The traditional male sailor was not defined by his looks. He was defined by his attitude; his name was Jack Tar. He was a happy go lucky sort of a bloke; he took the good times with the bad. He didn’t cry victimization, bastardization, discrimination or for his mum when things didn’t go his way. He took responsibility for his own, sometimes, self-destructive actions.
He loved a laugh at anything or anybody. Rank, gender, race, creed or behavior, it didn’t matter to Jack, he would take the piss out of anyone, including himself. If someone took it out of him he didn’t get offended; it was a natural part of life. If he offended someone else, so be it. Free from many of the rules of polite society, Jack’s manners were somewhat rough. His ability to swear was legendary.
He would stand up for his mates. Jack was extravagant with his support to those he thought needed it. He may have been right or wrong, but that didn’t matter. Jack’s mate was one of the luckiest people alive.
Jack loved women. He loved to chase them to the ends of the earth and sometimes he even caught one. (Less often than he would have you believe though) His tales of the chase and its conclusion win or lose, is the stuff of legends.
Jack’s favorite drink was beer, and he could drink it like a fish. His actions when inebriated would, on occasion, land him in trouble. But, he took it on the chin, did his punishment and then went and did it all again.
Jack loved his job. He took an immense pride in what he did. His radar was always the best in the fleet. His engines always worked better than anyone else’s. His eyes could spot a contact before anyone else’s and shoot at it first. It was a matter of personal pride. Jack was the consummate professional when he was at work and sober.
He was a bit like a mischievous child. He had a gleam in his eye and a larger than life outlook. He was as rough as guts. You had to be pig headed and thick skinned to survive. He worked hard and played hard. His masters tut-tutted at some of his more exuberant expressions of joie de vivre, and the occasional bout of number 9’s or stoppage let him know where his limits were.
The late 20th Century and on, has seen the demise of Jack. The workplace no longer echoes with ribald comment and bawdy tales. Someone is sure to take offence. Where as, those stories of daring do and ingenuity in the face of adversity, usually whilst pissed, lack the audacity of the past.
A wicked sense of humour is now a liability, rather than a necessity. Jack has been socially engineered out of existence. What was once normal is now offensive. Denting someone else’s over inflated opinion of their own self worth is now a crime. And so a culture dies.