Titty Bars and the YMCA–San Diego

Back in the day (1986-7) when I was on the USS Callaghan DDG 994 and had more than a day of liberty (and before I had a vehicle)

I would ride the bus to downtown San Dog and hang out in the titty bars.

There was an old YMCA close by–The kind of YMCA that still provided rooms for miscreants – mostly sailors, drunks, homeless, and gay folks.

When I had gotten too drunk in the titty bar and did not want to attempt to make it back to my rack on the Callaghan, I would crash at the Y.

I did NOT care that most of the ‘clientele’ were gay. I just wanted a place to crash. And I did.

Loved that YMCA. It was like something out of a more kinder past.

Nostalgia.

 

Invitation To The Blues

Back in some day.

Back in “The Day”

Right After I “Rocked Out” of BUD/s—SEAL training, I found me  on the USSSS  Useless Calaghan, DDG 994.

Having nothing better to do, I would take the bus from 32’nd Street Naval Base to Downtown San Dog.

Not much there.

‘Cept Titty-Bars.

I embraced them

Met a broad.

A Part-Time Stripper.

Just trying to get by.

We became fast friends.

Never a ‘fuck-buddy.’

Just a ‘Friend.”

We would hang out.

Sometimes on the beach.

Sometimes at Seaport Village.

Sometimes at places I cannot recall.

We were just friends.

I loved her friendship.

She always called me “Michael” 

Not sure why.

I possess an easily pronounceable name.

But she saw me as “Michael.”

I was good with that.

(I will answer to most any moniker.)

 

Escape From Memphis–Chapter 11–Checking Out

Some many minutes (hours?) later a Brand New Pretty Female Doctor arrived to wake me.

I really was feigning sleep.

She introduced her lovely self.

“I am Doctor So-and-So and I am day shift. How are you, Mister Marcom?”

“Passing fair,” I said.

“We have all the arrangements made for you to go to Garland and get the help you need.”

“Groovy” was all I could muster.

“Well, Okay then. I’ll be right back.”

“And, I’ll be left front,” I said, but not out loud.

Several minutes later, she reappeared.

“OK, it’s all set. Just a few more minutes.”

As I was lying in my bed, thoughts began swirling:

Internal conversation and arguments inside my head:

“Lance, Cowboy, you cannot to Garland.”

“Why not? I need this.”

“Because you have obligations! Asshole!”

“What, which? What obligations?”

“You have the imaginary dog, for one.”

“Oh, yeah, that.”

“And other duties you must perform.”

“Pray tell.”

“In Garland, you will not be allowed to drink.”

“Shit. You are correct Sir.”

“Didn’t think of that one, did you?”

“No. ‘Fraid I did not think this one completely through.”

“Well then.”

More minutes passed.

The New Doc came in.

“Mister Marcom, are you ready to go?”

“Uh, no.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m not going.”

“Not going… but you said…”

“Changed my mind. I have unfinished business here in Commerce.”

“Lance,” she said.

(suddenly we are on ‘First Name Basis’–well OK then)

“If you don’t get treatment, you may die.”

“I’ll study that later.”

“So, you just want to go back to your apartment and….”

“Yeah, ride the wave.”

“I think you are making a mistake. I do not think you can do this all alone.”

“Doc, you may be right, but I am gonna try.”

“Okay then, but know this: we are here for you if you need us.”

“Thank you. I know this. And I do appreciate all of Y’all, but I need to go home, to whatever it is that I call ‘home’ these days.”

“Okay,” she said. “I will be back with some paperwork for you to sign.”

“I’ll wait.”

Several minutes later, yet another pretty young thing appeared.

“Lance, the VA says they do not have you on record.”

“Whaaaa?”

“The VA says you are not in The system.”

“Impossible,” I said.

“No, we called them. They said you were not in The System.”

“Well, shit,” I said.  Isn’t this a fine state of affairs?

“Here is their number. Once you get home, please call them.”

