By: HT1
Of all the recurring silliness on board, USS REDACTED my favorite is P.O. “Clueless “coming to borrow a drill. It’s such a ridiculous recurring event everyone here looks forward to it like reruns of Monty Python. The absolute predictability of the entire event makes it seem like a spoof, but I assure you it has happened hundreds of times with only the slightest of variations. So for everyone’s amusement and as training for all those clueless personnel wandering the passageways. How Not To borrow a drill.

It always starts with a knock on the door. This is new and rather odd. Knocking on a door on a ship that doesn’t have an officer on the other side, I can’t decide if it’s because of the big shiny brass shamrock I put on the door, or it’s just the apprehension of having to enter the HT shop. I have tried my best to scare people away. But most keep coming back. I take pity on the ones that really look scared. But I digress.

In walk’s P.O. “Clueless,” P.O. “Clueless” used to be known as “Ricky Recruit” but in the “kinder gentler Navy” Ricky gets a $2000 enlistment bonus and accelerated advancement right out of A School, thus P.O. Clueless.

Clueless starts it all out with “They sent me down here to borrow a drill” I let the Ambiguous “They” slide … For now. I ask the first question. Remember in the Navy there are no dumb questions, but some of the answers are a real hoot. “What type of drill you want?” Everyone in the rooms faces lights up with anticipation, we got a live one here! Clueless’s face goes blank, his eyeball flutter from side to side,

He doesn’t know there are different types of drills, In a slow apprehensive voice he tentatively asks “cordless?” I let him off easy; he will be back, so I tell him. “Across the P-way The Electricians have all the power tools,”

Now comes intermission, everyone sits eagerly waiting for Clueless to return. They always do. Sure enough, that same quiet knock at the door and in comes our victim, err customer.

While holding the drill in his left hand, I don’t know why the left hand but they always have the drill in their left hand and make the twisty gesture with their right. Clueless in an excited voice like his life depends on it says. “The Electricians said you have the chuck” the whole time making a twisty gesture with his right. With a straight face, I give him the next line “ There’s a chuck on that drill. What do you need another chuck for?”

Clueless is completely baffled. Hell, he probably thinks I’m the dumb one. Still making the twisty gesture, he corrects me. “No the thingy to tighten the drill.” With a perplexed look on my face, I ask. “Thingy, what thingy?” Now Clueless gets really frantic with his twisty gesture and brings the drill up to eye level so I can clearly see him gesturing. Since Clueless has made everything so much clearer by frantically gesturing at eye level, I let him off the hook and turn to the nearest person, who is smiling ear to ear; we have all seen this before, and in a questioning, tone say “I think he wants a chuck key.” Clueless jumps right in now “Yeah a chuck key, that what I need!”

So I take clueless into the back of the shop to find him a chuck key. It’s amazing that they never catch on as everyone follows us to the back to see the next act of our show.

I hand Clueless the chuck key with an admonishment not to lose it and to return it when he is done. Clueless right on cue says, “ I need a drill.” I have to do it, I point out the obvious. “You already have a drill. How many holes are you drilling?”

Clueless gets that flustered look again like he is so tired of dealing with idiots. “No, the thingy to make the hole!” Once again I look to the nearest person in the room as if Clueless isn’t there and say, “I think he wants a drill bit.” Obligingly Clueless speaks up, “Yah I need a drill bit.” Now to the heart of the matter, I ask Clueless the million-dollar question. ”What size?” This where Clueless either realizes he has been making an ass of himself and politely excuses himself to go get some more information or continues trying to roller-skate through the buffalo herd. But again I digress.

If Clueless insists on crashing forward, I milk him for information, “just what are you trying to do?” “I have to drill a hole in the Bulkhead to mount a ________.” Now I’m scared this knucklehead that doesn’t even know what tools he needs is going to drill a hole in the ship. So I voice my concerns. “You do know you can’t just drill holes in the ship? It’s watertight, holes are bad for watertight integrity.” Now, most people are just trying to get through a false bulkhead. But I did actually have one fellow tell me “Don’t worry it’s on the 01 level.” I confiscated his drill. But our average hero is just putting something up on the wall, so I ask him “What are you using to mount that.” This makes it all worthwhile when he says, “I don’t know they just sent me to get the drill.”

I told you I’d get back to the ambiguous “They” and here we are. “They told you! There are 340 people all within 593 feet of me, and I know for a fact not a single one of them is named They. Who sent you down here?” Still not getting the hint I almost always get the same answer. I guess they learned this at 3M training because the default answer is “My Work Center Supervisor (WCS).”

Now by this point, I’m about sick of dealing with Clueless, so I send him off to find his WCS with orders to find out some specifics on this mounting evolution. Honestly, I’m praying they will just give up on the whole idea, or at least send down P.O. Salty Sailor to wrap things. But that would be way too easy.

About half an hour later Clueless shows back up this time he brought help he’s got P.O.2 No-sea-time with him. Because everyone knows No-sea-time did three years of arduous shore duty at Key West so he can handle anything. But even more important they have specific instructions from their WCS on exactly how the mounting evolution is supposed to go.

Having had 30 minutes to get my head together, I’m ready with a whole new set highly intelligent questions. So I jump right in. “You fellows get some adult leadership? Know how you’re going to mount that________?” No-sea-time isn’t having any foolishness he pipes right up in his best ‘I issued basket balls for three years tone of voice’ “Our WCS said to borrow some nuts and bolts from the HT’s.” From the look of satisfaction on No-sea-time’s face apparently, I’m supposed to be impressed.

So I scratch my chin, think about it for a second and quietly ask, “Any chance he told you what size?”


HT1 prefers to remain anonymous.  He is a talented metal worker.  Examples of his Navy related work can be seen here