I am 36 years old and have blessed in countless ways. I can count 4 blessings right off the top of my head. They would be my wife and my 3 children.
This and a few too many near death experiences have taught me not to be a complainer.
I do get frustrated though when I realize that my time to shine has passed in a lot of ways.
I don’t think the guidance couselor at Morgan Twp school had ever even heard of the Merchant Marine Academies.
I did my time as a swabby. Did quiet well, actually. Made rank, got my AS Degree, and paid off my school loans.
I did however pretty much blow out my knees for them by spending all day long, day after day, in a catchers stance working on hovercraft.
My back is done for already. I have one disk totally gone and another that is herniated enough to cause me to be a borderline drug addict. If it will kill the pain i will take it if i can get away with it and still keep my license.
I don’t think 4 years as a swabby helped my back either.
I got out and almost starved to death before I found out I could find “3 Hots and a Cot” on a towboat.
They worked a 30/30 but I knew if i worked hard enough they would let me ride strait time.
I rode 1 yr and 10 1/2 months total before I went “home” to where my mom lives.
Made enough cash to come home with my pockets full of money and also to get my AB ticket.
I worked my way up offshore as an AB and then ended up as a Licensed Mate.
Manys years and much heartache later I finally got my Master. I thought I had reached a pinnicle in my life until a buddy off mine got his 3rd Mate and set his sights on Chief Mate.
Good for him. I think he will do well in his chosen field and could maybe crossrate to another type of ship and do well.
But except for a rare few hawsepipers that have been around since the dawn of time all of the Lakers are crewed by Academy Grads. And they Prefer Great Lakes Maritime over Kings Pointer.
It seems like all the deepwater DPO jobs get snatched up by guys that have the silver spoon background.
If you are lucky and you maybe know someone in the workboat market you can suck hind tit and run a DP workboat of some kind. But even most of those jobs want you to have a BS Degree from the Academy.
Yes, I have been hit on the head and nose with the stick enough time to realize where my place is now. I will stay out of the big boys’ way on the LMR with my little towboat and let them steam on by.
I can’t deck anymore if i wanted to. My body is already shot at 36. I have to stay in the wheelhouse somehow even if that mean taking second rate and worse jobs.
Jobs where they ask you to comprimise your honor and principle for a little hush money.
What is really starting to get to me now though is seeing someone with unlimited tonnage just walk right into a limited tonnage job that a hawsepiper spends years running a boat to get.
Then you have to coddle and nurse them and their egos to get them to be able to be trusted enough to run the boat while you are sleeping on your little tin can. Nobody likes to wake up to wet feet.
I apply to countless DP workboat companies and get the same story time after time. “Get that DP ticket and we’ll talk.” Whose gonna give me a shot? Seen any DP trainee jobs? No?
That’s because they are all snatched up by academy grads and freinds of friends.
So I have worked through most of the stages of recovery from my personal tragedy of being an unlimited master stuck in a limited master’s body.
I guess I am in “acceptance”.
I am doin ok though. There is no shortage of trash cans out there that need Oscar to show up and move that freight.
That’s me. Just call me Oscar the Grouch. Puttin around in my little garbage can. Puttin up with crap that no unlimited master i know of would put up with.
I really busted my ass this trip though. I pulled a double hitch on a garbage can that was ready for the scrap yard but made bank.
I think i may take off till after the New Year now.
That would be somethin for a peice of boat trash like me to have all the holidays off for the first time in many years. Ever perhaps.
It’s time to get to know my wife and kids again.
“Be it ever so humble…” . God, it feels good to be home. Can’t imagion ever leaving.
Now i just have to transistion from like it or lump it captain to mr. mom. It should be fun.
Lucky for all of you I get up earlier than them and have nothing better to do than rap away on these keys until the sun comes up.
talk to you all later
Washed Up Hawsepiper