11 November 1955
Mother’s birthday—the first time in 22 years I haven’t spoken to her (or, in my earlier years, burbled). And in three more days I’ll be 22—I can hardly believe it.
Today’s "entry" will probably be quite short, since my mind is not exactly at it’s sharpest. Just returned from a movie (a different one for a change—they’ve shown the last one three times), which I’d seen before but nevertheless enjoyed.
The day itself was one of those vacuum (?) days, during which practically nothing happened. Quite a relief from yesterday. It being Friday, a below-decks inspection was held; as usual we worked like mad to get the office cleaned &, as usual, they didn’t even bother to look in. On the one brief trip topside, I found the weather much in character with the rest of the day—overcast skys, but not particularly gloomy; very nondescript waves.
The radios have begun picking up England & the semi-monotonous voices of the BBC. They would announce the end of the world with as much emotioin as a weather forecast.
Returned the ghosts to the library & picked up a book containing all of Shakespeare’s comedies, & a book on the complete writings of Thucydides, the first real historian of Greece. It deals mostly with the Peloponisian War & is not at all as dull as it may sound.
Have you ever seen photographs of the original manuscripts of great writers? No matter how bad the penmanship, they all are perfectly constructed—no grammatical errors (such as in the spelling of grammatical) no crossed out words—no hesitations, dashes, or underlined prases. Then sometime look at my writing. Quite a difference.
It’s odd to live in a world completely of men; it is just as bad as any woman’s world; just as petty, & just as much gossip. These are the men, cooks & mess cooks mostly, I work with. Mordeno, the baker, who is never without a cigarette & a coffee cup. He has a little boy’s face & a large paunch. He is completely impartial in that he hates everyone, & tears each of them to pieces, dissecting them among the others.
There is Allen Davis, a nice guy with beautiful blond hair—it fascinates me. Then there’s Frazier, the 17 year old who’s always in trouble—the one who cried when Mr. Clower scolded him. Schnappauf, the MAA, a good guy with little education who reminds me of my uncle Pete, though not near as tall; he playes Simon Legree to the mess cooks & has a terrible disposition; Coutre, the SK2 (storekeeper second class) in our office. From Chicago, he has erratic changes in disposition—one day he doesn’t have a care in the world, & the next muttering how he "hates this God-damned Navy!" Miller, a cook who works in the galleys & could pass for the original illustrated man—almost solid tattoos (which I consider about on the same level as painting oneself blue, like the ancient Celts). Everyone around here seems to have tattoos, each one more hideous than the others. Of all the idiotic things in the world to do—get drunk one night & go around for the rest of your life looking like an advertisement.
Tomorrow is another inspection. I’m going to try to get out of it, if possible; if not, I’m ready. Let you know tomorrow. Right now, on with Shakespeare….