Saturday, January 25, 2014

Midlife Crisis

Like many other Navy Chiefs entering midlife crisis… Bill, off the USS Blumpkin, had issues maintaining an erection!

He thought a simple disparaging from his wife…  and a quick chat with his doctor would be enough, but he couldn't have been more mistaken!!

"I scheduled an appointment with my doctor…"

Bill explained,

"…but when I asked him about Cialis, as I was told to do by the ad…”

"Chief, this is the Dental Department why are your pants down?!?

…and he was completely humiliated!! This never happened before Tricare got confused with Obamacare!!!"


Swing'n from Halyard to Halyard!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

'Stripping Decomms'

Any of you ol’ shipmates ever get to drive along the water’s edge in Bremerton… up along PSNS?!? What a bunch’a old cobweb coated recollections for Crackerjacks who’d been put out to pasture!! That fleet of rust buckets sits like a gaggle of nuns in a whorehouse… about as useless as tits on a boar-hog!! At least that’s what they look like from the outside!!!
You see… those mothballed hulks of rusted metal served a very good purpose back in my days on the Chucky ‘V’ and Rainier ‘Lucky N°7!’ While they sat wait’n to be memorialized as some Podunk museum sold to the highest bidder… referred to the Gillette Razor Blade Scrap Yard Factory… or sent to Davey Jones Locker as a barnacle encrusted artificial reef, those rust buckets were a navy man’s nirvana for spare parts!!!
Once they got their death certificates and decommissioned... they were like a floating wonderland of repair shops, pipes, valves, davits, and left over machined whatchamacallit doohickeys the likes you’d never seen before! Like shepherds with shears we’d cut off anything salvageable and haul it away!!!

I learned the tricks of the trade when I first set foot onboard the ‘Chucky V’ while resting high in dry-dock! With all the welding, hammering, needlegunn’n, priming & painting going on by the shipyard, we had all the time in the world to head over for some cumshaw!! The ol’ Canoe Club was starting to draw down as ships the likes of the Long Beach, Parche, Truxtun, Pyro & others were on a skeleton crew ready to be dismissed!!!

Supply made us fill out requisitions that resembled Sumerian Cuneiform but it didn’t matter much to a bunch’a rowdy young Crackerjacks!  Things that hadn’t been pre-approved could perhaps be pre-arranged for appropriate consideration… I think Radar and Klinger from M.A.S.H. were masterminds of such debacles!! A carton of smokes… some nudie mags… sex with someone’s sister… it hardly mattered!! It was a great source of cumshaw and a chance to shoot the shit with other shipmates on other boats!! The idea was to locate an item or items of comparable value, and exchange them for what you needed!!!

And when the skeleton crews disbursed… we kept on visiting and kept on taking as we’d climb in the skin of old ships like sharks in an organized feeding frenzy... transporting screwdrivers, wrenches, name it, and joined in on a regular parts removal merrymaking revelry on an A-gang spare parts orgy!!

“See if you can get some door gasket material…”

“We need a wave guide dry air pressure gauge…”

“… some wingnuts & dogg’n wrenches…”

“… any saltwater strainers… toggle pins for handrail stanchions…”

“You think you can find any fire hoses laying around?!?”

Hell, you went aboard with a gauddamned assorted grocery list! Because sometimes, removing chunks from ol’ rust buckets was the best way to get spare parts… we called it cannibalizing!!

We’d climb aboard and find our way inside a ship wondering through a maze of dark passageways and compartments looking for a heaping pile of gold!! Oh the wonderment of walking into a compartment with more electrical gedunk whizzbang stuff than you’d ever seen… There were special synchro driven ionized heterodyned dickey madoos… static & dynamically tested thingamajigs… electrically phased thingumabobs… super-duper whizbangs & whatchamacallit doohickeys that I had no idea if it was attached upside-down, downside-up, inboard or outboard or whatever the hell kind’a board!!  Just had to make sure you brought one of them reprehensible cutt’n torch technicians and a pair of bolt cutters so we could give the ol’ rust bucket a hysterectomy and transplant those machined giblets on a newer much improved ship!!!

