21 October 2008

The Butter-Cutter On The Port Side

Recently, a retired Navy captain and a retired Navy master chief petty officer told me that ship-board “hot scoop” was regularly attributed to the “Starboard” Butter Cutter; but, in their memory, never to the “Port” Butter Cutter. This exception prompted me to think: “Why do sailors choose the 'Starboard' Butter Cutter over the 'Port' Butter Cutter?” In an attempt to answer that question, I visited a virtual naval vessel.


“Good afternoon,” I said on meeting the Port Butter Cutter. 

“What's good about it?” he asked.

“I'm here to listen to you,” I answered quickly.

"Why?" he came back. “Nobody ever listens ta me.”

“Well, I think it is about time somebody did; and, I'm that somebody. What do you think of the candidates in this presidential election?”


“What? Excuse me. What did you say?”

NOTHIRDTERMFORBUSH!” the Port Butter Cutter blurted even louder the second time.

After shaking my head, I said, “Hold on! I don't understand what you are saying. Would you please speak slower?”

“Yer like everybody else. Ya don't listen ta me. I'm saying: NO . . . THIRD . . . TERM . . . FOR . . . BUSH!” he repeated with emphasis.

“President Bush is not running for a third term. The candidates are Senators McCain and Obama.”

“McCain's the same as Bush! NOTHIRDTERMFORBUSH!” he said in reverting back to the rapid-fire response.

I tried to bring sobriety to the conversation, “Oh, come on. Senator McCain is a different man then . . .”


I was beginning to think that I was wasting my time here. But, I tried once more, “Senator McCain is known as a maverick in his party. Or, as somebody who does not follow the . . .” 

“Maverick? He's supported the Iraq War ever since it started thinkin' we could win it! NOTHIRDTERMFORBUSH!”

“ENOUGH!” I shouted at the Port Butter Cutter. “If you want to vote FOR Senator Obama, VOTE FOR HIM!”

“I'm not gonna vote FOR Obama,” he answered. “Yer still not listenin' ta me! I would never disrespect our Iraq vets 'n' flag. That guy refused ta visit those wounded vets in Germany 'n' wouldn't wear a flag pin until he figured he could get more votes by puttin' one on. HELL NO! I'd never vote FOR Obama!”

I was confused and asked, “Are you going to vote for a third party candidate, such as, Ralph Nader?”

“NO! That won't get rid o' Bush. NOTHIRDTERMFORBUSH! WHY . . . DON'T . . . YA . . . LISTEN . . . TA . . . ME?”

With that, I was really confused. “But, you have ONLY so many choices. You must vote FOR Obama, or FOR McCain, or FOR Nader. As far as I know, those are the only ones running for president,” I attempted to explain to the Port Butter Cutter. “Therefore, if you are going to vote, you must vote FOR one of them,” I explained.

“Well, yer wrong. I'm gonna vote AGAINST Bush!” he barked back.

“HOW?” I asked. “There are only those options for voting.”

“I'll vote AGAINST Bush by checkin' off Obama,” the Port Butter Cutter corrected me.

“What! That's not a vote AGAINST Bush! That's a vote FOR Obama!” I said with incredulity. “Our system of voting is a POSITIVE system; that is to say, the people vote FOR a candidate. There is NO option on the ballot or voting machine for a NEGATIVE vote,” I tried to explain.

“Like, HELL! I'll vote against Bush by pickin' Obama's name. What's wrong with ya? Haven't ya listened ta them media people talk about the negative Bush vote?”

“That's STUPID! ANY vote placed in Obama's column will be counted as a vote FOR Obama, and whoever gets the most votes will win THE POPULAR . . .”

“DON'T CALL ME STUPID! I read all the time; and, I know: ALL THEM BUMPER STICKERS CAN'T BE WRONG!NOTHIRDTERMFORBUSH!” the Port Butter Cutter spewed out once again.

In listening to “bumper stickers” echo in my ears, it dawned on me why sailors choose the “Starboard” Butter Cutter over the “Port” Butter Cutter: to sailors, starboard means “RIGHT” and port means “LEFT.” 

Semper The “Right” Choice,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)

Waddaya think?

(9 Thinks)

Bill Berit said:   October 21st, 2008 6:37 am

All I know Major, is that We the People are in deep du-du and dumbed down so much, we think our votes really matter anymore. The Big Guys are playing chess with our lives and this rocks existance and that scares the hell out of me. If I was younger, I'd sign up for a life hitch because that is the only group of grunts that will survive! God help us all!

Howard Fornof said:   October 21st, 2008 8:56 am

Major you are wasting your breath as the American public has lost their faith and somehow this Anti-Christ has brain washed so many so called intellegent people that I fear our nation, society and way of life is doomed.

Robert Steele said:   October 21st, 2008 9:04 am

Worth reading. Sadly, the reality is that neither candidate has given us anything close to the substance of governance. Free book at www.oss.net/PIG, the chapter on the substance of governance outlines the basics. I'm voting for McCain thinking that the Bush staff has been paid to take a fall, and Obama is the new front guy for a two-party system that is all theater and totally corrupt as well. If McCain can clean that up, he will be a true hero of the Republic.

Jock Craig said:   October 21st, 2008 4:31 pm

Never mind the navy butter cutters -- stick with Marines. They have more sense! My recollection of duty in Missouri in 1950 was no butter cutter in the chow line -- just a dish, fork, icewater and floating bits of butter. Sort of DIY on both port and starboard lines.

Wm. R Miller Jr. said:   October 21st, 2008 8:06 pm

From the Army Times Interesting but not surprising. This week's issue of the Army Times: Here are the results of the Army Times' poll of Military personnel reference the election (in percent): McCain Obama Overall 68 23 Army 68 23 Navy 69 24 Air Force 67 24 Marines 75 18 Retirees 72 20 White Non-Hispanic 76 17 Hispanic 63 27 Black/African-American 12 79 Enlisted 67 24 Officers 70 22 Somehow I missed seeing this in the New York Times. 

Sharon, USMC MOM said:   October 21st, 2008 10:16 pm

Two Story Outhouse!! Words fail me! This picture is worth 10,000 of them. politicians on the top outhouse Voters on the bottom, I wish this picture would come through. Sorry if it doesn't. Yep!!! This pretty much says it all. 

DC Wright, SSgt USMC Retired said:   October 22nd, 2008 12:38 am

It's obvious that the port-side butter cutter (like the loony left outside the service) has been snorting WAY too much stack gas and is too far from centerline to ever pull himself out of the hole he's in... not to mention he needs his meds adjusted! (for "he" and "him", also read "they" and "them"!!) SF DC Wright

Robin Rebhan said:   October 23rd, 2008 9:21 am

Could we just get a redo on Presidential choices?

Bob Gollery said:   October 27th, 2008 8:52 pm

Drill Instructor Sgt. W.A. Clark III (retired Lt.Col. USMC) explained to Platoon 3056 (20 jul '66 - 15 sep '66) that the way to remember that that PORT was the Left side of the ship was that they both had 4 letters; unlike Senator Biden (D. DE) I can still remember at age 60 how many letters are in those two words!