Freudian Slips: The Old Man and the Sea

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

September 10, 2005

The Old Man and the Sea

Rock climbing aboard the Voyager of the Seas.
By leaving my keyboard untouched last week, I may have lost some regular blog readers but I offer the following plausible excuse. My family went on a Royal Caribbean cruise. For any Mastocytosis sufferer, I went from New Jersey, the insect capitol of the world, to an oasis of white-capped waves without the flying critters. My exuberance almost prompted me to the front of the ship and pulling a Leonardo Dicaprio "I'm king of the insect world!" cry. The ship we sailed on was aptly named the Voyager of the Seas, a truly amazing floating city offering the finest amenities and indulgences known to Satan.
In between shrimp cocktails, chocolate covered strawberries, and a Hollywood tan, I planned on doing remote location blogging. While the trip turned out to be more heavenly than the picturesque brochure, the idea of blogging turned out more remote than I imagined. From the rustic interior of the cruise liner's Internet cafe, the $.50 cents per minute surcharge seemed more than pennies for my thoughts. Knowing that my writing abiliity woefully lacks a stream of conciousness and my sign-up sheet for volunteer guest bloggers remains blank, Freudian Slips abandoned ship.
The ship's captain masterfully dodged Hurricane Nate to get Voyager of the Seas in and out of Bermuda. I felt rather safe aboard a 142,000 ton vessel, one of the biggest and grandest ships in the sea. My kids were first time voyagers though and they shared a different opinion of the rocking, creaking, blackness of the night which tied their stomachs in nautical knots. Professional cruise-goers might say that when only two of the four kids vomit on a five day cruise, that is some good sailing! Our stateroom attendant became mighty understanding over the upheaval once my wife slipped him a $20.00 dollar bill.
The accommodations were stately in our royal suite, only one of four spacious cabins on the cruise ship like it. Two bedrooms, two full baths, a large living area, a walk-in closet, and a 10' x 30' walkout veranda to the ocean. Talk about going overboard for room and board. I kept waiting for Captain Stubing to enter our cabin and toss us to a lower deck without Dramamine. Added to the amenities was concierge service and an inviting concierge lounge, an additional safe harbor stateroom passengers can go for information and hospitality. An open bar and appetizers in the evenings created a decadent atmosphere in the concierge lounge. I hob-knobbed with the creme de la creme of passengers without suspicion that I had infiltrated a higher socio-economic bracket. So what if my polo shirt was on backwards one night. On the whole, the 3000 passengers came from an international mix of heritages and backgrounds. In fact, our cabin neighbors regularly smoked marijuana out on the deck below. I would like to take this time to thank the strong winds which brought their illegal hospitality on international waters to my nostrils. Second hand smoke had found a place in this world.
Four to five times a day, I ate until my heart was content with saturated fat. The onboard entertainment was magnificent from Broadway shows, to ice capades, comedians, jugglers and mimes, jazz music, the sound of big band, piano bars, nightclub singers, and disco clubs. Add a luxurious shopping mall on a promenade, world class gymnasium, salon, arcade of the ages, a glitzy casino and you are talking about a shizel at sea.
With kids nipping at our coattails, my wife and I somehow forged our way into a languorous bingo hall without resistance. Deep into the ink blot action, my wife shouted out a resounding "Bingo" on a coverall bingo card with a super jackpot of $9000. A dozen senior citizens popped their dentures right out of their mouth. Too bad it was an invalid claim to found treasure at sea because I wanted to spend Christmas in London. My wife finished the anti-climatic game publicly embarrassed and one measly O64 away from taking home the windfall. The Beatles' I'm a Loser felt like our bingo anthem but an an abridged When I'm Oh 64 tune would have done the same.
With Hurricane Nate to our south, the gusty winds and choppy seas of the Atlantic Ocean turned many of our on board activities into adventure sports. There is nothing like your son beating you in rock climbing or your youngest daughter lapping you during in line skating to make a father feel his advancing age. If somebody handed me an oar, I truly would have been the Old Man and the Sea. I have a hard enough time ice skating dry docked but add a swaying vessel and I wield cutting edge death blades on my feet.
Roller skating was no better on the sun deck. Add a tilting planet and a swift sea, and I am a pope-eyed blow me down on ball bearings. Cheating didn't help either. I cross-checked my children into the padded boards with only a guardrail between us and the ocean below but they still out foxed me in the roller derby. I had only the blowing wind and sucking air to blame. Bob Dylan's words 'How does it feel?' came to mind.
Since the children wisely chose not to challenge me in minature golf, it was on to rock climbing. There is nothing like rock climbing a 40 foot wall aboard a cruise ship. The Voyager of the Seas is 14 decks and 200 feet above sea level to begin with so it gives you an added illusion of height. Add 30 mile per hour whipping winds to an inherent fear of heights, and I became chicken of the sea. On my best attempt, I made it about 3/4 of the way up the vertical wall on the easy course. Not too embarrassing for a middle aged man carrying not only bruised pride but three pounds of shrimp, a generous cut of prime rib, two helpings of curried lamb, a hamburger, french fries, onion rings, and three scoops of bananas flambe' in my belly all before the sun rose high in the sky. Between my twitching muscles, sagging belly, and my fright height, I captured a glimpse of the vast sea high up on that vertical wall. The unbelievable view was worth the pain and fear but I learned that there comes a time a parent can no longer compete with their children and even an old man needs rest at sea. I fell ungracefully off the wall and repelled down. A torch can be passed even at sea.

