by OPOVV, ©2021

(Apr. 25, 2021) — The following is a recorded conversation aboard a Navy destroyer in the Arabian Sea; just over the starboard bow is KarachiIt’s a balmy night; clear skies; light swells; the ship is at Condition Yoke, one down from Battle Stations; cruising at 18 knots. There’s a group of sailors in dungarees lounging on the 02 deck, aft of the funnel and radar.

“Nice night.”


“Of course it ‘depends,’ for gosh sakes. We could run into a mine and never know what hit us.”

“I think if we ran into a mine it wouldn’t hit us; we’d hit it.”

“Why is there always one in the crowd?”

“You know what’s just over the horizon, starboard side? Millions of the enemy, that’s what, so what are we doing, taking a pleasure cruise? How come we’re not at battle stations? You know what I think?”

“Please, nobody ask.”

“I’ll tell you anyway: I got this idea about painting the ship, okay?”

“You’re going to tell us anyway so we might as well hear it and get it over with.”

“Here’s what I think: I think we’re sitting ducks, is what I think. So here’s my idea: paint the ship as if we’re a building laying on its side.”

“Now that’s a really good idea.”

“I don’t understand what the advantage would be; I mean, is there one?”

“I don’t know; it was just an idea, like paint it like the Twin Towers before they caught fire and collapsed.”

“I don’t know; I can’t see the advantage, unless you want a conversation piece. Maybe instead of a tall building laying on its side, what about a pastoral scene?”

“A pastoral scene would have the advantage of being upright and not be on its side. You could have cows and stuff.”

“And anyone on deck would have to wear a rabbit outfit.”

“The deck apes dressed as monkeys.”

“The firemen as snipes.”

“The Captain in coveralls and a straw hat.”

“What, seriously, are we doing here? I mean, for what purpose are we going around in circles on this part of the ocean? Does any of you know?”

“No one knows; now ain’t that the truth?”

“I think we’re halfway between the Iranians attacking Israel and the Chinese attacking Taiwan.”

“And what are we? Are we Arabs and Chinese or are we freedom fighters?”

“When Trump was the Commander-in-Chief we were freedom fighters; under Biden we fight freedom.”

“So no matter how you look at it, we’re freedom fighters.”

“That’s right: for or against.”

“I’d rather be for freedom; I mean, Communism never helped anybody.”

“Don’t say that too loud or a lifer might hear you.”

“You know, that’s a good point: anybody in longer than four years is going for twenty; isn’t that right? And if they’re going for twenty they’re not going to make waves and jeopardize their chances of promotion, right?”

“Good point, so we better watch what we say.”

“Getting to be you can’t trust anyone these days; I mean, if you can’t trust your shipmates, who can you trust?”

“Good point, but true. You know that there’s a push to lower the passing grade for advancement tests, to reach ‘Affirmative Action’ quotas?”

“So, what, if you can operate an ‘ON-OFF’ switch you can be an electrician and fix radios? Strike a match and be a Gunner’s Mate?’

“Shoot off a Fourth of July skyrocket and be qualified for a Missile Technician?’”

“Work a toothbrush and be a Dentist?”

“Rowed a canoe and be qualified to be a Helmsman.’

“I think they’re called ‘Helm Person’ these days.”

“But what if they can’t read a compass?”

“Then divide by two so you have a qualified ‘Compass Reader’ and a ‘Person who Operates the Steering Wheel.’”

“That’ll work.”

“Midrats* are being served so we’re out of here.”

[*midrats: hot meal (sometimes) at midnight.]



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