I'm guessing just about everyone has been on a cruise at some time or other. Most of them are rather similar. A few shore excursions to tropical beaches punctuating over-indulgences in food and drink. Buffet lines to beat the band, and on our ship of 3,000 souls (or in some cases soul-less souls) there was a significant wait for the tenders to shore. In St. Thomas, of all places! This was apparently caused by someone jumping off of a Carnival ship which caused delays and complicated the docking schedule for the rest of us. How rude.
But speaking of rude, our ship had a Passenger Talent Show at the end of the run, and I was sorely tempted to sign on. Fortunately for me and my bodily integrity, Mrs. Dalai put a quick end to those aspirations. I do believe she had visions of me walking the plank, and she was afraid she might approve of that after hearing my act.
Since I was too chicken (or cautious) to go out and debase myself in front of a live audience, I'll do it here for my loyal readers, and pray that at least a few of you continue to read my rantings after this.
The act consists of my observations of humanity as confined to this rather nice floating tin can. (I've since thrown in some material based on some of the folks I met on the rivers in France as well.) If you see yourself in my babbling, well, I'll apologize in advance. No offense is intended, but if we can't laugh at ourselves, then we shouldn't act in ways that prompt rogues like me to take notice.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Princess Cruises presents with some degree of shame, our former passenger, Dr. Dalai!
(One drunk claps in the back of the room, then passes out again.)
Good evening, fellow travelers! My name is Dr. Dalai, and yes, I'm a real doctor! No, madam, I don't have a remedy for your Montezuma's Revenge, I'm a radiologist. I look at the pictures of your insides. Yeah, I'm the one who gives barium. Why, did you want some?
I am working only part time these days, which allows me to go on trips like this. I'm trying to decide if I should quit completely and join the comedy circuit, and this is my first foray into that area. So I'll need all of you to tell me honestly if I should keep my day job.
As a physician, I like to keep an eye on my fellow passengers. It's just a professional thing, and lucky for you, I don't charge for it! I've got to tell you guys something sad, though, and remember, I'm a doctor and I know what I'm talking about. The condition of some of you is absolutely deplorable. I'm talking really, really bad. In fact, some of our fellow passengers are just about at death's door. The good news is, they won't fit through! I won't point fingers, but there are some folks here who would tip the scales. At the truck-stop. This is serious, folks. Do you ever think of your health?
Look, I've battled with my waistline just about my entire life. I like food as much as the next glutton, but come on! If you don't want to be overweight, eat less and exercise more. Lifting your plate and your fork don't count as exercise, by the way. I've seen some of you down at the lunch buffet. You've got to be kidding me! There are two modes of attack on that line. Some folks just stop and examine every little thing like it's their last meal and they want only the best morsels for their very own. The rest just go through like a bulldozer, scraping everything not nailed down onto their tray and going back for seconds. And thirds.
What I find even more troublesome is that some of these steam-shovellers are plying their trade from a motorized scooter, just barely avoiding plowing the other bipeds out of the way. Now trust me, since I am a doctor, I have full sympathy for those who can't ambulate (that means walk for those of you who didn't complete your education) but still, you have to wonder. Which came first, Jabba the Hutt's barge on wheels, or Jabba the Hutt? In other words, are these folks scooting around because they have become too large to move under their own power anymore, or were they confined to the skateboard at a young age, and left with oral cravings as the only thing they can still gratify? I'm not going to ask, as they might run me over and then whip me with a rasher of bacon as they pass my broken body. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but at some point, we can't simply blame hormones. If you don't like being as you are, there ARE things you can do about it! Just ask your own doctor! Seriously!
If I were to put on my psychiatrist hat, I would have to think there is some degree of anal retention going on here. Or maybe these folks have some genetic memory of starvation. But the grabbiness, the unsaid declaration of "MINE!" may indicate some deeper problem. You've seen some of these folks on airplanes. You might BE one of them in spite of normal girth. You know who you are. You, sir...didn't I ask you if you would trade seats so I could sit with my wife? Remember your answer? "No, No, NO! This seat is MINE!" Thanks a lot. And you, ma'am...weren't you the one taking about 20 minutes to stuff your oversized bag in the overhead bin? It wasn't a pretty sight, and the 157 people behind you were about ready to help you join your bag up there. My gosh! Can't you anal retentives part with any of your possessions for the short duration of the flight? Or are you just too damn cheap to pay the $25 fee after paying $1000 for your ticket?
