While perusing my favorite social media – Quora – I stumbled upon a question that triggered an immediate flashback. The question was “Have you ever had a neighbor who believed they had free reign of your property?” The question brought back painful memories of a nasty feud with my first neighbors while living in Southern Mississippi.
That feud lasted five years. By the time it was over I had charged the neighbors with misdemeanor trespassing and made several calls to our local police. It was the ugliest neighbor conflict I’d ever had, up until then. But it turned out to be only a prequel to an even worse feud.
My Navy career was rather unusual as I served on both submarines and surface ships. These were considered “different navies,” with different traditions and duty requirements. In that era, very few sailors ever made a switch between surface and subs. For the most part, the only sub sailors who typically went to the surface fleet were those kicked off subs for disciplinary issues, and who also lost their “Qualified in Submarines” status.
I qualified submarines on USS Scamp, SSN 588. I maintained my submarine qualification status when, years later, I joined the Aegis Cruiser USS Port Royal , CG 73. This dual service gave me an interesting perspective on the different communities that make up our U.S. Navy.
Another Quora question got me reminiscing about my introduction to free enterprise after retiring from Navy life. It was the first, and only time, one of my boss’s appeared at my front door. It was an unexpected visit after I had abruptly resigned for reasons relating to his fraudulent business practices.
So, I added to my ever-growing list of movie reviews by answering another Quora question. This one was on the most unrealistic movie scenes which annoy the hell out of me. Which led me into discussing the always-included Hollywood action-movie car chase scenes.
Three of the best years of my life were spent in the Southern Italian city of Naples. I was still in the Navy and was lucky to get a NATO assignment there. During those three years I toured a lot of Italy and Southern Europe, and learned to love Southern Italian culture.
Learning the foods was a huge part of the culture. Among these foods was learning to love olives. I’d never really cared much for olives before moving to Italy. But that changed. I also learned how olives were prepared, a bit of trivia that has stayed with me.
I’ve had a long post-Navy career at this point, and moved around a lot in my jobs. Within the different companies I’ve worked for I’ve had the great fortune of moving around doing different things, learning new skills, and working with different people. Some of the things I’ve done and people I’ve worked for were good. Other things and other people – not good.
I’ve also made some bad decisions throughout my career, mostly on basis that my word was the same as my signature, and other people’s word was the same as their signature. So when I had a chance to answer a Quora question ” Did you accept counter offer from your current employer when you put in two weeks, how did it turn out?” I went with my most infuriating job-related incident of trusting someone to keep their word.
In my quest to provide insightful answers to pressing issues asked by alert Quora readers; a while back I wrote a movie review. Not just any movie review, this one was on a topic near and dear to me – submarine movies.
I watch a lot of movies. A lot of what I watch is science fiction (or at least what passes for science fiction in the minds of Hollywood movie producers. Don’t get me started. And who in the hell came up with the stupid “SyFy” moniker?). Beyond science fiction, I also enjoy submarine movies, fiction or otherwise. Given that I have a bit of background with submarines, I have a certain level of expectations with submarine movies. For a fictional movie I don’t expect complete accuracy on submarine operations. But I have limits.
A Quora member posted another interesting question on submarines. The question was “Can you winch a submarine up from the bottom of the ocean, say 8000 feet?” This question gave me the opportunity to write about two famous submarine incidents. One of these involved one of my favorite submersibles ever, the DSV-2 Alvin.
My Navy career was unusual for the number of different types of ships I served on. Few people get to serve on both submarines and surface ships. Even more unusual, I served on two very different types of submarines, and two very different types of surface ships. This background gives me some unique perspectives on Navy life. So when I saw this Quora question, I felt I had the background to give a solid answer.
Recently I had the opportunity to answer another Quora question on navy life. This answer brought back a flood of memories from my life in Naples, Italy, and working with NATO. The question was “As an enlisted service member, what did an officer do to earn your respect?” I felt this was an interesting question, as the person asking seemed to know enough about military life to know that respecting position is required, but respect for the person is earned.