Dear Jack: I'm in the Navy — How Do I Fight Seasickness?

June 9, 2023Jack Mandaville
dear jack mandaville

Marine Corps veteran and amateur life coach Jack Mandaville has all the right answers to life’s toughest questions.

Dear Jack,

I’m from Ohio and in the first few months of my Navy enlistment. I’m just beginning to realize that I suffer from terrible seasickness. How do I get through this?

Thank you,

BMSA Luke Nygaard

Ahoy-hoy, BMSA Luke Nygaard!

That sounds terrible. I’m not talking about the seasickness part where you find yourself uncontrollably puking all over the place and possibly having diarrhea off the side of the bow or in your trousers. It sounds terrible that you’re from Ohio. The Cuyahoga River has literally caught on fire 14 times. But since we can’t solve the fact that you’re from that godforsaken hell land, let’s focus on what we can fix: your skittish bowels. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Seasickness is a result of a conflict in the inner ear, where the human balance mechanism resides, and is caused by a vessel’s erratic motion on the water.”

That’s a lot of fancy language for, “You bein’ a biggity bitch, Luke.” And that’s okay. I’ve had my fair share of biggity bitch moments, myself. Like when I get panic attacks FaceTiming my 6-year-old twin nephews because I had to put my dog down five months ago and they keep asking me where he is and I don’t know how to tell them that I forked over $300 to watch someone in scrubs kill my best and only friend.

It’s just that, with a name like Nygaard, it’s absolutely disgraceful that you’re prone to seasickness. You are descended from Vikings, one of the greatest seafaring people in the history of the world. What would your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Ragnarcock Nygaard, think of your little nausea problem? You think he would sympathize? Tell you it’s perfectly normal? No. He had a belly of steel. And he was too busy killing women, children, and unarmed priests to give a shit about your problems.

Alpha shit!

Anywho, there’s a plus side to seasickness. 

It's kind of like guilt-free bulimia when you think about it. You have the opportunity to go hard in the galley during lunchtime. Eat anything and everything you want, especially all those custom meals you get from the Filipino cooks when you’re on their good side. Get so full that you look like one of those malnourished kids from those Sally Struthers commercials from the ’90s — the kids with the big bowling ball famine guts. Then waddle your way topside and let God take care of the rest. Before you know it, you’ll be projectiling all of that good Navy food off the side of the ship while simultaneously maintaining that amazing Nordic figure of yours. 

The fact is, you’re getting physically pummeled by water. Not a cagefighter with cauliflower ear. Not a wildfire barreling down on your home. Not a rabid animal thirsting for flesh. Just water.

But maybe you’ll get a cute little nickname out of it. Your shipmates can start calling you “Luke Puke” or “The Ohio Heaver” or “The Vomiting Viking” or “The Diarrhea Dane” — something like that. I mean, this is usually how nicknames are born. People rarely remember you for something cool. All it takes is just one little moment of weakness and everyone will be calling you “The Spewing Swede” for the rest of your life.

I dunno, man. Have you thought about getting on your knees and begging your chief to allow you to transfer to the Army? There’s probably 95% less water situations in the Army. Your biggest concerns are things like breaking your neck jumping out of airplanes or getting shot in the face during CQB. But at least you won’t have an upset tummy. 

I hope this helps, Luke Puke.

I love you,

Jack Manford Mandaville I

Read Next: Dear Jack: My Battalion Is Out of Control

Jack Mandaville
Jack Mandaville

Jack Mandaville is a contributor at Coffee or Die. He liked being a Marine but loves being a civilian that does commentary on military culture because there’s no real sacrifice involved. He’s a satirical writer, entertainer, and amateur provocateur. His only real love outside his work opportunities is falling asleep to Netflix.

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