Reasons to Quit Drinking

Reasons to Quit Drinking

By Garland Davis

A lot of people are hanging up their cup these days. You know, turning away from alcoholic beverages. People have many reasons for taking this drastic action including my friend and shipmate that deck ape Marlin Spike Jones.

As an aside, I once asked him what prompted his parents to name him Marlin Spike. He told me that his Mama was a deck ape on a Mississippi steam tug. She told him his daddy was either a Boiler Monkey or what she thought was a Bigfoot that she hooked up with one night after a few drinks.  She named him Marlin Spike because she thought it would prevent him from becoming a Boiler Monkey.

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Marlin phoned me last night to tell me of his plans to go dry. Budweiser will probably begin laying off brewers as soon as the news reaches them.

“How long have you been drinking Marlin Spike?” I asked him.

“Forty-five years in total, but only twenty-five years professionally,” He answered.

“What determines the difference between an amateur and professional drinker?”

A professional,” Marlin began, “drinks every night except paydays and New Year’s Eve. Those are amateur nights. I always take someone’s duty on those days and it adds to my funds for drinking.”

“What other things mark one as a pro drinker?” I continued.

“A professional will never drink anything with a cherry or an umbrella in it. A pro awakens about ten times a year in a strange town in bed with a woman he has no recollection of meeting and has no idea how he got there.”

For those of you considering giving up the booze, I asked Marlin what signs should you look for to determine whether one has stepped over the boozing line.

Marlin said, “The morning after will tell the tale. If you have to shave your tongue, then you drank too much the night before. Look for your money. If you don’t have any or just wadded up small bills and you find them in strange places like in your shoes or under your scrotum, then son, you did some serious drinking the night before.”

“What other signs should you look for?” I asked.

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“Check to see if you have clothing on. If so, is it the same things you were wearing when you started drinking the previous evening.”

“You wake up on a cement deck wearing a pair of pink panties that are much too large for you.”

“If you are wearing one of those pussy little hats with the red Pom Pom that the French sailors wear, you were either drinking with French sailors or you are queer. If you are wearing a Marine Drill Instructors Cover you really had a big night.”

“And if the Marine’s platoon is standing at Parade Rest in your driveway, call AA immediately and see if they deliver, because you won’t be able to go anywhere in your condition.”

“There are a few other things to look for,” He continued.

· “Check for any credit card receipts you can find, if they are for Fredericks of Hollywood, Victoria’s Secret or an arms dealer you have a problem.”

· “Look at your checkbook. If checks are missing and you don’t remember writing them, call the bank and stop credit as soon as you are capable of operating a telephone.”

· “Check your body for any unexplained tattoos. If you find one with a heart and a strange girls name, make up your mind to stop drinking forever, but call your attorney as soon as possible.”

 

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· “If you have pulled an overnighter at the Asia Sailors Reunion in Branson and had to be escorted to your room or ended up at breakfast yelling ‘You know what, Fuck You Garland,’ to a room of blue-haired church ladies.”

I thanked Marlin Spike for his help. I hope his hints have rendered a public service.

I gotta go right now. Marlin Spike and I are going to have a few beers before we quit drinking tomorrow.

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Navy Chow

Navy Chow

By: Marlin Spike Jones

Davy (Garland) is under the weather. I guess you all know that he looks as if he got into a knife fight and all he brought to the fight was his nose. Anyway, he has asked me to write something for “Tales of an Asia Sailor.” So here goes!

An old Chief once told me that SC doesn’t mean Ship’s Cook, it means Ship’s Chemist. They can turn edible food into shit without passing it through the human body first.

The typical Navy menu looks something like this:

Beef Barley Soup

Crisp Saltines

Savory Roast of Beef

Succulent Brown Gravy

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Steamed Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Buttered Whole Kernel Corn

Selections from the Salad Bar

Hot Dinner Rolls

Assorted Breads

Chocolate Layer Cake

Coffee Tea Milk Chilled Fruit Punch

Now that sounds good, doesn’t it? Almost make you delay going on liberty to eat aboard. Don’t! You will fare better from the Roach Coach. Here is what you really get:

The Beef Barley Soup looks and tastes as if it had been dipped from a mud hole.

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The crackers have been dropped and crushed so many times that the menu should read “Cracker crumbs and dust.”

That brownish/black hunk that the cook striker is sawing on with a dull knife may have once been beef. I can’t really think of anything to describe its appearance after the cooks’ finish with it. The same stuff that the Boiler Monkeys are devouring with gusto.

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The gravy is a shade of color that might be brown and has the consistency of ninety weight gear oil if gear oil had flour lumps. The gear oil would probably taste better.

