Saturday, March 8, 2014

OFFICERSHIP AT SEA - Humor in Uniform

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

Here is a hilarious story from my Humor in Uniform Archives – a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour:

OFFICERSHIP AT SEA
An Apocryphal Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer:
1. Please read this apocryphal story only if you have a sense of humor. This yarn is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


PROLOGUE

There is a saying: “No one is indispensable”.

However, in the 1980’s, with the induction of modern weapons and equipment, I observed that, on many ships, there were a number of sailors, especially in the Technical Branches, mainly artificers, who were considered “indispensable”.

Whether these individuals were genuinely indispensable or not, I do not know, and I suspect not, but the fact of the matter was that the Captain or Head of Department (HOD) wanted that particular sailor on board during his one year tenure – so that his tenure passed without a hiccup, especially on that crucial weapon system handled by the sailor – and the Captain/HOD often got the transfers of these “indispensable” sailors cancelled, and I remember a case of “poaching” too, which resulted in an ugly exchange of correspondence, including signals, between the two rival ships involved.

Another offshoot was that these “indispensable” sailors acquired immense “expert power” which sometimes overwhelmed “position power”.


Here is the hilarious story of one such “indispensable” sailor.


OFFICERSHIP AT SEA

On our ship we had a Chief Petty Officer – let’s call him “P”.

P was a part of the commissioning crew and had remained on the ship continuously without break for more than seven years.

Every time P’s transfer came, the Captain would get P’s transfer cancelled.

Every Captain wanted P to remain on board during his tenure since P was indispensable.

P was indispensable since he was a specialist on a key weapon system.

With increasing years of experience, P gained more and more expertise and soon he was the unsurpassed expert on the system.

Every Captain knew that with P on board, it would be smooth sailing as far as that crucial weapon system was concerned.

So every new Captain ensured that, during his command tenure, P was kept on board the ship.

It was a Catch-22 situation.

The more P served at sea on board the ship, the more P yearned to go for an appointment ashore.

But conversely, the more P served on board the ship, the more specialist expertise he acquired, and the more he became indispensable, and his chances of going ashore became lesser and lesser.

P was fed up – seven continuous years at sea were taking its toll on his health and also on his family life.

was delighted when he got his transfer order to a training establishment ashore as an instructor.

But unfortunately, the incoming new Captain got P’s transfer cancelled.

“Don’t worry. You just remain on the ship for my tenure. The moment my transfer comes, I will see to it that you are transferred to some good place ashore,” the new Captain assured P.

When I tried to commiserate with him, P said cynically: “Forget it, Sir. Every Captain says the same thing. Captains come and go, all of you come and go, but I am destined to remain stuck in this hellhole forever.”

A few days later a new XO (second-in-command) arrived – a hot-shot “spit and polish” Commander who had spent most of his time on training ships and establishments.

He boasted that he was going to “kick us into shape”.

On the very first day of sailing I was summoned to his cabin.

The XO was seated in his chair.

P was standing in front of him, not at attention, but in his usual casual manner, the cavalier bearing of a sailor who has been at sea for a long time.

The Master-at-arms was standing behind P.

The XO shouted at me: “I was taking rounds and your Chief was moving around in a slovenly manner almost nude, dressed in a bloody filthy skimpy lungi – and even his bloody lungi was at half-mast...”

“Sir, I was going for my bath …” P interrupted.

“Shut up!” the XO shouted furiously at P.

Then the XO turned to me and said: “The bugger did not even bother to salute me…”

Again P interrupted, “Sir, below decks…”

The XO stood up and looked menacingly at and shouted, “Don’t try and act smart with me...I have sorted out many funny chaps like you...

“Sir, why are you threatening at me? I told you ...” P pleaded.

On hearing this, the XO glowered at P and angrily roared:

“If you misbehave with me, I will throw you out of this ship!”

P (a Chief Petty Officer) looked at the XO (a Commander) squarely in the eye and said:

Sir, if you get me transferred out of this ship, I will give you a party in a 5-star hotel.”

I almost burst out laughing, but I controlled myself.

In order to avoid the situation deteriorating further and leading to an aggravated offence, I quickly removed P from the XO’s cabin.

Such juicy galley news spreads fast, and in a few hours, the whole ship knew about the incident.

From then on, the XO would scrupulously avoid P.

Because every time their paths crossed, tongue-in-cheek, P would ask the XO:

Sir, when are you throwing me out of this ship?


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is an abridged and updated version of my story First Posted on 29 July 2013 by Vikram Karve at 7/29/2013 12:52:00 PM in this blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/fear-is-greatest-motivator.html 
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