by Mike Hemming

Looking for 'Ralph', as in seasick. Ah yes, and all the others we use. Puking, blowing lunch, worshiping the porcelain god, commode kissing. All of us remember guys that sea legs were an unknown possibility, the ones that lived with a bucket at hand anytime we were on the surface.

My reputation as a wise ass was set on my first cruise, for some reason it had been decided that I was a candidate for Ralph. No mercy was given telling me about how rough it would be and how I would barf my brains out. We surfaced one morning and it was rougher than a cob, Requin was definitely trying to kick landlubber butt that day. After my 4 to 8 I went forward for breakfast, not many people in the chow hall that day, but the ones that were, thought this is the day for Hemming. Even the messcook was on me. As not many had eaten that morning there were several bowls of bacon left over, I said to the cook just hand me one of them bowls. I made 4 slices of toast buttered them and made 2 huge bacon sandwiches and ate them. Then I sat and finished off the bowl just eating it straight one slice after the outer. All this while holding my self down with one hand eating with the other. A second bowl followed then a third, all told it was around 4 pounds of bacon. About this time I noticed a faint green tinge on the messcook’s gills. As I got up to leave I wiped my finger around the bowl with it coming up dripping with grease. Handing him the bowl and sucking the grease off noisily had the effect I wanted. I left to the tune of a messcook bobbing for Ralph in a shit can.

Requin after her after tubal ligation was left with a stern room that was used only for a sleeping compartment. It was great even non-quals had there own bunks. In the after end of what became the Stern Room about where the mine tables would be was a head 2 sinks facing forward. To the right was a shower aft of that was a crapper that also faced forward with a sliding door. One rough day at sea I was leaning against the signal gun talking quals with the man on watch, he was sitting on the aforementioned crapper with the door open. You get so used to no privacy that this bothered neither one of us. Anyway from out of maneuvering comes a junior controllerman hand over mouth with his lunch halfway up heading for the crapper. Head down running full tilt he doesn’t see Fritz who sees him and reacts by sliding the door shut! Wham! The guy hits the door then slides down it like a cartoon character, leaving a smear of Ralph on it.

One morning just after light on topside watch, I see Smitty a TM1 heading down the pier obviously under the influence of alcohol, in this case it was always the fruit of the grape. Before payday, Sly Fox would always seem for a while, more full bodied, robust and flavorful squeezing of the grape. However this was the 'fox' schedule part of the pay cycle and being as Smitty could be an unpleasant persona on screw-top vino, I moved halfway down the sail area. Coming down the pier with a cross between a stagger and a saunter he reaches the brow, hesitates and starts across. At the halfway point he stops leans over the safety line facing me open his mouth, and from it issues a solid stream of purple. Not a chunk or anything solid anywhere in the stream, I am amazed at its size and duration. Finishing and wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his whites, He looks at me and says "don’t you hate it when that happens". Dumfounded at this display at 18 years old I can only nod and say "yes".

One day at sea (rough of course) an ET standing at the gyro table in control loses control and barfs. The fact that he inexpertly slapped his hand over his mouth causes the Ralph to shoot straight upwards. With most of it going behind his glasses, when the torrent subsides, a corn kernel stuck behind each lens looked like sick yellow eyes peering out. Then there were the 2 mess cooks that bumped noggins trying to Ralph in the same GDU-size shit can at the same time. Then arguing about who had to clean it up "because he made me miss."