“Will do,” I lied.

Now, isn’t it funny? I could not get kicked out of the Navy when I was in the Navy, but now, I have been kicked out of the Navy.

After all these years.

Spacemen from Mars stole all of my money.

To be continued….

Chapter Ten here:

Chapter Nine here:

Chapter One here:

Dear Mister Kim

Dear Mister Kim
I’m at it again
Love you to pieces
You sack of raw feces

You think you’re King Kong
‘Cause you’ve got The Big Bomb
But remember Kong’s Fate
He fell from Emp’ State

Shot down from a ‘bye’-plane
Not even an eye strain
We shot his dumb ass
Took only one pass

And Rat-a-tat-tat
Then he went splat
In flames he did tumble

No King of the Jungle

Your last act’s the same
We’re tired of your game
So here’s our fair warning
You’ll be in mourning

For loss of your State
And we’ll think that’s great
Goodbye North Korea
And that’s panacea

Our simple solution
To speed execution
No biplane comes knocking
Yet something more shocking

Is heading your way
You will rue the day
My rhyme’s now concluded
But don’t be deluded

The ending draws nigh
So say your goodbye
Your death’s coming soon

Mister Jong Un

Don’t RUST On My Parade*

“Petty Officer Marcom! Your Fifty Cals are Rusty!”

50 Cal NavyA

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Third Class Daniel J. Mark. Cleared for release by ALBG PAO, LCDR Jeff Bender.

Lance Sailor

Marco The Sailorman

I had to  admit. Yes they were. I had tried so hard to keep ahead of the rust, but here I found myself on the leeward side of the second half of a six-month, ‘round-the-whurl-West Pacific Deployment’, and somewhere just off the coast of Somalia.

Yes, rust was my enemy, certainly never my friend—the machine guns were always mounted while we (The USS Callaghan DDG 994, full cast and crew) were Haze-Gray and Underway.

Yes, always mounted and underway:

Haze-Graying, even then

And rusty

My Guns were always supposed to be… somewhere upon the sea… this is what they were purchased for…

And subject to rust. Rust Relentless. Relentless She Be: That Sea. That Salt of the Fucking Sea

Rust.

My Moby Dick-lessness! How could I not keep Rust off my guns?

Freud certainly would have had fun with me

(Sadly, now I know why)

************

My professional life was to be found somewhere rusting in those machine guns.

And that rust you see, that rust occupied a great deal of my daily routine.

The Navy had a solution though. She had provided canvas covers to cover those guns and make them safe from rust. Alas, those canvas covers had seen better days, probably back when Pearl Harbor was just an ordinary Naval Base that no one had ever heard of.

But rust is relentless and timeless.

While scrubbing the Indian Ocean rust off’n my fifty-cals one morning I hatched a plan. Knowing full well we were soon to pull into Mombasa Kenya, after so many month at sea, I conspired to save my money:

Once in Mombasa, I would smuggle one of the moth infected, salt- digested, jig saw’d, Swiss Cheese, ‘holy’ canvas shards off the ship. I would rent a taxi, find me a young child, show him my smuggled ‘prize’, ask him to direct me somewhere, where I could find and nickel and dime (I did not have much money then, not un-life-like now) find a leather shop in Mombasa, present to the leather-maker my Holy Canvas, My Shroud,  My Naval Career, and demand, (for US Dollars), that he make me four such more yet new and brand new.

And functional.

And This is exactly what I did, and to the amazement and astonishment of my Master Chief Petty Officer and my Department Head (almost a Navy Commander… he kind of looked like JFK, now that I think on it. I  did not like particularly like him, but I respected him. Hell, he reminded me of all the things I could have been if I had joined the Nav when I was twelve instead of twenty-eight (Different story. Sorry)

The next time they inspected my Fifty Cals, they were pristine! (They did not take notice nor time to notice that the canvas covers were not exactly Haze-Gray-Naval Gray. No, more like Third-World-Rustic, with just a tiny bit of water buffalo…left over…but Goddamn sure water and sea salt proof.   

