shoe," he said. "Now all you have to do is polish the left one to look like it."