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14 Comments:

Blogger eatmisery said...

That post suddenly made me very hungry. After all, I am pregnant again and am craving seafood like a bear.

I can smell a shore lunch already...

12:05 PM  
Anonymous et said...

Joe, nice right-up about your vacation. You omitted mentioning all of the belly laughs along the way! Are you saving them for a future blog?

12:18 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

eatmisery,
how about a fried flounder sandwich topped with pickles?

Et,
i sure have the stomach to write about the belly laughs.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

Joe-
We seem to have similar tastes in vacations: first Victory to Canada, now Voyager of the Seas to the Caribbean! We sailed on her in Oct. '03.

If you haven't cruised Alaska yet, I highly recommend the trip

4:21 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

merci,
i had the baked alaska but not the cruise to alaska. thanks for the tip...of the iceberg.

9:19 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

Great post Joe. Well worth the wait. Maybe in this case the weight!! Glad you had a fun cruise. Not to worry you've not lost all your faithfull readers yet.

4:07 AM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

The Bee Man went to sea sea sea,
To see what he could see see see,
but all that he could see see see
was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

lilly,
worth the weight, i always laugh hardest at the puns i overlook.

pax,
i sense a blog sing-a-long here.

6:07 PM  
Blogger LiVEwiRe said...

But come on now, did you have enough to eat? Lol... I was on a RC cruise and had food basically coming out of my ears. Glad you found lots of bouyant fun!

10:59 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

livewire,
i was even storing food in my cheeks for the limo ride home.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Sounds delightful.

Much better than my short lived vacation thanks to Ophelia.

Glad you had such a great time!

12:42 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

erin,
we should be storm trackers.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

A new reader checking in, and yet another who has sailed on board Voyager. On such a huge list of entertainment opportunities and things to do, I found my very favorite thing was to break away right after dinner and go to the helipad at the front of the boat. Late at night they turn all the lights off, so you have to feel your way to the benches, but look up and you'll see every star visible to the naked eye. Not a night went by that we didn't count at least 5 shooting stars.

The ship was amazing, but the nightly stargazing is what I will remember until I die.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

dave,
i stargazed too. two of my favorite things to do on a cruise ship are watching the ocean by day and stargazing at night. sounds boring but nature is a thing to behold. thanks for visiting.

7:41 PM  

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