You Are Not Always Where You Think You Are:
Credit: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Up is Down
Down is Up
Sideways is just… well, sideways
(Apropos For Now, Eh?)
I still love you Diana
– Michael Jackson at Diana Ross Concert (1980)
We had three days steaming time to kill on our way to That–‘That Land Down Under’.
One night we were all sitting about, ‘cokin’ an’ smokin’ (shootin’-the-shit) in our little Gunner’s Mate ‘Office’ which was not much more than a walk-in closet with a couple of ‘make-shit’ chairs and a few Mae West life preservers for butt-comport composure.
There was GMG Me, GMG Rog, GMG Matt, GMG Eddie, and GMG Fish. Don’t know where was GMG-Geeky-Little-Maynard, nor ‘Bob-the-GMG-Body Builder.’ Probably Bob was in our ‘gym’. He pretty much lived in there. (Ed note: GMG–‘Gunner’s Mate Guns’–if you’ve read me, you’d already know this, btw.)
Speaking of things like gyms, weight-rooms, shitters, showers, berthing compartments, racks, …. Gunner’s Mate ‘offices’, et cetera:
On a U.S. naval war ship, space is always at a premium.
Ship’s Crew want a ‘weight room?’
Good luck. Find a machinery room with a little floor space available. Put your kit in there wherever you can find ‘space-to-no-avail-able’.
Want a quiet place to hang out? Good luck. Try the bilge compartment underneath the water line. (‘No thanks’)
Want peaceful, uninterrupted sleep? You should have joined the Air Force.
(I had some luck: I was the ship’s armorer—in charge of the… wait for it… the ship’s armory. All the small arms were stowed in there. You know, M14 rifles, grenade launchers, .50 cal Machine guns, riot shotguns, .45 cal pistols, grenades… Shit loads of ammo.)
And I WAS IN-CHARGE. Best Gig on The Fred! No Body, and I do mean nobody fucked with me. I had the key to all the guns. And my rep preceded me: I was known to be a ‘dead-eye-shot’. One shot/one kill. It was great!! As I did say, no one ever fucked with me. Fear is the greatest incentive for not fucking with a man.
A very ‘High – Security’ Space. I had one of the only two keys on board the Fred. My Department head, an 04 officer and third or fourth in command, had the only other one and he knew me from Nacogdoches back when I had my tropical fish store—yes! So he trusted me. I guess he thought we went ‘way back.’ We didn’t. But he was a good officer. And I usually don’t like officers, but I liked this one. Apparently we had a ‘history’ together…. I guess…
Yeah no shit. Small world. Supposedly he had lived in Nacogdoches back when Janet and I did. We never really got to know each other. In fact, I do not recall him at all, but he remembered my store and I may have sold him a crud eater or two…
Anyway, the ship’s armory was my ‘go-to’ place when I did not wish to be talked-at, or just wanted a cat nap.
Back to our little Gunner’s Mate ‘Meeting’ in our ‘Office.’
The conversation had grown quiet.
Me, being me, I decided to have some fun with my shipmates. So I broached a subject to mess with their heads.
As I mentioned, time to kill.
“Why do they call it ‘Down Under’ and not ‘Up Yonder’?” I asked the group.
Rog, always quick on the draw said, “Because it is down-the-fuck-under.”
“Down under what?” I shot back.
“Down under the regular world.”
“According to who Rog? And define ‘regular’” I said.
“According to everyone. And regular is, you know fucking regular,” he said back.
“That makes no sense.” I said. Then continued, “You mean because of ‘up and down’, ‘north and south’, ‘east or west’ bullshit?”
“That’s what he means,” Matt said. “Everyone knows this.”
“Guys, you ever seen those photos from the Apollo missions? The ones of the Earth taken from the Moon?”
“Of course we all have,” Fish piped in.
“Well how do you know what is up and what is down?”
Rog said, “Because the North Pole is up and the South Pole is down. Easy enuff to see in the damn photos.”
“What if the astronauts had turned the camera a hundred and eighty degrees?”
“Why would they do that?” Eddie asked.
“Why not Eddie? You ever been in outer space?”
“Uh, nope, not lately.”
“Here’s the thing, why does the ‘northern’ hemisphere get to be ‘up’ and the ‘southern’ hemisphere have to be ‘down’? Seems real ‘hemisphere – centric’ to me.”
“Just because it makes sense,” Rog said.
“Bullshit,” I said. There is no up or down in space. It’s just all arbitrary from our perspective. Allow me to dial-you-in Rog: It’s because most of Western Civilization is in the ‘Northern’ hemisphere. That’s why.”
“You’re not making any sense,” Matt said.
“Think about it Matt. Who writes the history of war?”
“Uh… War? I thought we were talking about Australia.”
“Who writes the history of war?” I asked again. “Who draws the maps?”
Eddie gets a screwed-up look on his face, “The winning side!” He blurts out.
“Precisely, Young Eddie.”
Then Fish says. “No, it ain’t about that. It’s about the magnetic poles. They are north and south… ain’t they?”
“Fish, even if they were, which they ain’t, it doesn’t matter.”
“Because,” I continued. “Because ever’ fifty or sixty thousand years the magnetic poles do a one-eighty and swap places.”
“You’re bullshit,” Rog says.
“Nope,” I say. “Look it up. And here is the funny part: Earth is wayyy overdue for the next swap. Could happen at any moment. What if the ‘swap’ just so happens to happen right before we pull into Sydney?”
Matt says, somewhat exasperated, “Ok, I give. What?”
“We’d then be heading to New ‘Up Yonder’ and not old ‘Down Under’. The maps would all have to be reprinted. And we’d have to turn around to stay on course for all those broads who want to ‘Rent-A-Sailor’ in Sydney, New Up Yonder.”
*Collective Groans All Around…*
In unison: “Fuck You Marcom!”
To be continued.
Author’s note: This post is in serious need of an edit enema.
I’ll administer it later.
Butt Busy now. (some pun intended–caint lie)
And thanks for sailing this far…
Just call me Ismael.
P.S. I am not nearly as smart as I think I am.
Not even half as smart as I think I am.
Truth is, I am only about one-third as smart as I think I am.
Batting 333 will get you into the Hall of Fame.
“Lance! This ain’t baseball.”
Damn! I musta took a wrong turn at ‘Albequerky’.”