ALPHA v0.3

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How To Simulate Shipboard Life At Home

Topic: military


1. When commencing this simulation, remember to lock yourself inside and board up all windows with all friends and family outside, communicating only with letters that your neighbors will hold for two weeks before delivering; losing one out of every five. Have a friend or neighbor yell "mail call!" at your door and four out of five of these say "you didn't get anything" when you answer.

2. Surround yourself with 200 to 800 people you don't like. People who chain-smoke, fart loudly, snore like a Mack truck on an uphill grade, complain constantly, seldom shower or brush their teeth, and use expletives in speech the way kids use sugar on cold cereal are good choices.

3. Unplug all radios and televisions to completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Have a neighbor bring you a Time and Newsweek magazine from two or three months ago and a Playboy magazine with the pictures cut out.

4. Monitor all operating home appliances hourly, recording all vital parameters (plugged in, light functions when door opens, etc...). If not in use, log as "secured."

5. Do not flush the toilet(s) for the first three days to simulate the smell of forty people using the same commode. After that flush once daily. Shower water should either be all hot or all cold. When you get all soaped up (soap on face) have your neighbor shut off all the water.

6. Wear only approved coveralls or proper uniforms (no special or cut-off t-shirts). Even though nobody really cares, once a week clean and press one uniform in the dark with a broken ironing board (or a towel on the floor) and wear it for twenty minutes while standing at attention. After this change back into coveralls (catch and rip the sleeve of your shirt on a sharp object on your way back to change, curse and yell then wad it up and throw it into your locker).

7. Cut your hair weekly, making it shorter each time until you are bald or look like you tangled with a demented sheep-shearer. Have a friend or neighbor tell you to get a haircut at least once every other week whether you need one or not.

8. Work 18-hour cycles, sleeping only four hours at a time to ensure your body doesn't know or care if it's day-time or night-time.

9. Listen to your favorite cassette six times a day for two weeks then play music that causes severe acute nausea until you are glad to get back to your "favorite" cassette.

10. Cut a twin mattress in half length-wise and enclose three sides. Add a roof that prevents you from sitting in any position at all (ten inches is a good height), and place it on a platform so that it is at least six feet from the floor. Place a dead animal under your sheets to simulate the smell of your bunkmates laundry and sheets. Whenever possible, have someone take your pillow or blanket (or both) to simulate that special camaraderie that exists only onboard a U.S. Naval vessel.

11. Set your alarm to go off at the "snooze" interval for the first hour of sleep to simulate alarms of watchstanders and night crew going off at an odd time and waking you up. Place your bed on a rocking table to ensure that you're tossed from side to side for the remaining three hours. Alternately use custom alarms that sound like a fire alarm, police whistle, and a punk rock combined to simulate various drill alarms onboard ship and so you will not get accustomed to ignoring your regular alarm clock.

12. Prepare all food while blindfolded, using all the spices that you can grope for (or use none at all) to simulate shipboard food. Remove the blindfold and eat as fast as is humanly possible. If the food does not stick to an inverted plate when cold, use more lard. If the food contains more than one part per thousand of fiber, dispose of it. Always take more than you can possibly eat.

13. Periodically shut off all the power at the main breaker and lay face down on the floor with your hands on top of your head while a friend or neighbor points a loaded rifle at you and repeatedly yells at the top of their voice "Get on the deck!!" Continue this for at least twenty minutes.

14. Buy a gas mask, smear the seal with rancid animal fat and scrub the lens with steel wool until you can't see out of it, and wear it for two hours every fifth day, even to the bathroom.

15. Prepare yourself an emergency that will require you to evacuate the premises, knowing that if you exit the biker gang that you hired will cut off your arms and legs to simulate sharks. Study a first-aid book to learn how to handle wounds and control bleeding until you can quote it verbatim.

16. Study the owners' manual for appliances in the dwelling. At regular intervals, take one apart and put it back together again. Then test operate at the extremes of its tolerance.

17. Remove all plants, pictures and decorations. Paint all furnishing and walls gray, white or the shade of green of hospital O.R. smocks.

18. To make sure you are living in a clean and happy environment, every week clean from top to bottom, working hard all day even if it is only a three hour job, whenever and as often as possible repeating your efforts. Then have someone tell you that you missed some dust and the floor looks like shit. When completed inspecting your work, criticize everything as much as possible. Never be satisfied with good effort.

19. Once a day, put in a video (which you have prepared) to watch a movie that you walked out on a year ago. Then watch an episode of "Charlie's Angels" that you didn't like the first two times you saw it, making sure you pause it just at the peak of the action so you can sweep the floor and listen to someone tell you what you did today.

20. Since you have no doctor, stock up on aspirin, Band-aids, and Actifed, which have been proven to cure every disease and ailment known to man.

21. Every three weeks, to simulate liberty in a foreign port, go out directly to the city slums wearing your best clothes. Enter the raunchiest bar you can find and ask the bartender for the most expensive imported beer he carries. Drink as many of these as fast as you can in four hours, then hire a cab to take you home by the longest route he can find. Tip the cab driver after he charges you double because you were dressed funny and lock yourself back in your dwelling for another three weeks.

22. Run the blender at constant high speed to simulate the constant whine of the ship's machinery and have the biker gang you hired bang on the roof and walls to simulate men working on other levels at all hours of the night and day.

23. To achieve the permanent, smelly, gray, dingy look in your clothes, have the plumber connect the washer to the sewer lines, throw clothing in a dark corner for two days before drying.

24. This simulation must run for a minimum of six months to be effective. The exact date of the end of the simulation will be changed no fewer than seven times without your knowledge. This is done to keep you guessing as to when you can expect to get back to a semi-normal life. It is also done in hope of screwing up any plans you have made or would like to make. On the last day of the simulation remove the boards from the windows but do not go outside, have your loved ones stand outside, across the street and stand at attention for four hours and look at them to simulate duty on the day of your return.

Note: This simulation was designed for those who would like to, but haven't had the opportunity to enjoy an extended period of time at sea.


ALPHA v0.3