"Convince Me, I Said" can be found in






WE WERE sitting in the shade, leaning against a building and looking out across the waters of the Tompkinsville Navy Yard to a ferry that was coming to Staten Island from Manhattan. We weren't talking much because it was too hot to talk. It was almost too hot to live on a day like that.

A one-and-a-half striper came walking down the dock to some PC's that were tied up near us. I'd seen him before and knew he was the skipper of the nearest of those PC's. I watched him go aboard, the way he turned aft to flick a salute to the ensign, and he'd taken no more than three steps on deck when a rating came over and hauled down that repeater they fly to show the skipper's ashore. I felt sorry for that rating having to get up in that heat and pull a flag down and for what?

"For what?" I asked this guy who was with me.

"What for what?" he asked me.

"That poor guy," I told him.

"Stretched out having a fine time until his old man showed up. Makes me glad I'm station duty."

"What are you talking about?" he asked me.

"Tradition," I said. "Tradition in this man's navy. Now why should they haul the repeater up and down all day just to show the old man's gone for an ice cream cone or he's playing gin in the wardroom? For what? Even them little PC's. They got so much tradition stowed aboard it's a wonder it don't drag 'em down to the bottom."

"You're against traditions?" he asked me.

"Not all of 'em," I said. "Not payday and liberty. But you can have the rest of them. What are you making faces for?"<...

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