This post originally appeared on the U.S. Naval Institute Blog here.
Millennials are basically incapable of adapting to anything. That’s why returning from deployment is so scary for us young sailors and officers. We get so used to shipboard life that reintegrating into our families and communities can be really tough on our fragile psyches.
So, I’d like to offer some sage advice to the sailors and families of the USS Harry S. TrumanStrike Group, which returned to homeport this weekend. Instead of encouraging sailors to adjust to life on land, their families and friends should provide a welcoming environment by simulating life at sea. By catering their lives to the sailor, they will ease his or her transition to life on land, and have some fun doing it! Here are some tips on how to make returning sailors feel more comfortable:
- As much as possible, use nautical jargon like landlubber, scallywag, pollywog, scuttlebutt, starboard, amidships, and keelhaul. They’ll feel a sense of calm when you yell, “I’ll keelhaul you if you leave the dirty dishes in the sink one more time!”
- Make up words like longslides, and faddlepat, dropshanks. As in, “No, honey, it’s behind the faddlepat!” They’ll be used to feeling confused by words they don’t know and they’ll appreciate the sense of inclusion when they finally figure out what the words mean.
- Make sure they have at least two buddies with them before they leave the house without you (same sex only!). Be sure to tell them to “enjoy their liberty!”
- If they don’t make it home by curfew, make them sleep on the couch. Wake them up at 6 a.m. to explain themselves. Don’t believe a word they say and assign them eight hours of family remediation training. Throw in “you could have been dead in a ditch!” for good measure.
- Call an Uber and when it arrives, tell your sailor “sorry, you’re not on the manifest!”
- Make sure to have a collection of empty bottles of their favorite condiments, along with full bottles of the ones they don’t like, on the kitchen table. Even if it’s supposed to be refrigerated, leave it on the table.
- Set alarms in the middle of the night for absolutely no reason at all.
- Take normal words and change them slightly, like “orientate” and “risk adverse.” Say them with extreme confidence!
- Create acronyms when normal words would do just fine. For example, instead of “garden hose,” use “Water Delivery Device, Green, Extendable (WDDGE).” Then call it a “widge.”
- Keep the remote while watching TV. Every few seconds, hit pause then fast forward 10 seconds and hit play. This simulates the way your sailor watches TV onboard the ship. It won’t work as well if your sailor serves on an aircraft carrier.
If you follow this advice, it should be a little easier for your sailor to orientate their dropshanks as a landlubber. If it doesn’t work, don’t blame me! Blame millennials!