Wednesday, October 18, 2006

8 January 1956

Our second day at anchorage of Majorca, which looked no more inviting today than it had yesterday. Sprinkled around the bay, like leaves over a pond, is half the United States Mediterranean Fleet from the battleship Iowa on down to a tiny submarine. It’s probably the same one as we saw off Sardinia—we only have two submarines in the entire Mediterranean.

Got a lot accomplished today, in a small way. Finished the Greek mythology & entered Egyptian; studied some for the rate test coming up in February sometime, & rewrote & typed some of my Paris trip, which Nick glanced at & found very dull. Maybe he’s right.

See by a plan of the day for tomorrow, which Conrad just brought in, that we’re replenishing from an ammunition ship tomorrow. Photographing the replenishment is "verboten."

Two hundred & seventeen days to go. Does that sound boring to you, reading it page after page? You should try living two hundred & seventeen days—there is much difference.

The paper lies blank before me—to you it is filled with words. With each word you’re seeing my present, my past, & my future. You are seeing something right now I cannot see—a full page of words. I will not be able to see it until it ceases to become my future & becomes my past.

There are always people in the world who bemoan the past, curse the present, & fear the future. They cry out that the world will surely end within a matter of a few years; that Man will destroy himself & bring a horribly & bloody climax to everyone & everything.

But I believe in tomorrow. I’ve had many of them & hope to have many more. My tomorrows have come & gone—I live, hope, & die. So shall you. Never fear tomorrow. If you expect it, it cannot startle you. Tomorrow never jumps out from behind a bush & says "boo." We ride smoothly from yesterday into tomorrow on the eternal crest of today.

Ah, enough philosophizing for today—on to lighter (& we hope clearer) subjects.

In the library today I stumbled over a copy of Boswell & leafed through it. How did the man possibly find time to write all that, & still find time to do the things he wrote about? He must have had a phenomenal memory, to be able to record those conversations. Well, perhaps days were much longer in Boswell’s time.

What do white spots on your fingernails indicate? I have a good sized patch in the shape of a clown’s mouth on the second finger of my left hand. It’s pure white, & I wish it would either go away or have all my nails turn that color.

Tomorrow starts another week of menus, mess cooks & mayhem. The gang just stormed in from the movie, half blue with cold. Ah, the balmy Mediterranean.

Chief Sewell, who is a real character, refers to me alternately as Markus & "Father Kelly." He says I’m too good to the mess cooks when they come in to ask questions. I keep telling him I don’t like to give anyone a hard time, because I don’t like for anyone to give me one. On the Ticonderoga, it is a rare thing indeed to ask a civil question & get a civil answer. Nick calls me "Boy Wonder-Champion of the People-Guardian of the Fundamental Rights."

Oh, well, you can’t win all the time----(but I sure like to try; just once)….

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