Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Morning Mariner: If You Really Miss Going To Sea

You know what I'm doin' when this is over? I'm puttin' into port, I'm gettin' off the ship, I'm puttin' an oar on my shoulder, and I'm startin' inland, and the first time a guy says to me: "What's that on your shoulder?" that's where I'm settlin' for the rest of my life.
-- "Boats" O' Hara, Action in the North Atlantic

To celebrate my return to this blog, here's one for all my mariner readers who have retired, been downsized, or switched to a land job for personal or economic reasons. This material isn't original with me: I first saw some version of this about seventeen years ago, and it no doubt pre-dates that time by several years, if not decades.

If You Really Miss Going To Sea
  1. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your spouse whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble "sorry, wrong rack."
  2. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the shower head down to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you shut off the water while soaping up.
  3. Every time there's a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and rock as hard as you can until you're nauseous.
  4. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it to "High."
  5. Leave lawnmower running in your living room six hours a day for proper noise level.
  6. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
  7. Once a week blow compressed air up through your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot across and onto your neighbor's house. Laugh at him when he curses you.
  8. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
  9. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread, if anything. (Optional: Canned ravioli or cold soup.)
  10. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator.
  11. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can, then run out into your yard and break out the garden hose.
  12. Once a month take every major appliance completely apart and then put them back together.
  13. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for 5 or 6 hours before drinking.
  14. Invite at least 85 people you don't really like to come and visit for a couple of months.
  15. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
  16. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills on your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.
  17. Lockwire the lugnuts on your car.
  18. When making cakes, prop up one side of the pan while it is baking. Then spread icing really thick on one side to level off the top.
  19. Every so often, throw your cat into the swimming pool, shout "Man overboard, ship recovery!", run into the kitchen and sweep all the pots/pans/dishes off of the counter onto the floor, then yell at your spouse for not having the place "stowed for sea."
  20. Put on the headphones from your stereo (don't plug them in). Go and stand in front of your stove. Say (to nobody in particular) "Stove manned and ready." Stand there for 3 or 4 minutes. Say (once again to nobody in particular) "Stove secured." Roll up the headphone cord and put them away.
I first saw a list like this one shortly after I started working on ships. The first time I read it, it was a photocopy of a photocopy of a type-written piece of paper, then it was an email Forward, then an HTML document. The technology to spread it has changed, but the basic reality of this list hasn't really changed much since I first saw it. Maybe we should add an item like: "Go online and print out a random certificate of some kind. Add an $800 charge to your credit card. File the certificate away in the thickest 3-ring binder you can find. Repeat in five years."

For a look at a guy actually running a lawn mower in his living room, click here.

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