Bovine and Equine


The Friday story at TBP (follow the link, above) reminded me of this thing that I heard about. I’m not sure why I heard about it and I’m certain I have never experienced it first hand. Probably just heard the legends! Or maybe I just made this up and it is 100% fiction. Yeah, that’s probably it.

The god of the sea is Neptune, or Poseidon. In art, he is frequently portrayed in the company of a horse and a cow (or possibly, a bull). Historically, merchant sailors and other skimmers, who were scared to death of submarines, tattooed a horse on one ankle, a cow on the other, in hopes of ensuring safe passage.


Vallejo, California

Home to Mare Island Naval Shipyard (birthplace of many of the best submarines) and once home to the famous bar known as the Horse and Cow. A most notorious fast attack submarine bar. Bikers were allowed in, as long as they bought a round for the house when they arrived. Else their trousers were removed and they were run out into the street. Reentry was not allowed, and they had to find their way home without pants.

For the uninitiated readers out there – note that there are three different types of submariners. There are Diesel Boat sailors, who are welcomed by one and all, Fast Attack sailors who have the best job in the Navy, and Boomer sailors who ride the ballistic missile boats.

Horse and Cow rules have always prohibited any kind words, or sentiment, for the Boomer guys.

To fast-attack submariners, whose duty is to chase enemy boats, boomer sailors are slackers who ride heavily armed boats and while away their days in comfort, waiting for an order that never comes. They are a lower form of life; although still better than skimmers.

Wives and girlfriends were also allowed in the bar but there was always, ALWAYS a ritual when a new patron of the feminine persuasion came into the bar. It would go something like this:

Someone, anyone, it didn’t matter who, would  visit the men’s room and come back to the bar, telling the bartender that the toilet was clogged. The bartender would unleash a string of blue words and pull a plunger from beneath the bar. He would shake it at all the patrons and exclaim something about hoping he never found out who was responsible for this, then he would disappear into the toilet (“head” in Navy-speak).

After a while, he would return with the plunger dripping water and proclaim the problem as “fixed” then he would turn over the plunger and fill the cup with the contents of whatever bottle was handy.

“Cheers,” he would proclaim and take a drink. Then the plunger would pass from hand to hand down the bar with everyone having a taste. When the plunger got to the new girl everyone watched. If she drank, she was cheered and welcomed as part of the crew. If she wrinkled her nose and passed it on, untouched, well then, her trousers were removed and she was run out into the street. Reentry was not allowed and she had to find her way home without pants.


It’s a cold, cruel world out there and there is probably a moral to this story but for the life of me I’m not sure what it would be.





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