Thursday, February 27, 2014

‘The Lucky Bag’

If you weren’t around in the Ol’ Canoe club before all the latest fashion changes, this is going to sound silly and make absolutely no damn sense to you. If you did, you’ll surely remember the ‘Lucky Bag!’ On Lucky N°.7, or the Good Ship Rainier…  I had the opportunity to get Goat Roped & chartered out to the Master-At-Arms Office for a three month tour!! As an acting member of the seagoing Sheriff’s Department there were many menial tasks to be performed such as handing out linen and blankets to rookie recruits check’n aboard, mustering restrictoids, following the XO around for heads-n-beds, standing idly by for Captain’s Mast, looking out for the imprudence of problem children, Penis Gawking during Urinalysis… and acting as the great protector of the Lucky Bag Issue & Sea Bag Locker!!!

You might ask…

“Lucky Bag… What the hell’s he talking about?!?

You see, the Lucky Bag was the black hole where all the unclaimed Gear Adrift & junk left behind by wayward sailors given less than an honorable boot out the door was kept for reissue to those who lacked a complete Sea Bag or just too gauddamned cheap to buy new items… I should know, I must’ve procured quite a collection from the ship’s Goodwill Store!! Matter of fact… I think I ended up with Seaman Grant’s Jumper top & several good pair of Bates Corfams!!!

This corner of our rather spacious Sea Bag Locker was jumbled with ratty T-shirts that could’ve attracted buzzards from three counties away never finding their way to the shit can, Johnny Cash uniforms with more ties than you could shake a stick at, Summer Whites, Crackerjacks, DC’d dungarees with the names crossed out, shoes, Dixie cups, boots, nudie mags, zippo lighters, web belts, flashy belt buckles, ribbon holders… and more nudie mags!! If a fella went AWOL we could end up with all his Earthly possessions in the Lucky Bag Issue… and if you wanted your stuff back then a bit of EMI might be required for your service!!!

Yes Sir… I remember during Heads-n-Beds the XO might check the unused lockers for Gear Adrift, and if you had anything out other than your ratty Navy blanket used for producing the finest Ghost Turds in the world and a ditty bag of moldy funk & laundry, and the average yellow stained pillow… we’d scoop up said contents to register in the Lucky Bag Issue!  We were like the ship’s REPO pick’n up the stuff nobody cared to keep secure!! Many onboard looked at us as a bunch’a rotten sons-a-bitches going around legally stealing shit to get our rocks off!! But not me… on duty nights when I’d be down in the shack manning the phones and it was time to open up the ol’ Sea Bag Locker, some of them fellas would get an invite to come down and pick up their Gear Adrift!! Most assigned EMI was divied out to E-5 and above on duty from various Divisions!! It didn’t take much to get a fella to come down and grab a lucky shipmate assigned three hours of community service to administer his EMI skating out in the Bos’n Locker or an Engine Room until his time was up!!! 

But there was this one fella… can’t for the life of me remember his name! He’d gone AWOL and we’d been sent up to clear his rack and his locker of all things and send it down to the Lucky Bag!! Once MA1 popped the lock… there was this nauseating odiferous aroma of a bad case of advanced athletes foot mixed with Brut 33 foo foo juice with a moldy cherry on top… it was sooo gauddamned nauseating you could only smile and open all the hatches to get some air in the damned space!! We had a Senior Chief MA who’s androgynous looks reminded everyone of Pat O’Neil Riley from Saturday Night Live!! She got a whiff and thanked the MA Gods we didn’t bring in the canines that stuff was so strong…

“Someone needs to douse there feet in Desenex… instead of cologne!”

Poor fella must’ve had some sort of Jungle Rot the Naval Research Lab just couldn’t figure out how to heal… needless to say his junk found its way to the dumpster and never made it to the Lucky Bag!!!

And I don’t know how many times we’d found a set of Summer Whites that looked like they’d been run through a Mexican Shoeshine… dirty socks that looked like they’d been used for sex toys at a leper colony or various pieces of clothing right outta the Victoria Secret Catalog… and I ain’t talk’n about the Female Berthing neither!!! 

