by Bill Shaffer


We were in Todd Shipyard in Seattle and there were lots of women around. I wrote a most disgusting word on the back of my friends shirt and dared him to walk across the yard with it on. He did, but assured me I had not heard the last of it.

Several days later, I was getting ready to go to see my ex-wife who was a SPAR and living at the Ambassador Hotel. After showering and borrowing some hair oil from someone, I got dressed to go ashore. I couldn't stand the smell of myself!!!! Blaming it on the hair oil, I showered three times ... washing my head each time. I still stunk!!! You can imagine what a reception I got in the lobby of the SPAR barracks. Shortly after I got there, being as how odorous I was, I allowed as to I'd better leave. Which decision was agreed on by all. I still thought it was the hair oil.

I spent the night in a room a bunch of us had rented downtown. Next morning when I got up and started to put on that set of blues.... I couldn't stand them .... They stunk so bad. I had a pair of black trousers and a shirt in the room so I wore them back to the Ship Yard, shaking in my boots that a shore patrol might spot me.

The truth finally came out. The friend whose shirt I had written had bought a bottle of "Ben Hurr" perfume and doused every uniform in my locker by throwing the stuff through the vent. For years, every time that uniform got wet it stunk like Ben Hurr. I don't remember the other guys who shared the locker smelling as bad as I did. But one of them told about clowning around on the bus going to town and acting like it was some woman on the bus that wore too much perfume.

From "We've Been There - The Coast Guard" by Esther Stormer ©1992 - Reprinted by Permission.

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