Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chow Time

... they say that in the Marine Corps, the chow is mighty fine...

...the chicken jumped off the table, and started marking time...

-Marine Corps cadence

1200 hrs, and a whole lotta nuthin' was going on in the mortar teams' berthing compartment. Living la vida loca on the high seas was already getting old, and we hadn't been on ship for that long. I had gotten into the habit of going to the ship's small gym early in the mornings, and this particular morning I had inadvertently worked out through the breakfast hours. Not that I was missing much, it was the same old stuff that they always had. I could probably stand to lose a few pounds anyways.

Heeding the call of my empty belly, I shimmied out of my rack (the one almost all the way in the corner, roughly 2 inches off the deck), threw on a pair of boots, cursed, took off those boots, located my boots and put them on. (When you cram about 25 Marines and all their crap into the space of a household master bedroom, things tend to get mixed up and wander around.) Winding my way through the racks stacked 4 high, I exited our quarters, thankfully without smacking my head or shins on the hatches. Those things were definitely not designed with taller people in mind.

Strolling through the ship, I picked a stairway that appeared to be a likely candidate for the general vicinity of the mess deck, climbed the stairs, and exited right into the line. As the entrance to the chow hall was on the other side of the ship, this told me that the wait was going to be quite long. Again. Turning sideways to make my way past the sailors and Marines already waiting, I took my place at the end of the line, and pulled out my crossword puzzle book. Those things were a life-saver as far as I was concerned, when it came to killing time.

I killed time for about an hour and a half. Still wasn't there, yet.

Approaching the entrance to the chow hall, I could hear some cussing from up ahead. I figured that it was due to the food selection.

I was partially right.

See, due to the fact that the ship would be pulling into port in the days ahead, some well-meaning person had decided that the entryway for the chow hall would be a good place to post information for the crew. Pretty good idea, right? Well yeah, stuff like the current exchange rate, cafeteria hours of operation when the ship was at port, and the like was helpful. What was informative and at the same time disgusting was the stuff on STDs. Yup, that's right. That same well meaning individual had posted several, full-sized and in living color, examples of anything that can go wrong with 'Mr. (or Mrs.) Happy'. If it dripped, leaked, puffed, rashed, caused pain or discomfort, lost color, gained a rainbow of colors, bled, or anything out of the ordinary, there was an example of it, for all the ships little boys and girls. I was scarred for life.

Eeew does not begin to sum it up.

Attempting to shake my mind of the nastiness I had just witnessed, I entered the serving line.

ME: Hey Cookie, whatcha got?

COOKIE: Sides are first. Broccoli?

uh, not this time.

COOKIE: Cauliflower?

Er, ah...nu-uh.

COOKIE: Red apple sauce?

Blurf. Is everything going to remind me of those friggin' pictures?

ME: Think I'll pass on those, thanks.

COOKIE: Moving right along, then. What do you want for main dish? Chilli-dog weenies?

Ungh. Is this for real?

COOKIE: Roast Beef sandwiches?

What the hell?!?

ME: You know, I think I'll just stick with a salad today, thanks.

COOKIE: Hmm, popular choice.

... they say that in the Navy, the chow is mighty fine...

... gonna triple-wrap my junk, before I wine and dine...


Mike said...

I think that proves it was the chef. He obiviously didn't feel like making chili dogs.

Was the extra "concern" for the health of everyone's baby-factories a justified assault?

Shane said...

Oh man I remember those slides from boot camp, right after lunch. Keeping lunch down was a challenge.

I also know the berthing, since LCAC crew got to sleep with the Marines. Most nights we just slept on our boat.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Uhhhh.... yuck?

That was nasty.

Oh, and by the way, I forgot something rather important that I usually do on my first comment on a current or former soldier/sailor/Marine's blog:

You fought for me in Iraq. Thank you.

Drinks are on me anytime.


Snigglefrits said...

Perhaps you could gain something from this experience- a marketing campaign for a new fad diet plan. ;-)

I really enjoy your blog. Would you mind if I added you to my blogroll?

Old NFO said...

LOL- Try 120 days on the line with those being the BEST choices you see... I lived on sliders, autodog and bug juice for the entire cruise. Also, Coral Sea spent most of the cruise on water hours- e.g. water 0600-0700 and 1800-1900. Since we were the early go for CAP, I was lucky to get a shower once a week...

OBTW, you do know Murphy was real, don't you?

Murphy said...

Mike: Let me put it this way; In some ports, the 'ladies' were waiting at the dock with flyers and business cards.

Shane: Sounds like a wise choice.

Speakertweaker: The honor was mine.

Snigglefrits: Love the name, happy belated, and please do.

Old NFO: Hmmm, something about a lab researcher's assistant comes to mind... but after my experiences, I am convinced that he has been reincarnated as the mythical god of military miss-haps and pretty much anything I am involved in.

Snigglefrits said...

Thanks Murphy for letting me add you to my blogroll.

Like speakerwriter, I think it's important to thank anyone who served in the military for sacrifices made and what they put on the line for the rest of us.

That said, Thank you. You have my greatest appreciation and respect.

Snigglefrits said...

My apologies to SpeakerTweaker for totally screwing up on his/her name. I shouldn't try to do 40 things at once when I'm tired. Sorry SpeakerTweaker.

Old NFO said...

Actually the 'real' Murphy was an Air Force Captain stationed at Edwards AFB.