Tuesday, March 6, 2012

‘Sea Sickness In Technicolor’

A fella came to me today asking questions of my ‘Canoe Club’ days and wanted to know if I’d ever encountered a rogue wave??? Hell… never heard of such a damned thing!  But if I did, it would’a had to be that white water that would come over the forecastle on a few occasions… damn near made us look like some kind’a ol’ submersible!! One minute your look’n up at the sky… and the next your buried in a giant swell!!!  I’ve seen it on the flight deck of the Chucky ‘V’ too!! Noth’n like a bird farm being swallowed up by the big deep blue!!!

Then the young fella wanted to know about me gett’n Sea Sick… I was blessed in the fact I never really got Sea Sick… not in the Navy at least!!!

I had that misfortune long before I donned the ‘Crackerjack’ uniform! Yep… I learned at a tender age of twelve while toss’n my cookies over the gunnels of a sailboat into the Gulf of Mexico just outside Tampa Bay all about the feeling of your whole gaudamned body rebelling as you sense the bitter end of your intestinal track reaching for the ol’ gullet!!! 

My Pops never told me of the likes of Dramamine or the  ‘Ol’ Pussy Patch’… he just said I had to get through it and it’d eventually pass… it did… and I was better for it, kind’a like figuring out how to ride a bike… once you learn it, you never forget!!!
I suppose it inexplicably prepared me for my days as a crackerjack in the canoe club… though he’d never admit to it!!!

Once I got to my first ship, ‘The Baglady’, over the 1MC came,
“All Hands Standby for Heavy Rolls!!!”

I loved all that rock’n & roll’n!!! Walk’n up and down the passageways half the time ramping up the bulkhead like a steal bearing in an old bally’s pinball machine… hell it could be a lott’a fun!!! Imagine a wild rollercoaster ride while tear’n down the passageway riding a galaxy 1700 floor buffer… Woo-Hoo!!!

 This was just some of the nonsensical ass grabb’n and clowning around we were always up too… til’ Chief would show up!!

What the hell are you clowns up too now?? Get your asses to work and enough of the skylark’n before I have to call ‘doc’ down to pull my size ten boot outta your ass!!”

But sooner or later you’d get that new ‘booter greenhorn’ on board who’d experience some technical difficulties with his internal gyroscope sensors as his optical sensors failed to compensate for the feedback error in his internal ear… this was usually caused from focus’n too much attention on every move the ship makes!!

Next came the quasi nausea feel’n sorta drunk feeling with a green tinge to the facial skin tone…

This is where one of your shipmate decided to show some brotherly love and whip out a can of smelly tuna or some sardines and smoked oysters mixed in with a bit of cigar smoke and a really nasty cigarette ashtray… the best recommended cure for sea sickness!!!

If that wasn’t available you could always start asking what’s for chow referring to the good smell’n stuff as ‘Shit on a Shingle’… ‘Puss & Scabs’… ‘Donkey Dick and Flied Lice’… always something you can count on your shipmates for!!!

… And from there… it was all over!!! There’s no escape… you’re trapped in the middle of an endless ocean… about as green as any man could possibly get with the ol’ stomach churning… runn’n for the rails lett’n loose of the whole damned shebang!!!

A lot of good men went there… and they survived… making their way up to the ensemble conveyor to sickbay to see the voodoo shaman witch doctor for that magic pill or the pussy patch to ward off the evil sea spirits…

 I remember a fella who spent three weeks spill’n his cookies in and out of his rack! The bitter smell of the gastric mixture he left in the head was almost unbearable for all!! Poor fella’s eyes were so swollen he looked like a steamed pink pig on a skewer!!
I remember he’d spend hours hugg’n the ol’ porcelain god… people walk’n in thinking to themselves,

“Do I really wanna maneuver around this fella toss’n his cookies so I can listen to his pleading heaves as I’m straddl’n the pisser in these heavy seas???”

