Replicating Life in the Navy

Replicating Life in the Navy

Garland Davis


Have steel siding installed on the exterior of your house and paint it haze gray” chip the paint off and repaint it every three months. Coasties use white paint.   Run all the piping and the wires inside your house on the outside of the walls. Install lifelines around all patios and porches. Don’t permit anyone to lean on the life lines.

Place metal barriers on the lower 18″ of every door in your house and add eight handles to every door.  Pump ten inches of nasty half sewage water into your basement.  Pump it out, clean up the mess and paint everything in the basement gray.  Repeat frequently for added realism.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday turn your water temperature up to 200 degrees, on Tuesday and Thursday set the temperature at 10 degrees. On Saturday and Sunday inform your family that they used too much water during the week and thus all showering is secured.  Add a fuel oil injection unit to the fresh water supply for the house.

Stack all beds on top of one another in the closet. Raise your bed to within six inches of the ceiling. Stow all your clothing and possessions in a 36″ x 18″ x 12″ locker. If anyone is sick and throwing up put them in the top bunk.

Give the keys to your house to your next-door neighbor. Instruct him enter your bedroom every morning at 0600 (6:00 am), and blow a whistle loud enough for Helen Keller to hear.  Instruct the neighbor to shout in an amplified megaphone six inches from your ear, “Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up. The smoking lamp is lit in all authorized spaces.”

Have your mother-in-law write down everything she is going to do the following day.  Assemble your family and stand in the back yard at 0600 (6 am) while your mother-in-law reads her “Plan of the Day” (POD) to you.  Stand around for 15-20 minutes and then have your uncle join the group read the same thing again.  Repeat this everyday expect Sunday, unless you are simulating “at sea” in which case you may opt to do it seven days a week.

Eat the raunchiest Mexican food you can find for three days straight, then lock the bathroom door for 12 hours.  Hang a sign on the door that reads, “Secured – Contact OA Div at X-3053.”

When you leave your house, make sure to take the phone off the hook so it will be busy all day. Observe the shipboard multi telephone line rule.  One line is always reserved for the use of your father-in-law, one line reserved for your mother-in-law, and the third line is reserved for official business.  If you want to make a personal call, walk two blocks to a convenience store and wait in line at the pay phone. [Thank God for cell phones]

Install a bell on the front porch.  Whenever your father-in-law comes over ring the bell 4 times and announce his arrival/departure over a megaphone. Every time you leave or enter the house salute the porch light and ask your dog for permission to leave or enter the dwelling.

At random intervals from 1000 to 2200 (10 A.M. to 10 P.M.), have a biker gang with sledgehammers pound on your roof to simulate the launching and recovery of aircraft. At night, after the family has gone to sleep, have the bikers drag chains and heavy equipment across the roof to simulate the ‘re-spotting’ of the aircraft for the next morning’s flight schedule.

Install flashlights (battle lanterns) at the precise height at which to bang your head in the dark. Point the flashlight and important items (such as the sofa, all doorways, stove, etc).   Occasionally turn the electric power off at the mains and run around the house turning on all the flashlights.

Use an air-raid siren for an alarm clock.  Remove all wrist watches from the family.  Use the dinner bell as a systematic time indicator. Ring it madly when everybody is  their hungriest and announce the “Chow-line is now open for an hour.”  Do not drool when you hear bells.

Divide bathroom shower with three partitions. Remove shower nozzle and replace with kitchen sink dish sprayer hooked to the cold water line only. The “extra” two showers now represent actual percentage of operable showers. Remove bathroom sink, mirror, and all shelves. Replace with water fountains for shaving and hygiene use.

Do Laundry using only the rinse cycle with paint thinner for detergent. Dry for 10 minutes and randomly redistribute.

Have an electrician certify as ‘safe’ and hang a tag on every electrical appliance you own, no matter if the appliance is brand new or if its own manufacturer claims it is up to safety standards.

Buy a two-year calendar. Carefully mark your EAOS (End of Active Obligated Service) day two years out, and number the days back to the present date for a long countdown.  Mark each day off for two years, dreaming of the “get out day.”  Then march down to personnel and ship over (reenlist for additional six years’ service).

Place fire extinguishers on the bulkheads (walls) of your home at elbow level next to the door openings to conveniently rip your shirt.

Stand in your living room with all the lights turned out, except for one red light by which you read a small print book.  On the hottest day of the year, have your local mechanic inspect all the fans and air conditioners per the “MIM” (maintenance instruction manual) for resistance to ground.  When he finishes, have him announce, “They failed the ‘xyz’ and ‘opq’ tests. I’m required to cut off all the plugs.”

Place your home on large hydraulic jacks. At random intervals, kill the lights and have the jacks move your home back and forth at unexpected intervals and angles. (Simulates dropping the load {loss of power} in 20-foot seas).

Gather the family and drive to McDonald’s. Park twelve blocks away, line up and slowly walk toward the front entrance moaning and griping each step of the way. Reach the door at closing time and have the manager yell, “Chow is secured.”

Invite 60 street people with bad habits to room with you for six months at a time.   Take the worst three and live with you in the closet in three level bunk beds. Four hours after you get into bed have your spouse shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, “Sorry, wrong rack!”

Move out of your home for six months leaving your wife with three children and dog for a tour of solo parenting.  Return and immediately begin to tell your spouse how to run the house and raise kids.  Warning – this usually results in a revised rank structure and job descriptions for the home.

Have everyone in your family hang two pillow cases next to their bed with large clothes pins and mark them “white” and “blue” for their dirty clothes. On laundry day put the pillow cases into two separate trash bags and designate a junior family member to drag them to the laundry room.

Cover a copy of UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) with plastic.  Screw it into the wall (bulkhead) next to the toilet for handy reading.

Place a large floor fan next to your bed and run full speed to simulate shipboard ventilation.  If the fan goes off sit up in bed and yell, “We lost the load.”


One thought on “Replicating Life in the Navy

  1. tom crawford says:

    Garland. I love it all. You hit the target.
    Thank you.
    Kiddie Cruiser, but extended for Viet Nam.


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