I’ve always thought that parts of my job are fairly cool. Not the part right now where I sit in a cubicle and read documents all day so much. I’m talking about the part where I’m out on a ship.
There’s a lot of tedium and headaches that go along with a deployment on a ship, but there are some pretty cool things as well. I’ve had the opportunity to drive a ship through the Suez Canal. I’ve shot fairly large guns off the bridge wings. (Please note that I did not do the first two things at the same time. That would probably upset the Egyptians somewhat.) I’ve went swimming in the ocean off the coast of Somalia where the water was 1600 feet deep and slightly shark infested. I helped plan missions to get much needed supplies to Bangladesh after Tropical Cyclone Sidr.
These are just a few of the things that make being a sailor interesting. Basically, about 85% of the time, you feel like beating your head against the wall, but the other 15% of the time is so rock star awesome that it makes up for it. It’s safe to say that I really felt like my job was slightly cooler than most. Then, yesterday happened.
We decided to take the kids to see the USS MIDWAY. If you’re not familiar with it, the MIDWAY is a decommissioned aircraft carrier that has been moored by downtown San Diego and turned into a museum. It’s really well done, and I was excited to take the family there and give the kids a taste for what their daddy does when he leaves. I was hoping that they would be really impressed and maybe a little proud.
Unfortunately, I forgot about something. I’m not an aircraft carrier sailor. I like the smaller ships, and yesterday was actually the first time in my 14 year career that I had stepped foot on an aircraft carrier. Well, it turns out that aircraft carriers tend to carry a lot of aircraft (shocking, I know). Apparently, when you make a museum out of something that is designed to carry aircraft, aircraft feature pretty heavily in the tour. It became obvious that in the battle of coolness, planes trump ships every time.
The day became a battle to keep the kids away from the planes. “Let’s go see the enlisted berthing.” “I WANT TO GO SIT IN THE PLANES!” “Let’s go see the engineering spaces.” “I WANT TO SEE THE PLANES!” “Do you want to go see the rooms that are like the ones daddy sleeps in?” “I WANT TO SEE THE AIRPLANES!”
I only remember 3 times where one of the kids didn’t want to see the planes. That was because my son had to go to the bathroom 3 different times. Of couse, he always waited until we were the furthest that we could possibly be from the restrooms. Then, in the bathroom, all he talked about was airplanes. Maybe, I should have been a pilot instead.