Maybe if you did an Winter North Atlantic run, woke up everyday knowing the only way to quit was to jump over the side, wore mechanics coveralls stiff with grease and bilge slops everyday, pulled 6 and 6 watches because your total pob was 22 and a man was down with the flu and had to answer the crazy old bosun's every wish with a yes sir.
Maybe if you served on a ship where hazing of greenhorns was still prevalent and that asshole of an old man upstairs had the legal power to put you on bread and water. Maybe if your ship was loaded with who knows what kind of explosive military cargo packaged and secured by 18 year old servicemen who take more smoke breaks than any union AB and don't know the difference between a chain fall and a come-along.
Maybe if you had no choice because the US Military is one of the only remaining organizations that charters American ships anymore.
Maybe if you ever chatted with a Navy guy who spent more time drinking coffee than chipping paint because he had more people on a single work detail than a merchant ship carries total.
Maybe if you ever got stitched up by a nervous 3rd mate with sausage fingers and absolutely ZERO medical experience.
Maybe if you ever loaded a package of meat stamped "For Prison Use Only" and wished you were in prison because, at least then, the deck would stop rolling long enough for you to shank the cook for undercooking that ecoli infested meat.
Maybe if you knew that at any time the US Army could exercises its contractual right to send your ship, without notice or time for you to quit, into a war zone. And when it does the only protection your company will provide is two middle aged men armed with Khukuris and a note saying "We petitioned the Army for a squad of national guardsmen armed with one 50 caliber and 6 itchy trigger fingers"
Maybe if you took a CRBD class where the instructor told you exactly how to commit suicide because "this sh!t is nasty and only purpose built Navy ships stand any realistic chance against a CRBD attack".
Maybe then you'd check your attitude at the door.
I don't take military discounts because I don't work aboard US Merchant ships, I work foreign flagged in the oil patch.... but after doing one cadet cruise on a U.S. flagged ship under Army contract I will say F U to anyone who says real US Merchant Mariners, the ones on hard-working US Flagged ships, don't deserve a $2 discount on a F'n movie ticket.
So here's to you buddy, it's the only salute a US Merchant Marine Officer gets for his service, and now I'm passing it on to you in the kindest way possible:
I'm not disparaging your service to this nation, everyone who puts on a uniform in service of this great nation has my earnest respect, but the reality is that any US Navy ship is a g'danm Cunard ocean liner compared to some US Merchant ships my buddies work on. The fact that merchant mariners can quit in port, and don't, only knocks them up a peg in my book.