Berthings are our home away from home.
When up to a hundred sailors are cramped together in a sleeping space, archetypes quickly form. When you’ve got some sea time under your belt, you can begin to identify the trouble children before they become trouble children in your berthing.
So who are these people? Who are the guys sailors hate in their berthing? Let’s find out.
The Stinky Guy
Let’s start off strong. Everybody knows the stinky guy. More often than not, the berthing has more than one. On my ship, there were the routine “I don’t wash my goddamn body” guys. Those were the easy ones. You can just tell them to shower, and often they’ll be shamed enough of their vile stench to take a freaking shower.
Then there are the guys who take a proud stance against smelling pleasant. Our guy was a crank who spent his days in the pulping room. For the uninitiated, the pulping room is a room where the pulper is located. Trash is dumped into the pulping room and is pumped off the ship. That’s why when you sail in a US warship’s wake, you don’t see moldy loaves of bread and ham bones.
As you might imagine, the pulping room is pretty messy. Chunks of rotten food and other organic material go flying out of the machine and often land on the sailors operating it. It’s part of the reason that those sailors are given uniforms specifically for the pulping room.
This guy, this awful bastard of a guy, was routinely found in his rack still in that uniform. Holy mother of god, just do your best to imagine the smell, because nothing I can write here will do it justice.
The Dirty Guy
The Dirty Guy is distinct from the Stinky Guy. They’re often the same person, however. If you don’t care about your hygiene, you often don’t care about the cleanliness of your surroundings.
The Dirty Guy is the guy who doesn’t clean up after themselves, obviously. This is someone who leaves their dirty skivvies on the deck for someone else to clean up (read: throw in the damn trash). They leave their sweaty PT gear hanging up for everyone to smell. Their racks are covered in literal dirt. Believe it or not, this is not the worst thing these guys do.
No, dear reader. The worst thing these guys do happens in the head.
If you’ve been on a ship for just a little while, you know the diet is erratic at the best of times. Often, this leads to people getting explosive diarrhea.
Now, a reasonable person will go and grab a toilet brush and clean up after themselves. Not Dirty Guy. Dirty Guy will let that dookie harden and turn to cement so that when the berthing cleaners come through, they deal with it. That’s why Dirty Guy is the worst kind of person.
The Loud Guy
Sailors underway work 24/7. It is out of necessity that sleep is sacred, and when it’s interrupted, you’ve committed a sin as old as sea travel.
When you get into your rack, you should strive to be as quiet as a churchmouse. Sometimes, mistakes are made. I’ve probably woken up a few people in my time accidentally. As a tall, gangly person, sometimes I’ll shift in my sleep and drop an elbow on the sheet metal back wall of my rack, resulting in a loud clang.
But I’m not the Loud Guy. The Loud Guy is the dude who drops his five-pound, steel-toe boots directly on the deck. He drops his rack down hard and jingles the lock hasp as he tries to lock the rack he’s about to get into anyway. He gets into his rack and watches a movie on his tablet or his phone, then forgets his headphones. He figures, somehow, that it’ll be fine so long as he keeps the volume “kinda low.” He’s the guy who lets his alarm go off in his rack, but sleeps through it and somehow manages to be the only person who doesn’t get woken up by the damn thing.
That’s Navy Crow’s list of the three sailors everybody in berthing hates. Your mileage may vary. You might have other guys everybody hates, you might not ever see the Loud Guy. Let us know in the comments!
Speaking of, we’re celebrating the launch of our new line of vintage signs! They’re kick-ass presents for veterans and active-duty guys so you can show your pride from your bedroom, garage, or man cave!