seaslug

I hate Bob Seger

Got up at O dark thirty this morning to anticipate the snow and be on time for my meeting. Went out to the car. Solid sheet of ice, three feet thick. Couldn't turn the key in the lock. Didn't have anything to unfreeze it. Tried heating my car key with my lighter but that didn't work so I walked, or should I say skidded, down the block to the convenience store. They had one tube left of lock de-icer. Cost $147.15. Not really but you know. Hey! I grew up in Florida, whaddya want from me? You Minnesota people need to hush up. Ended up 10 minutes late. Missed the meeting. Frell. Also, I need snow boots.

Bob Seger song came on the car radio last night. Don't remember which one. I think Bob Seger actually only did one song. But isn't it amazing how music can whip you back in time? Soon as that song came on it was 23 years ago. I was still in the Navy, stationed on a destroyer in Mayport, Florida, just outside of Jacksonville. Summers I spent on the beach at the USO club. Go swim in the ocean, come back to the USO club, watch tv, play pool, nap, all for free. There was a girl from Texas who worked there. Her name was Terry Southern, I kid you not. She tried to teach me how to two-step. I crippled her for life stepping on her toes. I spent a lot of evenings at Happy Jack's Lounge on the corner of Mayport Rd. and Atlantic Blvd. drinking rum and cokes at a dollar a pop. Christ, I wasted a lot of time there. Place was all sailors. Some girlfriends and such. Some lonely Navy wives whose husbands were out at sea, although they tended to hang out at the E-Club, mostly. That bar had a jukebox and I swear all it had on it were three Foreigner songs and a couple of Bob Seger's because that's all anybody every played. The place had one of those disco dance floors with colored lighted squares. Do they still have those? To this day I can't stand to listen to Foreigner or Bob Seger because of that goddamn jukebox.

Of course, I spent the majority of my time overseas. Mostly mediterranean cruises, but we were going to the Persian Gulf back then, too. Iraq was our friend and Iran was our enemy in the 80's, for those of you who don't remember. In the Persian Gulf there was no place to go drinking, other than the hotels in Bahrain. Used to chat up a lot of oil workers. Men from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia used to wander into the hotel bar in their flowing white outfits, whatever those are called. Google says thobe or thoub or dishdasha. Thanks, Google. All of them would have one or more European women in low cut dresses hanging around. Especially around Ramadan. Buncha hypocritical creeps. Speaking of low cut dresses, you could always tell who the bad girls were in the Middle Eastern soap operas because they were the ones wearing European fashion.

While in the Persian Gulf we didn't often pull into port so we uncharacteristically had beer on board. Occasionally we would anchor and pull a barge alongside. We'd have Busch and Budweiser beer in ice filled trashcans. Movies would be shown on a white sheet hung over the side of the ship to serve as a screen. A friend of mine, Jim from Maine, whose last name I can't remember, once got ahold of a case of beer and hid it in a fan room behind a radar equipment room. Cut out some insulation and put it in an air duct to keep it cold. While out at sea, when we were off watch, we'd go into the fan room and drink. We called it Jim's Bar & Radar. I remember visiting a French naval vessel in Djibouti, Africa. One of the sailors took us aboard. They had a bar on the ship and we tipped back a few. Conversation was lacking because nobody spoke the other's language. We were jealous and wished we had a bar on our ship. Since I seem to be totally focused on alcohol, I also recall a small carnival in either Majorca or the Costa del Sol. There was a booth with pellet guns and targets. I've always been a good shot so I killed that target like whoa and won a bottle of wine! My memory of the rest of that night is a little blurry. I guess my point is that Europeans seemed much less puritanical about things like when alcohol was appropriate. Even back then I was thinking Americans were a bunch of sticks in the mud.

If I had actual writing talent I might be able to tie this into a lucid narrative. Instead, I'll probably post pictures in this entry later. Used my film on cathedrals and street scenes but I should have taken pictures where we spent most of our time -- seedy dive bars in bad neighborhoods full of hookers. There was a joint down some back alley in Lisbon, Portugal that only had a heavy red curtain across the entrance. I don't think it ever closed. There was the Black Angus on the waterfront in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where a giant fat prostitute twisted my right nipple like a radio dial. I squeaked and spoke like Paul Harvey the rest of the night. The Navy dropped us at the Black Angus at two in the morning and then drove us all the way back down the coast to Roosevelt Roads at dawn in an old ramshackle blue school bus. The driver was clearly insane and spent a lot of time roaring down the shoulder of the road on two wheels. Also in Puerto Rico there was a huge fight at the E-Club. A guy from our ship started it. Mike Newman. We called him Steamin' Seaman Newman. As usual he was shit-face drunk. He threw a beer bottle across the club and started a fight between sailors from another ship and a submarine. We beat a hasty retreat, as did three lonely marines in a room full of squids. We sat on a hill across the street and watched the shore patrol come racing in with jeeps and pickup trucks. That was also the night Brian 'Beadwindow' Martin snuck into one of those shore patrol jeeps and thought he was talking to outer space on the radio. It's not important to know what a beadwindow is but any old twidgit salts reading may remember. Come to think of it, that may also be the deployment where little Jimmy Hathaway from Mississippi dropped acid and was walking around the Combat Information Center with bulging wide owl eyes saying "Never again, never again" over and over. The Navy started drug testing in earnest shortly after that. Here in the States there was The Sunflower, in Philadelphia, where women did astonishing things with ping pong balls and coke bottles. There really should be a photographic record. So many youthful mistakes. So many bad choices.

This is what one song on the radio can do. Frikkin' Bob Seger.
  • Current Mood: nostalgic
i hate bob seger, too, and the world sure sounded better seventeen years ago