Woody: Brusin' for a crusin'

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The other night I got a call from a nice marketing lady who said I'd been selected to go on a two-week Caribbean cruise for $3,000.

I told her she'd have to pay me a lot more than that to get on one of those boats.

I've never understood the appeal of bobbing around the ocean on a cruise ship, even if it's some swell luxury liner with a fancy name like Her Majesty's Royal Woozy.

I don't get the point. If I want to play shuffleboard with strangers in black socks, why would I want to do it on a boat? I can play shuffleboard down at the rec hall without having to worry about it sinking.

We've all read stories about cruises that didn't go well. One ship -- the SS Salmonella -- had an epidemic of food-poisoning. Imagine all those wealthy passengers in their spiffy sun suits upchucking Pina Coladas over the guard-rails.

On another cruise the ship's toilets became clogged and unusable. About-face everybody and back to the guard-rails.

I think I'd get bored on-board. I figure about 10 minutes out would do it, but by then it would be too late to change my mind. You can't hop out and hitch-hike back. Just ask Gilligan.

It is common knowledge every luxury liner has specially-trained schools of man-eating sharks constantly circling the boat throughout the trip to discourage bored passengers from jumping ship.

I confess I get most of my information second-hand, since I've never technically been on a cruise ship. But one of my buddies has -- Booger Johnson, who went on a honeymoon cruise with his sixth wife, Estelle. He said it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. (That is the cruise, I mean.)

For starters, they wouldn't let Booger fish over the side of the boat.

No sooner had he put out a couple of catfish lines than a captain wearing more gold bling than Admiral Nimitz and Snoop Dog marched up and ordered him to cease and desist to fish. And for gosh shakes put a lid on that rancid chicken liver bait.

Booger was also peeved at the hefty price of cruise-ship drinks. He said he had to arrange financing when he bought his truck, bass boat and mobile home, but that was the first time he needed a co-signer for a six-pack.

But what could he do? Desert his bride, plunge overboard and swim to the nearest convenience store? As tempting as it was -- Wife VI was already starting to nag -- Booger refrained from jumping. He's allergic to sharks.

In fairness, I probably shouldn't single out luxury cruise ships for criticism. I've never gotten along with boats of any sort. They spring leaks, hit submerged stumps, flip over.

The motor is always conking out, usually on the most remote part of the lake. For me, row vs. wade is not a Supreme Court decision -- it's my options about how to get back to shore.

I've often had to paddle my old fishing boat back to the dock when it conked out. That didn't work with the Titanic; for some reason a cruise ship doesn't come with oars.

So I told the nice marketing lady thanks but no thanks. She could give my cruise-ship ticket to someone else.

I can be bored and nauseous for a lot less than $3,000.

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Larry Woody
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