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Meridian Passages, Volume XIII, Number 37

Central Pacific Edition

The Mariner Ashore

How to Simulate Shipboard Life

The following are suggestions for the landlocked mariner who misses the “good old days,” or the flatlander who needs some practice. Particularly helpful for those former Navy sailors who miss the Service:

  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 o f your bathtub and move the shower head down to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you shut off the water while soaping.
  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. Don’t watch TV except movies in the middle of the night. Also, have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one.
  6. (Optional for engineering types) Leave lawnmower running in your living room for proper noise level.
  7. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
  8. 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.
  9. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
  10. 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.)
  11. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator.
  12. 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.
  13. Once a month take every major appliance completely apart and then put them back together.
  14. Use 18 scoops of budget coffee per pot and allow it to sit for 5 or 6 hours before drinking.
  15. Invite at least 85 people you don’t really like to come and visit for a couple of months.
  16. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
  17. 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.
  18. Lockwire the lug nuts on your car.
  19. When making cakes, prop up one side of the pan while it is baking. Then spread icing really thick on that side to level off the top.
  20. Every so often, throw your cat into the swimming pool and shout “Man overboard!”
  21. Run into the kitchen and sweep all the pots/pans/dishes off of the counter onto the floor, then yell at your wife/husband/kids for not having the place “stowed for sea.”
  22. 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 hours. Say (once again to nobody in particular) “Stove secured.” Roll up the headphone cord and put them away.
  23. Set your alarm for 0330. Get up, put on a heavy overcoat, hang two coke bottles around your neck connected by a strap, and stand under a sprinkler in the back yard for 4 hours.

This piece first came to my attention in 1997 under the title, “Life @ Sea” by Jim Julian

– ed.

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