When we got back to our respective ships we must’ve looked like Ali Baba and the The Forty Thieves with all that crap! And once our spare parts bins reached Guinness Book proportions the CNO decided to venture into this thing called ‘Lean Manufacturing’ … you know… TQL, Sigma Six & that sort’a thing and all the raping of old Hulls with varicose veins & saggy tits went to the wayside!!!

AAAAAH Hell… I’m sure it’s still going on to some extent! Though before I hung up my hat, I remember tell’n my young ones how in the ol’ days we actually used synchro & servos… power amplifiers… tubes & solid state devices to move things that go boom instead of all these gauddamned ones & zeroes you can fit on a microchip the size of your thumb!!!

… And to the outside observer, passing by the Bremerton Boneyard… where the zip codes of rusty ol’ hulls of mothballed rust buckets that included some of the greatest ships the world has ever known… those mighty behemoths of power are being eaten to death… rivet by rivet… layer by layer… slowly drifting into oblivion while relaxing on their barnacle encrusted bottoms… just like the ol’ coots who once road on them!!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

‘Stand By For Heavy Rolls’

If there’s one thing that all us true ol’ salty Crackerjacks have in common it’s the love of King Neptune’s beautiful deep blue and the wonders that come with it! Have you ever been on the ‘IO’ when the surface was as smooth as glass… with flying fish over the bow & porpoise both port & starboard… bearing witness to three or four water spouts as far as the eye could see?!? It’s Gods great gift to seafarers around the world!!  

Then there’s the other side of things! Where Gale Winds & Heavy Seas were like nature’s fury! The kind of force where everything from Timbuktu to Bumfuck Egypt gets tossed around to the tune of a giant mambo dance while laundry bags… cables & anything else hanging under the sun was swing’n back & fro like a pair of monkey balls!! The ship would bounce like a cork in a bathtub as the latest make and mod of greenhorn shipmates would turn to their racks with a penchant weakness for motion sickness!!!

Stand by for Heavy Rolls.... Batten all Hatches and secure all Gear Adrift."

Yes… these were the Ride’m Cowboy style dancing with the devil raging seas! There’s nothing like salt spray and ocean turbulence to make for a good night’s sleep!! Tearing through saltwater, full speed ahead, slicing like a flat spoon with that bulbous sonar dome crash’n through the waves!! It was like a crazy roller coaster ride in the wild blue yonder!!!

Waves crashing down from every direction… getting caught in the trough… the deafening sounds of waves hitting the hull! Junk you hadn't seen for months came falling out from under racks, angle irons, vents & overhead lights!! Anything from nudie mags… to happy socks… to dried up bricks of hashish from deployments gone past!! Things not bolted, welded, or somehow secured for sea became airborne missile hazards that could do a cha-cha dance on your nogg’n!! Never mind the valve stems, firemain handles, pipes & gauges that played hooky on your cranium!!!

Then there was the rain topside… the rain was like ice picks on your face! It was even worse at night in Dog Zebra darken ship conditions!! I could’a done without all that shit!!!

My first ship was a frigate… a Knox Class… the USS Baglady! I remember taking heavy rolls wondering if we were gonna capsize?!? Someone once told me those frigates were designed to tip over the stack when the boat took more than a Sixty Degree role?!? Hell… I don’t know, figured it was probably more let’s bullshit the new guy kind of fun… like the Captain’s Crank, a ‘BT’ Punch or blow’n the ‘MPA’!!

But my most memorable experience was in the Aleutians on the ol’ Baglady! I was the MK68 Director Tracker afforded the privilege of heading above decks in Kapok & Rain Gear to relieve the watch!! The weather decks were secured for all non-essential personnel and being in the Aleutians in the director was the most wretched, thankless, cold, dark and never-ending job in the Firecontrol world!! I had never been so gauddamned cold in my entire life… At times I think my veins resembled the likes of an Icy machine!!!

