JoCoCruiseCrazy Log: Our Cruise Pretending Cuba Doesn’t Exist (PART 4)

Jamaica faded away behind us, with an implied bit of a middle finger from some of us. Post dinner we finally discovered the Craps table was opened, and Peter Sagal, Dammit Liz, Storm, myself and others hit that table hard.  An hour in, Storm pulls out an enormous stack of chips and notes that he’s cashing out. Needless to say, Storm was the Mike Phirman of the craps table that night.

Up on one of the higher decks, we had been informed that Jonathan was ensconced in a palatial estate cabin. So Jonathan’s awesome booking dude Armand and I decided we would kibitz the rumored poker game up there. After wandering our way through the multiple rooms, kitchen, walk in closet, wrap around deck, multiple hot tubs, and a room I think was dedicated solely to just being a big room on a boat, we found the following scene:


There was *NO WAY* we were going to play poker with Mike Phirman and Storm, the Mike Phirman of gambling. However Dammit Liz joined the game, and she had no idea how to play Poker.  Since the game was Hold’em, she managed to totally negate any Poker playing skills at the table.

I retrospect I should have jumped in.

Thursday was the Cayman islands, and my performance!

Although I’m perfectly capable of lying to you Marge, I could never about this subject.  Thursday in the Cayman islands was by far the day I was looking forward to the most. Rochelle and I, and it turns out Wil and his family too, were going to spend most of the day swimming with Dolphins. This was probably the life event on the trip I was looking forward to the most, since Rochelle had just done it in Cabos St. Luca. For once in the past 24 hours I was able to completely forget my fear about performing later that night, and just enjoy what I was about to do.

But first, TURTLES!


Our passes got us into the Sea Turtle sanctuary as well, and it was amazing.  For an hour Rochelle and I along with Wil, Anne, and their sons Nolan and Ryan marveled at how something so tiny could grow into something so amazingly huge:


It’s hard to tell in that photo but the turtles are roughly four feet from head to tail.  Here’s my favorite twofer series of photos from the Turtles:


”Oh what an interesting creature,” Wil thinks, “I find this encounter fascinating at an intellectual level…”



That didn’t stop the photobombing tradition of our geekery:


  • Before long the disembodied voice of Mike Phirman reached our ears, Obi Wan Kenobi style, “Guys, it’s time for the Dolphins.  Trust me, they are my friends, you don’t want to miss this.”

    Indeed he was right. The pool for the Dolphins was huge and we paired off into different groups, Rochelle and I in one group and Wil and his family in another.  We each all spent time touching the Dolphins and getting to swim them both with them pushing us on a boogie board or grabbing their fins and “riding” them to the edge. There’s no real way to describe it. 

    I searched our Dolphin for signs of scarring or abuse but his skin was smooth and rubbery.  And his eyes were bright and expressive, which reminded me so much of our puppy Remington.  The trainer taught us basic commands and educated us about the age of the Dolphin and his tendencies and habits. What struck me so much about his demeanor was his patience with us humans who had never been near a Dolphin before.  You could mess up a gesture command and he would look at you like he’d seen people screw it up before, but he was going to make you get it right before he would obey.  It was uncanny, and fantastic. And the grin on my face here is so very very real:


    All too soon it was over, and we were on the bus back to the ship.  I was angsting pretty hard all at once over my performance, which was just a couple hours away. I decided I would go back to the boat early to prepare, while Rochelle and Wil’s family hit the beach. I was talking to Rochelle about which piece from my book I was going to do, the story about Windows 98 or the story about Sydney. I felt good about both stories, but had performed them both before and they felt safe.  Rochelle pushed me to perform “A Maze of Twisty Passages, All Alike”.

    ”I would have to make slides for that,” I protested.  Secretly I didn’t want to do it because I had not performed it before and was already freaked out about how high I thought the bar had been set.

    ”But I laughed my ass off at that, and anyone can understand it from a humor point of view,” Rochelle said.

    ”You should totally do that one, it’s a really strong story, one of my favorites from the book.” Wil joined in.

    They continued to try and convince me. I had no way of really judging it at the moment, but they were both right.  We reached the port for me to tender back to the boat, where they were going to part for the beach. I stood still for a moment and considered. Rochelle wanted me to join them on the beach, but knew that if I took her advice I would need to go calm my freakout FREAKY FREAKOUT OMG I’M ACTUALLY PERFORMING self down and make visuals to go with the performance. My mind started into racing mode and I actually parted ways with a smile, knowing that deep down I was going to perform the Maze story.

    The tender boat was rough heading back to the boat.  I had two and a half or so hours. On the one hand, it was actually the capstone to an amazing week.  I had ridden a horse in the ocean, survived grifters in Jamaica, met Mike Phirman, and swam with Dolphins.  Now I was about to share a stage with Peter Sagal and John Roderick.

    The boat was huge as the tender did a figure eight around it to dock, and it seemed actually far larger than when I had left. But my slides were already writing themselves in my head, and the manic part of my brain, so nervous about doing well, invented a wonderful opening couple of lines.

    They scanned my badge onto the boat. Suddenly I didn’t want to be on the beach anymore. I wanted to be in the theater.

(To Be Continued)

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