|Because black is so slimming. |
Even though I'm wearing Dress Blues.
Get used to this kind of wild inconsistency.
(VP-11 NAS Brunswick, ME 1989)
According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, a “foreword” is a “preface or introductory note, especially at the beginning of a book.”
Also, a “pochard” is “any of various ducks...having gray and black plumage and a reddish head.”
Since I don’t think that’s terribly relevant here, I’ll stick with the definition of “foreword.”
All great literary works from Moby Dick (surprisingly not about venereal disease on whaling ships) to Jokes for the John-A Compilation of Bathroom Humor contain something by way of an introduction.
Some, like the aforementioned Dick book actually use the conventional “introduction.” However, Nathaniel Hawthorne chose to open his tale of those whacky Puritans, The Scarlet Letter, with a “preface.” The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, on the other hand, uses the good old “foreword” before describing youthful hijinks on the Mississippi. Or Missouri. One of those Midwest rivers.
In many cases, these warm-ups were written by someone other than the person on the “byline.” Primarily a way of honoring the novelist as a genius among lesser writers, they quite often were penned long after said novelist was dead. Which means the “foreword” essayist could get away with claiming the most outrageous of intentions by the original author.
For instance, I’m quite sure that Moby Dick was just a huge frikkin’ whale and not a symbol of Captain Ahab’s erectile dysfunction.
Call me Ishmael, but I don’t think Herman Melville had that in mind. If anything, I’ll bet it was Ahab’s wooden leg which had some sort of phallic meaning.
Mostly as a means of ensuring that you, the reader, don’t ascribe any hidden agenda to the following story, I’ve decided to pen my own “foreword.” Okay, it’s actually because I didn’t want to pay anyone to write something insincere about me. Especially after I’m dead.
This will be important if I can’t convince anyone to publish this book. Then where would I get the money?
It’s Not Just a Job is the story of close to thirty years of trying to figure out what-it-is-I-want-to-do-with-my-life-but-I-don’t-know-so-I-may-as-well-stay-Navy.
At times exciting, at other times dramatic, but in all cases so funny you’ll laugh your ass off (I borrowed that from the latest remake of Arthur. Which was as funny as a prostate exam from Edward Scissorhands), it takes you from frightened youngster at the train station to savvy veteran saying goodbye in front of a huge blow-up flamingo.
If you bought this book expecting an exciting saga of maritime derring-do, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Kevin Costner in Waterworld, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Likewise, if you’ve come looking for a nautical thriller of men tossed upon the briny sea, this isn’t for you, either. Plus, you’re probably gay.
No, It’s Not Just a Job is merely my take on what it is that compels a boy from Connecticut to seek his fortune in the service of his country.
And it isn't just because there wasn’t any money to send him to college.
Well, it is that.
But, it’s also much more.
So, whaddya say? Why don’t you be the judge? After all, it’s your money.
Or the prison library is all out of Dave Barry.
PRETENTIOUS CREATIVE ARTIST DISCLAIMER: While the following is based on bona fide events, names have been changed to protect the innocent, avoid any potential embarrassment, and minimize the chances of me having my ass sued off. Where possible, I’ll use actual dates to describe actual events. Where not possible, I’ll make them up. What’s more, when real life gets as boring as an evening with Al Gore, I’ll exaggerate like anything you’ll see on MSNBC. So, if you find yourself saying, “Hey, I don’t remember it that way!” let me first express my amazement that you actually bought this thing. Second, it’s my book and I’ll write anything I want. Especially if it makes me look better. Further, be warned that this is a tale of sailors...in the Navy (as opposed the Village People). Meaning that some of the language will be, shall we say, salty? If you were to rate this story, you’d be safe giving it an ‘R’ rating for language, adult situations, and that time I woke up in a pillowcase. Don’t worry, I’ll avoid most of the baser elements associated with a life as a Jolly Jack Tar (now that definitely sounds gay). Because you don’t need to read that kind of lurid nonsense. And because marriage doesn’t honor the statute of limitations. This is why I leave off any mention of my first wife. Except when our guests needed to pay admission to our wedding. Finally, any resemblance to living, breathing people is purely coincidental. As far as you know.
What you are about to read is true...mostly...
To be continued...