Hey, How Was That Vacation?

You are an American who gets two weeks of vacation a year.  You decide, after some consideration, to take a cruise for part of that vacation time.  You’ve seen the commercials that feature attractive, fun-loving singles dancing, drinking, and gambling on a luxury liner that steams serenely through warm, bright blue waters.  That looks pretty good!  Maybe you’ll get a chance to relax, to meet someone and enjoy some high times off the Mexican coast.  A cruise would be a fine way to spend those few, hard-earned vacation days!

The big day comes.  You board the ship, filled with anticipation.  You are ready to cruise, baby!  At first you enjoy the Lido deck, the endless buffets and late-night sundae bar, some gambling, and the drinking games by the pool.

But then, a fire breaks out.  The ship is left powerless and without communication, drifting off the coast of Mexico and rolling sickeningly in the ocean’s swell.  There is no hot food.  Instead of the endless buffet, you are eating Spam and Pop Tarts.  Your cabin is dark and stifling, because the air conditioning isn’t working.  Your toilet, and every other toilet on the ship, is filled, reeking, and inoperable.  You are sweaty and smelly, so foul that you disgust yourself, and your fellow passengers are no different.  The happy-go-lucky, ready-to-party cruisegoers who bounded aboard the ship only days ago are nowhere to be found, and even the brightest cruisewear can’t hide the sullen expressions of the lost souls who aimlessly roam the decks.  The hallways of the ship are filled with barf bags and the decks are redolent of the ripe odor of vomit.  The ship that seemed so bright and big now feels grim and horribly confining.

Finally, though, your ship is rescued and towed to San Diego.  You get off the ship, vowing never to take another cruise.  And then you go back to work, and one of your office friends asks:  “Hey, how was that vacation?”