From the Director I got a front row seat right above the Signal Bridge watching ‘green water’ crash over the bow as it pierced through the waves submerged ten or fifteen feet! One moment the bow is buried deep in a giant swell… the next it’s popping up skyward pointing at the heavens above!!!

"Gunplot, Director... Hey when’s my relief showing up? I’m gett’n tossed around like a rag doll!”

“Director, Gunplot… Yeah, more like gett’n tossed around like a salad… who you got up there with you?!?”

“Yeah, yeah, fuck you and the horse you rode in on!!”

And so it went… like an idiot on a mechanical bull seemingly disregarding Newton’s laws on gravity while bouncing around like Richard gauddamned Simmons doing flamboyant musical aerobics with fat guys and the wind blow’n like a cry’n coyote in my ear!!

“Director, Gunplot … … Director, Gunplot … …   Director, Gunplot…  Are we in today or are you just ignoring me?”

“Gunplot, Director… it’s colder than Eskimo Pussy up here… and my nuts have drawn up my ass so tight I couldn’t reach them with a knitting needle!”

“What’s wrong… you feel like you’ve been stuck on the tilt-a-wheel for too long?”

“Oh yeah, I’m having more fun than a gauddamned tornado in a trailer park you fuckers!”

Those cozy asses down in Gunplot always liked to get your goat… all they did was sit around listening to music, chain smok’n & scratching their asses…

“Gunplot, Director… can I get a relief for a head break, I’m dancing around like a shak’n dog shitting hammer handles up here and my eyeballs are float’n I gotta pee so bad!”

“Director, Gunplot… you don’t need no truck stop… you got a piss bottle up their!”

“… Yeah, last time you fuckers put Icy Hot around the rim… I didn’t pee the same for three days!”

“Director, Gunplot… you about two bricks shy of a full load?”  

“… Come on man, I feel like I’m giving birth to a gauddamned porcupine!”

“… I see your point but I still think you’re full of shit!”

The love never got any better between shipmates… but it didn’t matter much at that point! Hell I was so far down the food chain I could feel the algae nipp’n at my dingleberries!!

As a young Crackerjack you get hassled a lot… it just went with the territory, the low man on the totem pole! Hell I  never understood the point in having a director tracker in such heavy seas… made about as much sense as a tail gunner in the space shuttle!! I was taking a thirty to forty foot elevator ride up and down every swell!!!

With all that up & down… up & down… I think the screws got more air time than Howard Stern…

“Gunplot, Director… I’m bouncing around like a pinball up here! One more trough like that and we’ll be one tilt short of a rudder if you know what I mean!?!”

“Director, Gunplot… Did you say on tit short of an udder or one tilt short of a rudder?!?”

“… You know I’ve learned something up here all alone in the dark… no matter how hard you guys beat me down, I’m still able to get it up!” 

“…. Catching a stiff breeze up there are you Danny Boy?”

“… You old fuckers, always calling a gale force hurricane sized wind a stiff breeze!”

“… The rougher the seas, the smoother the sail!”

“… You fuckers are stuck on stupid!”

Yeah, normally I wouldn’t of got away with talking trash to my Workcenter Sup. or anyone else in the division for that matter but under the circumstances they gave me enough slack… besides at that moment… as far as I was concerned, I was the only one that mattered tethered to a gyrating spindle on the upper decks in a zillion knots of wind… dress out in a neon orange kapok jacket & rain gear soaked in salt water look’n like a giant ‘Stayfree Maxi-pad’!!!  

Yeah… there’s nothing like being tossed around in Mother Nature’s angry fury!  Nothing like bouncing off lockers, DC equipment & angle irons like a tennis shoe in a washing machine!! We must’a been nuttier than a port-a-potty at a peanut festival… but what did we know?!? All in all look’n back it was a hell of a lot of fun acting like a bunch of idiots in a log roll’n contest!! Nothing like grown men piss’n in the wind some having fun while others were so scared they were shitt’n spaghetti strings for a week!!!

