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November 2015, #2:  Farewell

1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps. This week is significant, for me at least, because in addition to this being the latest, it is also my last.


A. The folks who would have made the Funnies this week are off the hook. Instead of brickbats for a quartet of nameless sufferers, it is bouquets for a legion: all of those Sailors, Marines and civilians who populated the 750 installments since I took over in 2002. The E-1 who tried to iron his pants while wearing them. The E-4 who chopped his knee when a bee landed on it while he was cutting down a tree. The sergeant who tried to make a rocket out of a plastic soda bottle and isopropyl alcohol. The E-5 who shot himself with a homemade spear gun. The airman recruit who tried to clean corrosion with Tabasco and a wire brush.

     Everyone – not just the Rocket Scientists of the Week listed above – who appeared in the Funnies during my tenure was stellar. It was always a great supporting cast, made up of so many good bad examples.


B. For all these folks, I have a surprise. The Navy and Marine Corps Awards Board has created two brand-new service ribbons for Friday Funnies alumni. The one with black-and-blue stripes is for those who ended up on LIMPDU. The crimson ribbon is for those who needed stitches. All recipients will be duly recognized at their next command quarters. I know that they were originally voluntold to appear in the Funnies, but now they will have a tangible sign of their unwitting (and I mean that literally) service.


C. Seriously, though, I also want to recognize the readers who so often brightened a grim afternoon with cogent feedback, hilarious comments, personal stories and loony links.

     I never knew quite what to expect, which was invaluable. One correspondent called me a genius. Two weeks later, someone else wrote to say that they found the Summary of Mishaps to be “almost comical.”

     I’ll even miss the emails that said things like “most weeks I'm just moderately annoyed at your flippant tone and condescending manner.” I liked this one, because he apparently kept shaking the tree for more peaches.


D. I once got an email accusing me of withholding good material. “These messages used to be full of stories of people doing amazingly stupid activities, not people who twist an ankle playing with their dog,” the writer complained. “Please bring back the days of Marines playing catch with K-bars and drunk Sailors doing handstands off the 3rd floor barracks railing.”

     I assured him that I wasn’t hoarding the juiciest incidents. In fact, it has been getting harder to find them in the mishap reports. I’ll chalk this fact up as progress, and I’ll be gone before anyone can prove different.


E. Finally, I want to thank the past and present staff at the Naval Safety Center, my longtime home away from home, for their tolerance and support. I couldn’t have survived this long if the Navy didn’t have a world-class sense of humor. I’m not the same person that I was when I wandered in, decades ago. I’ve learned a lot (and not just to answer “aye” instead of “yes” and to call a floor a “deck”). Here’s the latest thing I learned: it’s time to go.


F. I just have to run through my checklist. Let’s see… feed the horses at the Not-O.K. Corral – check. Turn out the lights at the Summary of Mishaps Museum – check. Cancel membership in the National Association of Second-Guessers – check. Fill out final leave request (date return: “never”) – check.


2. This is where I don’t write, “See you next week.”


Last week's issue: No, There's No N.E.C. for That, Either
Check out our very first special print issue, "The Best of the Friday Funnies." If you'd like an actual paper copy, just ask using the Media Feedback link below.
Got a Funnies-worthy yarn, some feedback or just need to get something off your chest? Your two cents worth is gladly collected at
If you have a question about some of our odd terminology, become an insider by studying up on our Glossary.
And if you have even more time on your hands, here's the exhibit list from the
Summary of Mishaps Museum 

Commander, Naval Safety Center, 375 A Street, Norfolk, VA 23511 | (757) 444-3520 (DSN 564) 
Media Contact Info: 757-444-3520 Ext: 7870  | Media Feedback | Webmaster | PAO | Last Revision: November 13, 2015