Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Yellow School Bus Takes a Pit Stop at a Navy Warship

So there I was, plodding the corridors of a grey, metallic, slightly aged warship with 15 little kids in tow. It wasn't the first tour I'd given of our fabulous frigate, but definitely one of the youngest tour groups. I did my best to explain the Central Contol Station, the messdecks, the Combat Information Center, and the Bridge in the most layman of laymen's terms (that might not baffle too many 10-12 year olds). But after (and even during) the tour, several of my fellow shipmates said things like, "Seriously? You think they understand the word 'integrated' or 'frequency'?" or "You explained how energy and waves work?" or "Latitude and Longitude?" "I barely could spell my own name, much less solve for 'x' when I was their age."

Really? Really America? Really anyone? I thought my childhood was fairly normal, but I'm pretty sure I would have been intrigued about waves, energy, and I definitely knew the word 'integrated'. Was I a smart kid? Yes. Was I the neighborhood bio-nerd/vet because I memorized entire Audubon society books on reptiles, amphibians, and other critters? Yes. Did I get IQ tested and go to "The Gifted and Talented Program"? Yes. But so what? Kids need to try harder. Kids love new cool information that they've never heard before. People in general have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. It's the information age. I bet you half of those kids had cell phones and that same half probably hasn't read a book over 100 pages. I'm just doing my part to reduce the number of retards (in the appropriate sense of the word; ie: someone who could be smart or above average but has been a slacker because of bad education, choices, environment or Naval Officers babying them on warship tours with kindergarten coloring questions rather than something stimulating). So, you're welcome kids.

It was a fun tour though. The guns and the bridge got the biggest "ooos" and "aaahs". You would expect that. Internal comms were fun to mess with too, especially when people are working in the engineering spaces and they hear a 10 year old say "I like chocolate milk" on the sound-powered 2J circuit while they're trying to do maintenance on the lube oil purifier.

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