Last night I went to the Lancaster Fair. This is the Coös County Fair. A fine thing.
I’m not going to the Tractor Pull, nor yet the Truck Pull, because I’m taking my daughter down to college. But I did have fun out on the Midway.
First thing, a Blooming Onion. Then Fried Dough. Italian Sausage with Onion. Then more Fair Food. After that, the rides! Starship 2000 (formerly called the Gravitron), a centrifugal force ride. Then The Dream Catcher, which swings you from side to side, while spinning you around. The Twister. The Zipper (a clever thing that hauls you to the top of a thirty foot pole, turns you upside down, and tries to shake you out).
Greasy food, followed by major motion — the perfect thing for an old destroyer sailor!
That reminded me of back in the old Fleet days. We’d come up with an idea, then, of how to get rich after we got out. We’d build an amusement park called Navy Land. First thing, you pay your admission fee. You’re given a ticket in the form of an LES (Leave and Earning Statement). You get about ten feet into the park, and a hairy old DKC (Chief Dispersing Clerk) snatches it out of your hands, says “This is all f*cked up!” and sends you back to pay the admission fee all over again.
We had a ride planned, the North Atlantic Destroyer Ride. You get into an iron box. It spins you around while spraying cold salt water on you, for six months. I forget what else we had planned—on the midwatch you have a lot of time to talk. One of the ways to simulate a midwatch is to hang a couple of Coke bottles around your neck, put on a bridge coat, don’t turn on the bathroom lights, and stand in your shower with the water on full cold from midnight to four a.m.
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.
Put oil instead of water into a humidifier and set to HIGH.
Set your alarm clock to go off at random times through the night. When it goes off, leap out of bed, get dressed as fast as you can then run into the garden and break out the garden hose.
One thing I liked about the Navy (Navy, by the way, stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself) was the fine gradations of disaster that could be described. For example, the difference between a goat roping and a clusterf*ck (a goat roping is kinda fun to watch if you aren’t involved, while a clusterf*ck is just painful for everyone). There’s AFU, SNAFU, FUBAR, and JANFU. There’s FLAPEX 1. There are the Falcon Codes and the Dolphin Codes.