Speaking of Female Berthing… I think the ultimate was the time we had to inventory some Gear Adrift from the only split tail berthing on the ship! After unwrapping what appeared to be an old fashioned cloth diaper of some sort… we found a greasy dildo with sparkles & speckles all about… don’t know if the grease was some sort of Vaseline or Astro Lube!! We called it the Pixie Peter!!! You just don’t forget stuff like that… and you can’t make shit like that up either!!!

Between the dandruff harvesting ball caps, toe nail clipping collections and fungus spore assemblages cohabitat’n with different species of exotic mold and mildew found from Deck Berthing all the way aft to the Airdale Compartments with flies circling all about, it’s a wonder we’d collected anything worth a hoot in the long neglected contributions of the Lucky Bag… but there were some gems… that’s if us Duty MAs didn’t get ahold of it first!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

‘Father to Son Advice’

The following is a father's advice to his son just moments before he gets on the bus that will carry him off to join the Navy…

"Son, you are getting ready to embark on a great adventure as many of the men in our family have done since your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather did many hundreds of years ago.”

His son starts to turn as his Dad stops him…

“There will be many dangers ahead that you will encounter. Remember your training and obey your commanders, this will keep you alive during the arduous days of battle. Always stay with the plan, if you deviate from it you will be in grave jeopardy.

His son looks at him with pride…

“When the time of battle is over, be wary as you go into the towns and cities ahead because there are many hidden dangers lurking there. There will be many temptations to lure you away from your brothers in arms and this could put you in danger even if it seems safe at the time. In every town there will be a street that will be most treacherous of all there will be strong drink to dull your senses, loud and crude songs to suppress your hearing, and wild women of ill repute to enable your enemy to catch you off guard.
“My advice to you as a former sailor is simple… Whatever you do... FIND THAT STREET!!!"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

'Thanks to The Ancient Order Of Shit River'

‘Dumbest of the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’

I’m tinkering with the idea of scribbl’n a manuscript about the Dumbest of the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in the Ol’ Canoe Club that I’d ever known through the years! A compilation of all the stupid individuals, thick headed crazy sons-a-bitches and lowest forms of communicable trailer trash that had ever donned the White Hat-Crackerjack combo over the last thirty years!! Some people can make your stomach churn like a Maytag washer on rinse cycle. One fella in particular comes to mind… back in my recruiting days!!!

In the world of recruiting where you’re at the point you can sit down with a young man and brag about seagoing Mardi Gras & Spring Break like liberty where all the girls have perky titties with heart shaped butts in every port just waiting for their American Crackerjack! And how we all have custom leather crew chairs in front of the lounge fireplace or how we play shuffleboard on the poopdeck right after evening chow before taking in a movie on the 70’ widescreen with surround sound and the moonlit luaus with ukulele music & blah, blah, blah… you get the message!! It’s about sell’n ice cubes to Eskimos… and you were either good at it or you weren’t!!!

In the case of … we’ll call him Bubba to protect me in case he ever gets outta jail… this fella was about a Six foot Three Two-hundred Fifty pound big ol’ Cowboy type who looked like he rode a trusty horse yell’n … ‘Hi Ho Silver Away’… while roping things & shoot’n up Indians & catch’n train robbers & sing’n country western tunes to the tumble weeds and slapp’n saloon girls on the butt in the cutest whorehouses in Texas kinda way!! But this fella didn’t know his butt from the proverbial manhole!!!

His Recruiter-In-Charge, RINC, asked if we could do anything with him and sent him up for a day or two from Muskogee to Tulsa so we could break the ice and gett’m out hitt’n the pavement so to say! I was sent out to the local mall with this fella just to get him to shake a few hands and introduce himself to some strangers… a little ‘How Ya doing, my name is Bubba!’… type of thing!!

