The best gifts for someone who ‘almost joined the military, but…’

"I wanted to enlist, but I totally would've punched out a drill instructor."

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It’s the holiday season, and while most people will be wrapping up their seasonal shopping, there’s always that one holdout, that one family member or friend who’s impossible to shop for. 

And then there’s that one guy that nobody ever wants to buy presents for. It’s the dude — it is almost always a dude — who rolls up for a 1-mile “hike” in a camo-painted lifted pickup truck, and hops out wearing ballistic sunglasses, a tan ballcap, and a shemagh. He’s got a scraggly operator beard to go with his combat boots, not to mention his cargo pants stuffed with multiple knives, MRE toilet paper, and chem lights. He looks like he’s about to invade Baghdad. Or, more likely, he’s dressed the way he thinks people who invaded Baghdad dress.

Despite his outward presentation, he never served. Now, nobody cares — not about the lack of service of this caricature, or his real-life counterpart — nobody except him. And he cares a lot.

This is the guy who uses “we” to talk about very specific military operations the way that baseball fans talk about their team winning the World Series, except nobody thinks they’re suggesting they were on the field when they do it.

He’s the kind of guy who watches this “Almost Veterans Day” skit and sees a self-portrait, not parody:

Yes, it is apparent to all that he really wanted to join the military, but [Insert reason, which may or may not be reasonable, but goes out the window when he feigns outrage over a change in Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Air Force policy and decries it as a blight on a beloved branch he never served in.]

It is understandably difficult to shop for someone like that. So, we here at Task & Purpose decided to put together a handy list. Enjoy.

The world’s most tactical mug

The loudest tie for the quiet professional

The tactical… ice cream scooper?

Tactical stockings: Ho-ho-ho-no

Tactical beer koozie because protecting your beer is mission essential

The tactical baby carrier

MRE Toilet paper so they know what it's like to sh-t in the sh-t


James Clark Avatar

James Clark

Former Deputy Editor

James Clark is the former Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose. He is an Afghanistan War veteran and served in the Marine Corps as a combat correspondent.