21 June 1956
And here we are at the fluorescent-lit Three-Quarters of another day. This pen has a new point. Isn’t that nice? How could you possibly have gotten through the day without knowing that.
You know, there’s such a thin line between humor & sarcasm it is impossible to tell them apart. At least for me it is.
The other day a sullen young man was brought before the Captain. This young man did not like the Navy. The Captain, in an unusually good mood, said: "Tell me, son, what’s bothering you?" Silence. "Come on, speak up—just what seems to be the trouble?" More of the same. "What’s the matter, boy? You needn’t be afraid to say what you think. Let’s drop this Captain-&-enlisted man stuff & talk man to man. Now, off the record, what do you think of me for instance?"
Interest entered the boy’s eyes: "You sure it’s off the record?"
"Yes, son; now, what do you think of me?"
"I think you’re a no-good son of a b…."
That ended that interview.
Suppose now that I were a very young boy just home from school—rosy cheeks & all the usual equipment. You say: "Tell me what happened at school today, Roger" which, if I remember, you seldom did. And I would say that today I bought a box of cookies which lasted exactly long enough to get the wrapping ripped off & that I typed twenty liberty cards & shuffled twenty new mess cooks (fresh out of Boot Camp in the New World); that I argued with Mordeno & laughed at the Chief’s songs (today’s favorite being: "Tomorrow’s the Day They Give Babies Away With A Pound of Grated Cheese"), & ran as thither & yon as is permissible aboard this vessel, accomplishing not a great deal, & that I sat down & picked my nose for a moment trying to think of something to say, & finally picked up the pen & got from the beginning of the letter to here before I ran out of ideas.
But ideas are rather like an escalator—no sooner is one step gone than another pops up. I’m afraid my escalator is broke.
Why is it I get such a huge kick out of reading what other people wrote, yet seem unable to do it myself? I just finished a short story about the people in a model-railroad town, & how they plan to kill the brat who owns it.
Coutre & Andy borrowed $20 from me tonite to go over & get smashed. I think it’s an excellent idea. Lloyd is having a case of the Navy-blues because he hasn’t heard from his girl since the 1st of this month.
One of the MAA’s discovered his wife is expecting a baby. We have been over here eight months. Hmm.
The moment the ship docks in Norfolk, I plan to dash down the gangway with a French flag on a pole, plunge it into the ground & claim the land in the name of Louis, Emperor of France. That ought to shake them.
A couple of the guys I know who went on the Venice tour just came back & I, as I knew I would be, have been "beating myself severely about the head & shoulders" for not having gone. Oh, well, maybe next time we’re in Genoa.