The Law of Chastity: Parable of the Four Sailors at Liberty
Once Upon a Time in the Pacific Theater there were four sailors. These young men had been out to sea for months and were relieved and excited to find that they would be docking at a beautiful and exotic, though somewhat infamous, port the next day. They would have 24 hours of shore leave to relax and become acquainted with the residents of this alluring locale. The four sailor were:
Brains Bailey, who prided himself on worldly knowledge,
Lucky Lewis, who always seemed to have good luck on his side,
Slick Sullivan, who had a way of getting information–and other things he wanted–from anyone,
Goody Gibson, so named because the other sailors mocked him for his kind demeanor and moral character.
When the vessel docked, the captain of the ship gave his men the perfunctory, “Shore Leave Lecture,” warning the men not to play certain games with the natives on shore. “Men,” said the captain, “those tempting women in this port city will rob you of your wealth and your health. Don’t risk either on a brief evening of fun.”
The seasoned captain knew that his words would go unheeded by many, however, the men had their rights, and now had their 24 hour liberty to do as they pleased while the ship was in port.
The four friends, Brains, Lucky, Slick and Goody, gathered a few items, some cash, and prepared to disembark.
Brains, the most assertive of the group said to his friends, “Well boys, what did you think of the Cap’s little talk? He thinks he knows everything! Well, I’ve studied about this place. I read in a book that the women are beautiful, and very virtuous. I betcha they’ve been saving themselves for a guy just like me!”
Lucky replied, “I’m not worried, not worried at all! Even if there are one or two women who have a gift I’d rather not open, I am certain I won’t meet em. My luck has always protected me. I’m gonna find a gal who has never played before, and I’m gonna teach her all about what it means to get Lucky!”
Slick interjected, “Big deal! Brains reads books, Lucky thinks he can always escape the bad stuff because he’s a fortunate guy, but I got somethin’ better. I can read people. I can look a girl in the eyes and see her soul. Once I read a woman, all I have to do is ask a couple questions, butter ‘er up real sweet like. If she’s damaged goods, I’m outta there. If she tells me what I wanna hear, I’m all in.”
Goody listened skeptically and in his quiet manner, turned up the corner of his mouth in a subtle smirk. Though he loved his buddies, he had little faith in their ingenious plans to get away with defying the captain’s warning.
“Yo Goody,” called out Brains, “whatcha gonna do for the next 24 hours, find an orphanage and help the nuns change diapers?” The three men howled with laughter, but Goody just smiled politely and nodded his head as if to say, “maybe.”
Once ashore, the men found a restaurant and ate a delicious and exotic meal, then they dispersed. Brains, Lucky and Slick headed to the bustling, mysterious avenues of ill-repute. Goody, on the other hand, found a theater and laughed through a movie whose subtitles made no sense. He found strange and fascinating artifacts in a museum. And along his way he passed an orphanage with children playing in the courtyard where he handed out some sticks of gum until his gum was all gone. At the end of the liberty, the exhausted men returned to the ship.
Two weeks later Goody was called into meet with the captain. He wondered timidly if he had done something wrong during his liberty in the exotic port city. “Petty Officer Gibson, please have a seat,” directed the captain. “I’m concerned that you may need medical attention and you’re too embarrassed to visit the infirmary.”
“No Sir,” said Goody, “I feel fine. Why would you think I need to see the doc?”
“Well,” said the captain, shifting in his chair, “your friends, the three other sailors, Bailey, Lewis and Sullivan, have been getting treatments from the doc for some, uh, problems they picked up on shore.”
“Oh.” said Goody.
“It’s quite serious, Gibson. Bailey and Lewis picked up a disease that could affect their future families, if you know what I mean. Sullivan is getting some shots as well, but even more seriously, he was mugged and hit on the head by the girl…well…the prostitute he visited on shore.”
“Captain, I didn’t know. Brains, Lucky and Slick were mum.” said Goody, concerned.
“Are you all right son?” said the captain.
“Oh yes, Sir, I’m fine. I went to a movie and a museum and visited some kids at an orphanage while ashore. But thanks for thinking about me.” said Goody.
“I can understand why your buddies would be mum, seeing that you had a good time without bringing any extra baggage back to the ship with you, if you know what I mean.”
“Yes, Sir, I know what you mean.” said Goody.
“Thank you , son. I appreciate that at least one young man took my “Shore Leave Lecture” to heart. It will save you a world of hurt in the long run.”
And thus goes the parable of the Four Sailors at Liberty.
It’s not necessary for a person to know everything about the people around them. It’s not necessary to have luck on your side. It’s not necessary to be able to read the intentions of people. For, when a person employs a set of good principles, such as personal chastity and the pursuit of wholesome recreation, he is protected from the unknown and the unintended. High standards of personal conduct, and living by moral principles every day, is the best protection from the woes of a diseased and deceptive world.
by Marjorie Haun 6/30/14