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That glob of yellowish grainy crap that the mess cook dumps alongside your Savory whatever-it-is in no way resembles anything that was ever known as a “tater.”

The green stuff with the yellow squares of cheese melted on it might have once been broccoli but then it may be something that grew inside the potato peeler since they stopped using it to peel taters and went to using that powdered shit.

You think, “Corn, well at least they can’t fuck up corn.” All they have to do is open the can. Wrong again. Somebody has chopped up pimentos and put them in the corn. The stewburner says it adds color to the dish. Ain’t yellow a color? Raise your hand if you like pimentos. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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A pan of olives, some pieces of lettuce, and a can of that Salad Dressing shit that the Navy thinks is mayonnaise completes the salad bar.

Change the “Hot” Dinner Rolls to cold, stale squashed dinner rolls that the Jack of the Dust found buried under the milk as he was straightening up the reefer. The assorted bread means you have a choice between the stale end pieces or the stale middle slices.

The Chocolate Layer cake becomes Thrice Dropped Chocolate Layer Cake because that is how many times the Crank who carried it from the reefer decks either dropped or threw it.

Coffee: Leftover from lunch. Waiting on Jack of the Dust to break out a can of coffee grounds to make a fresh pot. Someone, probably a Boiler Monkey, stole the can that was in the galley.

Tea: There are some tea bags around somewhere, I think I saw them last week.

Milk: Boy this shit is turning. You gotta to hold your nose to drink it. Still better than the powdered shit.

Chilled Fruit Punch: The ice machine is down. Hot fucking Bug Juice.

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There you go Davy, how’s that? Just let me know when you want me to write something more.

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When did I get Old

When did I get Old?

By Garland Davis

When I entered the Navy in 1961, I was seventeen years old. I had finally reached an age where I could make decisions regarding my future. I had made the decision to go to the Navy in the third grade. I thought I had reached an age where the world was open to me.

The next age milestone was twenty-one. Then I could legally buy beer and vote. I had no concern about growing older and never had a conception that I would ever be an old person. There was a country song by Faron Young, “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young and Leave a Beautiful Memory.” This was the mantra that my young shipmates and I lived by.

The years slipped by. There was almost thirty years active duty, retirement from the Navy, settling into a civilian career and then came the Parkinson’s. Suddenly another retirement was necessary. I always thought I would work until the day I received my orders to that “Silver Cruiser” that I have written about.

I never envisaged being old. But here I am. I am seventy-three years old and seventy-four is rapidly gaining on my ass. I always thought that when I got older and retired, that I would live an ideal life. You know, read as much as I want, eat right, sleep late and enjoy life.

One thing about old age, it just creeps up on you. You don’t get a chance to practice. There is no “A” School. It is all On the Job Training.

Some of the pros and cons of being old.

When you reach a certain age, people are nosy but there are two things that they are too polite to ask. I’ll just take care of that right now. I am seventy-three years old and I weigh one hundred eighty-five pounds.

People my age are not very likeable let alone loveable. I am the old men we tormented as children. The kids in my neighborhood were playing ball in the street, sometimes hitting the cars with the football. I mustered them in my garage and showed them the video from my surveillance system and told them if they damaged one of my cars, I would show the video to their parents and police. They don’t play near my house any longer.

Although there are signs that aging is happening. The slow loss of hair on your scalp accelerates with a commensurate acceleration of ear and nose hair growth. If the hair on my head grew as rapidly and as thick as the hair in and on my ears, I could get a Marine haircut on Monday and be sporting a Mullet for the party Saturday night.

I sometimes turn my left turn signal on and leave it all day. I will probably turn left at some time or another. To mix it up I often turn the right one on.

You are on first name basis with doctors, specialists, nurses, laboratory technicians, and physical therapy practitioners.

Benign skin growths sometimes large enough to be named begin to appear in the strangest places. Some growths are cancerous. I just had one chopped off my nose.

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You are constipated when at home or near a toilet but are in drastic danger of shitting all over yourself while caught in traffic. You don’t really need to piss until you have been asleep for an hour.

You have driven up to a blue Post Office collection box and attempted to order a Big Mac extra value meal.

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Some of you know that in my younger days, I was a runner. I usually ran about three miles a day. I was forced to give it up after the Parkinson’s affected my ability to walk and run. I decided to try jogging the other day. I had to stop because my ungainly gait causes the beer to slosh out of my glass.

