Rust & Remembrance: Jacob’s Ladder, Part 1

Marine diesel oil is the color of burnt sienna and emits an odor that smells like fermented soil, all earthy and rich, harsh but intoxicating. Work around tankers a while and you pick up a nose for it, like some insufferable wine buff. You become an aficionado of distillates.

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Rust & Remembrance: Nicknames

We all had nicknames in the shipyard up north, not so down south. I don’t know why that is; maybe because the yards down south were so damned big and the bosses were always watching. We would never collect in groups out in the open in the southern yards, while up north we had real unions and some really tough shop stewards, so the ass-kicking went both ways…