Sea story: Simulate submarine life at home

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This is a long, long list of how to simulate submarine life at home.

These lists have been floating around for decades, perhaps even since World War II. They’re always anonymous, and they used to be passed around by hand after being printed on a poorly-maintained mimeograph machine. Today we share them by e-mail and post them on websites, so it was only a matter of time until it happened here.

This particular version has been shamelessly plagiarized from the Linkedin summary posted a few months ago by Luis T. Puig, a Senior Technical Instructor from General Physics Corp. in the Washington DC area.

This one is noteworthy because it has over a hundred items. The lists all make fun of small, cramped spaces filled with sharp-cornered equipment. Submariners used to include a lot of jokes about diesel fuel and other technology in use before nuclear power, and now we also make fun of nuclear-trained crewmembers.

There will always be jokes about noise, stench, heat, cold, humidity, messes, cleaning, leaks, plugs, and toilets. We’ll always make fun of getting along with hygiene-deficient shipmates and a grumpy chain of command. There will always be snarky humor about waking up the wrong people, standing long & boring watches, not getting enough sleep, and too much bureaucracy. There will always be complaining about the dumb-sounding things we’ve done to keep each other safe and to make it easy to communicate during casualties.

I used to think these lists were anti-retention propaganda, or perhaps even mutiny in the ranks. Today I think they’re both sad and funny, but we mostly pass them around for group therapy so that new readers can try to understand why we submariners are so darn proud of our teamwork.

Believe it or not, this list is family-friendly and safe for work. I’m only going to post the first 10 items here, because most of you will either get it by then or be too demoralized to keep reading. (Besides, those of you reading this blog by e-mail or RSS reader don’t need a post this long in your IN box.) The complete list is linked in the sidebar under “Simulate Submarine Life at Home!” The full version has 115 items,and I’m sure that other dolphin-wearers will help me add more.

Submariners have earned the advanced training, sea pay, submarine pay, and the military’s highest-quality food. If you’ve ever wondered why the Navy was being so nice to us, this list will offer an insight.

And now you know why submariners strive so diligently for financial independence…


Simulate submarine life at home!

1. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Two to three hours after you fall asleep, have your spouse whip open the curtain, shine a $200 flashlight in your eyes, and mumble “Sorry, wrong rack”.

2. Repeat back everything anyone says to you.

3. Spend as much time as possible indoors and avoid sunlight. Only view the world through the peephole on your front door.

4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Shower once a week. Use no more than two gallons of water per shower.

5. Buy a trash compactor and use it once a week. Store garbage in the other side of your bathtub.

6. Sit in your car for six hours a day with your hands on the wheel and the motor running, but don’t go anywhere. Install 200 extra oil temperature gauges. Take logs on all gauges and indicators every 30 minutes.

7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it to “High”.

8. Watch only unknown movies with no major stars on TV and only at night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, and then watch a different one.

9. Don’t do your wash at home. Pick the most crowded laundromat you can find.

10. (Optional for Engineering Department): Leave lawnmower running in your living room six hours a day for proper noise level.

The rest of the list is continued at “Simulate submarine life at home!” and also linked from the sidebar.


Related articles:
Sea story: “Hand me a dustpan!”
Sea story: Coffee, anyone?
Sea story: “Hang on!!”
Sea story: “Secure blowing sanitaries!!!”
Sea story: “Battle Stations Missile”
Sea story: “You want HOW much for that stamp?!?”

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WHAT I DO: I help you reach financial independence. For free. I retired in 2002 after 20 years in the Navy's submarine force. I wrote "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement" to share the stories of over 50 other financially independent servicemembers, veterans, and families. All of my writing revenue is donated to military-friendly charities.

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