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The Bridge

The Bridge

by: Garland Davis

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It doesn’t seem so long ago that I crossed that bridge for the first time. It was 1962. A couple of hours at the club to get a buzz on before you hit the gate and crossed the infamous “Shit River Bridge.” Your shipmates had told you about Olongapo and the one peso beer and the four peso shortimes. You halfway believed them. You really wanted to believe them. But could it be that easy? They were right about liberty in Sasebo and Yokosuka. There was no way liberty in Subic could be better than Sasebo.

Stopped at the on base money changer. The exchange rate was P3.85 to one US dollar. Supposedly you could get a better rate from the money changers across the river, but a lot of guys had been burned with worthless Japanese occupation Pesos. Better safe than sorry.

With almost forty P’s tucked into the inside pocket of my white jumper, My watch in my pocket. (I had heard about the watch snatchers.) I headed for the gate only to be blocked by Marine Private brandishing a billy club. He looked my uniform over, told me to square my white hat and asked how many packs of smokes was I carrying? After he was satisfied that I was squared away and wasn’t going to wreck the Philippine economy with black market cigarettes, he motioned for me to pass. I walked to the edge of the bridge to wait for my shipmates.

Suddenly I was hit with a god awful smell. Something like the combination of a leather tannery, a paper mill, a landfill, and an overflowing shitter. It was all I could do to keep from gagging. I surmised that it was the odor of the much talked about Shit River. They had damned sure named the son of a bitch correctly. After a few moments, my friends satisfied the Marine Corps and joined me. As we walked across, we looked at the boys in the water begging for sailors to throw coins, wondering why they still lived after swimming in that black viscous liquid.

The tales about the delights of Olongapo proved true. It became a looked forward to port of call on many WestPac cruises. Of course, there were other ports, the aforementioned Sasebo and Yokosuka in Japan and later Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, and Keelung. They were all sailor towns and catered to the American sailor.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, the economy of Japan and Hong Kong improved and they became less enjoyable and more expensive than in the past. New liberty ports were discovered in Singapore and a small fishing village in Thailand known as Pattaya. All these ports were welcome interludes in the endless hours of flight operations, plane guard, gunfire support, constant rearming and refueling. The cold drinks and the warm willing women healed us and maintained our sanity.

Viet Nam ended only to be replaced with Indian Ocean cruises. A stop at Subic on the way into the IO, if lucky, a stop in Freemantle/Perth on the way out and, of course, Subic.

The one port, the one city that became the Asia Sailor’s Mecca was just across that bridge. Olongapo and onward to the much more debauched, if that is possible, Barrio and Subic City became the one liberty port that I looked forward to over all others. I guess one of the best descriptions I have ever heard is, “Big Boy’s Disneyland.” I could do and did shit in Subic that they would put my ass in jail for in Oklahoma City. Am I proud of all that I did there? No. Am I ashamed of some things that I did there? Probably should be, but cannot find it.

Twenty-five years, eight Seventh Fleet ships and numerous trips across that bridge passed until I made the last trip across. It was 1987. That time it was in a Special Service’s van to Clark AFB to catch a flight to Japan and on to Hawaii for my twilight tour before retiring.

Sometimes when I am walking my dog in the mornings, I will see one of my young Filipina neighbors walking to the bus stop and catch the odor of a Filipino mother cooking their breakfast and I flash back to the past and wish I could go back, Just One More Fucking Time!

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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

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I Never Played the Game

I Never Played the Game

Cow Pasture Pool

By Garland Davis

Golf: Why did the Scots call the game Golf? Probably because the four-letter words Shit, Fuck, and Cunt had already been used.

I think I have mentioned a couple of times that I enjoy watching Michelle Wie play the game. That is about the extent of my interest in the game, although, at times in the past I have had some experience with the game.

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When I was about eight years old, these other two fools and I found a set of dusty old golf clubs in an old abandoned barn. They were ancient wood shafted clubs. (Probably worth a fortune to collectors today.) They must have been a left-handed set of clubs. Since I can remember I have gripped a golf club as a lefty, but I am right handed. Those old clubs were the first I ever saw.

Anyway, we decided to play golf. The only place where the weeds weren’t asshole tall to a long-legged mule was the cow pasture. The cows and goats kept it cropped down. So we promptly constructed a single hole, ten par golf course. (It was ten par because that was the best round anyone ever shot on the course. Junior did it with a tennis ball.) The cows and nanny goats didn’t seem to mind, but the bull seemed to have the same aversion to golf that he did to baseball.

There were no sand traps on our course but there were cow flops. If your ball ended up in a cow flop you could take a drop for a one-stroke penalty or play it out of the bovine excrement. This usually ended with cow shit flung everywhere while the rest of the players cowered behind a maple tree. The person playing out of the hazard had to take the club to the creek and wash the shit off it for the next player.

I often wonder how Jack and Arnie began their association with the game.