The first opportunity I got to see this fella in action he just about blew an ‘O’ ring outta his ass… damaged a couple internal valves and turned his equilibrium slide scope indicator inside out!! Then he went temporarily blind while his gills turned fire engine red... and high pressure steam vapor came outta his ears as his sweat pumps went into hyper-overdrive!! One more moment and he surely would’ve went into cardiac overload!!!

Being so irrevocably terrified of them there scary beasts known as civilians should have effectively ended his recruiting career... every time I’d try to get him to approach some young fella it would trigger some sort of ‘wet-my-pants’ episode from the big ol’ boy! Yep… he was about as useless as the front pocket of them there tidy whities you got on!! The big dumb son-of-a-bitch was scared of his own shadow!!!

It wasn’t long after that I donned the anchors and was sent to the Muskogee station to be their RINC! I was quick to assess this was an outfit loaded with huckleberry misfits pulling weekend shenanigans like an eighty year old whore doing tricks at the local nursing home! Only a stupid son-of-a-bitch would think this was a step up in the recruiting world!! They were a group of semi-literate bozos I tell ya!! I felt like a foreman at a retard house!!!

It was like going from a slick brand new Cadillac to a rusty ol’ jalopy with a four-banger leak’n oil out the head gasket!!  I went from a ten minute walk to my place of business to a forty-five minute drive down the Muskogee Turnpike… man they weren’t kidding when they sang about the Okie from Muskogee!! There were some backwoods sons-a-bitches up in that area… and some of the fellas in my office were even worse!!!

It was a miserable experience heading the office in the outlands of Hickville, Oklahoma but I couldn’t complain about it to my peers… that’d be like renouncing your membership in the Chief’s Mess! Like telling everyone you underwent some transsexual conversion!!!

Between the senior fella, the previous RINC, who insisted on wearing them ‘Billy Bob’ hillbilly teeth to every interview and another harassing truck drivers in bathroom stalls at the local truck stop… I had more than my hands full just try’n to get Bubba up and running!!!

Then one day ol’ Bubba comes into the office all teary eyed and red in the face…

“Bubba… what the hell’s wrong with you? A big ol’ boy like you and your cry’n like a bitch… what gives?!?

“Chief… my wife is gonna leave me and she wants to take the kids away from me too!”

AAH Hell… those are words that any man can understand! You can step on my pride and you can take away the joy in life but don’t try to run away with my pride & joy!!

“Well Bubba you know what they say… marriage ain’t a word… it’s a life sentence!”

A little humor cheered him up a bit…

“I never knew real happiness until I got married… then it was too late!”

“Yeah Chief she says I pass gas too much… but I told her she would too if she’d shut up long enough to build up the pressure!!”


Yeah, it didn’t take long for ol’ Bubba to crawl out of his shell once the wife left him! He got himself another girlfriend and everything seemed to be working well!! At this point I had existed miserably at the Muskogee station for nearly a year before I got orders to run one of the stations in Tulsa… definitely a move up in the world!! But it only took about three or four months before I got a call from the NRD Command Master Chief…

“Chief Swing… I need you to get in your vehicle and head down to Muskogee!”

“What’s up Master Chief?”

“Your boy Bubba is getting complaints about trash in his garage from his neighbors and I need you to go handle it!”

“Roger that…”

And so I was off haul’n boogie down the Muskogee Turnpike through the balmy fog like an unstable meteorite weaving through traffic reaching terminal velocity heading down the trail as fast as I could!! As soon as I showed up Bubba was already wait’n for me!!!

“So Bubba… the command called and said your gett’n complaints for having a filthy garage!”

“It ain’t filthy Chief… I’ll take you to it!”

“Well alright then…”

… And so we headed to his house! Once we got there and he opened his garage it was less of a filthy mess and more like a mountain of beer cans… BEER CANS by the tens of thousands… a mountain of beer cans about four feet high!

“So Chief… how do you like my collection?”

