Like I said earlier, I rarely had money troubles in the Navy, but going to mast and losing half month’s pay for two months hurts. Luckily though, I got some back-pay that the Navy owed me.
I was sitting around at the tagout team office looking at my Leave & Earnings Statement and AlaskanAssassin came over and started looking at it too. Normally I hate it when people read what I’m reading over my shoulder, but in this case it was a good thing he did.
AlaskanAssassin: “Dude. Where’s your hazardous duty pay?”
Me: [Pointing at a line item] “Right there.”
AlaskanAssassin: “No. That’s not it. They never started your Sub Pay?!?”
Me: “I guess not. What the fuck!?”
I immediately rewound the tape in my head back to my first few days on board the boat. I had pissed off the retard of a yeoman LPO. I wasn’t even my fault and it seemed in consequential at the time, but now it had cost me $3,600 in pay. I got the first half up front and the rest had to be approved. I never did get the second half of the money, but it gave me some ammo when I got out of the Navy and moved to Phoenix. Defense Finance and Accounting Service sent me a letter saying they overpaid me and that I owed them some money. I had the proof to show them that they, in fact still owed me $1,800. Of course, they didn’t give it to me, but they dropped the collection case against me.
My entry for 13 Oct 2005: “Broke! Got no scrilla$”
My entry for 14 Oct 2005: “Paycheck was a bit short. Damned UCMJ.”
The rest of October was spent gambling, drinking and on one night, Pips and I decided to drink some mushroom tea and down a whole bottle of Jack Daniels. The kicker was that I had duty the next day. I was hung over as hell. That night though, I saw something that I’d never seen before in Hawai’i. A storm with thunder and lightning! That’s very rare on that island. I thought I was losing my mind, and at this point in the game I probably was.
On Sunday, October 30th (the day my Grandma and aunt departed from a visit to Hawaii) I smoked some weed for the first time not being on a leave status. And then I did it again the next night, on Halloween night. It was something that leveled me back out, and I started to like it again. The only problem was that I was getting away with it. That might sound like a good thing, but it wasn’t. Not getting caught only reinforces a behavior, and I started doing it more and more frequently over the next few months. I eventually stopped during the Spring and Summer of 2006, but picked it back up again when things got stressful again in the fall of 2006.
Gambling was another vice that I picked up. It gave me a distraction in my life that I needed to keep my mind off work. Or was I just young and stupid? I wasn’t yet 26 and was feeling like I hated the world, like it owed me something and gave me nothing but heartache instead.
One night, November 5th, I ate some mushrooms and sat on the floor in my living room, in front of the stereo, listening to Third Eye Blind’s self-titled album (the one with “Jumper” on it) over and over again, drank a whole fifth of Jack, chain-smoking cigarettes, feeling the mood roller coaster. Seriously, I would go from euphoric to depressed in a matter of seconds sometimes. I was out of control. That’s what out of control looks like. Not running through the streets naked with your hair on fire. Sitting in your living room alone with a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey. I fell asleep watching The Notebook…
I remember thinking as I was watching The Notebook, “I need to get to sleep, I have to play golf tomorrow.”
The next morning I met up with Junior at Ko’olina, paid a $70 green fee and shot a hung-over 85 (which is actually pretty good for me).
“Losin’ my sight, losin’ my mind. Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine.” -Jacoby Shaddix