Opinion: A sea of misfortune in the Caribbean


Mary Ellen and I just returned from a wonderful Caribbean cruise. No one wants to read a humor column about how much fun we had, so instead, I’ll put on my grumpy old man hat and describe everything that went wrong.

On Monday, we went snorkeling. It took an hour by catamaran to reach the reef, but the fish in St. Thomas must have seen us coming, because by the time we put on all of our gear and dove into the bay, there was nary a minnow in sight.

The guide tried to paint a rosy picture of our pricey excursion.

“Have you ever seen so many fish?” he asked.

I answered honestly, “Yes, on the wall of Red Lobster.”

Later, on the ship, one of my hearing aids stopped working.

“Which one?” Mary Ellen asked.

“Starboard side,” I said, but when I turned around to walk toward the lunch buffet, my broken hearing aid was now on the port side of my head. This created a real problem: Mary Ellen never knew which ear to yell into.

Getting on the elevator required a room card. I kept swiping mine, but the elevator door didn’t open. A fellow passenger watched.

“You’re scanning the hand sanitizer dispenser,” he told me.

One night, I carried the TV remote onto the veranda outside our room. The device slipped out of my hand when the ship rocked, and it landed in the Atlantic.

“That’s never happened before,” the steward said. “What were you doing?”

“I was channel surfing,” I told him.

Our room safe required us to choose a security code. I used our old house number. I must have entered it incorrectly when I programmed it, because I couldn’t unlock it with those same digits later that night. Panicked, I called the security desk.

“How did I get locked out of my own safe?” I asked.

“Aren’t you the guy who griped about the snorkeling, swiped the hand sanitizer with his key card and lost his remote in the Atlantic? Did you ever get your hearing aid fixed?”

Wow, word travels fast at sea.

On the way home, I went to the airport’s deli to get a bite to eat before boarding. All they had was a stale-looking chicken sandwich with wilted lettuce and slimy American cheese. I bought one, along with a bottle of water.

“That will be $25,” the cashier said.

“Twenty-five dollars? At Costco right here in San Juan, I could get five whole rotisserie chickens for 25!”

“Good luck fitting them under your seat, sir.”

Again, despite what you have read, I had a wonderful time. I especially liked our last glorious day in Puerto Rico. As David Letterman would have said, “It was 75 and sunny. Just like me.”