Wednesday, August 17, 2016

‘Handing Back A Few More Memories’



One of the most satisfying things about writing harebrained Sea Stories is running into old shipmates sharing & comparing notes! In the ol’ Canoe Club the rules of common decency usually walked the plank once the ship got underway!! Our antics were enough to make any Commodore want to blow is lid!!!

I ran into a shipmate, Robin Woodbury, the other day and he revitalized parts of my brain that had gone numb and rusted shut for a decade or two! We started talking about this and that and the other and the next thing you know… we were reliving a more youthful era in our lives!! Woodbury handed me back a few memories, a very important part USS Rainier’s ‘Operational History!’

He walked me back through a passageway… back to those times some idiot… (ME)… would turn on the white lights, yank open his curtains as I pulled down my shorts and bent over while squeezing my ass cheeks back and forth…

“From one asshole to another, it’s Reveille… time to wake your fat ass up!”

Hey, it’s not queer if you can’t see the pier… that’s what I’d always say! It made you appreciate the little things in life!! Yeah, I was still a little stupid… I still stepped on my own dick occasionally, but I never looked back with regret!!!

I also remember how I enjoyed Monday mornings like a case of the clap! I remember many a times it was a typical hangover, unruly beer farts and sometimes the inevitable shits!! The problem with beer farts and hangover shits was wiping until the brown turned red!!!

One of the obvious remedies to a classic hangover was plenty of coffee! You see, coffee has its virtues… it always has and always will! Fact is, the ol’ Canoe Club wouldn't amount to much unless you gave it a little amplification!! You have to encourage it, with plenty of Navy Joe!! Without it, the plan of the day would stop like a two dollar watch!!!

Many would head to the messdecks where they could get a cup of joe, a stale doughnut and plenty of ‘this ain’t no shitters’ to last a deployment! The problem with that scenario…  there were plenty of fouled anchors just looking for an ass or two to chew upon with plenty of takers sitting around the mess table drink’n black tar and shoot’n the shit!!  

Jesus H. Christ, why can’t any of you fuckers get to work?”

… Yeah, we Crackerjacks did manage to toss out all the adjectives in our lexicon and just use the word 'fuck' a lot!!!

Now back to coffee… We had the antics of our best young sailors at their finest causing straightjacket insanity in the interim! Just before deployment it was typical to survey your fellow shipmates in the divisional asylum to pitch in on a trip to the local Walmart or Costco and pick up six months of canned coffee and plenty of cream & sugar!! You know, the special kind with all the nifty flavors!!!

We all agreed to bring in a fresh can of Folgers strongest to last us the whole trip!  Nothing like that generic shit down on the messdecks that had been vacuum sealed since the dawn of the dinosaurs!! 

“Hey Needham, what kind of coffee was served on the Titanic?”

“Hell, I don’t know… what kind?”

“Sanka! Exactly the kind we don’t want!”

You see real coffee had to have hair, horns and brimstone... the kind that produced testosterone straight out of caffeine!!!

Usually coffee was made just before Quarters! That way we’d be half asleep when the Chief would lay down a descriptive list of fun stuff he had in mind to fill your day!! Then the animals would head to the vicinity of the Nato Seasparrow Director Room!! This is where we drank our coffee, solved equations for world peace and we’d shoot the shit before titivating the ship as they used to say!!!

We had a coffee maker, or more like an urn! It was something akin to a pigmy water heater that could scald your tongue, but the aroma of hot coffee… it was better when it tasted like it smells!! If it was made right, the blood in your veins would be three parts tarred and the rest made of salt water!!!

About three months in to deployment, ol’ Woodbury pulls out a new can of coffee and gets ready to open it…

“Some FUCK’N idiot crammed this Folger’s can full of Navy Coffee off the messdecks!”

“What The Fuck?!?”

Now it was pretty easy to figure out who it was! All the cans were labeled as to who brought what... including this one!!

“Needham… you piece of shit! Why didn’t you chip in instead of using the messdeck coffee?”

