If you’re an ol’ Salt you probably don’t miss the fun of busting your ass with water crashing over the bow… grown men gett'n tossed around like skivvies in a clothes dryer… moving fore and aft in the pitch & rolls of a drunk’n Irish River Dance with ass pok’n valve stems... unforgiving stanchions and bone crushing steel hatches waiting for your approach… crusty valve handles and orifice knife edges… low hang’n pipes & unused brackets tearing gouges outta your nogg’n!! It was a gaudamned smorgasbord of things that’d knock you into tomorrow before you knew what the hell hit you!!!
Not much to brag or write home about… at least at that point in time anyway… but all be damned if you went home without a story or two to tell the Moms, Pops, and all the ones left in Midtown USA… Cause back home was different than being on the beachfront in Sailor town USA where the sign says ‘Keep the Sailors off the Grass’ or ‘No Squids Allowed’!!!
You see back home you could have a face of a bulldog chewing a hornets nest look’n like you fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down… but in a Service Uniform it didn’t matter… Every dame hotter than a goat’s ass in a pepper patch would be rubber neck’n to get a look your way… it’s enough to make you happier than a hound dog with two peckers! There’s nothing like being home all gussied up in your crisp Crackerjacks or favorite pair of Dress Whites!!!
Of course the kinfolk would say…
“The last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a grasshopper… boy how you’ve grown!”
But some of them hometown gals were look’n for a real man to take them away… added with a bit of flam basted Sea Story gibberish… a ‘Crackerjack’ on a fourteen day furlough might be a good catch!!! Nothing like sweet talk’n the honeys when you got home about a life of wonderment and adventure… hell they didn’t know any better! It’s one of the reasons why passing the art of tell’n Sea Stories from one generation to the next is so important… so us ‘Crackerjacks’ can cook stuff up so full of wonder and amazement that anything wear’n a skirt and laced panties would fall in love in a New York Minute!! Because everyone knows that any Squidly-Do-Right who can’t tell a Sea Story is about as useless as tits on a bull!!!
The truth is… it ain’t really lying… but just stretching out the truth a bit! You know what they say…
“It ain’t bragg’n if you done it… as long as you can back it up!”
Well after twenty-three years I can surely back it all up! But at nineteen… twenty years old, you’re still wet behind the ears and don’t know shit about shinola!! It’s funny how the horse crap you spoon fed the gals was inversely proportional to the crazy shit you fed your buddies!! Try tell’n a gal back home about the Tijuana Donkey Shows and the Girls in Thailand and she’ll skedaddle the other way quicker than shit... But the boys… they love that shit... they'll smile and look at you all amazed like a baby in a topless bar!!!
No the ladies liked to hear about the adventures of heroism and exotic places like Tahiti, Hawaii, France & Italy! But anyone who knows me well can attest to the ‘V’ shaped scar on my right leg… an ugly son-of-a-bitch it is! To the ladies as the story would go…
“One of my shipmates fell off the portside and I had to jump in to the deep blue and rescue him from the shark infested waters… and that’s when this big tiger shark came in and clamped down on my leg… it was at this time I pulled out my trusty navy issued bowie knife and sent the critter to the bottom of ‘Davey Jones Locker’ as fish food… courtesy of the US Navy!!”
Of course that’s a load of shit… but when you’re home on leave and in the backseat of her Daddy’s 88’ Olds… you ain’t even gotta wear the tits off the tires and she’s ready to do the horizontal mambo with the sexiest man alive!! And to the fellas who didn’t know any better…
“So there I was on the streets of Olongapo in the Subic Bay of the PI… After a night of exasperated sex with the hottest bar girl in the land I was off to find another… when she pulled out her switch-blade and accused me of butterfly for not being faithful… and that’s how I got my War Wound… One Hundred-Thirty Six Stitches later!!!”
And on and on the stories grow… nevermind the one about the stolen ambulance riding into town to pick up hookers and beer… or how Seaman Smith Jumped out of a three story window of a cathouse butt nekkit to evade the shore patrol… and other gold plated bullshit stories concocted by the best minds this ol’ Canoe Club could muster! Don’t bullshit me… if you’re a salty ol’ goat then your guilty as hell… we’ve all been there and done that!! Anything it takes to get down a young fawns shorts… never too big for one’s britches to think too highly of themselves… cause we were young and full of sexual angst!!!
More lies got told than any other time in your chronological history… no such thing as the gospel truth… and hell your parents… you didn’t even have to lie to them… just tell them what you do and they’ll embellish the story tenfold!! When I became a CIWS tech my Dad went around tell’n everyone how I was in charge of the fasted gun in the fleet… whatever the hell that means… and when I became a Tomahawk Tech he told everyone I was in charge of launch’n the Tomahawks into Iraq and Afghanistan… and I remember when I told him I made Chief he told the whole damned town I was Chief-of-the-Boat!! Now I’m retired and build rockets and he tells everyone I’m a Chief Rocket Scientist… I love my ol’ man… he really means well!!!
But when you’ve been around the world and seen the things I’ve seen… sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!! I’ve seen several nekkit ladies in the Phillipines, and their titties ‘Do’ have looong nipples… sometimes an inch or two looong… No Shit!! And there really are real live lady boys in Thailand that could make most women jealous… all over the gaudamned place!! And I’ve really seen Go-Go dancers shoot darts outta their cootchie-lala and hit a bulls-eye from ten feet away… No Futher-Mucking-Bun-Of-A-Sitch!! And I’ve drank stuff that tastes like thirty year old turpentine and made me feel like a floor story tenant in a two story outhouse kind’a shit the next morning!!!
But at the end of the day we spent more time chipp’n paint… buff’n floors & shining brass than living those adventures around the world we tell you about! I couldn’t tell you where the mundane boredom stopped and ‘The Little Golden Book’ stories started… if I did it would be ‘Classified Information’ and I’d have to kill ya if I told ya!!
Ha-ha… it reminds me of that joke…
An Army brat was boasting about his father to a Navy brat.
"My dad is an engineer. He can do everything. Do you know the Alps?"
"Yes," said the Navy brat.
"My dad built them."
Then the naval kid spoke:
"And do you know the Dead Sea?"
"It's my dad who killed it!"