They say the cream always rises to the top… but shit floats just as well if you know what I’m say’n… and I had a lot of fun either way you wanna look at it!! Simple pleasures for simple minds I suppose…

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sailors and Taxi Drivers

An ol’ salty sailor is out on the town doing liberty drunk and leaving the casino… the same casino where two years earlier he’d had a terrible run in with a Taxi driver that cost him a stripe and thirty days restriction to the boat!

As he exits the casino, he sees a long line of Taxi drivers... and at the end is his old enemy from two years before!!

Seeing this, the ol’ salt decides to get his revenge. He goes up to the first Taxi and says…

"Hey will you give me a blowjob?"

The taxi driver says…

"No you freak, get out of my car!"

The drunken sailor then goes on to the next car and says…

"Hey will you give me a blowjob?"

The taxi driver says…

"No you maniac, get out of my car!"

The ol’ Salt continues to do this all the way down the line until he reaches the last taxi, and sees his enemy.

He climbs in and asks…

"How much for a ride to the airport?"

Not recognizing the sailor the driver replies…

"Five Dollars!"


…says the sailor and he gets in. Then as he passes the line of other taxis, he sticks his hands out the window and gives them all a big thumbs up!!!

'An AWOL Crackerjack'

I figure it’s that time of season when it happened so many years ago! I figure I’ll tell my whimsical rendition of feel’n sorry for my happy ass after accepting a taxpayer sustained college enticement to help fill the ranks of the Ol’ Canoe Club!! Then how I took some leave of Unauthorized Absence on a week long journey from Arctic brisk winds blow’n across Lake Michigan thumbing rides and catnapp’n on a Greyhound half way through hell and Georgia to the sunshine state!!   

Rest assured I made a fine mess of things in those first six months as a Crackerjack, learn’n a hard humbled lesson in swaller’n my pride while tap dancing on my own dick! No son-of-a-bitch was dumber and more ill-advised than I at such a young age!! I remember looking longingly at the world outside, contemplating what my existence would’ve been like had I not signed my life away on that dotted line!!!

I said it once before…

“At Nineteen and right outta High School we were all young… dumb… and full of too much sexual angst to be pull’n our puds for just one gal! But what the hell did we know… I fell in love and all I could think about was that ‘Suzie Rotten Crotch’ back home!”

At this juncture it was high time I took a serious stab at going AWOL!  I’d talked to the ol’ Chaplin but he could’nt help me… I consulted with my shipmates but they didn’t understand… so unencumbered and feel’n unobligated to stand my post, I took the next big experience in my Navy Career… in subzero weather with a seabag over my shoulder and a thumb up in the air I decided to go piss’n  in the wind!! Now at a meager five foot seven inches and less than a buck fifty soak and wet… that’s a mighty long journey for a young man not preferential to the cold… In the Chicago winter… hitchhiking is mightily can freeze his balls off in those conditions!!!

It was colder than a well-digger’s ass on a brass toilet seat in the Yukon and I had three or four layers over that ass and I still felt naked as a jail bird… yet it gave me an having a super-secret code ring. The theory being,’Mr. and Mrs. Concerned Citizen’ would see me out there in the damned cold leaning helplessly into the wind…

“Oh we can't pass that cute little feller up....he's freez’n his butt off!”

Then all you had to do was struggle to reach the stopped car with an exaggerated chatter of the ol’ teeth and knees!!!

Somehow with that seabag over my shoulder and three or four piggy back rides from a few all American folks helping a young dumb sailor try to escape his own misery, I had made it from somewhere in Waukegan to somewhere downtown Chicago! With no clue what was where or if up was down… I think I was having a mental case of vertigo in that snow blizzard that was going on outside as well as inside my head!! I’d made it to the L-Train and tried to figure out how the hell to get to the Greyhound Station I knew was downtown!!!

