It's a little past 11pm at a party in the middle of Queens. The room is filled with a strange mix of backgrounds. Teachers, gardeners, illustrators, and then a group of sailors.
I'm introduced with, “this guy right here fights actual pirates at sea.” You can't really top an intro like that.
We start talking about the academy and what it's like to serve at sea. I'm amazed how different of a life there guys live then my own, yet how similar they come off. Beyond down to earth.
That party moves on, 1 am I hearing some chest beating in the other room and move into the kitchen. The sailors have moved the small dinning room table into the middle of the small kitchen and formed a circle around two of them arm wrestling.
“We need an impartial ref, we need an impartial ref!”
“Ill ref ya”
“You know me!”
“But I don't like ya.”
“Adam you don't know any of us, put down that camera and come here”
Camera tucked to my side I focus on the tangle of white knuckles, watching for the first to crack along the table top.
Match over and naturally the 7 foot tall sailor won, no surprises. I resposition and start to fire away pics.
“Get a photo of this face I'm about to break his knuckles!”
The matches are less about the brawn but more about quick jabs of abrasive humor.
The night moves on, arm wrestling spills into pull ups and wraps up with stories of the academy out on the fire escape.