My massage therapist's name was Elka, and she wielded the softest hands to ever caress my nubile carcass. After I took off the rented terry cloth robe and stretched my body across the table, she came back into the room to an awkward silence. I conjured the awkwardness in my head; she was really just lubing up. To break my mental tension as I slid my head into the donut-shaped pillow rest, I broke that silence with:
Me: "Very nice to meet you. I'm so looking forward to this."
Elka: "Very nice to meet you as well Mr. Dooley."
Me: "Mr. Dooley? Oy, that makes me sound so old. Speaking of which...how many erections do you see on a daily basis?"
Elka: "Excuse me?"
Me: "Come on? You are massage therapist on a rocking ship transporting older gentlemen with Bob Dole complexes from port to port."
Me: "But, don't worry about me. I'm more of the Margaret Thatcher variety. I have no energy for anything."
Elka: "Am I applying too much pressure?"
As Elka denied her penis-envy, she kneaded, plied and whittled my body into abandon with her fluid hands and an oil that I would brand "Sex on Your Skin It’s So Good." I had just started to nod off into oily bliss when she finished, stating I should take my time and relax as she offered me a diagnosis. "You are extremely stressed and tense. I worked a lot on your back to release the knots, but you should try to relax everyday and find ways to de-stress. Would you like to purchase the body oil?"
Later, Lauren and I devoured a four-course dinner and three baskets of bread and butter before we ambled down to the casino that night with the rest of the venerable patrons. In one of my many stops to the toilet over this vacation, I passed the ship's discotheque. My bladder cramps swelled as I witnessed a tiny Asian man dancing in the middle of the dance floor, gyrating in circles by himself while strobe lights enhanced his slight frame and sweaty black hair. I pulled Lauren off the "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine and escorted her to the night club to revel in its awesomeness. We ordered two Lemon Drops and sat in a booth to observe my new best friend, the Asian, who was now joined by forty-something year-old man that looked like Buffalo Bill with a dash of both Ted and Al Bundy. The Asian's name was Tommy Chang. I don’t recall Buffalo Bill's name, so we’ll call him the "Molester," because that's what Lauren and I deemed he resembled. They proceeded to order us three more rounds of Lemon Drops and exercise their dancing skills. Tommy also absconded Lauren’s camera and attempted to take pictures of us. We requested that he figure out how to utilize the flash, given his background, naturally. He failed, obviously never having visited Time Square. I was in heaven.
To top it off, once the DJ started spinning ABBA, a British grandmother and daughter duo in matching pastel cardigans, kicked up their paisley knickers and got down with the Molester. Seriously, they had electrifying moves and enough energy to power a small Tanzanian village.
The next day the ship docked in Cannes. While we were dying to go papparazzo on Brangelina at the Film Festival, we found ourselves disappointed, especially because our tour guide could speak of nothing but the damn airport in Cannes. She prattled on about it every thirty seconds. "It's so big...at one square mile." We toured the city and later ventured to a little village outside of Nice, called Eze. It’s a medieval hamlet nestled atop a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Completely beautiful and absurdly undeserving for the French peoples. Luckily, nothing unfortunate happened to us in Eze. Unless you count the fact that I bought a bracelet for my mother, and on the way out I decided to keep it for myself, and Lauren smacked her head into the same cactus going up...and back down the mountain.
Our next stop included a walking tour of "old" Nice. I have never surveyed so many window shutters in my life, and the entrepreneur in me began to percolate venture capital ideas. As I slurped the best white chocolate gelato IN THE WORLD I called my lawyer. "Dick, please research investment opportunities for shutter repair companies in the South of France. The market here must be huge for it...even bigger than the Cannes International Airport...I'll tell you about it later. I'd be willing to invest up to one thousand dollars," I dictated. I ended the phone call, and Lauren and I walked out toward the beach. Naked boobies are a sight to behold, and I refused to miss the French ones. We neared the sand (by sand, I mean rocks), coming across a group of French teenagers lounging on the stone steps that led to our destination, thereby blocking our passage. French people in their natural habitats tend to scare me, so I didn't want to disrupt this teeny pride of shellacked Provencal lions. Instead, I hopped to the right of them and walked down the ramp next to the stairs. I beamed at my coordination and balance until the midway point where I went from "Lauren look at me" to "Oh shit," busting ass on the ramp. I tried to save myself by extending my arms to avoid a bruised buttocks. You know what people look like when they play crab soccer? Picture a six foot dude with big hair, clutching a camera case and gelato cone, in such a position as he skids down ten feet of inclined stone with nothing but French children, window shutters and boobies to provide a mocking backdrop.
My wrists and hands paid dearly for the fall and started oozing blood and sand. The teens quickly jumped up to see if I was okay. I guess that's what they asked. I looked to Lauren to translate for me at the top of the stairs, but she couldn't speak from laughing hysterically. Clearly four years of high school French could not absolve the ability to guffaw into breathlessness at the expense of others.
To bet continued, again...