(Trust me, this story is going somewhere.)
One morning as a young navy Ensign, I walked out to inspect my division. As I looked down the row, I noticed one of my senior Petty Officers was missing. In his place there was a pair of shoes with a cover (hat) resting on them.
I was a little surprised to see that, because he was such a solid performer. In fact, I was bummed because he had such a short time left at this command; he transferring to another ship in less than a week.
When I got to the shoes and cover, I did a smart left face, and I got down on my hands and knees to inspect them.
The shoes were well-blackened and the cover had no "Irish pennants," so they passed. When I stood up, I looked at the Petty Officers on either side and asked, "What's with him?"
Without cracking a smile, one of them said, "I guess he's gettin' short."
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