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A Ship-load of Sea Stories & 1 Fairy Tale

By Larry Laswell

Now hear this!

I was lucky, the navy’s recruiting slogan, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure,” held true for me. Yes, there were hardships, and I had to deal with people shooting at me (once by an unreasonably upset and jealous husband, but that’s a different story). Nevertheless, my navy experience was truly an adventure, and I would be the first to admit I am better for it. After forty years, it’s time to share a few of my adventures.

One of the first things I learned in the navy was the difference between a sea story and a fairy tale. Tradition dictates that fairy tales begin with the phrase “Once upon a time,” and sea stories begin with the phrase “Now this ain’t no shit.” You see, a sea story is bona fide fact devoid of exaggeration or embellishment, whereas a fairy tale is—well, a fairy tale.

The traditions of trustworthiness regarding sea stories are so sacred that no one can recall any instance in which someone questioned the rectitude of a sea story. No shit. I felt compelled to distinguish between the two types of stories lest the reader get the wrong idea about the veracity of the following collection of stories.

What follows are snippets from my adventure in the US Navy as I remember them, or as I imagine I remember them. I leave it to the reader to separate fact from fairy tale, but in the spirit of full disclosure, the reader should know that the older I get, the better I was.

Below the copyright statement my attorney demanded I add wording to the effect that this is a work of fiction (fairy tale) and any resemblance to a sea story (historical fact) is purely coincidental. Even though my attorney claims the statute of limitations protects me, he still insists I call this a collection of fairy tales, which is a good idea because the navy has a long memory and a poor sense of humor. It is also fitting that I apologize in advance to those who think they recognize themselves.

Now that I have that off my chest, let’s begin.

Now this ain’t no shit. Once upon a time in 1967 . . .

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