The Deposition Of Captain Gridley | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

The Deposition Of Captain Gridley

maritime inquiry


by William Thomas


Raising his voice to be heard over the small noisy mob outside the hearing room, the officer presiding says…


"Gentlemen – excuse me, 'Everyperson' – this hearing is now convened. Captain Gridley. How do you plead to the charges of willful hate speech and reckless disregard for your subordinates’ feelings?"


"Amazed, sir. I plead profoundly amazed. And if I may add, appalled."


"You may not. How long have you served as master and commander at sea?"


"Thirty-one years, sir."


"And during that time is it not true that on numerous occasions you gave the order, 'steady as she goes'? Or told the helm to ‘meet her’ turn with counter-rudder? Or remarked to the mate on ‘what a fine little ship she is’,   noting the grace with which ‘she takes the sea’?”


"What… ?”


"And how exactly – within the bounds of propriety, of course – do you determine the gender of a ship?"


(sound of a gunshot in the parking lot)


"Ships are a ‘she’. Always have been. As former First Sea Lord Admiral West points out, sailors have long regarded their vessel as a sort of mother figure providing succour in horribly frightening storms or battles at sea.”


"Some warships are named after cities or men. Isn't that so?"


"Their people still bless their ship’s protective feminine traits."


"In other words, captain, any seacraft may identify as transgender and should be referred to as such."


Captain Gridley's eyes bulge like Popeye's after a massive hit of spinach. "That's preposterous!”


"Captain, this court cautions you against further outbursts. And against denigrating women whilst underway."


"Human women, sir?"


"Don't be daft, man. Female hominids. I trust you know the drill."


"But women – bless ‘em all, sir – are not at issue. If I may point out to this inquiry, a ship is not a female person. As anyone can plainly see. Maritime traditions matter. My feelings matter. Moreover, my wife is thrilled to have even a rather smallish ship named after her."


“You are aware that the Scottish Maritime Museum* is replacing all references to ships in its displays with ‘it’ instead of ‘she’ after a plaque depicting the steam yacht, Rifle saw every mention of ‘she’ repeatedly defaced.”


“Those cowardly Scots have insulted all sailors, thereby forfeiting the designation, maritime museum. Bad enough fathoms have deceptively given way to meters. Now I must call my wife ‘it’ lest someone worry she’s a ship?


"Be that as it may. Henceforth, you will refer to all ships, boats, canoes, kayaks and inflatable duckies with the pronoun, 'zeh'."


"That's not even a word! 'Steady as zeh goes' sounds like I'm drunk. Or Polish." Holds up a hand. "Which I am. Polack, I mean."


"Captain Gridley, you are no such thing. Your birth records indicate..."


"Can if I want," the accused grins grimly. "Polish today. Hedda Hopper tomorrow. Perhaps ‘dolphin kin’ next weekend. If anything goes, nothing matters. So what are we doing here? Can anyone present say the words, 'ancient Rome'?"


The doors burst open.


BANG! goes the gavel. "This entire culture is adjourned."




*Daily Mail Apr 24, 2019


 发件人     William Thomas 2019