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If you're looking for something to rest your eyes on, then just take a look at Captain First Rank Platonov: a small unassuming grandfather-type, bespectacled, with a facial expression of a cunning mischievous child. No way would you ever guess that this was a legendary submariner, a sub captain famous the world over for his crazy maneuvers and unconventional decision-making at sea - and stunning pranks on shore.

One time in a resort town Platonov thought for a while, then got stone drunk and decided to take a little swim, butt-naked, at the local beach, stripping to his original state right there on the sand. Seeing this, shocked bystanders grabbed him, wrestled him down, put his arms behind his back, hit him over the head, and dragged him to the komendatura, where he stayed for less than an hour before escaping through a hole he punched out in the bathroom.

(Not that these types of drinking sprees were all that common for Platonov; in fact, they were the exception rather than the rule.)

Another time during a training exercise his sub had surfaced to cruising position when, suddenly, an unidentified helicopter flew right over its rocket deck and just hung there. Helicopters don't fly over submarines all that often, at least not often enough to make heads or tails of them.

"Must be American," Platonov decided. "Or maybe English. Probably their Sea King."

Immediately, he sent everyone down and climbed up the conning tower. When the rest of the crew was out of sight, he dropped his pants, and then, bending over deeply, proceeded to demonstrate his blue rump to the whole of World Imperialism. For a good minute and a half he bent and flashed and gyrated, grabbing his buttocks and shaking them furiously at the enemy.

At the very height of this display, a tired voice rang out from the helicopter; the voice belonged to the Commander of the Northern Fleet:

"Platonov! Put your pants on! Do you hear me, Platonov! And for not knowing friendly craft, you're going to report to me, personally!"

Still another time, during his briefing before a patrol, this legendary persona asked what to do when receiving a distress signal from a foreign vessel?"

"Not a damn thing," the commander answered him. "Got it?"

"Yes, sir!" Platonov said. And sure enough - on the way back to base at the end of the mission, they picked up an SOS while surfacing: a Norwegian freighter was sinking, a fire had broken out and it was taking on water.

The sub surfaced, sailed up to the freighter, an emergency team jumped on. They put out the fire, started the engine, patched up the holes, gave them some fuel...and see ya....

Back at base Platonov reported the incident to Command.

"Aha!" the brass yelled. "A covert mission! What about secrecy? You jeopardized the whole mission!" And they began the process of discharging him to the reserves.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian sailors, understanding how things work in our chunk of the woods, wrote some letters to their diplomats asking that the captain of K-420, Captain First Rank Platonov, be awarded for his assistance at sea.

"We already awarded him," was the answer they received from our official organs.

"Well, if he really has been awarded," the Norwegians didn't let up, "then send us written confirmation of the award, and we'll send a reporter to interview him."

The whole affair could have blown up into an international incident. So they had to leave Platonov on staff: with one hand they slapped him with a reprimand, and with the other they awarded him a medal of some kind.

The Norwegians didn't rest until their own government had given him a medal of its own.

Not long after this whole affair Platonov went for the first time in his life to a special medical center for military personnel. Here he was pleasantly surprised to find that his health was such an object of interest: a man in a white coat would come up, check his pulse, and ask him if he had any special aches or pains to report.

After enjoying a sauna one day, Platonov exited, put on a white robe that was hanging on a nail in the dressing room, and donning a serious countenance went from cabin to cabin checking all the womens pulses, and asking them if they had any unusual aches or pains to report. The women were surprised and moved at such constant and dutiful attention on the part of the medical staff.

The Commanders wife was the first to smell the coffee: she knew that this face was vaguely familiar, that somewhere shed seen this gnome before. And after they crossed each others paths in the cafeteria, there wasnt anything that could save Platonov from being discharged to the reserves.

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