Standing there lost and confused on the wrong side of town, some cute young black girl came over and pulled me aside…

“Honey… do you have any idea where you are or where you’re going?”

… All I knew was it was cold… somewhere in Chicago… and trying to get to the bus station! She grasped me by the arm and told me I was in a bad neighborhood with no business being there and she rode the train with me to the Greyhound terminal… you can’t find that kind’a sweetness just anywhere… not these days!!!

Once at the station I gave most of my wallet for a one way trip to Tampa… the closest stop to home at the time and looked for a place to plant my ass and rub my hands together for a little warmth! The place was pretty antiquated… looked like somewhere out of an old Hitchcock Thriller… old furniture with torn upholstery and shitty bathrooms with lights flickering overhead!! Cold, nervous & hungry… I had an unopened box of peanut M&Ms in my pocket I’d bought from the gedunk machine before I’d left!! I remember because I wrote ‘Suzie Rotten Crotch’s’ number on it so I could call her when I got back home!!!

… And so half way through hell and Georgia to the sunshine state I made it in about three days! It was a careless adventure of feel’n free without constraint!! No musters, no commitments, no early morning marches to the chow hall!! Just a testosterone loaded kid full of bullshit and emotions and a few dollars in my hip pocket!! Needless to say shit went downhill pretty fast for a fresh young lad who’d lost his way!!!

Once I made it into town I’d hooked up with my ol’ pal Joey and some Mad Dog 20/20 for some hell rais’n and hard drink’n before I found myself tankered and serenading silly love songs at ‘Suzie Rotten Crotch’s’ window 0100 hours in the morning… on a school night (she was still in high school) … don’t know why her daddy didn’t pull out the ol’ twelve gauge shotgun full of rock salt… quite the contrary as he invited me in… and I proceeded to thank him by turning his toilet and bathroom floor into a funny shade of purple!! All I remember next was waking up in an orange grove the ensuing morning in Joey’s car bent over the passenger seat with a bucket draped over my head about a quarter full of last night’s drink!!!

… That my friends is a ‘No Shitter’…

After three days of argument’s sake… a dozen phone calls from shipmates, Chief of the barracks, and my command in Great Mistakes, I was on an airplane back to NTC where I was to be awarded my punishment for my deeds as a young shitbag recruit!!! 

Our Commanding Officer, Commander Clark, was a hard ass to say the least! A no nonsense kind of fella…

“So what’s your story son?”

“I was homesick sir… and missed my girlfriend so I just left!”

“Are you over it yet?”

“No Sir… not really!”

“Well son… If you ever get finished convalescing from your illness of self-pity then I promise… shit will get better!”
The skipper didn’t consider my rather unorthodox self-loathing as any more than a cry for help and hemmed my ass up at Captain's Mast for two weeks restriction... and some session time with the Alcohol Anonymous meetings at the base chapel! Now listening to those fellas tell tales of their childhood… rape, incest, abuse… hell, that’s when I realized I was nothing more than a snot nosed spoiled brat kid!! I had no gauddamned reason to bitch or feel sorry for myself… that shit makes you wake up quick when you see how bad it is in the real world!!!

Instead of kicking my dumb ass to the curb they gave me another opportunity to get an Honorable Discharge entitling me to a free funeral plot and some VA benefits down the road when I’m an old coot wearing depends and fitt’n tennis balls to the bottom of a walker! Yet somehow I was even dumb enough to get suckered into three more enlistments and several trips around the world before calling it a day and hang’n up my anchors to be a born-again landlubber!!!

… You know, they say you could’nt of made Chief unless you’d been to Mast at least once in your career… and all the lifers became ‘Mustangs’… he-he!!!

Yeah, I walked in and out of the door of life a few times and it hit me square where the ‘Good Lord’ split me… it’s funny how the mind expunges all the bullshit in between… ain’t it?!?