The story of a boy, who enlisted in the Navy, who became a man, who still retained the emotional maturity of that boy, yet convinced a woman to marry him.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

1976 Part IV: Rock, Paper, Scissors, and a Train

In our last episode, Mom dropped me off at AFEES.  And headed to breakfast.
WARNING:  The following contains what is commonly referred to as “salty” language.  Get used to it, because that’s pretty much how it will be from here on out.  Or did you think someone just made up the expression “swear like a sailor”?

August 30
Part III
New Haven, Connecticut
"With liberty and fraternity for all.
No shit."
In a ceremony remarkable similar to what we did in January, the station officer in charge charged us to once more support and defend the Constitution.

    Only this time I knew to keep an eye out
Hey, good luck with that Navy thing.
And hygiene."
for hippies. 

    Instead of heading back to class, Bill Metzler, Buddy Fulton, Paul Arnold, and I were finally on our way to the Midwest.  Joined by two others from Guilford and Derby, we knew the biggest difference between this morning and January was that now we’d get jail instead of detention if we decided to just go home.

    We were ordered to pick a group leader who’d be responsible for carrying our orders, transportation tickets, and meal vouchers.  Realizing this was a position of limited responsibility, zero privilege, and even less prestige, nobody was eager for the job.  We mostly stared at each other, hoping someone would be stupid enough to volunteer.

    Finally, after being told to “get our candy asses moving,” we opted for a thoroughly democratic round of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”  Luckily for us, five of us threw “rock” while Jimmy Banfield from Guilford unwisely elected to go with “scissors.”

"Shoulda thrown paper.
And shaved."
   I didn’t understand why he was so upset.  Sure, “paper” would have covered “rock,” thus nullifying its powers (exactly why never made sense to me).  But, then again, if someone threw “scissors,” he would have had his “paper” sliced in two.

    So, who knows?  Far be it from me to dispute the indiscriminate randomness inherent in “RPS.”

    In any case, Jimmy now had to lug six large manila envelopes to Illinois.

    Within the hour, we were on a train headed to Springfield, Massachusetts.  Once there, we’d get on a second train which would take us to Chicago.  Upon arrival in the Windy City, we were to board a third train for the final leg to boot camp.

    All told, this little trip would take a
"All aboard!!"
day and a half.  On technology invented in the 19th century.

    When I mentioned to the processing petty officer (the same one from January-except this time he wasn’t wearing dirty scrubs) that, since the airplane had been around since 1903, the Navy might want to take advantage of that technological innovation.

    He stared at me like I had two heads.  Thinking briefly (briefly is actually all he was capable of), he barked,

Like this.
But not in camouflage.
And with more spittle.
And he wasn't black.
    “Quitcher yer fucking bitchin’ and moanin’, ya fucking piece a shit!  I’ll put ya on a goddamn fucking donkey if I fucking feel like it!  Now, get’cher sorry ass on the fucking goddamn train with the rest of those pussies before I lose my fucking temper, ya whinin’ douchebag!”

    I learned two things that morning: 

    1.  Navy petty officers aren’t warm and cuddly like my recruiter.

    2.  Apparently, “fuck” is a pretty popular word.  

    No shit.

NEXT:  Hell is in session.....
"Yer not in gym class, anymore."


  1. The wisdom of babes- please check it at the door.

    1. And I had to keep it there for 27 years.

  2. Never understood how paper can win at all either. But oh well. Wow all that swearing must have hurt your virgin ears lol

    1. My ears, sadly, got used to being violated.

  3. Hi there! I just caught up on this series and I didn't know you were from CT. I grew up in Jersey but lived in Manchester CT for 20 years. This story is really bringing back memories of the 70's. Wow. I'm starting to feel older quicker!

    1. Yep, as a matter of fact, I was in Stratford this morning having breakfast with my friend. You've "met" him already. His name is "Spags."

  4. I guess that's why they're called petty officers

    1. Funny, I remember people regularly complaining about that term (i.e., that it was a derisive, condescending title). It never bothered me, but I saw their point. The other services call them "non-commissioned" officers, which makes sense. Like many things, we blamed the Royal Navy for that one.

  5. Was this suppose to crack me up because it does, maybe it is just your way with words,

    1. If it did crack you up, that was my intent. If it was supposed to make you sad, then I failed miserably.

  6. Love the almost identical photo of the processing petty officer! Sorry that you had to travel by 19th century transportation. At least it probably smelled a little better than the donkey.


    1. I was really amazed that we didn't fly especially since when we got to boot camp, we met some people from Indiana who DID. But, as I learned, August is near the end of the fiscal year and the recruiting district may not have had money for us to take a plane. But, still...

  7. I laughed at the "salty" language.


    1. Thank goodness. I was afraid that I'd offend someone. But, seriously, there was no way I could pull it off with dainty euphemisms. This book is rated "R" for language.
      So you know, that kind of language is expressly forbidden with recruits anymore.

    2. Yeah, right. The forbidden never happens.

    3. The Navy would seriously fire anyone who'd use salty language to offend sweet, tender sensibilities.
      Not saying I'm a fan of that approach.

  8. Oh the memories! That guy sure didn't have much of a sense of humor. Sounds like the same DB who usually ends up with a post military career as an assistant manager at McDonalds. You've got me thinking about doing a re-mix and re-post of my military exploits.