Don’t trust anyone who is liked by everyone—Fury (@HooaFury)
He was admirable in his hard work and bearing. I could not find fault in his accomplishments. He did a great filling slots on our duty day roster and he seemed to be someone that you could depend on.
Our command almost handed him keys to the kingdom. No officers could reject the idea of having him join their ranks. I seldom remember a time where officers did not hold him in high regard. He was a shoo in for the program that allowed enlistedmen join the US Naval Academy filling an appointment. He was eventually granted a spot in that program.
I know many sailors that sand the praises of this super sailor they called “Taylor”. It was as if Taylor’s success would rub off on them like charcoal. I did not see him as some minor league celebrity. I did not spend my shore leave with his ilk or his group of sycophants. I am glad that I didn’t.
I had a friend that was a miserable sort that had a fetish like outlook for many other sailors. (I will call the fetishizing sailor; Barney). Barney’s eyes would light up when he spoke of Taylor. It was some “bro-mantic recollection of of happy times. A few other coat riding sailors did the same. I did not and Taylor rubbed me wrong.
Taylor was a stuffed shirt and substandard leader in waiting. His character flaws were looked over. He had a habit of talking badly of two people who helped train him in his original work center. (Noted that one of those people was an ignoble troglodyte but he was trusted in his job and was capable). Taylor also talked poorly of our unofficial warfare mascot). It rubbed me wrong and I didn’t join the cult.
I found myself embracing the rebel role that I had been introduced to by default. I had tried my own run at being a wunderkind and I fell short. I found myself around Taylor a few times when I was on the ship.
I did not fail him for his pride in self for his accomplishments. But I looked poorly on him for arrogance and professional faux pas. I was willing to give him a benefit of a doubt and I set forward to test so I could put it to rest.
I found him joking and speaking with a few of his loose sycophants. He stuck around shortly after his audience left, leaving us alone. I made a gamble and cracked a joke that most people that knew me would understand. Taylor took it as an insult. He did what an uptight prick would do and threaten me with “punishment by paper” (or having the officer class handle it). I didn’t physically back down and I let him know that, through my physical presence, that I was willing to rumble. (I also knew, that if I took a fall and got injured, I would be proven correct). He left shortly after his verbal threat.
I knew what kind of person or leader he would be. Many people adored him and were willing to hand him exultations, but I was not. I told Barney that Taylor was not the hero he thought he was. Barney looked at me as if I was the villain. It wasn’t the first time or the last time.
I can sleep well knowing that I didn’t puff up an unworthy leader or an narcissist. I didn’t trust the one person liked by everyone and I feel vindicated.