“I don’t think I’d call this a collection… more like the beginnings of a hoarding experiment gone wrong! You might be able to get on one of them TV shows or something… but we’ve got to get this cleaned up!”

And from there we got a truck and took all them beer cans to the recycling plant!

“Bubba… why’d you have so many beer cans… you got some sort’a drink’n problem?”

“Chief I don’t have a drink’n problem… I just figured if I had enough toilet paper, beens & weenies and beer… then if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse or something I gotta have what I need to sustain me right? Besides didn’t you find my beer can mountain very artistic?!?”

“Oh you mean your useful collection of beer cans… Bubba… the fact no one understands you and the things you do it don’t make you an artist… sheesh!”

And that was that… so I thought…

A few more months go by and I get another call from you guessed it…  NRD Command Master Chief!

“Chief Swing… just wait until you hear this! Your boy Bubba found himself in Jail last night!”


“Apparently after guzzling copious amounts of alcohol he intentionally set fire to his house with his kids in it… and I want you to go visit him in jail and find out what he has to say about this!”

And so there I was off haul’n boogie down the Muskogee Turnpike… Again!!!

I get to the jailhouse in Muskogee and meet up with ol’ Bubba through the glass window as he proceeds to tell me how he got in an argument with his girlfriend over her dog piss’n in the house and in a drunken rage fueled with prescription pain killers he brought a can of gasoline in from the garage and doused the dogs collar in the middle of the living room and lit it on fire!!!

“Well Chief… after that, somewhere along the line, the local Muskogee Gestapo arrived in cars like a buncha’ Ringling Brothers Circus clowns with weapons drawn & ready to shoot!”

… A disdained look on my face…

“… and the fire trucks were coming from all directions… they made a mountain out of a mole hill!”

“What the fuck Bubba… you think you have a God given ‘Get Out Of Jail Free Card?”

Yes… from there he was booked into the Muskogee County jail on first-degree arson charges as well as attempted murder with the kids in the house! It just goes to show the alcohol combined with his naturally inherent stupidity had robbed him of any knowledge that the good people who wrote the law left no room for idiots who start fires in the middle of their living room!!!

Once he went through the initial court proceedings it was later found out the dumb son-of-a-bitch was married to two women… apparently he’d never divorced his first wife for reasons unknown to me… and in the process managed to marry this ‘girlfriend’ no one knew he was married too! So of course the NRD Command Master Chief asks me…

“Chief Swing… how did you not know he was married to two women?”

“I’d been gone from Muskogee for eight months… hell the hell am I supposed to know?”

Why the hell he’d want to be married to two wives… as if one bitch’n at you ain’t more than enough… now you got two mother-in-laws to boot! Yeah that boy was about as crooked as a barrel of fish hooks and about as low down as whale shit!! If the son-of-a-bitch is out of jail by now… I suppose he’s somewhere play’n gin rummy as a repo-man or a dirty insurance claims adjuster of some sort!! I guess God must have loved idiots...he made so damned many of them!! But I suppose that’s one of the charges I must’ve overlooked when I became a Chief… look out after idiots!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


A young Naval officer was severely wounded in the head in combat in Viet Nam, but the only visible, permanent injury was that both of his ears were amputated.

However, since his remaining hearing was sufficient, he remained in the Navy.

Many years later he eventually rose to the rank of Admiral. He was, however, very sensitive about his appearance. One day the Admiral was interviewing three servicemen who were candidates for his staff.

The first was a Lieutenant who had a great interview.  At the end of the interview the Admiral asked him…

 "Do you notice anything different about me?"
The Lieutenant answered…

 "Why, yes, sir, I couldn't help but notice that you have no ears."
The Admiral was displeased with his lack of tact and threw him out.

The second interview was with a very experienced Commander and he was even better. The Admiral then asked him the same question…

"Do you notice anything different about me?"
The Commander replied sheepishly…

 "Well, sir, you have no ears."

…The Admiral threw him out also.
The third interview was with an old Chief Petty Officer, a Boatswain's Mate with many red hashmarks. He was smart, articulate, fit, looked sharp, and seemed to know more than the two officers combined.

