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Yes. Yes, You Can.

, , , , , | Friendly | May 23, 2020

It’s the summer of 1993 and my mother and I are on a cruise on [Now-Defunct Cruise Line]. Mom is in one of the theaters enjoying one of those Vegas-type shows, and I’m wandering around the various decks, just checking things out, looking for my own entertainment.

I notice that one of the many bars has karaoke, and since I enjoy singing — and some folks tell me I’m pretty good at it — I decide, what the hey? It’s a small but nice place, with few people, so I’m not too intimidated. I usually am when performing for crowds, but I figure I don’t know any of these people, so why should I care?

I choose a song by Anne Murray, “Could I Have This Dance?” since it’s in my range and I’m comfortable with it. The bar pipes the current singer and music outside so people walking by can hear it, and the whole wall facing the deck is faintly-tinted glass.

About a minute or so into the song, I notice an elderly couple walk past, stop, listen, and begin slow-dancing together, smiling. This encourages me and warms my heart, and I focus on them for the rest of the song.

When I’m done, I leave the bar to greet them and thank them for the confidence boost. They, in turn, thank me for my performance. They are celebrating their anniversary, and that song was their first dance.

I don’t remember much else about that cruise, but that’s one memory I’ll treasure forever.


This story was included in our May 2020 Inspirational Roundup.

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What, Is It After Labor Day?

, , , , , | Friendly | February 23, 2020

(It is the 1980s. My parents have been invited by some friends of theirs to go on a cruise. My dad is exploring the ship when he is approached by an elderly couple. Note: my dad is currently wearing white pants and a white jacket over his shirt.)

Elderly Woman: “Excuse me, can you tell us how to get to the pool?”

Dad: “I don’t know. I’m on vacation, too.”

(The woman huffs and walks away, and says to her husband:)

Elderly Woman: “The nerve of that guy, wearing white on a cruise ship.”


This story is part of our Labor Day roundup!

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Shove That Lamb Up Your Porthole

, , , | Friendly | February 14, 2020

(I have treated my mother to a cruise round the Aegean as a retirement present. The whole experience has been amazing with superb service all around. However, as we all know too well, there are some who would complain in Paradise. At lunch one day, we are sitting with one such woman. She’s complaining that her cabin doesn’t have a porthole — despite the fact that she obviously didn’t pay the extra I did for such a cabin — and that she has been denied an upgrade — despite the fact that we were greeted on board by a large sign saying that the ship was fully booked and there were no upgrades available — and on and on and on. Finally…)

Me: “Well, the only complaint I have is the pathetic excuse for a breakfast on the flight out here. I can’t wait to see what the lamb dinner’s like on the flight home.”

Woman: “How do you know you’re getting lamb?”

Mother: “He was given a choice and chose lamb.”

Woman: “Well, I wasn’t given a choice. Nobody asked me if I wanted lamb. I detest lamb. I can’t stand it and if they try to give me lamb, I shall get off!”

(Lady, at 35,000 feet, I’ll hold the door for you.)

Couldn’t Understand It Any Less

, , , | Working | January 22, 2020

(I am on a cruise, at the bar buying a drink. I’m not a big drinker and want to pace myself.)

Me: “Could I have a Mojito, but could you only use half a nip of rum, please?”

Bartender: “Sorry, what did you say?”

Me: “A Mojito with half a nip of rum.”

Bartender: “I don’t understand ‘half a nip.’”

Me: “A nip is 30 ml, half is 15 ml.”

Bartender: “I know that, but what do you mean?”

Me: “I mean I want half the amount of rum that usually goes into Mojito.”

Bartender: “Oh, my God, sorry. I’m just so used to people asking for more alcohol; you’re the first to ask for less.”

An Ocean Of Grievances

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

I was skippering a large charter boat off the west coast of South Africa in the 1990s. We took a group of passengers up the coast and stopped off at an island overnight, where we fed them freshly-caught crayfish, BBQ, and all sorts of rich food. The party went on well into the night and many bottles of booze were consumed against the advice of me and my crew.

In the morning, the wind had changed direction and was picking up strongly. The sailing got rougher and rougher, and as captain, I decided to ask the passengers to stay below deck.

Suddenly, one of the passengers ran on to the deck to be ill and, understandably, given how ill he was feeling, had a little breakdown and started screaming abuse and demanding to be taken to shore. I explained that, as we were more than 30 miles from the nearest harbour, nothing could be done.

That’s when he crossed over to the dark side and threatened to kill us before trying to jump overboard to swim for shore. I caught him before he was over the railings and managed to pin him to the deck while he was screaming, trying to bite and punch me, and generally behaving like a crazy person. As I was holding him down, his girlfriend leapt onto my back, also screaming like a banshee, and started hitting me in the head with a shoe.

That’s when I decided I’d had enough and released my inner Captain Bligh, muscling both of them into the aft lazarette, a small stowage area on the boat, and locking them in the tiny enclosed space for the eight hours it took me to get them to shore. Their friends tried to protest and were informed that if they didn’t like it they were welcome to join them and so we sailed in solemn, bitter silence until we hit the wharf.

I released the wayward couple there and watched as they staggered to shore, covered in vomit, and stalked down the pier without a backward glance, never to be seen again.


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