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Happy Birthday…..

…..Asshole! No, not you. The other asshole.

Just kidding…..actually, it was my mate’s birthday and our AB thoughtfully prepared this cake for her as a token of respect, admiration and general joie de vie. No slacker he, you can clearly see that he put a lot of effort and care into it. Just look at all the sprinkles!

The merchant marine isn’t really a good place for the thin-skinned, the uptight, or the maladjusted, although we certainly have our share of them. Some flat-out psychos too. Living in very close-quarters for extended periods while performing a demanding, stressful and dangerous job either teaches you how to get along with others under trying circumstances or turns you into an even bigger asshole than you already were. Flip a coin…..anyway, the mate was a trooper and took it as it was intended: a good-natured jibe as well as a genuine and affectionate acknowledgement of her entrance into the world.

Unlike aboard ships, the crew hierarchy aboard a tug is generally much less formal and rigid, for both officers and ratings alike. Hell, there’s only a handful of us on the boat. This cake, with the exact same wording, could have been made for anyone on the crew, from the captain (me) right down to the newest OS, and it would be assumed that we’d take no serious offense at it.

So to some of the more anal mariners out there, lighten the hell up! In fact, a real asshole always knows what the rest of the crew thinks of them: they’d have gotten no cake at all.

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