What's that sir? Yes, you in the back. It's nice to have you back among the living. What's that? Oh, no, I'm sorry, that's anatomically impossible. You know, I was about to suggest a CAT scan for your head, but I'm afraid we wouldn't find anything in there.
Let's get back on board this vessel. You'll notice I'm one of the younger people on board. I've always thought we have this retirement thing all wrong. We should be able to cruise and do fun stuff while we're young, and then when we get old and decrepit, we should be restricted to going to work. Now don't get me wrong, I want be old and decrepit someday although I've left strict instructions with my kids that once I cross the line of not knowing who or where I am, they are to give me a very large dose of valium with a vodka chaser. Goodnight, sweet prince, and all that. So now I have them taste any drink they hand me before I touch it. But with all the respect I do have for my elders (I really do!), I can't help but feel that some of you are a little too far along the path to be gallivanting here in the Caribbean. Let's be real, you aren't having a lot of fun digging in the sand, and unless you have the deluxe version, those bloody scooters don't do well on the dunes. Yeah, us old guys like to look at the cuties in bikinis on the beach, but let's face it, we've forgotten why.
Now the few young'uns on board who wear their bikinis to the beaches or the pool on the top deck who SHOULD be wearing them seem to think that tattoos all over their bodies are a good thing. But trust this ol' country doc, ladies, there is no greater turnoff than a big red eagle plastered on your chest rising out of your décolletage. It's gross! Just how drunk or stoned did you have to get before that sounded like a good idea? Did anyone tell you it doesn't wash off? Yuck. I feel dirty just looking at this pagan display. And it's painful when Mrs. Dalai sees me looking and bats me on the head.
Speaking of feeling dirty, have you noticed how the crew has been very diligent in getting everyone to use hand sanitizer at every opportunity? Are they telling us we are filthy, germ-laden dirt-balls? Well, they're right. I'll tell you why. I had to use one of the public restrooms near the main dining room on formal night. While I was washing my hands (very, very diligently) there came the sound of anything but music from one of the stalls. I'm talking a noisy production. I'll spare you the medical terminology, but suffice it to say there was every form of matter but plasma being produced in there. After a while, the gentleman walked out of the stall, adjusted his cummerbund, slicked back his hair, admired himself in the mirror, and went back to the dining room. And he DIDN'T WASH HIS GODDAM HANDS!!! Thank Heavens he wasn't at my table. I subsequently used up the entire container of sanitizer and I think I drank some too. So, yes, the crew is right to assume we are dirty dogs indeed.
You have to wonder what the crew really does think of us. The tipping policy on board this ship does inspire them to endear themselves to us. If they are nice to us, they get more money. I wish my job worked that way. I have to do mean things to people, make them drink foul potions and shoot radiation through their bodies, and only then do I get my $10.97 from Medicare. After taxes, and other pains in the butt, I might clear $5, and the patient doesn't even know who I am. In fact, when patients find out nothing is wrong, they get mad and want their money back. Of course, if I miss something on the Xray, the patient's lawyer is going to come find me, and that's never any fun. But hey, I'm rich! I've got five whole bucks in my pocket! Maybe I'll see if the ship will take me on as a room steward. I wanna see the world, one stateroom bathroom at a time. The tips have got to be better!
There are those who see the world one selfie at a time, and at the risk of angering half the world's population, I've got to say a few words about our friends from China. Yes, all 2 billion of you, who decided to see the world all at the same time. Love the Chinese, mean it. I do hope to visit their great nation someday. But having been in France recently with all 2 billion Chinese tromping through Versalles at the same time, I've got to tell you they can be annoying. Pushing, shoving, dominating the place for their endless photos like a bunch of Yankees with funny accents and haircuts and nice cameras. And that's just in the line for the bathroom! At least they seem to wash their hands. Some of our Chinese friends don't have the best of manners, though. The guides at Versalles were lamenting the fact that some were spitting on the floor. Hey, when I go to China, I'm going to find out what's offensive in their culture and be sure NOT to do it! But then when you hold the mortgage on most of the world, I guess the rules don't quite count the same as for the rest of us.
Well, my red light is flashing, or is that a laser tracer pointed in my direction? Hey, sorry, this is all in fun, right? You don't believe I meant any of this, do you? I was just kidding, folks. I love you all, really. Even you in the back, sir. Stop by the hospital after the cruise for a free CAT scan of your head. I promise we won't find anything. Nothing at all.
Safe travels home!