Wednesday, January 11, 2012

‘Has Anyone Seen My ID Card’

Besides chasing wild dreams and look’n forward to gett’n a steady paycheck every two weeks to be a drunken sailor with a gal in every port, I joined the ol’ Canoe Club to take me away to exotic places with strange names… places you’d see in National Geographic magazines… I wanted to see stuff and do things beyond my wildest gaudamned dreams… All I needed was a US Navy I.D. card and a fresh set of Navy Blues!!!

Of course first thing’s first… you always got that two or three hour liberty stand down from the Chief and Divo…

"Okay now listen up girls… Check your I.D. Cards and make sure you have them on you at all times… that’s your gaudamned passport and without it… your shit outta luck! Don’t spit on the sidewalks, don’t wink at any strange ladies with an adam’s apple, and don’t piss in the petunias… oh, and whatever you do, make sure you grab one of them Goodyears doc’s pass’n for prophylactics when you cross the Quarterdeck… If you end up with cold soars on your junk, don’t say I didn’t tell you so!!  Last boats will be leaving Fleet’s Landing at 2345 hours… Got that sweethearts? You ain't got your worthless asses on the launch by then you’d better have money for a water taxi or be one hell of an Olympic swimmer… Gott it???
If you were a Petty Officer… you got overnight liberty… at least with an approved request chit, an act of God, and possibly your first born…

From there it was off on liberty… someone let loose of the hounds… ‘Liberty Hounds’… every gaudamned one of them!!! 

“I wonder where all the women are at… I hear they like American Cowboy types… Let’s find a place to grab a few cold ones!”

That was the usual colloquial speech of a ‘Crackerjack’ head’n out on liberty! Five minutes off the boat and the first cantina, tavern, pub, or humble abode that served alcohol away from the landing was home sweet home to a dozen or so squidoos…

After a few too many beers, you damn near forgot everything to do outside the here & now and socially acceptable... ‘three sheets to the wind’ you were piss’n off the roof tops and balconies of some South Pacific Hotel or sleep’n with anything found suitable through your beer goggles planted firmly on your nogg’n!!! 

If you don't remember the good times then you must be absolutely brain dead. There was nothing like a bunch’a fun loving, hardworking sailors laughing like deranged lunatics about all the crazy, exotic and erotic places and things they’d encountered…

I recall nights of play’n ‘Jack the Jaw’ with Brit Sailors and fellow shipmates only to wake up feel’n like my jaw bone had been sewn shut… I recollect a certain lunatic E-3 streak’n butt nekkit through the dirty streets only to run smack into a jeepney with his ding-a-ling splattered to the windshield… I conjure up images of Go-Go Girls in faraway places dancing in pools with water sharks in a place somewhere called ‘Caligulas’ shoot’n darts out of their genitalia… or the buy me drink girls play’n a game called smiles under the table for pesos… or what about gett’n mugged or pickpocketed in a nasty little foreign place where the local constable would rather put a baton over your nogg’n then try to arrest one of his own!!!

Yeah, they say 'A fool and his money are soon parted' must've been a sailor on Westpac who came up with that one!!!

I remember anchoring about a mile out in Melbourne Australia while on the Rainier… we were a deep draft and there was no way in hell we were gonna sit pier side in such a shallow lagoon…

Well, after a night on the town and a sleep in at a local hotel, I remember drink’n Australian beer and whatever could’a passed as crocodile piss while strolling up and down Victoria Street all night long from bar to bar… street to street!! At least this way I didn’t have to show up for morning quarters hitt’n the drunk parade!!!

Somewhere in the midst of regaining my senses the next morning, I had come to the realization that I was missing something… digging through my wallet, look’n under the bed, checking high and low throughout the room… bathroom… and balcony… where’s that gaudamned DD Form 1172 I carry around on my ass cheek every day of the week???
“Has anyone seen my I.D. Card?”

Thank goodness one of our shipmates was half sober last night as we hiked up and down Victoria Street and its vicinity look’n for that guadamned piece of green they call an I.D. card!!!

We checked all the street vendors, museums, parks, restaurants, bars, ago-gos…
Just about the time sundown was about to hit all be damned if I was gonna go back to the ship. I’d surely be put on liberty risk for losing my gaudamned I.D. Card… So we sat at a local whole in the wall pub and somewhere in the neighborhood of five or six beers one of my shipmates walked by and told me my I.D. Card was on the ship…
“How in the hell did it get on the ship?”

Sometime early the previous night I had stopped in of all places… a ‘Seven Eleven’ right down from the Melbourne version of Grand Central Station… I must’a left an impression as my trusty ol’ I.D. was left on the counter and the fella working realized I was one of them American types and gave it over to a fellow shipmate. He turned it into the Quarterdeck the next morning… so I had to go back to the ship anyway!!!

Lucky for me no questions were asked about how I got around without it… it was though it never happened!!! I thought to myself,

“How lucky can I be losing my I.D. in a faraway place like this… stunk drunk… just to have some unassuming fella behind a convenience store counter… turn it over to a shipmate… no harm no foul!?!?

Don’t stair a gift horse in the mouth… just consider yourself lucky!!!

Yep, We were young… dumb… and bulletproof!!! Thought we could live forever… Drinking, Carousing, and Pollut’n the waters of foreign ports with kidney filtered beer and bits & pieces of last nights dinner… Noth’n was better than being youthful and bursting with unadulterated energy!!! And there was noth’n better than having liberty… a good escape from long underways and monotonous nights standing port and report…

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