Aug 28, 2014

Nautical Distractions (3)

A lad for whom I hold infinite affection has just turned 19. When he is precisely 19 years and one month old he will have heard this phrase:

"Your other left you boot sonuvabitch!"

He is pretty well coordinated, so perhaps the tormentor will have screamed it at some other confused youngster taking his first marching steps toward becoming a wave-riding defender of the United States Constitution.

Call it a culture shock beyond the understanding of the twee Yankee tourist distraught at discovering  she can't get a truffle in Pago Pago.


Hi. I'm from Grampsington and I'm here to help!"


Among the several humiliations the Navy has in store for you is language.  Call it a wall instead of a bulkhead and you will be loudly informed that you are whale-turd low, an arse-pimple afflicting everyone from the Chief of Naval Operations down to Davy Jones, not to mention all of the training petty officers to whom your personal arse now belongs.

Hence a vocabulary primer:

Port is left, that part of the ship left of the center line. (Port and left each have four letters.)

Port is also associated with red -- and with even numbers -- and with a red channel marker called a nun buoy. Hence the mnemonic "Even the red nun drinks port." (Sadly, you have already lost enough innocence to know that port wine is red.)

Starboard is the right-side half of the ship. I never heard a really good memory aid. Maybe "R"(ight)  and "S (tarboard)" are consecutive letters. It is also associated with the color green and odd numbers.

Bow: the front, usually  pointy end of a ship.

Stern: The back end. Usually square, or squarish compared to the bow.

Fore: Toward the bow.

Aft: Toward the stern.

Abaft: Like aft except in reference to some point, such as "abaft the beam."

Beam: The middle of the ship, half-way between bow and stern. Often, not always, the widest part of the vessel.

Deck: What your mom calls a floor.

Overhead: What your dad calls a ceiling.

Passageway:  Generally, what your brother calls a hallway.

A door usually goes though a bulkhead.

A hatch generally goes through a deck.

Salt or Old Salt: A seasoned veteran.

Salty: What you will consider yourself beginning about your sixth week of Boot Camp.

Boot:  A rank beginner. What everyone with one more day in service will consider you -- right up until the day you retire.

Have fun, Pardner. Remember to invite me to the ceremony installing you as Chief of Naval Operations.



Rob said...

Starboard and right are both big words while port & left are not.

What else....the 24 clock & firefighting

Unknown said...

"Front, bow. Back, stern. If ya don't get it right, squirt, I throw your ass out the little round window on the side." - Capt. Quint

John of the GMA

Inbredredneck said...

Please pass along my thanks to the youngster for choosing to serve. My daughter did 8 years in USNavy as an air framer and would've liked to've stayed in for 20. She wasn't makin' rank fast enough and they started contracting out most of the work. At least they let her keep the bonus for having re-upped while in the combat zone.
I deeply appreciate all who've chosen to wear the uniform, even squids, jarheads and chair force. Hell, we'll even throw in coasties, as they've had their rear ends hangin' out there in the breeze, too.

Anonymous said...

Starboard was the natural side for a right handed steersman to put his steering oar, in the days when there were seamen to make the last few generations of sailors look like disabled children