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5:51 a.m. - 2008-02-08


Alright ... lemme give you just a few more cruise memories and then the cruise talk can end. Trust me ... I've been boring the living shit out of everyone at work with my diatribes about "the cruise" and they're all "Great. We get it. You rode on a big boat. Shut up already."

The first day we're there, we get on the ship about 2:30 in the afternoon.

The night before I literally got two hours of sleep. I was asleep by 10 and woke up right at midnight and could not get back to sleep because we needed to be up by 4 a.m. and I rely on my inner alarm clock to wake us up because I don't trust real alarm clocks.

Trust issues much?

Me thinkee so.

So I get two hours of sleep, get the wife up at 4, we're at the airport by 5:30 and we're on the 1st plane at 6:30.

We make it to Atlanta just in time to board the next plane there.

I can't sleep on planes. Sure wish I could, but I can't.

Get to Orlando, wait 90 minutes for a shuttle to Port Canaveral, get to Port Canaveral, get through immigration or whatever the hell that was and we get on the boat about 2:30.

I am tired.

So we get to our room and we both decided to just lay down on the bed and rest.

I'm curious to see what kind of reception the TV will have.

Lots of channels with most of them showing promo stuff about the ship.

But there's an On Demand section.

And it says Adult Movies On Demand.

"Hon," I said. "Let's watch some porno to get in the mood."

Now, my wife is like an 8-year-old little girl when it comes to porn. Her reaction has always been "Ewwww ... gross".

Porn was $12.95 to watch.

I had no intentions of watching it ... I was just teasing my wife.

APPARENTLY I hit the wrong button on the remote to exit out of the porn stuff.

ALL OF A SUDDEN the screen turned black for a few seconds and a guy was getting his honker smooched.

THEN a woman was taking it in the wrong hole. Close up.

"AAAAAAACK!!" screamed my wife who has always insisted that the female human body is incapable of taking a peter up the poopchute and to not even ask to do it.

Well there was the physical proof right there in front of us. In living color.

Now, the wife is in bed under covers.

I've removed my shirt and am in shorts.

And there's a knock at the door and I can't figure out how to turn this porn off.

"Just a second!" I call out while scrambling to get a shirt on to cover my chiseled, middle-aged Alabama physique.

I shut the TV off completely and answer the door.

It's our cabin steward ... a fancy name for our maid for the week.

She wanted to freshen up the room.

I assured her we had just gotten to the room, everything was fresh enough.

As she was leaving, I couldn't help myself.

"I ... uhhhh ... I mistakenly got one of those On Demand channels that we don't want to watch," I stammered.

"I'm sorry?" she replied.

"Porn. I accidentally clicked on the porn channel and it's showing right now and we don't want to watch it because we're not porn people and even though she's in bed and I'm half naked and there's porn on the TV, we're just really tired and want to take a nap and not watch porn. We don't want to have sex. Not right now. Maybe later. But right now ... no. How do I get the porn off my bill?"

Susie, by this point, had pulled the sheets up over her head and was praying that this was all a dream.

"Just call guest services and they'll take care of it," she said with a Jamaican grin.

She left.

I turned on the TV and the porn was now gone.

I called guest services and tried to explain it to them.

The guy checked and said that there was nothing on my bill reflecting an On Demand charge.

To make sure he understood what I was saying, I said "It was porn. If that helps any."

"No sir," he said. "There's no charges from your television."


Now that's a wonderful way to start your stay on a cruise.

We were lucky enough to get one of the tables for two in the dining room.

The head waiter told us that out of 2,000 seats in the three-story dining room, there were five tables for two.

"I have a waiting list of over 100 people wanting your table," he said.

This was great at first because with the damage I've done to my eardrums over the years with loud music, this meant I wouldn't have to sit at a table and just nod and smile when people talked because I couldn't hear them.

Instead, I could just enjoy the time with my wife on our 20th anniversary.

Which ... she made a mistake of telling the head waiter one night.

"20th anniversary??" he smiled. "I'll be right back."

Ten minutes later, he brought out this beautiful piece of cheesecake with a candle on it.

And then suddenly we were surrounded by about a dozen waiters.

"Hit it, Ivan," the head waiter told the big hulking bald waiter.

Ivan is apparently from the Ukraine and his English is rather limited.

But goddamn ... the guy knew how to sing "Happy Anniversary" to the tune of "Happy Birthday".

Only he did it in a VERY LOUD operatic baratone.

He was hurting my sensitive ears as he bellowed the song out and 2,000 people craned their necks to see what was going on as many of them probably thought a rhino was giving birth to twins in the dining room with the sounds that Ivan was making.

Finally it was over and Ivan took a very dramatic bow and kissed Susie's hand.

"He's our best singer," the head waiter said.

"He's your loudest singer," I said. "That doesn't always mean best."

The piano bar that I liked the first night, Susie fell in love with and we spent the last three late nights in there.

A british guy played the piano playing mostly Billy Joel, Elton John ... that kinda stuff.

He kept asking for requests and I got a bit tipsy.

Now I'll admit ... I hate when I'm DJ'ing and some drunken asshole wants to play "Stump The DJ".

So I really wasn't trying to stump him.

I just wanted to see what his range of songs were.

I requested some Sam Cooke. He didn't know any.

I requested Radiohead. Same thing.

On the last night it was after 11:00 and while most people were already in bed or packing, we were the only ones in the piano bar.

So he was basically talking to us while seated at the piano.

And I was tipsy.

So I gave him what I always considered the coolest request that I wished someone would present to me some day.

"I want to request that you play something that you love that you never get to play because you always have to play for the audience," I said. "Just a favorite song that you wished you'd get a request for every night."

(My personal answer to this request would be something by Wilco at a party. Possibly Arcade Fire or Okkervil River. But I've always thought I'd play Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" just to screw with people's heads)

He sat there stumped for a minute, chuckled and said "That's the strangest request I've ever received."

He thought a bit more and said "You know, usually I have to play the songs that I know people want to hear. That's my job."

And apparently, that's all his repertoire is based on. The timeless cruise crowd favorites like "Margaritaville", "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Piano Man".

He finally started to play "You Don't Know Me" by Ray Charles which I could tell really didn't fulfill my request. It wasn't his most favorite obscure song, it was just something nobody ever requested that he knew.

We talked a little bit more and I got him to play some Gnarls Barkley and Franz Ferdinand.

But as I got tipsier, I realized that this guy liked Susie just fine but thought I was an asshole.

Now we have to track the guy down one more time so I can request Coldplay.

I bet he can play Coldplay.

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