Japanese Squat Toilets

Japanese Squat Toilets

Japan to phase out squat toilets. Sailors will no longer face the adventure of this instrument of torture. Let Brion tell the story:

“Homecoming Parade Float”

By Brion Boyles

OK. so…I was 18, new in the Navy and on my first port visit to Japan. The ship, USS MONTICELLO, had pulled into Yokosuka, and a shipmate asked me if I wanted to go to Tokyo with him and a couple of other guys in a rented car and visit an old friend they knew… maybe play some poker. “Sure!”, I said, and we all piled into the car and headed off.

We parked on a tiny street fronting a tall apartment building and went up to the 4rth floor, where a party was in progress. I sat in on the poker game until I felt the need to unload, asked for the bathroom, and headed in. Locking the door, I turned and looked for the toilet. “Where the fuck is the TOILET!?!?”

There, obviously, is the sink, there’s a wastebasket…and recessed into the floor was what looked like a ceramic bedroom slipper, with a drain hole and some kind of tank above it. This, I figgered, was the mystical Japanese-style toilet I had heard a bit about. As I was already starting to “cap”, I thought no further…dropped trou, squatted over the narrow hole and let loose a perfect, foot-long log so dry and solid it made a “TINK!” noise when it hit the ceramic. I made use of a few sheets of ass-wipe from the roll and then looked for the flush lever.

No flush lever. There was a stumpy thing poking out of the tank, so I pushed it, tried to twist it…no joy. My concrete turd still lay motionless at the bottom of the pure-white trough. Now someone is pounding at the door…”You OK, man?”…

“Yeah! Just a minute!”. Not knowing what else to do, I yanked about 20 feet of toilet paper and carefully picked up my still-warm work of art, rolling it in the toilet paper like an Egyptian artifact. Then, I quietly opened the tiny window over the tank and lobbed the shitlog-mummy out into the darkness of the Oriental night.

I returned to the poker game, whereupon the host said, “I hope that missing lever didn’t give you trouble. Most people figure out that’s what the bottle opener on the string by the sink is for…” “Sure, no sweat…figgered it out right away!” I said, not wanting to look like a “boot camp” in front of all these salty sailors.

Well, we played into the night and decided to head back to the ship, but as we approached the rental car, to my utter shame and horror…I noticed it looked like a badly done float in a High School Homecoming Parade….strewn with toilet paper and Milk Duds…

“WTF?!?!?” sez my shipmate, to which I muttered, “Just get the fuck in, and drive fast. I’ll explain later….”

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“Ole Billy’s” Beard

“Ole Billy’s” Beard

By Garland Davis


I recently told the story of roping the Billy goat. During that narrative, I alluded to another incident with “Ole Billy.” Some people have expressed interest in hearing the story. So here it is.

It was during the summer break from school. One of those days when I wasn’t working on one farmer’s place or another. I know it was a Monday. Mama was washing clothes. She was hanging the clothes on the line when “Ole Billy” stared bellowing and baaing. She looked down the hill toward the barn, thinking that maybe a bobcat was going after one of the newly born kids. But, Billy had gotten his head caught between a fencepost and the gate post. He was putting up quite a racket.

I was on the back porch in the shade reading a Science Fiction story. (I know because it was all I read in those days.) Mama yelled at me to go set “Ole Billy“free. I hurried down to the barn. Now, I had an uncle who said it was impossible to cut a goat’s beard off and often thought about cutting Billy’s beard off, just to see if I could do it and how he would take it. An impossible task. Billy was prone to take offense at the slightest provocation and would butt in the flicker of an eyelash.

Here was Billy with his head caught. The perfect opportunity! Instead of opening the gate, I went to the tack room for a pair of scissors. When I approached him with the scissors in my hand Billy doubled the volume of his complaining. I think he realized that something not good was about to happen to him. I grabbed his whiskers in one hand and applied the scissors. One snip and Billy was beardless. I didn’t think he could get any louder, but he turned up the volume.

I put the scissors down and unlatched the gate to set him loose. Billy was in full Butt mode. He immediately made for me. I dodged and closed the gate. He was on one side and me the other. I was safe from his wrath. The only problem was that I was in the goat lot and Billy was outside. He took a couple of whacks at the barn door and a pair of fence posts. Then he spied Mama’s laundry. He was off. He was butting at the clothes and knocked Mama’s clothesline pole down. The weight of the clothes drooped the line until some of the washing was in the dirt.

Mama saw this from the back porch, grabbed a Bakker (tobacco) stick and went to chastise “Ole Billy.” I took the opportunity while he was distracted to run for the house. I went through the back door right in front of Mama who was two steps ahead of Billy. He stormed around the porch leaving a profusion of pellets otherwise known as goat pills. He finally went back and attacked the clothesline again. Finally tiring of his fun and probably famished from all the activity, he wandered down to the edge of the woods and began to consume a bush.

Now Mama didn’t hold with cussing and was known to stuff a cake (Mama always said cake instead of bar) of Ivory soap into a boy’s mouth and make him hold it there for fifteen minutes while standing on the back porch staring at the wall. I tried to avoid this punishment. I would rather opt for Daddy’s belt than stand there for fifteen minutes wondering who the last person was to wash their butt with this soap. Mama denied it, but I heard her say a few choice words regarding Billy’s parentage that morning.

“Ole Billy finally wandered back to the barn and I went and opened the gate and he went in to oversee happenings among his herd. I avoided any future confrontations with Billy after that incident.

For a long time afterward, I was worried someone would say, “What happened to Billy’s beard?” I knew the finger would point to me.

