Channel Fever

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

FINEX... "Finished Exercise..." The two most beautiful words in a submariner's vocabulary. This announcement is usually followed by a course change for port... Makin' turns for home.

Grown men went nuts... The Old Man opens the showers... Thirty second soapdown, thirty second rinse... Foo foo juice. Foo foo is hair tonic, after shave lotion, cologne, sometimes all together. Stuff like Lucky Tiger, Mennins, Old Spice... Good smelling stuff... In an hour after they turned on the white lights in the after battery, half the boat smelled like a New Orleans cathouse.

Guys went around punching each other in the shoulder and saying,

"Hey bucko, watcha wanna do when we get in?"

"Think Bells will be open?"

"Wonder if Daisy could scare somethin' up for your ole' buddy?"

"Jeezuz, look at this place! Let's turn to and square it away before the COB shows up and we have to listen to his 'No self-respecting pig...' speech and his discourse on our personal living habits... Hygene... In the Old Navy... You know, all that horsecrap."

"Anyone got an extra set of dolphins? Pinned mine on some chippy in Halifax..."

"Who stole my gahdam shoe brush?"

"Any of you guys want to stand-by and take the charge for a grateful shipmate who missed his kids first two peewee ball games?"

(Nobody ever paid for stand-bys on the boat... A Requin thing...)

"Hey, anyone going to Philly?"

"Anyone seen my shoe?"

"Which watch section has the duty?"

"Who's duty cook?"

"Stukey, where in the hell did you come up with that clean set of whites?"

(Adrian Stukey was a sailor you could bury twelve feet down in a manure pile and he would emerge looking like he walked right out of a recruiting poster. He had clean whites no matter where you were... A 4.0 sailor in a 2.0 world.)

"Anyone wanna get up a poker game in the after room?"

"Anyone wanna see 'Sea Wife' for the 30th. time?"

"Hey Doc, what's this stuff growin' between Jack's toes?"

"Anyone got smokes?"

"Where's that 'Swamp Girl' paperback?"

"Hey, you guys remember that wierd smell we had over here in the passageway last week? Well, you guys owe Peto an apology... Had nothing to do with his socks... I just found some kind of semi-decomposed seafood shell in the waterway. Blame whoever passed the 'one-way' up the after battery hatch."

"What the hell... Peto's got feet that smell like a dead mummy wrapper..."

"Screw you Mr. 'Smell like a Rose,' if it wasn't for a half gallon of Old Spice, you'd smell like the inside of Yugoslavian gym shorts."

"What's our ETA?"

"When's the Old Man gonna set the maneuvering watch?"

"I'm gonna kill any worthless sonuvabitch from Orion that tries to sneak off with a heaving line... Little bastards."

"That reminds me, we gotta replace number one line... Getting a little raggedy."

"Anyone know who had the topside T-wrench last... Can't you gahdam idiots remember to put stuff back where you got it? Didn't they teach you anything in Kindergarten?"

"Hey Jack, look in the T-wrench locker under 'T'..."

"Hey, remember what the skipper said about no nekkit lady pictures taped up when lady visitors may be coming through."

"That nekkit lady is my future bride..."

"The only way that nekkit lady is ever going to hear about you, you ugly sonuvabitch, is if the boat sinks and she reads your name in the paper... I can see it now... SUBMARINE REQUIN LOST... NUMBERED AMONG THE CREW, FRANK DAVENPORT, UGLIEST SAILOR ON THE EAST COAST."

"Keep it up horsefly, and uncle Frank may pop you in the snot locker."

"We love you Frank, honest we do... But either take that gahdam picture down or go find something and draw some clothes on her."

"Honest to God... Not more than five minutes ago, I laid my damn comb in the middle of my rack... It's gone... Sonuvabitch just grew legs and walked off..."

"Aw, shut the hell up Charlie, nobody likes to hear a shortimer whine."

"How's your mother?"

"Allright children, let's not start the 'how's your mother' crap."

"Get this, the cook's making sorry-ass grilled cheese sandwiches and the COB is letting the lazy bastard get away with it... When we all die of Velveeta poisoning, I hope the CNO eats him alive."

"Hey, the cook doesn't want to have to clean up a big mess when we get in... Has a new baby."

"Yeh? Well, any lazy bastard who would serve his crew lousy cheese sandwiches heading in, probably used a yardbird for the conception."

"Naw, word has it the snipes off the 'Cubby Bear' do the job for two cheese sandwiches and a jug of 'Fox..."

"Knock it off, ladies!"

Channel fever... Endless inane conversation... Wierd smelling air... The cementing of friendships that would last 'til they all crawled into the 'No Deposit, No Return' box and applied for the six foot plot in the Federal Sailors Farm. Good men... Good boat... Strong coffee... Lousy conversation... Silver dolphins. Wouldn't have missed it for all the money in the world.