The Admiral liked this guy and went ahead with the same question…

 "Do you notice anything different about me?"
To his surprise the Master Chief said

"Yes, sir, you wear contact lenses."
The Admiral was very impressed and thought, 'What an incredibly observant man, and he didn't mention my ears.' 
He asked…

"Master Chief, how do you know I wear contacts?"

"Well, sir," he replied, "it's pretty hard to wear glasses with no fucking ears."

Monday, February 3, 2014


Remember back before the New Navy had ‘Quality of Life’ mandates and we simply had to accept what the ol’ Canoe Club was quite literally feeding us?!? Remember sitt’n in the messdecks gnawing on stuff resembling ol’ Goodyear tires and hobo boot soles with mystery meat A’ la carte?!? Remember standing in them outstretched lines faithfully gathered up for some boiled over cholesterol pick-me-up so we could knee & elbow our way into one of the hardest gauddamned seats the CNO could find to park our butts in?!? No, we didn’t have any Five Star Ney Award menu with all the gourmet trimmings!!!

I was reading what an ol’ shipmate wrote about the news the other day concerning them kids spending the night at school during the winter storm, and how his family was wondering what they would eat! He was right about one thing he said… how your mind flashes back to those nights of eating Midrats… and then I started thinking of the similarities between school food & Navy Chow!!

On my first ship… the ol’ Baglady, nobody recognized what we were eating half the time! We ate stuff that could burn your nose hairs, make you cry and drive you blind!! The best part of the menu was usually the cold cuts we got for battle rations… PB&J… or canned Spam… you can’t screw up a good spam… or can you?!?  You know what they say about the brewed & stewed in the ol’ Canoe Club… ‘Never trust a skinny cook’… there’d be some sons-a-bitches who couldn’t boil water!!!

Nobody ever accused us of having good table manners or engaging in polite conversation over a latte and some tomato bisque! But that didn’t mean we were any less deserving of batter fried pier rat, buffalo testicles & discarded band-aides from the local leper colony!! I always figured that rainbow sheen on the roast beast was contaminated bovine butchered by yours truly somewhere near Three Mile Island… or maybe ‘cause the meat was so tough it was marinated in Reactor Coolant from the Mighty ‘E’ or one of them there other float’n nuclear vessels!!! There was nothing like rump roast fillet of road kill to make your breath the best a man could get underway!!!   

But as the years went by the food got better! When I was on the Bird Farm, ‘Chucky ‘V’… we had what we called a speed line!! Saved our asses on a few occasions on account our Chief didn’t get us permission for early chow! The forward speed line was almost always a taco bar!! I first saw a bowl of Old El Paso refried beans in that taco bar... all my life I hadn’t eaten refried beans cause my stepdaddy, ‘Charlie Brown’ told me them beans were made of purified baby shit!! At seven years old I believed him… with a name like Charlie Brown you’d believe most of his bullshit too… hell, he named his kids after the Peanut Gallery!! I’d say he was definitely one taco away from a combo plate!!!

But as I see it… as long as you got your four-squares and a rack to sleep in with fresh running water on occasion… we bitched a lot, but we were some happy go lucky sons-a-bitches!!!

Although I gotta say… that fourth meal… the Midrats… the red headed stepchild of the galley four squares… that quasi-meal between supper and breakfast… served underway just as the name implies… right around midnight! When you’re working haze grey and underway and it’s a twenty-four hour operation… and you gotta have some fuel to keep you going all that time!!

“Man… Horse Cock again?”

“Oh… I’m sorry! You butthurt? How about I give you a cock meat sandwich instead?!?”

“Wow… do I look like I’m on a diet?!?”

