Boat Goggles: Porn Star and The Mole

First, the clinical definition:

The American Medical Association defines Boat Goggles as the condition in which men and women find attractive people they ordinarily wouldn’t spare a second look. A result of confined spaces and a limited selection pool, Boat Goggles has been known to turn ‘fat’ into ‘plump’, ‘big’ into ‘curvy’ and it has also been known to turn split-second decisions into lifelong regret. (See also: Drunk Goggles)


Porn Star came to the library tonight.

She’s part of a squadron, a red jersey, Crash & Salvage. Up until now our mighty warship USS Theodore Roosevelt has held 2,000 people. The squadrons — pilots, people who work on the planes — they bump that number to 5,000. It’s had a wonderful effect on the chow lines, not to mention our six working washers.

Porn Star has blonde hair, unkempt and surely out of regs. She wears her sleeves up, showing arms covered in tattoos, and she walks with a twitch, a deliberate twitch, so deliberate it might be comical.

Were it not for the Boat Goggles.

I see signs of her passage in advance. Heads turn. At the start of the cruise, they turned slightly. Yep, that’s how it starts. The Boat Goggles don’t fit well at first. They’re uncomfortable, the frames too tight.

Then a week passes.

Two weeks, three, marching through this labyrinth of pipes and steel walls, and the Boat Goggles feel more comfortable. Pretty soon, you don’t even notice them.

So you turn your head too. You have no subtlety, but that’s okay. Neither does she.

In she comes. There’s a logbook on the desk where you sign in, and she takes her time, bending over despite the desk reaching her neck. She devotes so much time to ensuring that her letters fit perfectly in between the lines. Attention to Detail.

From there she twitches into the TV room.

Another morning, you’re transiting the mess decks, and you see Porn Star sitting at a table with a bunch of guys. She’s showing them her tattoos.

She has a lot.


Before I get out of here, let’s talk about The Mole.

She had a mole on her cheek. Short, chubby full-figured, she was a CTI ((Cryptologic Technician Interpretive. They do foreign languages.)) temporarily assigned to the TR, to gain an understanding of the “real” Navy life she’d undoubtedly picked CTI to avoid.

She was working with the CTTs ((Cryptologic Technician Technical)). Curious about ship life, she asks, The fanrooms are where people go on the ship to get busy, huh?

The guys talk about this at night in the berthing. She said that, yeah dude, she actually said that! No, she’s okay fucking hot.

Who can fuck her first? It doesn’t matter.

This long at sea, you’ll gladly go last.


Throughout this feverish tangle of sheetmetal, swabbed decks and wet paint, men and women work together twelve hours or more a day.

The Boat Goggles fit so well. Human nature will reign as the long days continue, as the last of the recruiter’s lies die for the new Seamen checking in to operate multi-million dollar equipment and sent to do a commander’s laundry, as the mighty warship USS Theodore Roosevelt qualifies to deploy, 90,000 tons of bottled lust.

It’s not a memoir

Couple Seven Year Laowai reviews are up.

First, from Sharlene Almond:

A true story based on Travis’ life when he worked as a teacher in china …Because it is quite short and more of a short biography than a novel, it is difficult to get fully immersed into the storyline.

And Big Al’s Books and Pals:

I’m not sure what to make of this. Is it fiction? (The author called it literary fiction when it was sent to me and the disclaimer at the beginning says it is fictional. The book retailer sites have it classified that way.) Is it a memoir? (The book description makes it appear so and it reads like it). The author’s bio makes either seem possible.

Notice a trend?

It’s not a memoir. I’m not fifty-year old alcoholic ex-Math teacher, and I did not spend seven years in China, I was there for roughly two and a half.

This isn’t Valley of the Dolls. 7YL is a small part of Little Red King, a much larger story, and it is not a memoir. If it were, if I included every little thing I did in China, the book would be over 4,000 pages long and nobody would ever read it.