I had a chance to visit a Navy ship recently, and heard a rite-of-passage story that is just begging to be shared. I won’t mention the ship or person involved, but they’ll recognize the tale.
An Ensign arrived on board not long ago, and while on watch he was alerted to the sighting of a diabetic whale.
Having once been on the staff of the Oceanographer of the Navy, I can verify that the Navy takes all whale sightings – especially those in the vicinity of an operational fleet – very seriously.
A diabetic whale, well that brings with it a whole new level of concern – something the chain of command was quick to remind him.
He was told to do some research and draft a Diabetic Whale Sighting Report, and chop it through various officers throughout the ship. Being new on board, the Ensign dove in to find out more about the poor creature with a blood sugar problem.
Such sightings had to be rare, he figured, since there was literally nothing about diabetic cetaceans on the internet. Google searches were fruitless. Undaunted, he drafted the report (since time was of essence), and chopped it through his chain of command.
But he wasn’t done. There still remained one task that had to be accomplished to save the life of the whale, and since he was the action officer, he was the one who had to get it done – and quickly.
He had to get the whale some sugar.
To do this, it was explained, he needed to go to the galley and find a ten pound bag of sugar, carry it up to the bridge, and throw it overboard. That way, the poor whale could eat it and balance out his sugar levels before they dropped too far. It was a matter of life and death.
He did it.
There is a picture of him tossing a bag of sugar overboard that exists to this day. But he is an officer, and I sure don’t want to embarrass him for falling for such an obvious setup. Besides, I doubt it will ever see the light of day.
So I did the next best thing.
The Diabetic Whale Officer
(Images by FC2 Cain, US Navy, and courtesy of the officer in question)