Sunday, November 25, 2018


Whip out your coloring books. You may easily color me musically superstitious.

As Chief Engineer of a forward deployed wooden ship I had a lucky flashlight. Yes, yes, it took me 4 months to learn that I also had a lucky .45 cal pistol hanging on my door.

I was listening to music on the tube of u tonight and almost, but not quite, wandered too deeply into the past and cued up some music I know better than to listen to. As I recall, the last time I heard it a house burned down. The time before that I was using the outboard motor of a zodiac to dispel a 500 gallon oil spill from the vicinity of the guilty ship somewhere else.

When I was the sole bearer of bad news and young, there were no myths, voodoo or legends. It was only when I was a department head that they reared their ugly fanged beaks.

MInd you, it is some of the music of my youth and I like it. I mean to introduce ice to my knee in a bit and drive to Pittsburgh and beyond in the depth of morning. I'm not stupid enough to take chances. There will be no music.

What does life look like when you follow the script?
No blown head gaskets on the mains or generators for 9 months
100% availability for 9 months
Not hitting a mine because you can see them shining in the dark on sonar for 9 months
Having the engine catch fire over Saudi Arabia and making it back to Bahrain alive.
Crash landing same plane in Greece.
Crash landing same plane in Italy.

At some point, you just decide.


John in Philly said...

While sitting at the starboard wing root, I watched the starboard inner engine on a Navy four reciprocating engine transport burst into flames during takeoff from Rota in '74.
I turned my head towards the front of the aircraft to shout, "The engine's on fire!"
But due to my excitement, the only sounds I could make were a sort of high pitched squeaking noise that only dogs could hear.
After relating the story someone asked if I was afraid.
My truthful answer was that I went straight to being terrified and skipped past being afraid.
No matter how interesting events were in the engineroom, I never felt that feeling of terror and utter helplessness that I felt on that aircraft.

HMS Defiant said...

Over the years I lost the will to fly and this is from a guy who used to commute back and forth to Asia for almost 10 years. The Queen Mary 2 is more my speed these days although trains will do in a pinch if one has a sleeper car.