Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

(Reprinted from The Times and The News-Star, Nov. 21)

I have never been on an open-sea cruise aboard a luxury liner. I have never even been on an open-sea cruise aboard a run-of-the-mill, secondhand liner, one where the live band is a knockoff of Herman’s Hermits and the most important thing in the buffet line is the microwave.

And I doubt I’ll ever take a cruise, for a couple of reasons. One, too many episodes of “Gilligan’s Island.” I like “Gilligan’s Island.” A lot. On television. Near a bathroom and an icebox that I know will be there, come hell or high waves. It would be neat to get stuck with Mary Ann on a deserted island, but not if it were so deserted it didn’t have cable. And a Wendy’s. Just sayin’…

The second reason – and this is the biggie -- I have some pretty serious Stump Fear. Even in open waters, your Atlantic or your Pacific, my theory is that, well, you just never know.

I did take a bath with a toy tugboat once. And I enjoyed that. At least for a little while, until the water got too dirty and I couldn’t see the bottom and I thought I felt a stump, which is a whole other story…

What I’m getting at is last week’s “problem” with the broken-down cruise ship 55 miles off the coast of San Diego, and how it made me jealous. It was all over the news, as you recall. Engine woe aboard the Carnival Splendor led to loss of power. It took three days to get the more than 4,000 tourists and crew back to shore.

With the ship’s ovens stalled, the U.S. Navy dropped Pop-Tarts and Spam aboard. Drinks were on the house. The cruise lines offered free transportation home, full refunds, and free future cruises to the inconvenienced passengers. Yet what did I hear from that sorry lot of spoiled vacationers? Massive complaining. A mini-mutiny. A “high seas nightmare.”

Really? Even with free Pop-Tarts and Spam!? HA! That is my kind of boat! And it’s all FREE! I mean, what does it take to PLEASE these people?


Spam and Pop-Tarts, Pop-Tarts and Spam,
What’s not glam
’bout ’Tarts and Spam?

Too bad your
Dreamboat struck a snag,
But good for you
There’s no price tag!

You’re next trip’s free,
And this one too.
Still we have
More good news for you!

Instead of crab
And steak and lamb,
We’ve ordered out:
Pop-Tarts and Spam!

You do not like
Pop-Tarts and Spam?
Do you think you are

You will eat
Pop-Tarts and Spam
Or we’ll break out
Green eggs and ham!
(Or starve! I just don’t
Give a …. dang!)

You can gripe ’til
Red’s your throat,
Just point me toward
The next big boat
And I will ride this
Wave again,
Rebouyed by
Pop-Tarts and Spam.

(All I can cram?
Oh thank you ma’am!
I love my free
Pop-Tarts and Spam!
It’s like a Love Boat
Food Program!)

So sail on, captain
Of this boat,
And I will keep
My dreams afloat
Of Spam and Pop-Tarts, ’Tarts and Spam,
What’s not to love
’bout ’Tarts and Spam?
From Bali Ha’i to
(Especially when they’re
On the lam!)

Can we get more
Once we’re on land?
If not, hide me as