How to simulate shipboard life at home

  1. When commencing this simulation, remember to lock all friends and family outside, communicating only with letters that your neighbor will hold for two weeks before delivering, losing one out of every five.
  2. Surround yourself with 150 people you would normally not choose to be seen with. People who chain smoke, fart loudly and often, snore like a steam locomotive on an uphill grade and use expletives in speech like children use sugar on cereal are ideal candidates for this.
  3. Unplug all radios and television to cut yourself off completely from the outside world, but have a neighbor bring you last months TIME, NEWSWEEK, The RETIRED OFFICER and a PLAYBOY magazine with all the picture cut out.
  4. Monitor all operating home appliances hourly, recording vital parameters, (plugged in, light comes on when door is open, etc.). If not in use, log as "SECURED". Make line drawings of all piping and electrical circuits.
  5. Do not flush toilets for the first three days to simulate the smell of forty people using it. After that, flush and overflow once daily. At least once a week post a sign stating "THE SEWAGE SYSTEM IS SECURED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE". It is OK to forget to remove this sign.
  6. Wear only proper uniform attire or approved coveralls in designated areas. No special T-shirts or other clothing. Once a month, regardless of weather, clean and hand press one uniform, go outside and stand in the rain for an hour or so, after which you may change back into your proper uniform.
  7. Cut you hair weekly, making it shorter each time, until you are bald or you look as though you have tangled with a demented sheepherder. Barber should be as inexperienced as possible.
  8. Work in 18 hours cycles, sleeping only four hours at a time to ensure you body doesn't know or care if it's daytime or nighttime. At random intervals, announce that you will either add or subtract an hour from the apparent time.
  9. Listen to your favorite cassette six times a day for two weeks, then borrow a neighbors favorite cassette and play it six times a day for two weeks. After that, play music that causes acute nausea until you are glad to get back to your "favorite" cassette.
  10. Cut a single bed in half lengthwise and enclose three sides. Add a roof that prevents you from sitting in any position (18" is a good height). Place a dead animal under your bed to simulate the smell of your cubemate's sheets.
  11. Set your alarm clock to go off at the "snooze" interval for the first hour of sleep. This will simulate the various alarms of watchstanders and nightworkers going off at odd times. Place your bed on a rocking table to ensure that you're tossed from side to side for the remaining three hours.
  12. Prepare all foods while blindfolded, using all the spices that you can grope for to simulate shipboard food. Add more salt. Remove the blindfold and eat as fast as humanly possible. Add more salt. If the food does not stick to an inverted plate when served cold, add more lard. Add more salt. If the food contains at least one part per thousand of fiber, dispose of it. Add more salt. Beat your plate enthusiastically against the side of the trash can when disposing of your leftovers.
  13. Periodically shut off the power at the main breaker and run around screaming "FIRE IN THE ENGINE ROOM!" until you sweat profusely or lose your voice, then restore power.
  14. Buy a gas mask and scrub the faceplate with steel wool until you can't see out of it. Wear it for two hours every fifth day.
  15. Study the owners manual for all appliances in the dwelling. At regular intervals, take each one apart and then put it back together again, then test operate it at the extreme of it's tolerances.
  16. Remove all plants, pictures and decorations. Paint furnishings off-white, brown or hospital green. Stencil everything with random groups of letters and numbers.
  17. To ensure a clean and happy environment, clean every week from top to bottom. Whenever possible, repeat your efforts. When finished, inspect your work, criticizing as much as possible. Never be satisfied with a "good day's effort".
  18. Once a day, plug in your T.V. to watch a movie that you walked out on two years ago. Then watch "THAT'S INCREDIBLE" for two hours.
  19. Since you have no doctor, stock up on as many antacids, aspirin, Band-Aids, Robitussin and suppositories as possible. These will cure any disease known to mankind.
  20. Prepare yourself for an emergency that will force you to leave the dwelling, knowing that if you leave the killer gang you hired will simulate sharks and cut off your arms and legs. Study first aid for bleeding and fire extinguisher owners manual until you can quote them verbatim.
  21. Every three weeks or so, go outside directly to the city slums, wearing your best clothes. Enter the raunchiest bar you can find and order their least expensive beer. Drink as many as you can in four hours, then hire a cab to return you by the longest route possible. Tip the driver even though he doubled your fare. Lock yourself back in your dwelling for three more weeks.
  22. This simulation must run at least 90 days to be effective. The exact time of the end of the simulation will have changes no fewer than seven times without your knowledge. This is done to keep you guessing as to when you might hope to resume a normal life, and in hopes that it will screw up any plans you wish to make.

This guide was designed to assist those who would like to, but haven't had the chance to enjoy an extended period of time aboard a Navy ship.

I served on the USS VALLEY FORGE (CG 50) from 1993-1996 and a CTO and Systems/Network Administrator. If you have served on the FORGE, I'd like to hear from you.

Hope you enjoyed this. Please Email me if you have anything like this to pass along.