“It’s called making do… 'make-do' is just a part of life!”

Ship’s coffee came in 20lb. cans and Needham went down and comshawed his share and filled an empty Folgers can think’n nobody would know the difference!  If you knew Keith Needham, it was easy to discern his corn bread wasn't quite done in the middle!! He was a great guy in many ways, but sorely lacking in others!!!

“Needham, You’re so low you’d steal the nickels off a dead man’s eyes!”

“Aaaah… Come on guys! It’s just a little coffee!?! I’ll make it up to you!?!”

Yeah, he thought he was slicker than two eels fuckin’ in a bucket of snot!

“That’s as crooked as kite string in a ceiling fan Needham, that coffee tastes like C.H.T... Shit!”

“That’s because Needham likes his coffee like he likes his men… strong & black!”

“Fuck You Swing… Motherfucker… Fuck you again!”

Then the LPO, Christiansen came in and gave him his spiel…

“Now, Now…! Needham, I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public… just don’t let it happen again!”

After that, weird and exotic things began to periodically show up in the joe…! Hell, it reminds me of when I put on me fouled anchors!! So it was written as one of my charges…

“Don’t sweat the little things in life! Someone will Dirty Dick your Coffee Cup a time or two… it’s gonna happen! Just get used to it!”

But there was nothing like watching ‘FC2 Henry’ tilt back his head and take a huge swig of Saucier’s Coppenhagen surprise…

You see back in the day we had those white paper cups! When you finished your coffee, you put the empty cup in the angle iron! Sometimes people would chew their tobacky and leave sputum in the cups!! Well, this gave our resident smartass, Neil ‘The Sauceman’ Saucier an idea!!!

Now there was this fella named FC2 Henry who worked up in the Director Room! Henry was the resident ‘Shitbird’ of the Division!! He was so backward he couldn't manage a fart on a diet of baked beans!! I firmly believe that in some zoo… somewhere in middle America, two sibling chimpanzees did the horizontal mambo and by a sporadic integration of recessive genes, Petty Officer Henry was born!! Watching Henry go to work was like watching a dentist trying to drill teeth with an oscillating dildo!!!

One morning ‘Sauceman’ gathered up all the black sputum outta those paper cups he could muster and mixed it in good with some fresh coffee so it still had that ‘Good Morning’ aroma! Right after Morning Quarters those euphoric idiots came in hauling their open mugs!! Everyone was in on the joke except for a couple of few!!!

FC2 Henry was the first and probably the only to dive into the pot right away! Soon everyone was in on the gig!! We all watched as Henry just tilted his head back and took a swig only to turn red in the face as he exclaimed…

“I have no idea what you guys put in this coffee but it could reverse the effects of embalming fluid!”

… and he turned away smiling like he had good sense!!!

Now Henry never realized he just took in a can and a half of Copenhagen and genuine sputum! If the statute of limitations hasn’t run out… well, we were just waiting for the next moment when he’d be considering ending someone’s life!! But it never happened… and he was never the wiser!!!

I think after all those years and all those shenanigans; it’s fair to say we were full of more shit than a West Texas Stockyard! And it only made it more endemic after a couple of cups!! We were all doing triple flips, full gainers and chasing our own tails like a pack of wild dogs!!  The good ol’ Canoe Club operated on coffee, and we’d get so wired our ears would pick up HF signals from radio!!!

By the time I’d become LPO I had two third classes in the Director Room I called cream and sugar! Sharing coffee and trading Sea Stories… that’s what it was all about!! It was a great life doing a thankless job, and somebody had to live it!! I’m just glad I got to be a part of it all!!!





2 comments:

  1. The CS Division Office in Forrestal was about 8 feet wide, and about 20 feet long. We had four desks. All of them with the legs sawed off to fit through the door, and resting on cans of coffee. Take a can to the signal bridge, go down and find whichever SM, or QM was cranking, and get him to steal another can.

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  2. Typical, twidgets whining about coffee!!! What would happen if you didn't have your non-fat soy latte!

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