Sid's N T I N S Locker

A sewerpipe sailor
Floating Loose in Cyberspace
by Sid Harrison  ETCM(SS) USN/Ret
Summer 2008

Dex actually grew up - did some course work at the Citadel; got his degree at Univ, of South Carolina; held a very responsible US Gummint job in DC- and has now retired to wear out No.3 pencils with his bullshit. God bless him.
I know some of you have read Dex's windy, rambling memory dumps about his submarine life in the late 50s/ early '60s.  It kinda goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that Dex puts it down exactly the same way most of us I suspect mouthed off in bull sessions at duty stations of whatever branch of the Navy we were in. He gives no consideration to PC or touchy-feely just as though he was "on the boat" with his shipmates. Reach back. Remember those days?

Anyway, on the BBS where most of Dex's stuff finds its way, someone occasionally pops up to take exception to something he opines about while in his 19 year old sailor-speak mode.

Below is a tweaked-up and repackaged item I once posted on the topic of the writing and reading of old sailor memory- dumps.

The posting:
If you can't re-calibrate - then don't read no-shitters.

Go find something else to do besides pissing on the exchanges in veteran forums. It is stuff written and enjoyed by guys who once again, for the moment, in our minds anyway, are "on the boat":  BACK THEN... when patrol time was endured by swapping lies and insults.

And let me dispel that jive I have sometimes seen posted that says, "Hurumph!!  If you talked like that on my boat somebody would have pasted you one".


Now a little common sense here. Just what would a boat sailor do, sealed up in a submarine for the rest of a run, after he had clocked a shipmate for insulting his sister, mother, religion, dog or whatever?  No place to run. No place to hide. I imagine each of us have seen at least one "non-hacker" who couldn't take it. At the earliest opportunity they disappeared to Squadron never to be heard from again.

"But COB (or Captain) they say bad things that hurt my feelings".
Not a wise defense to prevent a trip to the Sqd. shrink. Very likely a haze gray skimmer loomed large in the complainant's future.

Yeah, there are some postings I have read (Dex's included) that began to raise my hackles --- but then I snap out of it and remember to hit the re-calibrate button.

CLICK!  ---  and those are no longer merely postings on some twigidty computer thingamajig but instead its once more long ago. It is 0230 and soup-down has long been cleared away. The night baker is doing his magic and you wait for that first loaf of hot bread or some sticky buns. The mess deck is empty now except for a few of us playing cards, acey- deucey, cribbage or whatever. All the while some knucklehead is expounding on some mindless crap. And we all know its just submarine pastime bullshit.

And that's what these cyber mind-dumps are: submarine pastime bullshit. So if you take it any other way you're artificially pumping yourself up for no reason.

To quote Dex: "If horse manure" was selling at a penny a pound, all submariners would be rich".

Do a reality check shipmate. The boats are now gone, along with our waistlines, hair, virility and our youth along with our sense of invincible immortality. All that remains are some raggedyassed neurons in our brains that occasionally can still conjure up some rambling stories that nobody really gives a hoot about except those of us who had similar experiences.

And there were no "oh so sensitive outsiders" to bust anyone's chops for making insensitive or "hurtful comments".  If there had been - he would probably gotten a shot of grease and prussian blue in his squeak just for being stupid.

So let the unabridged no-shitters roll on.

Now the concession stand is closing and we start the main feature
Recently a recurring lifelong "back problem" was again acting up and while I made the drive to the Chiropractor I drifted back to the first time that back problem hit me. It was in the early '60s  during a rough northern run in the USS BLENNY. I recalled all the red-ass I received from my shipmates which could have really "gotten to me" ---  but didn't ---  because I understood.
Wha hoppen?
It was on a northern intel run. Don't ask the cause. If you've ever had a sudden onset of back problems you know it can just happen - often with no cause that can be pinpointed.

Back in Hogan's Alley the thing I remember the most is for the first couple of days, when I couldn't even walk on my own,  were the guys stopping by to check on me and dump my pee can --- a No.10 can with a bail made of 21-thread hanging on my bunk.  In those winter seas it was impossible at first for me to even roll out of the rack to go pee. 

They brought me soup and sandwiches accompanied with smartass remarks that usually included the term SLACKER.  Also there were some great cartoons drawn at that time and hung in the crew's dinette that depicted me swinging through the After Battery overhead or hobbling around and they were very funny.

But the same guys who guffawed at my plight also helped me to the hopper and provided verbal encouragement as I slowly eased into a sitting position - of course with gross critiques of my progress, my seating style, technique and pooping progress. (Yeah try taking a crap when your spinal column feels like its gonna come out of your back like that thing in the movie ALIEN).

Here is a picture of a refurbished Sid 
following five days of excruciating
pain and off-the-watch-bill status.
They were my shipmates.

We looked after one another. We were gross, coarse, irreverent and had no need to be all touchy feely about anything.

Those were the ugliest, smelliest bunch of nurses aides a guy ever had.

Anyway, after a couple of days the boat's Doc - an HMC(SS) whose name has unfortunately slipped my mind -  moved me into one of the racks in our small goat locker. I was a beady-eyed raghat at the time and this move displaced a Chief from his bunk temporarily. (There was no bitching about it)

A few days of "bedrest" in that roomier CPO bunk - plus a steady dose of muscle relaxants, pain-killers, hot pads and menthol rubdowns by that great Doc got me about 90 percent squared away. Enough so that around day five the Doc had someone clean out a shower stall and told me to take a long hot shower. Definitely never done on an old diesel boat at sea. Then another hot menthol rubdown (I was starting to have some weird feelings for that Doc about this time) and get ready to go back on watch the next day.

So to celebrate my return to the watch bill I took a stroll through the boat leaving wafts of after-shave in my wake. I was showered up - beard trimmed - and sporting clean skivvies. Wearing dungarees instead of that WWII vintage brown wool northern-run issue getup. All topped off with my nine dollar Brit submarine sweater - the one I had bought on a Royal Navy Submarine tender in Portsmouth England on the outward leg of that trip.

The picture was taken by Big Dog Foltz TM2(SS) in the Fwd Torpedo Room.  Big Dog thought a nice picture should commemorate the occasion of my return to useful watchstander status. (Personally I think he just wanted a record that someone had actually taken a hot shower and cleaned up in the middle of a run.)

You see how reading Dex and other no-shitters on the net can effect the brain?  Stimulates old memories.

Just remember to use that re-calibrate switch. One click and you can go back - at least in your mind.

The boat

The trip

The end.....................................