WARNING to the Family and Friends of a Returning Sailor:
You will soon have your loved one home again. He has been living in an
extremely crude environment for quite some time and will require time
to adjust to his former lifestyle.
The key to help him through this difficulty is PATIENCE.
Remain calm if he mixes his mashes potatoes with his chocolate pudding,
stirs his coffee with his finger, or eats as though someone was going to
steal his food.
Bear with him if he walks out to the back patio and throws the trash
over the railing into the backyard.
Do not be alarmed when he walks through a door and ducks his head and
raises his feet, because it's not a neurotic condition. It's just the way he
has been walking for the past 6 months.
Show no surprise if he accuses the grocer of being a thief, argues with
the sales clerk about the price of each item, or tries to sell cigarettes
to the newsboy on the sly.
Most important of all:
His digestive tract will also require some adjustment.
For the first week, all vegetables must be boiled until they are
colorless and falling apart (after they have been sitting out in the hot sun for
at least a week prior to his getting home).
Eggs must be tinged with a shade of green and be runny, bacon nearly
raw and all other meats must be extremely well done.
Have beef for the first five or six days, calling it roast beef the
first night, braised beef the second, beef tips the third, beef stew the
If milk is served, it should be at room temperature and slightly
diluted with water.
If he prefers to eat his meals while sitting next to the trash can,
don't be concerned. He's grown so used to the smell that it may take a while for
his normal tastes to return.
In the evenings, turn off all air-conditioning, open all windows and
let in as many bugs as possible.
Let him sleep on the floor in the laundry room with the dirty clothes
because he's so used to the smell.
For the first few nights, wake him every three or four hours. Tell him
he's late for the night watch in the backyard. He'll understand because he's
been doing something just as stupid for the past six months.
Under no circumstances should he be allowed to get a complete nights
sleep during the critical adjustment time.
His daily routine may seem strange to you, especially when he wakes
everyone up at six in the morning screaming "Reville-Reville, all hands heave
out and trice up!" Just smile and nod and make sure everyone is up and on the
back porch at seven for muster, instruction and inspection.
Then, in the late afternoon, humor him when he walks around the house
closing all the windows and doors and reports to you that yoke is set
throughout the house.
After sundown, don't argue with him when he yells at you for opening up
the window blinds while darken house is set.
His language may seem foreign and you may not understand all the terms
he uses. It isn't necessary that you do. Just smile and be pleasant. Some
of the terms you may hear are: Turn-to, Sweepers-Sweepers, Men working aloft,
This is a drill, Wog, Beer-thirty, ect.
Do not be surprised when he answers the phone and instead of saying
"Hello," he says: the room he's in, his rank and name. For example, Living Room,
"You Fill In The Blank" speaking, this is a non-secured line subject to
monitoring, how may I help you Sir?
NEVER make favorable references to the Navy leadership structure. To do
so will almost always illicit an extremely loud and profane outburst which
may continue for hours.
The bathroom is quite possibly the most dangerous place in the house
for your USS __________ returnee. Before he arrives, strip the bathroom
of all accessories such, bathmats and any and all toiletry items.
Crack the mirror and run water on the floor. Toilet paper is optional,
but if it is furnished, it must be placed in a puddle on the floor. Turn off
the hot water at the source for the first few days. Wait until he is in the
shower, soaped up and then turn the water off altogether for about 15 minutes.
All of these precautions are imperative, because if he walks into a bathroom
which is complete with the above mentioned items, he may shrink into a corner
and curl up into a fetal position, wide-eyed and shaking. If this happens,
there are only two proven and accepted methods of snapping him out of it;
yell "Mail-Call or Liberty-Call." In either case, stay clear of the doorway.
In closing, always remember that beneath that suntanned shell there
beats a heart of gold, it being the only thing the Navy couldn't confiscate or
reschedule at a later date. With kindness, patience and the occasional
swift kick, your loved one will soon return to his former self.