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  • When Round John announced he was going on the grapefruit diet, we ignored him. He had tried to lose weight for two patrols and was still…Round John. He was only about five six and was at least half that in girth, hence the name Round John.

    He somehow convinced the cook into loading up one of the coolest pantry’s with the grapefruit that he had personally purchased. By coolest I don’t mean “Hip”. It was in a naturally cool environment and was the best place for storing fresh fruit and vegetables to get the longest use out of them – usually only about three weeks into the patrol the freshness of our meals were gone.

    At first we thought he was spending a lot of time sleeping because nobody saw him between watches. The truth was he was avoiding the food and meal times on the boat because he couldn’t trust himself. And what made it worse was we had a meal time every four hours so the guys going on or off watch could get something to eat beforehand. Not everyone ate every meal, but it was available – a lot like on a cruise ship I’m told.

    After the second week of patrol we noticed he looked kinda sickly. His cheeks were sunk in and his Velcro splitting one-piece was hanging all wrinkley on him. We asked him if he was ok and the only answer we got out of him was his current weight.

    He was a man possessed. He was determined to lose the nick-name by the end of the patrol. And unlike others who tried to lose weight during a patrol, there was no woman involved. No one waiting to see him other than his mom and dad and sister. Maybe he needed a sweetheart. I don’t know. But I do know that he was becoming unrecognizable by the end of patrol.

    That jolly, rotund, funny shipmate was a changed man. Not only did he look different, but he was no longer very funny. He began thinking that he was not just any man but THE man. Instead of telling jokes and singing irreverent songs like “Guantanamo Bay” and “The Edisto light”, (he taught me the words two patrols ago) he would just sit there with his newly acquired, chiseled good looks.

    I don’t know how it went when he was on leave, but he did keep the weight off.

    He never did lose the name. A name once given on the subs is yours for eternity.
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