"White Rat" Follies
As all submariners know, the term "white rat" serves as both a noun and a verb; it is both the speaker box that broadcasts sound-powered phone communications to a space, and also describes the act of listening in on conversations that don't really apply to you (and passing on the information to those standing around). As an example of the verb form, it almost seemed like it was an immediate action for all hands, whenever the ship was on the surface and they heard over the Bridge Announcing Circuit "XO, Captain, JA", to pick up the nearest JA handset to listen in.
My favorite story comes from the humorous things you'd hear over the 2MC white rat in Maneuvering, though. Hearing A-gangers talk (they're notorious for not following proper IC protocols) was always good for a laugh, but the thing that amused me most was during loss of lube oil drills, where the white rat was used for "talking down the shaft". Here's what you'd normally hear: "Shaft is spinning slowly ahead... slowly ahead... slowly ahead.... Maneuvering, Control, secure rig for high speed.... slowly ahead..."
For some reason, the complete absurdity of that order always cracked me up. Anyone have any other humorous "white rat" stories they'd like to share?