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why do marines eat crayons

Saying Explained: Why Do Marines Eat Crayons?

by Martha Simmonds

If you’ve ever heard the phrase marine corps eat crayons, you have probably been rightfully confused. After all, who in their right mind would eat crayons in the first place? In reality, this saying has a rather interesting background, and it reveals a lot about people’s preconceived notions about marines.

So, why do marines eat crayons? Read on to see where this saying comes from and what it actually means.

Marines Eat Crayons: Saying Origin


Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to pin down the exact origin of the phrase marines eat crayons. For one, it is fairly modern, so accurately tracing it still isn’t possible. Thus, the only thing known for sure is that it originated online in the form of a meme.

This saying belongs to a subtype of memes called false truths. As their name suggests, these memes usually sound close to the truth but are, in fact, lies. As they spread, most people aren’t sure whether the memes are a joke or not, which brings about confusion and uncertainty. Then, the meme gets so widespread that most people just start believing it, no matter how ludicrous it might sound.

The same thing happened with our saying. At one point, the meme became so popular that people just accepted it as a fact. Thus, many believe that marines eat crayons for whatever reason.

But is that actually the case?

Do Marines Really Eat Crayons?


The short and definitive answer to this question is — no, marines do not eat crayons. Truthfully, this belief is simply a way to degrade and make fun of marines, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Most people believe this saying was spread by an individual or a smaller group of people who are not big fans of the US marine corps. There are two possible explanations as to why this individual or group spread the falsehood.

One is that those who started the joke belong to other US military branches. It is well-known that other military personnel don’t like marines. In fact, most of them believe that marines do not deserve their status and position. Thus, this joke was a good way to belittle marines in the eyes of ordinary people.

On the other hand, the joke could be the act of people who have no connection to the marines or any other US troops. Instead, these people might just want to degrade the US military in general, as they have anti-imperialist and military views.

Either way, one thing is crystal clear. The saying and belief that marines eat crayons is just one way to make fun of them and make them seem ridiculous.

Why Crayons, Though?

Upon hearing the saying, most people wonder why those behind the joke chose crayons. The truth is, there is no satisfactory answer. The joke masterminds probably wanted something funny and absurd and settled on crayons because they fit into both categories perfectly.

In reality, anything could have taken the crayons’ place, as long as it is non-edible. Thus, the saying could have been that marines eat paper, wax, rocks, and so on. However, crayons were the final choice, and they are an essential part of the joke.

What Does the Saying Really Mean?


As already mentioned, the point of the saying is to make fun of marines. In this case, that is done by pointing out that their intelligence is lower than average. After all, who in their right mind would eat crayons?

Another possible explanation is that the saying is comparing marines to kids. Many children eat crayons and anything else they can get their hands on. Thus, they need constant supervision because they don’t know that putting things in their mouths is dangerous.

So, comparing marines to kids points to the fact that they too are immature and can’t be trusted to be alone. In other words, this joke belittles the marines’ intelligence and status, saying that they are as helpless as little kids.

Is There Any Truth to These Assumptions?


It goes without saying that stereotyping any group of people is wrong and can lead to misconceptions and unfair treatment. However, the assumption that marines are somehow less intelligent than the other branches of the US military actually does have some basis in reality.

Namely, it is well-known that each branch of the military has specific standards for accepting recruits. Each potential soldier must complete a series of entrance exams, and IQ tests are also included.

While marines have to score at least 30 (out of 100) on this test, not many actually do. Thus, in order to accept at least some recruits, the committees admit everyone who at least passes 20 or sometimes even 15 points.

Therefore, it can be said that marines are not always as intelligent as other US military groups. Still, it is not good to generalize, especially because the US military is notorious for having low admission standards for all its branches.

What Do Marines Eat, Then?


Fortunately, the actual diet of the US marines is much more nutritious than crayons. Each marine has a unique eating plan, and it is based on their current tasks, ranking, and the environmental situation they are living and training in.

So, a marine in a war zone will have a vastly different diet from one living at marine camps and training every day. Furthermore, the trainees can choose between vegan, vegetarian, and ordinary diets, all based on their preferences and needs.

Either way, you can rest assured that they all eat actual food and that crayons are nowhere near their plates.

Some Jokes About Marines Eating Crayons

As you can imagine, the internet is brimming with jokes that include marines eating crayons. They are all meant to point out that marines are not too intelligent, and they achieve that in different ways.

Here are some of the most popular jokes that you can find.

#1. After months of rigorous training, a new US marine finally gets some time off to visit his wife. Once he arrives in his hometown, they go out to dinner to celebrate his new status. As they browse the menu, the wife points to the children’s menu, which has crayons attached to it. Happily, she exclaims: “Oh, honey, look! They have appetizers!”

#2. Here is a meme about how future marines take their entrance exam. As you can see, the marine is copying his answers from a little girl sitting beside him.


Image source: Pinterest

#3. Another meme makes fun of marines for confusing a box of crayons with an MRE. If you aren’t familiar with the term, an MRE is a type of military ration food that most marines have to eat in warzones or during rigorous training. Funnily enough, this food comes in packaging that actually does resemble crayon boxes.


Image source: Pinterest

#4. One real-life joke included the wives and girlfriends of marines dressing up as crayons in different colors. They then greeted their husbands at a crayon-themed party when they returned from their training.

At the party, they even served cakes and cupcakes with different food coloring. The desserts looked as if they actually contained crayons, which is a hilarious addition to the joke.


Image source: Pinterest

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