Submarine Wardroom Dinner Pranks
Mealtime aboard a submarine was always one of the highlights of any day underway. Some would skip the meal and get a quick half hour of sleep; others would line up several minutes early. (On USS Topeka, our Supply Officer boycotted eating in the WR to avoid the constant criticism of the food by the CO, "He Who Must Not Be Named".) Eating with the Captain in the wardroom was, on many boats, about the closest you would get on a submarine to "regular Navy" traditions.
For those who haven't seen one, an SSN wardroom table is a pretty small space to serve 10 (or 11) men. Here's a picture of the one on USS Providence (SSN 719):
In addition to experiencing tradition, it was also a good place for good-natured pranks. Because the wardroom table was so small, there wasn't room to put down anything other than what was laid out at the beginning of the meal (condiment servers, pitchers, etc.). As a result, serving dishes would be passed around at the beginning of the meal (the Captain got first dibs). The game would be to try to get someone with a serving dish in each hand -- once someone got in that situation, no one would take either one from him until he admitted how stupid he looked.
My favorite prank was played by the mess attendents on USS Connecticut (SSN 22) on one of our JOs. The first day, they got him with the old "cellophane wrap on top of the drinking glass" trick, which is mildly amusing. What made it a classic was the next day, when the JO made a big deal of checking his glass for cellophane; instead, they'd put the cellophane on his soup spoon, so when he went for his first bite -- the spoon came up empty! (It was hilarious if you saw it, trust me.)
Does anyone else have any favorite "dinner pranks" from their submarine days?