Way back many years ago, there was a Naval Academy midshipman who became famous for his ship handling talent.
When he went on his third class midshipman summer cruise, he demonstrated an uncanny ability to stop the ship on a dime, make incredible maneuvers, and always get to and stay on station like a dime.
After he graduated from the academy and was commissioned, his legend grew. On every ship, he was immediately recognized as a superb ship handler and given every opportunity to demonstrate his remarkable skills.
About the time he was a department head, one of his fellow officers noticed just before this super ship handler took the conn, he would return to his stateroom for just a moment. The other officer and the superstar had parallel careers and served on several ships together before they both made admiral. Even then, commanding officers would ask the star to take the conn to demonstrate his amazing talent.
On one joint exercise, the two admirals were on the same flagship. On several occasions, the ship’s captain would ask the ship handling flag to show off his talents. Each time, the admiral would retire to his stateroom briefly. His fellow admiral’s curiosity could not be contained and he secretly asked the boatswainmate of the watch to follow the admiral to see what was going on before he took the conn. The boatswainmate reported back the flag officer would go into his stateroom, open the top drawer of his clothes chest and stare down into the drawer before closing it and returning to the bridge.
His fellow flag officer’s curiosity grew.
Then one day, the great ship handler had a heart attack and died on the bridge. His fellow officer after paying his due respects ran back to his buddy’s stateroom, ran to the chest and opened the drawer. And there the ship handler’s incredible talent was revealed. On a large sheet of paper was written:
Starboard — Right
Port — Left