And I was so desirous that they did NOT notice, but my Master Chief did notice, yet, never ever noticing nor voicing his ‘inner thoughts’ in front of what he referred to as “Shit Birds” — ‘Officers’ — Never let on.

Master Chief never, ever let out his truth thoughts in front of Shit – Birds. This was his genius. 

And I should have been cognizant of this, yet I was so somewhat giddy after my .50 Cals had finally passed inspection, that I did not stop to think on that anymore. “Not even Master Chief had seen through my ruse” Yeah, Rite!

 I was drunk with my own cleverness and lying back on my back in my rack, curtain drawn,  congratulating me.

(Now, you must realize how the Military Mind works. I was my Ship’s Armor All–Armorer– IN Charge of All The Ship’s Small Arms! .225 Cal to .50 Cal. If it took two men to lift, wasn’t mine. But one-man-band? Yep!  I was the shit!  I was a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class! Freshly rocked out of SEAL Training (twice now, but who counts these sorts of thing? I suppose I do) and trying to retain what little was left of my  pride and my so-fifty-caliber-called-life.)

And I loved and Respected My Master Chief. Did not ever want to become an embarrassment to him, nor to my Fellow Gunner’s Mates who worked on the “Big Guns”. (Those ones what ‘bullets’ took two and a half-men to lift)

And even more important, (anyone who has ever ‘Served’ will know this), the Military is Run On Fear:

“Oh God, Please Don’t Let Me Fuck UP!”

That kind of fear.

Well, as I was lying on my back in my middle rack right before Taps with my little blue ‘privacy’ curtain drawn back when someone jerked that sucker back.

Along with my reverie.

Yep.

Master Chief Anderson!

MY MASTER CHIEF

“Son, tell me where you found those brand new gun covers.”

Trying to lie on my side and find an elbow to lean to, I half-coughed out, feigning sleepy-eyed ignorance,

“Master Chief, I had them made while we were in Mombasa.”

(There are people one may lie to in life, but, A Master Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy is not one found amongst those people. Not if one wishes life beyond that moment of sweet deception)

“I see”, was all he said, as he yanked my curtain back shut, thus leaving me alone with my various and sundry.

I did not sleep that night. For you see, I knew I had broken Naval Regs by doing something not-in-the Naval-Seaman’s-Bible–The Blue Book–The book, inches thick as a brick,  “The Book” I had been made to almost memorize while at Recruit Training Command, i.e. boot camp.

41XgCzuhSdL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_

I had broken the rule.

In the Nav, there is a sea sailor preamble, most requisite when one wants to recount a story of ‘when ships were made of wood and men were made of iron’… “Back when Moses was a pup, and this is a no-shitter” This validates and is a ritual never broken. In other words, one never breaks the rule.

Sometime mid-morning the next day, I was summoned to the berth/office of  The Department Head of my Division, Lt. Commander ‘Kennedy’.

Shitting bricks is too trite.

I was nervous.

I gave a hearty rap on the bulkhead door as I was trained to do in boot camp…

“Enter!”

“Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcom Sir!”

“I know who you are Lance; sit down.”

(What??? Lance??? Sit Down???)

Mouth agape I sat down, speechless

“Son, Master Chief Anderson tells me you went out on your own, designed, commissioned, smuggled off a prototype, and paid for, with your own money, those .50 Cal Gun Covers. Is this true?”

“Yes, uh, yessir,” I stammered.

“Well, that shows some fine initiative. How much did you pay Son?”

“Un Sir. Doesn’t matter…. I just, well, the .50 Cals, you know SIR,  cost ten-thousand dollars each, and I thought…rust….an…”

“How much did you pay?!”

“250 Dollars Sir.”

Without saying a word he opened a little three-lock-box (OK; I made that up. It was only a one-lock-box) that he had in a drawer, carefully opened it, and proceeded to hand me two-hundred and fifty bucks.

