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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

August 18, 2006

Roll On Roll Off


Longshoremen back the cars out of the ship and onto the shore. Roll On Roll Off, or Ro-Ro for short, tail of the ship drops down to form a ramp. Eight levels are revealed, each holding hundreds of brand new vehicles from the import market. No more than 3 miles allowed on a vehicle’s odometer before it is considered used. So longshoremen always drive them in reverse.

Try craining your neck backwards for an eight hour shift when you offload one thousand BMW’s in Jacksonville, Florida one sunny afternoon.

Think about what you want to do for a living.

At 19 I got a job with two guys who did remodeling. What a great job I thought. I got to knock down walls with a big sledge-hammer. My boss drank beer all afternoon, then we quit at four. We threw things off roofs and out windows. I decided that was what I wanted to do.

I wish I had thought things through a little more.


Message For Special Reader’s: Click here to see the Ro-Ro your adventurous author sailed on all the way from J-ville to United Arab Emirates! Yes, I washed dishes on this happy little ship for four months!


(Don’t forget to come back here, please)


  1. I feel so priveleged, as I like to consider myself a special reader (since I’m here all the time–SORRY!) Anyway, nice boat. Keep ’em coming…I’m a junkie.

    Comment by e. march — August 19, 2006 @ 11:25 am

  2. So you were a civi on a naval vessel? Who’d you hang out with the whole time? When was this, anyways?

    Comment by Lyle_S — August 19, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  3. So you can grill cheese and turn a mean phrase. What a rocking discovery that you can write.


    Comment by Victoria Lane — August 20, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  4. Yeah, I was a civilian. Me and 17 other guys sailed the vehicles over for the marines. When we hit the persian gulf we loaded up about 400 marines. It is very expensive to stay tied up to a dock, so we went a few hundred yards out into the gulf and dropped anchor. My job was to wash dishes.

    The marines would come through the chow line, four hundred people in a rush. Once a week the captain ordered a launch boat sent out to meet us. Non essential crew could go ashore to relax. That meant going onto a U.S. military base in a Muslim country. We were inside a walled perimiter with armed MP’s manning floodlights. It was a sprawling series of bars filled with 90% men.

    The fattest, weirdest, most deformed women would have a train of twenty five men following them around. Horny Marines who hadn’t yet succumb to buttfucking were chasing after these women no man (as fit and young as a marine) in a functioning society would spend two minutes wooing.

    It was like a wild west town, saloon after saloon, and the hot nights of desert country. So many men. Some were out of uniform. Some weren’t. Not a long hair in site. Just military men. I had no idea what to do. Drunk, alone, no women.. For me, I only knew 17 people, and most of them were working on the ship.

    For these guys, they had whole platoons of familiar faces. I assure you these nights were the strangest nights I’ve lived through. A type of hell. The animal vigor of these Marines was palpable. I was stunned. I’d been a hippy for many years. A slacker. A dishwasher.

    Being drunk late one night I rushed towards a group of them, yelling like a drill sargeant…”I want everybody to line up! LINE UP!!! WE’RE GOING INTO TOWN TO SECURE MORE WHISKEY!!!”

    Jesus those guys jumped to attention. They were so ready to attack anything…it didn’t matter that what I said made no sense. Muslims don’t have whiskey in town. Alcohol is banned. Very underground. THese Marines were trained. They snapped to attention. I didn’t know what to say next. Imagine being drunk with a squadron of Marines waiting for your next command. I freaked out and ran into a crowd. I was insane.

    Comment by jon — August 29, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

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