Yeah, I’ve scarfed down my fair share of Midrats…

Them Stew Burners could bake up some nicely fresh bread that went well with a bit of Skippy Peanut Butter! Then there was the Horsecock or ‘Fillet of Mule Tool’ bologna… Midnight Ravioli or ‘Pillows of Death’… Fried Chicken Patties or Wagon Wheels… Beans & Weenies or rabbit turds & baby dicks… fried rice or Flied Lice as the Filipino Cooks would call it… and the infamous ‘SOS’… Shit-on-a-Shingle with slightly burned toast that made it just right!!!

Then there were the condiments! We used to call the mayo the self healing cum jar.... why you ask?!? The top of the mayo would semi harden like a scab and the stuff underneath would still be edible but you’d need a gauddamned box cutter to get through that self sealant vulcanized rubber ... the rest you can figure out for yourselves!! And some of them leftover scraps of odds & ends were so gauddamned bland and tasteless we had to smother the sons-a-bitches in Texas Pete or Tabasco sauce just to make’m seem worth the while!! You can’t get underway without Texas Pete & Tabasco sauce… don’t even try it!!!

Yep, and if you were lucky… the cook would make up a special dish of hot cookies or cinnamon buns! Hopefully you didn’t have to perform any abnormal sex acts or had any of them Skinny Cooks on the night watch… in which case you might end up with something that looked like Rhino testicles and smelled like a Karachi Sewer Ditch!!  

And there were always the snipes… especially the A-gangers… whose unnatural & heinous acts of debauchery always did the trick to the namby-pamby types! Rather shooting milk out the nose… flossing the sinus cavity with some hardy spaghetti… or the one I’ll never forget… when one of them A-gangers was crank’n and tactically placed an unused condom into a vat of vanilla pudding!! He pushed it down just far enough… just far enough it couldn't be seen. A few scoops into chow… and ‘Presto’!! That son-of-a-bitch caused quite a stir… proof that revolution can go in reverse!!!

But I learned as a young Crackerjack to never piss off the cook… I knew fellas who worked at fast food joints! One fella would wipe his sweaty ass on a tortilla at taco bell if anyone dared to complain about his preparations!! You get one of them self-entitled sons-a-bitches who liked to piss on the petunias…

“When’s the midrats gonna be ready?”

“Just hold your horses and have a cup of coffee, it’ s already been saucered and blowed!”

“You kidd’n me?!? That stuff you call coffee would eat the varnish off the Captain’s Gig!”

“Oh, I get it… like humor, but different!”

Makes you wonder how the other half survived… you know, the ones in the Weirdroom!! Always piss’n up a rope with the Stew Burners & the Wardroom Cranks…

“Would you like tea with your crumpets Sir?”

“Ahhh, the screw-up fairy has returned again! Make sure it’s two cubes of sugar, not three!!! And don’t forget to shine my silver-ware… piss boy(murmured)!!!”

Yeah, ragging the Stew Burners was expressly reserved for the enlisted crew! If you were an Officer (maybe a mustang could get away with it)… you had no business putt’n your foot in your mouth, tap dancing through the minefield of derogatory comments & insults to multi task’n ‘Crackerjacks’ like it was feeding time at the local zoo!! Otherwise you might find yourself runn’n from a lynch mob carrying torches & pitch forks, leading vicious hunt’n hounds while being led by some sorry son-of-a-bitch with a Carmen Miranda fruit basket on his head!!!  

Then somewhere along the line… the food got better! When I reported onboard Rainier, Lucky N°.7, I found it a luxury to a level I had never known! Before it was all about cutt’n the fuzzy off the cheese & bologna… using a box knife and a chipp’n hammer to remove all the damned mold colonies!! Somehow we had assembled the finest group of Culinary Artists the Navy had to offer… of course being aboard a supply ship might have amounted to something I suppose!!!

But you know what I miss most?!? I miss those late night excursions of improvised Midrat dining to messdeck movies and shipmates telling bullshit lies and half lit sea stories drinking coffee as thick as tar and Spam dated from the 1960s! We were a young dumb band of brothers making true memories… we hated it then but miss it now… what a bunch’a ol farts we turned out to be!!!