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Warrior Brother

Warrior Brother

Author Unknown

We bid them farewell as we man the rail.
Let us be Joyous and let us not weep
For those who have now crossed over the deep.
When a Sailor’s last roll call is made
His final embarking shan’t be delayed.
So lower the Colors, let them be furled
Each time a Sailor disembarks this world.
The crew onboard in Heaven awaits
The Eternal reunion of their shipmates.
They’ll be welcomed home by those onboard
Moored in peaceful waters with the Lord.
As he approaches, he’ll call “Ahoy! The ship!”
Now in safe harbor, an Eternal trip.
Then he’ll hear “Sailor on deck! Hoist the flag!,”
“Help him get settled! Help stow his seabag!”
Be it known that it’s a Divine remand
To ship in Heaven, ye Seafaring Man.
On permanent station forevermore
Peaceful duty for Veterans of war.
And when he’s weighed anchor for the last time
We’ll Honor his memory so sublime.
We’ll all reminisce and hoist a brew
In a Toast of Honor to the crew.

Rest Easy, Warrior Brother, We have the Watch!

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I was…

theleansubmariner

I was…

The title of our daily devotion this morning was “I was.” The story was about a man’s reflection when he heard another person talk about what they were before they retired. It occurred to me that at a certain point in all of our lives, we become that person. All of the titles and jobs and work you did along the way probably defined who you were.

I’ve thought about it most of the day today. To be honest, my life didn’t turn out quite the way I thought it would as a kid. There have been so many twists and turns along the way and I am not sure I can even remember what it was I wanted to do when I grew up. I’m fairly certain that the Navy was going to a part of that journey since I really wanted to travel and see as…

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Parkinson’s Disease and Me

Parkinson’s Disease and Me

By Garland Davis

It was nine years ago that I diagnosed myself with Parkinson’s Disease.

I stopped for a beer at a neighbor’s house while walking my dog on a Friday evening. My right hand was shaking. I showed it to him and said, “Look at this.”

He asked, “Have you ever been checked for Parkinson’s?” He had seen it before; his dad had had the disease.

Of course, I hadn’t been checked. I had heard of the disease but my knowledge of it was limited to knowing that Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, and (probably) Hitler had the condition. I spent that entire Friday night and well into Saturday on the computer researching PD. I read scientific papers that I barely understood. As I read, I more and more recognized symptoms that had plagued me for two or three years.

I was a runner normally running three to five miles a day and it bothered me that my right arm no longer swung naturally and that my right foot pronated to the right along with a sensation of running in water. These difficulties had put an end to running a couple of years earlier. I had taken to walking instead. My dog and I logged as much as six miles per day. I saw him slow as he grew older. One day while watching him walk with my wife, I realized he had slowed to compensate for me and my slower gait.

I walk with a different dog now. I walk a mile each day. Well, most days. Some days it is difficult and other days difficult is too mild a term to describe our daily trek. The day will come when I will no longer be able to walk the mile, but I will hold that day off as long as I can and when the day comes that I can only make it to the end of the drive, know that I will be taking that walk.

But to get back to my story, I made an appointment with my doctor. I told him I had Parkinson’s Disease and the reasons I believed so. He referred me to a Neurologist who confirmed my diagnosis, prescribed some pills, and told me what to expect as the disease progressed.

Sounds depressing, right? Well, it is. Soul-sucking depressing! One can look at it as a death sentence not knowing the time you will have to wait on death row.

I decided, “That’s not me.” I decided, “I will not give in to depression.” I decided, “Although I am sixty-five years old, instead of retiring, I will continue to work.” And I did for two years, but I was a professional driver and failed to pass the bi-annual physical exam. I was forced to surrender my license.

I envisioned long idle days with nothing to do. Well, as I said, that just wasn’t me. I always had it in mind to try writing and had done well in university courses through undergraduate school and later in graduate school. But those had been business subjects. I had in mind to write poetry and fiction. So, at sixty-seven, I enrolled in literature and creative writing courses at an online university.

A little over three years ago, at seventy-one, I started an online blog where I tell true and fictional stories of growing up in rural North Carolina, tales from my thirty-year career in the Navy, I write historical articles about Naval events, and feature articles by my shipmates. There are currently over nine hundred blog entries. I have had a poem and a couple of stories published in an online magazine that features articles and stories written by veterans.

Every year I travel alone from Hawaii to Missouri to attend a reunion of sailors who served in the Far East. I have done this since 2013 and am looking forward to the 2019 gathering.

What I’m saying here folks is you have it in you to relegate this Disease to a secondary position in your life. Do more than you think you can! Don’t agonize over Parkinson’s Disease or dwell upon it. That is the road to depression and batshit crazy.

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ODE TO THE NAVY RETIREE

ODE TO THE NAVY RETIREE!

When I was young, a friend of mine,
Retired with thirty years of Naval Service.
More years than I had lived.

I asked him, “was it worth it?”
And a tear came to his eye,
He said, “Son, I’d do it all again.”
And then he told me why.

He said, “This nation can not stand,
Unless we have someone,
To guard our country night and day,
The way that I have done.

“There is better-paying jobs.” He said.
With much better hours too.
But the future of this country.
Depends on guys; like me and you”.

“I’ve not got a lot to show,
And my years at home were few.
But I did my job the best I could,
And now it’s up to you.”

I think about this friend of mine.
As my thirty years grow near.
And I understand how he felt.
And why I saw that tear.

I’ve been gone from home a lot myself,
And I’ve got a scar or two.
But if I had it all to do again.
I’d do the same thing too.

There’s a youngster out there somewhere,
Who’ll enlist to take my place?
He’ll ask me, “Was it worth it?”
And see a tear run down my face.

They’re good, these young replacements.
I work with them each day.
With faith in God, they’ll do the job.
And the best of them will stay.

And in thirty years, a youngster
Whose service just began,
Will ask, and get the answer:
“Son, I would do it all again.”

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