They eventually assigned the fella off the ship… he just couldn’t hack it no more!!! 
 Then there was OS2 Goff on the Lucky No. 7… lanky fella from Kentucky!!! He was your stereo-typical hillbilly inbred… used to talk about fornicat’n with farm animals… hoping he was joking… never really could tell!

Once we took a hike up to Knotts Berry Farm for a bit of a liberty excursion… ol’ Goff didn’t care much for the sight of the upchuck… barf’n up… technicolor yawn… blow’n chunks… or any of the other various names you might wanna call it!! And with the rare gift of having a volunteer gag reflex, I was able to make quite the mess with a strawberry shake right after he got off the spinning octopus ride!!! Needless to say ol’ Goff made quite a mess in a nearby bush!!!

Well, things didn’t fair to well on the ship either during his first underway! While we were zing’n off bulkheads climbing the overhead piping showing off our non-house broken silly ways… he was busy turn’n green and wedging himself behind AC units try’n to find some comfort from the mayhem of the pitch-n-roll!!!

About the third day out start’n up a ladder on an uproll shoot’n out the top like a cannon… ol’ Goff was standing in front of the port airlock from our berthing just ready to peel like a ripe banana! Like a clumsy son-of-a-bitch, not realizing he was there, I slammed right smack into him causing a gastric explosion that left quite the splatter of noodles & ralph’n yack nasty in the ol’ airlock!! Hell, it was the kind’a art that would have made Picasso proud!!!

 I think all the calamity caused quite a stir as several Chiefs and various other shipmates showed up for a command performance!!

I gotta tell you, I had never seen a topsider, or anybody for that matter, toss his cookies as hard as this fella!!!

Look’n back… I remember those nights parked in the crews’s mess sipp’n on a hot cup of black tarred coffee laugh’n & carry’n on… the more ridiculous the horseplay… the funnier it was!!! It was about this time the boots were the ripest for some practical shenanigans!!!


  1. Great image about the buffing machine, bring back memories of trying to ride that bronco on heavy seas. good times.

  2. "his internal gyroscope sensors as his optical sensors failed to compensate for the feedback error in his internal ear…" I LMAO for a good half hour just on that one!! Love the stories Chief! Bring back alotta memories of the Ol Canoe Club!!

  3. I got seasick on the Queen Elizabeth II! My first ship, a Knox Class Frigate, I was sick as a dog the first few time out. I got used to it. By the time I got to the Boobyprise (Enterprise), I never got sick again! I watched freshies puking thier guts in heavy seas. Ahh the good ol times!

    1. People get seasick on an aircraft carrier?

    2. When I was on CV-62. We had a second class running for the head as soon as "Underway" was passed on the 1MC.

  4. We actually had a puke pool for MWR on the Eddy. The prediction was which JO would blow cookies and when. Also had a working party after the ROH to clean the puke off the bridge wing.

    Fast forward to the Rat.... my Cheez Whiz techs used to keep 50 cans of oil sardines in the control room and sometimes bring them into CIC on watch along with some stogies. Also, our GMG1's cure for seasickness was oil sardines and crackers.

  5. You could always have a bit of fun with a boot greenhorn by telling him to string up a hammock in berthing or some other indoor space so the rolls don't feel so bad... but tell him to keep his eyes open... it would be a good idea to keep a bucket handy!

  6. I only puked once.... very heavy seas and they put me on fwd missilehouse watch, and I made the mistake of eating one of those stomach grenades they put out for breakfast.... puked right in the watchstanders desk drawer.... Boats caught me and had a sa fetch a bucket and some rags so I could clean it up, and he had to swab what ran out of the desk and clear out of the buffer zone... well, he forgot something and headed for the foc'scle, so soon as the coast was clear I ducked under the buffer zone line and let his swab bucket have it!

  7. Meanest thing I ever did as far as teasing the weak was when we had a bunch of middies doing their summer cruise on the Lewis B. I tucked a piece of string in my cheek and cracked open a can of sardines in tomato sauce. Popped one in my mouth,chewed a bit, and pulled the string out. Started bitching about them not cutting the strings off again. Two middies and a GMGSN shared a shitcan unloading lunch.