It is instantly recognizable.

The vaunted status of meme divinity is seldom achieved, but like the Crying Jordan, the “One does not simply” or a handful of other internet offerings that have proliferated ad nauseam across the social media landscape, it has made its way onto screens — and into hearts — everywhere.

It is, of course, the distracted boyfriend — or “looking back” — meme, forever employed to adequately illustrate jealousy, admiration or a sheer desire to watch absolute unit, Bartolo Colon, throw baseballs.

In a shocking development, however, a decades-old and weathered photo — shared to the popular subreddit, r/USMC — has more than cemented a new champion of the distracted partner dispute.

Long before an incensed and bewildered girlfriend looked on as her easily distracted significant other admired a passerby, a motivated Marine staff sergeant sauntered on by what could be interpreted as a couple of steady-going folks, one of whom donned the Navy’s old cracker jack duds.

Efforts to dig up the photo’s origin revealed that the image was first published in an October 1950 issue of “Leatherneck Magazine.”

We imagine the exchange captured in the photo transpired closely to the following:

Marine: Good morning, ma’am! Oh... hey, squid.

Jealous sailor: What did you call me?

Marine: Kill! Motivated eye gouge, yut? Semper! Chesty, err?

Jealous sailor: Are you even speaking English?

Marine: Errah!

Woman: Oh my. (blushing)

Jealous sailor to woman: Wait, where are you going?

Woman: There’s just something about...

Marine (in passing): Dan Daly and Smedley Butler, rah?

Sailor (grabbing the arm of the woman): I can’t believe this. This is absurd! The guy can’t even produce a sentence without grunting 27 times!

Woman (breaking the wrist and walking away): I’m leaving, Mike. You’re wearing bell bottoms for heaven’s sake. Staff sergeant! Wait for me!

Marine (talking to himself, now 50 yards away): (Inaudible) ... now it’d behoove you ... (inaudible) Lo’ right’a layo ... (inaudible) Jody, Jody, six-foot-four ... (inaudible) ... to the shores of Tripoli.

One look at his beaming, motivated mug can manifest actual sound of the long-sung cadence, “We’re the boys from [insert unit] you’ve heard so much about. Mothers lock their daughters up whenever we go out.”

Who among us would not get distracted by such a display of bravado?

Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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