Three days ago, SafariMaster departed the Submersible Death Trap. He claims that he is going on to "his next big adventure, life after the Navy." That may be the case, but there's rampant speculation that it's simply code for "calling his home world and preparing to report the findings of his six-year survey mission to Earth." He is also the first person I recall to give not only his phone number and e-mail address, but his World of Warcraft handles in his contact information. Regardless, his leaving is an important milestone not only for him, but for me. It means I assume the title, duties, and responsibilities of the "SNOB." The SNOB is shorthand for Shortest Nuke On Board, and it refers to he, of those nuclear-trained crew members who have not re-enlisted, who has the least time left.
Part of the (fairly muted) "turnover" was passing on a specially designated paper clip, a common symbol among those who are fully vested members of the Haters' Club. I wear this small device under the flap of my right pocket, out of sight. Why a paper clip, you ask? That's another acronym...People Against People Ever Re-enlisting, Civilian Life Is Preferred. I don't display it prominently, and that's not only to avoid drawing the ire of the khaki. It's also because I don't believe the acronym is entirely accurate for everyone. Each Sailor has to evaluate his own circumstances and options and come to the conclusion that's best. In many cases, that conclusion is signing on for more time, and the associated big bucks. Just this morning, I was calculating potential bonuses for one of our ELTs, trying to help him figure out when the best time to re-enlist might be. The mere fact that I've chosen the exit door doesn't mean everybody else should. Not only might that leave some Sailors in bad shape, it would leave us without much of a nuclear Navy. Thus I keep the paper clip hidden, so that I can keep the lineage alive, while not broadcasting to the entire ship a view with which I'm not completely in agreement.