Let us turn to the all important science of human relations. Specifically, the science of human relationships while in a confined and isolated environment. Like a boat. There is a lot more to being an oceanographer than throwing big and expensive instruments overboard, you have to know how to cope with crew and fellow scientists while at sea. Both parties are entirely different and usually keep to their own. Here are some helpful hints should you find yourself on a long research cruise or, similarly, being smuggled to China for sweatshop labor. Let these tips guide you so that you won’t be fed spermburgers in the galley, or shanked in the back during your watch shift, or included in the mutter rants of the surly chief engineer. And trust me, they are ALL surly.
* Never throw up in the bathroom. Only throw up overboard. I don’t know why, but if you toss your cookies in the bathroom everyone gets mad at you.
* Front of the boat is the bow, back of the boat is the stern.
* If you’re facing the bow, starboard is on your right, port is on your left. You can remember this because “port” and “left” both have four letters in them.
* Let the captain talk to you. Some are friendly, most are not. Feel out the situation for yourself before you start gabbing about how early it is or how cold you are or how choppy the water is. He’s gonna think you’re a pussy if you start in with the complaints. And he’d be right.
* Anything that looks like a hose is typically important.
* No sandals on deck, hippie.
* No farting on deck. Wait till you’re someplace enclosed and in close proximity to the most annoying member of the science party. Preferable the cold storage room.
* Scientists, as a rule, are more annoying than crew members. Shocking, I know.
* Someone will always know what you’ve been looking at on the community computers. Always
* Don’t press any buttons, especially not if they’re flashing. Tell someone else about it.
* Do answer a phone if it is ringing nearby.
* Don’t talk too much.
* Do get your work done and show up for your watch shift on time.
* Do bring your own alcohol supply IF you are working on a US research vessel.
* Do take advantage of the open bar when working on Canadian, German, or Russian boats (for reals!)
* Don’t eat anything out of ANY refrigerator EVER!
* Don’t accept any compliments/favors/candy from members of the crew unless you intend on sleeping with them.
* Two movies to never put on in the community movie room: Apocalypse Now and Maid in Manhattan. Both will make you extremely unpopular.
* Don’t roll up to the chief engineer with a bunch of bolts in your hand and ask him if they are important. Even as a prank.
* Do get some exercise while you’re at sea. Just look at the crew.
* Don’t eat Doritos while working on the computer.
* Don’t eat Doritos while working with any scientific equipment.
* You know what? Give the Doritos a rest, why don’t you.
* The ocean is a beautiful place and deserves your respect. No peeing off the stern.
There, that should get you through a few days. Let your common sense guide you the rest of the way.