Jokes and Sea Stories
By: Garland Davis
Sailors are jokers. Especially off color, no make that the grossest jokes and stories one can come up with.
Some of my shipmates call me the Asia Sailor Bard. Now I’m no Shakespeare, but I can spin a bullshit story. They usually start with “This ain’t no shit.” or “Now this is a no shitter.” They are all true. Some of the facts may be bent or slightly disremembered. Then again, they may be as the sub-title of this blog says, “Crap, true or not that has wandered through my mind.”
Back in the day, you know, before computers, closed circuit television, and pocket telephones with more games than a dog has fleas sailors played real games. There was Pinochle, Hearts, Spades, Acey-Duecy, Cribbage (I am still considered the World Champion cribbage player, Acey-Deucy Champ also for that matter) and other games. Or else they would gather around a mess deck table, drink stale coffee or tepid bug juice, smoke cigarettes and tell stories and jokes.
Somebody would start one with, “Hey Davy, did you hear the one about the LBFM and the drunk BT who couldn’t get it up?”
And that would trigger, “Hey that reminds me of the girl and the bartender…”
And then, “The farmer’s daughter and the circus clown…”
And on and on…
Then someone would start with, “Hey that reminds me of the pretty boy Radioman on the old Dicky B. Anderson who was chased all over Keelung by the bar hog who fell in love with him. He couldn’t stand her and was trying to avoid her and we all kept telling her where he was. She broke into his hotel room while he was entertaining another girl. He was busy laying pipe when the cat fight started with one of the participants bare ass naked. I tell you it was a sight to see.”
“Hey Davy, you baking cinnamon buns tonight? If you are, leave the raisins out. I can’t tell ‘em from the cockroaches.” I got the mid. If you have any rejects just send them down to the engine room. Us BT’s will take care of them for you.”
“The raisins are the soft ones, the cockroaches are crunchier.”
I’m not sure how things operate in our new, gentler, more diverse Navy. I’m not sure, but I get the feeling that a GS with a BT mentality signs his death certificate when he comes into the mess deck and prepares himself a cup from the Keurig machine and doctors it up with some Mocha Latte Flavored Coffee Mate and says, “Excuse me girls, did any of you Mother Fuckers hear the one about the LBFM who could pick up a stack of one-peso coins and give you ten centavo coins in change?”
He would be counseled, DRB’d (Disciplinary Review Board), and probably sent off to a term in mental rehab.
In our new Navy, training is conducted using CCTV, computers and a thing called YouTube (for some reason one of the other websites with You in the title can’t be accessed with government computers). I remember the days when training went like this;
The Chief Gunner’s Mate comes in, obviously sick and hungover, carrying a 45-caliber pistol and said, “Any of you assholes seen one of these? Shut up back there stewburner, I’m the only one who gets to talk here.”
“45 pistol… Holds eight rounds… Clip goes in this way… Pull slide back… Depress slide release… This will chamber the first round. This is the safety. If the safety is off and you squeeze the trigger… Loud fucking noise… Round comes out here and goes in the direction this tube is pointed and goes until it is interrupted by some object. It leaves a big fucking hole in said object.”
“Any fucking questions?”
“Good, that ends the lecture on the 45. Don’t shoot each other. Anybody heard any good jokes while we wait for liberty call?”
To today’s gentle and diverse sailors who read some of the crap that wanders through my mind, we old Asia Sailors must look like a group of unprofessional clowns. But we really weren’t, not at all. We were great at what we did. We didn’t live in Bachelor Enlisted Quarters ashore. Our hull numbers were our addresses and where we lived unless we were temporarily shacked up with some sweetie. Riding the old worn out iron out in Westpac was a full-time job. We knew our jobs… We knew our ships… We loved those old ships and wore their names on our right shoulders with pride
We laughed… We kept those ships operational and at sea. We faced the storms and dangers and afterward laughed as if it was nothing. We fought the Vietnam War and helped win the Cold War. And there was always a joke or a sea story to bring a smile or laugh.
Look at the way sailors pass jokes on Facebook and Navy websites. I hope sailors never lose the ability to joke and laugh. I hope there are still can-do guys and, I guess, gals in dirty whatever passes for dungarees these days still riding haze gray steel out on the Far Pacific Rim who come into the mess decks, draw a cup and say…
“Hey, did you hear the one about the old Boatswain’s mate and the Admiral’s widow?” And it goes on from there…