Thursday, November 8, 2007

Crossing the Line

There are quite a few solemn, honorable, and noteworthy traditions in the Naval Services. This is not one of them...

I don't know exactly when it started, but the crossing of the equator has somehow developed into quite the party, those days. Actually, from what I understand, it is a lot more restrained due to 'sensitive' types, and no, I'm not referring to the ladies here. This is kind of how it went down...

A few days before we were scheduled to cross, the rumors started. A number of the ships crew were voluntold to venture down into the Marines' quarters and find out who amongst us had already earned their honors. Those that had already crossed the equator (Shellbacks) would be the ones bestowing this trips honors on the newbies (Pollywogs). Not too many of our party had previously crossed.

We also started to get some information. A traditional rite-of-passage, there would probably be some light hazing, followed by some sort of party afterwards. We were always up for a good party, so 'game on!'.

I seem to remember it starting in the morning, and lasting all friggin' day. The first thing that happened was the few Shellback Marines that had already earned their stripes got us out of the racks and started to good naturedly thrash us. In our berthing area. You know, the room where you have to rub asses together if you want to pass someone by between the racks. It made for an interesting session. It was made all the more interesting that those who had already gone through this shit were dressed like (butt) pirates. Eye-patches, cut offs, and plenty of 'Arrrgh, mateys' were flying everywhere.

Next thing that we had to do was get down to the well deck.

The well deck on our ship was located in the center and the rear of the ship. This type of ship is actually designed to slightly lower the ass-end into the ocean to ease the departure of the landing craft. The ass hatches would swing open, the ship would tilt, and the Marines would be off. That was always when I suspected that they finally broke out the good chow and coffee.

Of course, we couldn't just haul ass down to the well deck, no. We had to lie down in the passageway and pass each Marine, hand over hand, to the end of the passageway closer to the well deck. Think crowd surfing, at a height of arms-length. Once one guy had traversed the group, the guy at the end of the line would get up, and leap onto the crowd. Kind of fun, actually.

When we finally got down to the well deck, we were met by one of the Chiefs. He had a fire-hose and an eye with a twitch. This was where I thought it would get interesting.


ten? sheesh.

Glancing around, you would be able to see the majority of the boats crew getting 'thrashed' and hosed down by a small number of 'pirates'. The water was cold, but I have been thrashed better by a fat man in a donut shop.

Towards the end of the festivities, there was a fat bastard representing King Neptune. He was holding attendance at the end of the well deck, seated in his throne and accepting gifts and pledges of service from the higher ranking officers. Since none of us had any gifts to speak of, he had a gift for a few of the guys. He had, securely lodged in his navel, an olive. The honored supplicant was instructed to accept and remove this great honor... with his teeth.

Mmmm, chow time.


I forget exactly when, but one of the passing Shellbacks asked us what we had planned to do for our skit later on that night.

Skit? WTF, over?

Apparently we had missed that memo.

Turns out all of the platoons had to come up with a skit to entertain 'King Neptune' and his distinguished guests at the evening party on the flight deck. In just a few hours, we managed to come up with a pretty good one, if I do say so myself.

A little background, first.

Upon every movement of the ship, either going out to sea or pulling into port, a song would play over the ship's PA. Our song was S'weepea, an oldies tune.

"Oh, S'weapea,
come on and dance with me.

Come on, come on, come on
and dance with meeeee-ee."

Anyways, the song was kind of amusing the first 1500 times we heard it, but it kind of got old after that. I can only imagine that it got much cooler after the Marines were finally off the old boat for good...

The skit that we were required to perform was to include the captain's own musical wonder. The only caution was that it had to be somewhat clean, because we did have 4 female sailors on board. Any excessive cussing or questionable activity would result in the Master Chief tooting the air horn, and that particular platoon being disqualified from the skit competition.

The other platoons did some amusing skits, making fun of each other, the Navy, foreign services, and the like.

We did a strip tease.

Before any of yous guys think that I spent a little too much time on ship, lemme 'splain.

We had a medium sized platoon, notable for a number of things of which only one was the amount of trouble that we could get into, at every port. When it came time for our skit you could say that we already had a few strikes against us. As the song began introducing our skit, there was a collective chuckle & groan and a general thought of 'what the hell are these guys up to now?'

Heh, heh.

The introduction of our short-lived burlesque was six Marines dressed to the nines in makeshift togas, combat boots, and not much else, clomping out to the center of the flight deck in front of the assembled Marines and ships crew. King Neptune and his court were in the position of honor, and at his table sat three of the females (all officers) present on ship. Master Chief was giving us the old evil-eye with a ready finger on the air horn.

The six Marines supported a stretcher graciously 'donated' from sickbay. Standing on the stretcher was Mascot, also dressed in a toga. He was posed in a great profile, fists on his hips, looking off into the distance, ready to perform for all hands.

The music started.

By this time on the deployment, Mascot had endeared himself to the entirety of the ship. The Marines were naturally protective of one of their own, and even the sailors would look out for him on liberty. He wasn't the smartest guy, or the fastest, or fittest, or best looking, or etc, but he was one of the more amusing of God's little creatures.

Everyone applauded for Mascot as he danced (up to this point chastely) to the tune of Sweet Pea. Upon the start of one of the drum solos, Mascot, dancing ever closer to Neptune's table ripped off his toga to reveal...

...his short, stubby, bulbous-in-all-the-wrong-places body clad only in a hot red butt-floss g-string bikini bottom that one of our more nefarious members had collected from a Colombian hooker. Scrawled in black camouflage paint across his ass-cheeks were the initials for our Weapons Platoon (Wpns), 'WP' on one cheek and 'NS' on the other.

Nipple twistage, groin thrusting, and horrible groaning were in full effect.

The assembled crowd roared and went wild.

Master Chief probably had (another) aneurysm as he ground the air horn into dust.


Hammer said...

Those are some scary mental images!

funny as hell though :)

Anonymous said...

Now we have the real truth...on a Navy site a while back, the site author made the Equator fesitivites sound as tame as a Grade 9 hazing!

The only thing better than your witty verbiage would be photographs. In colour. Many. Once in a while. Please.

Snigglefrits said...

I have got to learn to not read you when I'm at work Murphy. They think I've been playing in the nitrous every time. :-D

Murphy said...

Hammer: Yeah, Navy life, chunky men in too little clothing. Wonder if I could take that to the VA for my claim?

Loon: I gather that most celbrations are different, some are way more watered down, others make ours look kinda weenyish...

Sniggle: Wait until they do the nitrous audit (with suspicious glances over your way, 'natch) and cackle madly. That'll make life interesting for 'em!

Chris in SE TX said...




Alison said...

You sir, are the master of story telling! Just as Sniggle had her chuckle at work, I too, sat reading your entry today, unsuspecting,until an uncontrollable bellow grew and escaped ! Your stories are just too funny to read at work! Thank you so much for sharing!