VERY GOOD VERY GOOD
An Apocryphal Naval Yarn
Humour can do wonders. Genuine humor can dissipate anger and dissolve grief.
Here is a story, maybe apocryphal, narrated to me long back by one of my course-mates.
The Executive Officer (XO) of his ship was quite a character. A cheerful, jovial, absent-minded guy who was obsessed with solving crossword-puzzles and whose favourite words were “very good, very good”.
In the Navy, when your senior gave you an order you said: “aye aye, sir” and when your junior made you a report you said: “very good” and since the XO received lots of reports he seemed to have developed the habit of saying “very good very good”.
One day an officer brought a sad faced sailor to see him. It was just after breakfast, and the XO was sitting in the wardroom busy with his Times of India Crossword Puzzle.
The officer gestured towards the sailor said: “Sir, we have just received a telegram that his mother has died.”
“Very Good Very Good,” the XO said instinctively without even looking up from the newspaper and continued with his crossword puzzle.
There was stunned silence.
Then, after a moment, the XO paused, put down the newspaper, looked up at the sailor and said: “Your mother died? Very Bad Very Bad.”
And everyone, including the bereaved sailor, burst out laughing.
Then, as always, the XO, who everyone knew was a most compassionate and genuine man, did everything possible to help out the sailor to mitigate his personal grief.