Dateline: Late 1985
Time: 0800 hrs.
Geographical Location: Great Mistakes Naval Training Center—Just south of Chicago.
Venue: A Navy Auditorium
Suspect: One Ricky-Recruit, AKA Marcom
*Slips now into first-person narrative*
I had arrived just a little later than was prudent.
Hence, no seats in the back of the venue.
Searched about. Scanning…
Only open seats were in the front row.
I took myself up-front, found a seat next to a serious-looking blonde she-sailor, decked out in freshly pressed dress blues. AJ-Squared-Away, she was.
Old mil saw: “Never sit up front and never volunteer for nothin.“
I had already broken the first rule. I was about to Break The Second…
I was in dungarees—not pressed. Certainly not ‘AJ-Squared away’… slightly hung-over, if I am aiming at honest narrative here.
‘Under-Dressed’ does not even come close.
I had plopped down to her starboard.
Risked a look at her.
(I had already lost myself in her eyes)
She sensed my gaze, looked me dead in my eye and said,
“Hi. My name is Michelle. What’s yours?” She said as she extended her hand.
I shook her hand and was surprised to experience a very firm grip/handshake.
A Naval Officer took to the old, very old wooden podium and began his spiel.
Michelle went Eyes-Front: Intensely paying serious Military Attention.
I did not.
I kept gazing at her…
To the point of being too obvious.
Oh! And BTW, it did not escape me that she was a 3rd Class Petty Officer.
(She seriously ‘out-ranked’ me.
And, obvious to me:
In the Nav, we called them ‘IPO’s
“Instant Petty Officer”
If you Graduate from the ‘Right Navy School,’ you are auto-magically promoted.
I was, my own self, enrolled in such a school, but the successful end game—of MY Graduation—was tenuous at best.
Not my intent to bash Y’all over the head with a not-so-subtle…
But this do serve my narrative.
Serves it well.
Credit: Ethereal Music
To be continued…