American

I sat there, dumb founded,  a moment too long, still in shock, looking at the bills in my hand…

“Petty Officer Marcom! “

“Huh…Uh, Huh… Sir?”

“You’re dismissed!”

Jumping up, knocking my chair over,  some tears welling in my eyes,

“Yessir!”

As I saluted him and abruptly left his quarters, quite in haste.

And thus I had survived yet another day in MY  Beloved Navy.

And Just As a Reminder Kids:

Don’t Rain on my Parade: I have enuff Rain for All

 

*And this just once more a rough draft, full of error, so be kind. Trust me: there is no harsher critic of me than me. I sweat commas. 

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

They Say It’s Your Birthday (and please read/watch this one) It may be my swan song.

Tomorrow I embrace my Sixty-Third Year.

So what?

I find me asking me of late:

“So… Lance, what have you done?”

Vid Credit:

johnlennon

And ‘somewhat’ related: And…Talia Shire Will never, ever look so good. 

Again.

(That Beret! That Beret! Cabaret!) 

And of course, not without saying…

Joel Grey.

And Liza…

And Michael York.

And…

And… whatever happened to Jimmy Buffett’s hair??? (I did read his book, “a pirate looks at forty” fifty, sixty??. did not glean anything from it ‘cept that he loves ‘boat-planes’– shit! I could have ‘wrote’ a better book. Jes sayin’…)

My tweet (if I ever tweet) to Jimmy:

Dude, stick to music. That is what you do best. Leave the prose to those who have some prose… to share. And no! I ain’t talking ’bout me, but in general speakin’…)

(See way below for the JB bits)

(and, yes:  Navy SEALs)

Picks up that conversation:

“Not too much,” I must confess.

“But surely you have touched some lives?”

“Yeah, but mostly in a bad way. I did my best in war zones. I was ‘The antithesis’ of the ‘Bad American.’ Other than that, nope.”

“Perhaps you are being too hard on yourself?”

“You really don’t know me, do you?”

“Well… no. Not exactly. This is just a job to me. Go on.”

“I’d rather not, but hey! Thanks for stopping by.”

“I suppose my ‘work’ here is done. Then?”

“Yeah. You may be excused.”

“Thanks, because I am late for my appointment with J-Law.”

“Happy Trails.”

“But you said one thing; got my attention: You said ‘torched’.

“Naw! I said ‘scorched’ There is some difference.”

Vid credit:HistoryRepeats01

And I leave Y’all with this. It fits:

Or, as Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) said, via ‘Gone With The Wind’:

“It just ain’t fittin'”

(She ‘won’ an Oscar for that. Ya surely know) And in her acceptance speech, she said, and I quote: “I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race.” Can you believe she actually felt compelled to say those words? Well, it was 1940… I suppose. 

Lance loves you Mammy (Hattie)

And look up the word ‘class’ in any dictionary. There you will find a photo of Katherine Hepburn.

Oops! I meant Bette Davis (shit! I cannot tell from the vid which one, Kate or Bette–HBO!–help a brother out here. Which one?) Personally, I am gonna go with Kate.   After further review, I am going with Bette.

“Just hold on and suck in.”

Vid Credit:

obxncpirate

 Yeah! I always pick the ‘raw’ video. Jus’ me, I suppose.

It was, in fact, my birthday.

Thanks for riding along.

For, there will be Nothing… Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

Nothing tomorrow.

Cheers. Beers. Jears. Tears.

L

Namaste Bit:

And if you find a plethora of parenthesis here…They are for my friend, SS and solely for her own edification.

If you care to dare, Here is her link:

But Be Brave

http://theshitshowthatismylife.com/about/

(I was)

Yet…she scares me…

And last and certainly not least….

“We’re gonna let you go.”

 

 

 

I guess “all of the above” rightly sums up my life.

Happy Birthday to me.