Fat Jack was one of those guys that accumulated nicknames: Chuckles Waddles, Fat Jack, Chuck and, when being formal Fat Jack Charlie. Short, round, and one of those guys that was perfectly balanced. His butte was exactly the same size as his big belly. A good friend, competent and most often smiling.
On a submarine the toilets are different. They are round, made of stainless steel and have two valve operations needed to flush them. One is a long handled, a 4″ in diameter, ball valve at the bottom of the bowl and the other a water valve that must be turned to flood the toilet with water to flush. There is no pool of water standing in the toilet. When operations are complete, the user opens the water valve and pulls the three foot long handle that rotates the ball valve letting the “stuff” fall into the sanitary tank. Close the water valve, push the handle closed and you’ve “gone to the bathroom”.
Once a week, when the sanitary tank gets full is when the real flush of the toilet happens. Submerged, the sea water pressure can be 400 pounds or so so the sanitary has to be pressurized to 50 pounds above sea pressure. He who is to do the dirty work, checks all ball valves closed, hangs signs on the stall doors, “Secured. Blowing sanitary.”, and pressurizes the tank. When ready he opens the 2 sea valves and FLUSH.
Fat Jack missed the sign on the stall door or “just couldn’t wait” and forgot sanitary was being blown. He pulled the flapper on himself; a term used for such an event.
When the long handle is pulled to open the ball valve you have to be facing the toilet. 400 pound “stuff” , brown with pieces of paper, came flying out of the toilet into Fat Jack’s face. It’s Not a little. 100 times the force and velocity of your garden hose and 4 inches around. 130 men, over weeks time, come up with a lot of sanitary.
I was near by and, of course, heard the report, like a gun, and made my way to the head. Fat Jack was standing outside the stall, hunched over with his arms hanging straight down trying to not touch himself. His mouth was open, paper and stuff clinging everywhere, stuff under his eye lids, stuck to his teeth and coming out of his nose. In earnest, Fat Jack said, “Kill Me”. It was the first time I had ever heard that. Another crewman, arriving on seen, threw in 2 sponges and said, “clean it up”.
The cure: two weeks of antibiotics, silver nitrate drops in the eyes and the flapper award on hump night (the halfway celebration at the midway point of the patrol) where you’re called upon to wear a toilet seat around your neck for a week.
Reaveree Wheeler ( rev-er-ee )