31 March 2007

Forever and ever

I was having a chat with somebody at work the other day, and something she said reminded me of a couple things from my Navy days, and how the Navy can affect the rest of your life.

For instance, there was an STS2 on Jax who was looking forward quite eagerly to his EAOS. Couldn't wait to get out, and get as far away from the Navy as he could. But, he said, he did have to give the Navy credit for making him grow up.

What my conversation at work actually reminded me of, though, was the more deleterious effects the Navy had had on a couple other people, such as a girl* I knew on the tender. We were sitting in her shop one day, talking, and she said, "You know, I used to be a lady before I joined the Navy. Now? I fart, I scratch, I burp, I cuss."

Didn't seem to be much I could say to that.

Then there was Roger. Roger was another RM2 on Oly (he'd been one class - two weeks - ahead of me going through SETTs and "C" school), and he was one of those religious types. Didn't cuss, drink, smoke, or engage in any of the other activities which are often, for some reason, associated with sailors. At first, that is. After a year on the boat, he still wasn't doing any of the other things (that I knew of, anyway), but he was swearing just as much as anyone else was. He actually said "f***" more than I did, I think.

And then one day, around two years after he'd reported in, he put in for three or four weeks of leave in the summer so he could go home and be a counselor at church camp.

A few weeks later he was doing maintenance on something or other, and it was being uncooperative. So much so, in fact, that he finally threw down his screwdriver and said, "[Expletive Deleted]!"

"Damn, Roger," I said, looking up from the teletype. "I sure wish I could be at that church camp with you this summer. I'd just love to see their faces the first time you open your mouth and start talking like a sailor."

Lasting effects, indeed....

* Oh, all right - "woman," if you insist. But she's a good fifteen years younger than I, so at the time she really wasn't much more than half my age.

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