Cruise Ship Freaks Provided Vacation Laughs

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks until I could speak to Michael Holbrook, the owner of Columbus Travel Agency. I wanted to make sure that the things I was planning to say in this post about people who travel on cruise ships wasn’t going to cause him any grief. I finally got to talk to Michael at Rotary last week and he laughed at some of these stories, so I’m in the clear.

If you’ve read my Facebook page, you know that Jill and I have just returned from 8 glorious days on Water Island, USVI. Water Island has lots of homes, but no hotels, no bars, no restaurants and no grocery stores. In fact, no stores at all. Probably like St. John was 4o years ago. Water Island is a short 10 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas, its much bigger big sister island to the north.

What Water Island does have, though, is beautiful beaches. Our beach, Honeymoon Beach, was a three-minute ride in a golf cart from Casa Blanca, the home where we stayed. Honeymoon Beach is one of the pretties places I have ever seen. We would get down to the beach on most mornings and stake our claim of one of the thatched tiki huts. The hut would provide some relief from the sun and a great vantage point to watch the daily arrival and departure of the beach excursions from a couple of cruise ships.

Turns out Carnival Cruise Lines is a good name, because most of the people who arrived on our beach, usually from about 3 to 5 p.m. for dinner and play looked like carnival workers. I nicknamed them the Carnies. Most of the ones we talked to were from Canada, the upper midwest or some other very cold place. They were either copier paper white or lobster red. Almost all of them had ridiculous tattoos and many of them sported some type of spacer, stud or bar stuck in various places on their skin.

One afternoon we were in our place on our beach and the Kon Tiki, which looked like a floating mobile home, blasting AC/DC “Give it Up,” and covered with these Carnie freaks floated in and tied up. One member of the steaming pile of humanity that limped off the boat and gathered just to the east and south of us was one of the most unusual people I have ever seen.

It had short hair, sported a women’s swimsuit that was cut obscenely down to below its navel. There were no breasts to speak of, and on further inspection as my eyes made their way down (I really was trying to determine the sex of this creature) I was shocked to find an enormous package right where the package usually goes. I looked a little closer and honestly, I couldn’t tell if these were man-parts or a stuff sack full of stomach that had no other place to go. We watched it for about an hour and a half and as it lumbered back onto the floating trailer, we still couldn’t tell if its name should be Bubba or Barbara.

Another afternoon, a group of six flopped down with their food at a picnic table less than 10 feet from our little tiki paradise. I hadn’t looked at them yet, when we were serenaded by an apparent belching contest. As I snap hooked my head in their direction, I discovered it was the three women who were having a burp-off on Honeymoon Beach. I know their mothers would have been proud of them!

The only good thing about giving up the tranquility of our beach each day for an short time was that we got to know the guy who was in charge of the Carnies. Every day when they left, he gave us all the beer that they didn’t drink. It literally rained Coors Light as they were pulling out. That was pretty cool.

Just to further explain just how great Honeymoon Beach is, one afternoon a sexy go-fast boat beached just to the south of where we were encamped. A camera crew and a dozen or so heavily tattooed, pierced, but much better looking people hit the beach. They were filming MTV’s Real World, which, this season is coming to you hot off the beaches of the USVI. One of the kids had some quarter-sized glass spacers in his earlobes. Don’t you know those ears are going to be looking mighty good when he hits 60 — if he doesn’t die of some sexually transmitted disease before that.

What are these people thinking? My God, they are disgusting! I thought several times during the week, what must be going through their minds as they looked into the mirror in their cramped ($600, including airfare) room aboard the cruise ship du jour and said to themselves, “Man/woman/it, you are fine! I think I’ll wear this to the beach today.” This floating freak show was the source of so many laughs during the week. The only tears I shed during the week were tears of laughter. It sure felt good.

Thank you cruise ship freaks!

In my conversation with Michael Holbrook, I determined that there are some extremely high end, classy cruise vacations that can be had for a pretty penny. None of those ships came to our island.

There’s a Hole in Daddy’s Arm

I’m in the infusion suite at the John B. Amos Cancer Center. Sirius Deep Tracks channel coming through my headphones, needle in my arm pumping fluids in advance of tomorrow’s MRI with contrast. I’m in my favorite spot in the southeastern corner of the room. I guess it is my writing spot, because when I’m here, in spite of all the carnage that is taking place around me, I’m immersed in music and inundated with words.

This MRI is one of the regularly scheduled ones. Nothing alarming going on in the chest/abdomen/pelvis zone that I know about. In the interim between my last stream of posts and today, I’ve had a thyroid biopsy and am scheduled to get the results next week. I’m holding onto hope that this is a benign situation. Nobody deserves to be pounced upon by two different cancers. But even if it is bad news, thyroid cancer is kindergarten compared to renal cell cancer. I’m truly not worried about it. Maybe it is the celexa. Maybe it is my battle-hardened badassness. Or, maybe I’m just stupid.

I have really gotten tough minded about cancer. I feel badly about my response to a longtime, good friend’s admission to me that he is facing early-diagnosed prostate cancer. I remember thinking, “that ain’t shit, brother!” But, thankfully, I tempered my response to something like, “Well, that’s a good one to get if you gotta have one,” or something like that. That was insensitive, at best, and really downright rude. ANY cancer is scary, unwanted and threatening to someone who just got the diagnosis. I intend to try to soften my crusty, cancer-scarred exterior when I’m talking to cancer newbies from this point forward. I should have provided a soft shoulder and a dose of hope for a good outcome. I’d like to put that one on rewind. The one I likely offended reads this blog. This serves as my apology to him and to his beautiful wife. The older I get, the more apologies I find I have to make. I hope I’m around long enough to irritate many more people. I find a sincere apology can go a long way toward mending fences and sustaining long-lasting frindships.

I’ll be writing about the upcoming MRI results and the feedback from Dr. Leichter about my thyroid situation. I’m looking for good news from both of those tests. I’m energized with spring in the air and the prospects of getting back on my bicycle and getting back onto the water in a kayak.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know about my interest in drum circles. I have started a facebook page that I hope is going to help us draw a crowd for the launching of a drum circle in UpTown Columbus. Please take a look, like the page, and get ready to shake something, even it is just your backside. Here is the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CSGDrumCircle