Rigging It

Informant, was a Naval Officer for much of his life (though not any longer), and had gone to the Naval Academy. Though not open to telling me many stories about the Naval Academy Rituals as he thought they were too inappropriate to tell a young lady, he offered to explain a few.

Author: Tell me about

Informant: Bracing Up as a?

Author: Bracing Up!

Informant: Bracing up as a Pleeb at the United States Naval Academy?

Author: Yeah, yeah, tell me about that

Informant: It’s a requirement for

Author: And what does that entail and why would you do that?

Informant: It’s a requirement for Pleebs if they haven’t done what they were supposed to do like they didn’t memorize what they were supposed to memorize about nautical lore or uh uh they didn’t read the uh article in the newspaper that they were supposed to read and so that means that you have to take your chin and [demonstrates] suck it back into the neck [I laugh] and you tighten up your whole face [demonstrates] so that you don’t see your chin anymore it’s basically in line with your neck; your Adam’s apple, [Informant snorts; I laugh more]. You gotta hold it that way and then if they say RIG IT [pretend shouts it], you have to go like this [pushes face even farther into chin, with help of hands] and push it back in even further and then you just have to, you might have to walk around like that [I laugh more] or be up against the wall, or a bulk head. HIT A BULK HEAD AND RIG IT [pretends to shout it again, more laughter].

When asked about why these traditions are done:

Informant: Um. One it keeps the guy’s minds off of the fact that they might be homesick.

Author: Mmhmm.

Informant: It does, you know, they have to start working together as a group. Not so much shouting but just um [Pause] that you can get in and push and go beyond your limits, you know? But yeah, everybody does it.