Work stories – 4 

I came back from my usual daily checks to the engine control room to find the second engineer busy with something unusual. “I want you to be here in the control room at 10, third.” He said with a straight face. Not an unusual request but the situation made it rather weird. “We’ll take some pictures,” he added. ” it’s my wife’s birthday.” And then it all made sense. I saw he had turned a cardboard file into a cone and stuck some birthday paper napkin which had balloons and elephants on it to make it look like a birthday hat. He then stuck a red Christmas tree ball on top of the cone. Following that he punched two holes on either side with a standard paper punch and tied it with a rubber band string. A birthday party hat made out of office supplies in less than 5 minutes. 

The second engineer’s wife had joined our ship last week from Malaysia and was going to stay with her husband for 3 weeks till he signs off. 

But that’s not the point. 25 years into their marriage and the Second was doing all that he could to make her day. He even asked me to go change my boiler suit because it had retro reflective tapes which shine when the flash goes off and that will ruin the picture!! 

He had everyone assembled in the control room and took pictures with everyone from several angles and cameras. The wife was ecstatic and over the moon as it was her first time at sea and we were doing all that we could to make it a memorable birthday. 

Let this be a reminder to all those who think sailors cheat on their wives and have a girlfriend in every port and only care about themselves. Some of them, like the second engineer here are willing to pull off all the stops even to the extent of looking ridiculous just to make their wife’s day better. 

We are human beings too. 


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