My next encounter with golf came many years later in Yokohama Japan. The Commanding Officer of the Housing Facility was an exercise nut. (I know I shouldn’t call a Navy Captain a nut, but that best describes his fascination with exercise.) The C.O. decreed that if anyone in the command would devote the lunch hour to a physical activity they would be permitted to take an extra hour. After ascertaining that golf was an approved physical activity, more specifically the driving range, we would repair to the golf course each lunchtime, fling a bucket of balls down the range and swill beer for an hour and forty-five minutes.

The Captain, upon his relief, said in his remarks that he had never been in a command where he felt the admiration and respect as he did at the Yokohama Navy Housing Activity.

After Yokohama, I went to sea and playing golf never crossed my mind. I was in Westpac and interested in playing a different type of hole where par was decided by the heft of your wallet.

Golf is a costly pass time that I really could not afford when I was a young sailor and now that I can, I am not interested in playing the game. I am told that it is a frustrating game and a very minuscule number of people possess the ability and talent to become good at it. Realizing that my talents at sports are sorely lacking, I decided to give golf a pass.

I was told many times that it is an excellent venue for networking. I was led to believe by my contemporaries, while on active duty and after I retired, that I could further my career by playing with the boss and other influential people.

I remember a new Commanding Officer reporting aboard the Oiler I was in, with a set of golf clubs. The Captain was an avid golfer, and apparently good at it. Within a week, CPO berthing resembled a club pro shop with golf clubs and golf bags taking up every empty space. Junior officers were carrying golf clubs on and off the ship so often that one could have thought that it was part of their uniform.

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When the Captain went to play, just by coincidence, there were CPO’s, an occasional PO1, and officers from the ship at the course waiting for a start time. They were all vying to have the CO join their group or to be invited to join his group. The brown nose and suck were operating at maximum torque.

We left Pearl Harbor for WestPac with golf clubs stored in every available space. Golf tournaments were planned for Subic (the only holes I was playing there were surrounded by hair or lipstick), Hong Kong, Japan, and every other port. The Chief Radioman wrote messages arranging golf tournaments and reserving tee times for each port. He became the de facto “Golf Officer and the CO’s (to use a term from Dickens) ‘lickspittle’”.

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While they were out in the hot sun making their points and searching in the weeds for a little ball, I was usually in a dark cozy bar with a frosty in front of me and a hottie by my side. If I had played their game, perhaps I could have retired as a Senior or even Master Chief. But, I always felt that doing my job as best I was capable of would be enough. I don’t believe that playing golf made a difference. I tend to think that someone who rises to the rank of Captain in our Navy can see through a bunch of phony assholes.

Every now and then I would let a particularly pretty Olongapo LBFM talk me into taking her to the base to play miniature golf.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy watching the LPGA and Michelle Wie bending over to study the green and the lie of her putt. I get much enjoyment from watching the LPGA tournaments. Not so much the PGA!

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If any of you are golfers, I apologize. I didn’t write this to piss anyone off. Just expressing my opinion of the game and relating the events leading to that opinion.

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The Tiger’s Claws

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The Tiger’s Claws

By Garland Davis

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We wandered these seas

long before Noah’s flood, before the prophets

told of Rome’s fate, by the Goth’s sword

our sails spread over these waters

long before the coming of the unnatural

smoke pot ships that stain the skies with their black.

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Before the Eastern empire bloodied us at a place

called Pearl and strew the ocean bed with the metal

of our dreadnoughts and the lives of our sailors.

Causing the wakening of a sleeping tiger that flung

it’s metal claws across the great ocean to war

where a victory was bought with a blinding flame.

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Know that our kind still sail the waters of

that great ocean, ever vigilant, ever ready

for another despot who has arisen in a land

to the North of thirty-eight and South of Yalu.

The tiger’s claws are sheathed for the moment

but know that the tiger can and will strike if it must.

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Maintain Silence About the Decks

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Maintain Silence About the Decks.

Life aboard any US Navy vessel is marked by a series of routines. Sailors quickly learn that there are expected behaviors during each of those routines. During refueling operations, the red flag is flown and the word is passed that the smoking lamp is out. Taps is another time of change where sailors try to respect their shipmate’s rest by keeping quiet and turning the lights out in berthing. But one particular routine is as old as the Navy itself. Honoring the Almighty and saying goodbye to a shipmate.

The Church Pennant is the only flag ever flown over the National Ensign at the same point of hoist. It is displayed during church services conducted by a Chaplain, both ashore and afloat. It is also flown when the ceremony for saying goodbye to a shipmate is performed.

Prior to the ceremony, ship’s company all don…

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