What tribe do you belong to I wonder? When I was in the US Navy back in the eighties, I belonged to the tribe VAW123, the ScrewTops. As our boson,s mate called them, the “fucking dome heads”. I was in “first lieutenant”. The guys that cleaned the shitters, buffed the floors, that kind of stuff. Most sailors that joined a squadron spent three months or so there, then went to a shop. Airframes, power plants, etc.
Not me. Fuck that shit.
I decided to stay in “first lieutenant” as long as I could. I could buff the hell out of those floors. Cleaning shitters was like breathing to me. Then I started discovering the stencils I could make of the heavy cardboard material we used for making lettered stencils. I made images of our squadron planes.
The officers loved it and wanted that stenciled on their doors, Ivy stencils on the walls of their staterooms. I remember the officer that held the qualification of being a trombone major in college so he could learn how to fly an E2C Hawkeye. Jesus in a sidecar, the plumber was probably more qualified. I stayed there for a year rejecting anything that tried to get me to move.
In fact, I rejected the shit out of that squadron. I rejected them so hard, I was finally transferred to the ship’s company. Back then they called my group GSE (Ground Support Equipment), part of AIMD. Now I heard they dropped the “G”. Efficiency I guess. To much time and gods damned energy to say the full “GSE”. I loved working on that ship.
The USS America, CV66. A god’s damned carrier and the last of a dying breed. She still burned dinosaurs. A hundred an hours or so I think. I was named a DCPO. I crawled through air ducts changing dirty filters. Did periodic maintenance on fire main, valves and hatches.
After three and a half years aboard her sacred decks, I transferred to shore duty, A heretic to the last. Abandoned my post and saluted her amidship and aft once more. She was born on the year that I was, in 1963. Her keel laid and life among the endless waves begun. I, a young lass of dubious heritage and thoughtless countenance walked her decks for three and a half years of her long and storied life. I hope the echo’s of my footprints still tremble in her sea laden hull three hundred miles off the coast of Norfolk’s pier 12 at the bottom of the sea.
Fair winds and following seas…
That was my tribe back then. Until it wasn’t anymore. The world has moved on since then. It kind of makes you think, who is my tribe? How long will we gather to devour the others that threaten us so?
I wish I knew. Tribe or no tribe. The monsters, gods, and daemons await to slaughter us all. Our minds barely sentient and for only a few rarified moments when we are not consumed with sex, food, tv, etc. and other bullshit.
So I sit, writing to you who might read this and wonder, what foul mind is this that might write of this that indeed this way comes?
Perhaps a friend, known not yet.