Pogey Bait Poison

The Urban Dictionary says that pogey bait means: “The Marines in China before WW II were issued candy (Baby Ruths, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) as part of their ration supplements. At the time, sugar and other assorted sweets were rare commodities in China and much in demand by the Chinese, so the troops found the candy useful for barter in town.

“The Chinese word for prostitute, roughly translated, is pogey. Thus, Marines being Marines, candy became Pogey Bait.”

Hop on my time machine and join me in the early 1960s when I was being trained at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

As a recruit still in boot camp, we were allowed visitors after so many weeks [can’t remember exactly how many weeks that was], and my parents drove from LA County to visit me for the first time since I had left home.

Unknown to me, my mother had baked my favorite cakes and cookies and brought along a cooler packed with ice, Doctor Peppers and Pepsi/Coke—my favorite sodas back then—now they are the same as poison to me. But as a teen, I gulped this poison daily by the liter.

In a letter home, I had asked my parents to request to see two other Marine recruits—friends of mine. Before we were released to go to the visiting area, one of the drill instructors told us that we were not to eat or drink any pogey bate.

However, my two friends ignored that order and stuffed themselves with cake and cookies washing it all down with one Coke, Pepsi or Doctor Pepper after another. I just said no and didn’t take one bite or sip.

When we got back to the barracks, we discovered that we had been under surveillance and the drill instructor knew who had disobeyed his orders about eating that pogey bate. When it came time to sleep, I went to bed but my two friends were outside doing squat thrusts past midnight as they shouted their sins for the platoon to hear.

But in the chow hall every meal, Marine recruits were getting their sugar fix another way. They were smothering slices of white bread with butter then pouring an inch of sugar on that slice of buttered bread before eating it.

I think this was proof that recent scientific studies are right that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Source: Plos One.org  PLOS ONE (eISSN-1932-6203) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.

Discover Booze, the Veteran and coming home


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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