Championships and Cruise Ships

July 24, 2010

photo by Braínne Edge

A correlation between leaving different experiences…based on the Blue Man Group phenomenon (and maybe the Office Olympics episode of the US version of The Office).

If you read my A Week In Philly post you know a little bit about the experience and how it can relate to drug addiction, or just addiction in general. Today I was chatting with a good friend (met at, and almost exclusively seen and CSz Championships over the years) about various things. She will be leaving very soon to work on a cruise ship and I was giving what I thought was good advice and a comparison to non-ship life. It turned out it was a fairly good comparison to the Championship as well and she said “I smell a blog post.”

I was mainly trying to describe how I perceived relationships between crew members on a ship. Of course, I’ve always been with Deanna on the ships, but that almost gives me better perspective because I can see it all unfolding in front of me without being caught up in it.

Basically I said that relationships are almost guaranteed to happen on ships. Working 4-8 months on a cruise ship can be a little stressful at times, and lonely if you’re single…and VERY lonely if you’re not single but your significant other is not on the ship. This also means you’re surrounded by other crew who are going through the same stress meaning you have a major part of your life in common…you can both relate in understanding the stress. Add that to cheap drinks in the crew bar and boom…relationship.

That part is easy. Blue Man (and maybe that Office episode) come into play at the end of your contract…when you come back to real life.

If you haven’t seen Blue Man Group, you should. I’ve seen it at least four times and I love it. The Chicago theater also used to be on the way to the old ComedySportz theater so I would see this phenomenon all the time.

The Blue Man Group show is an experience that unifies the audience in that “We all just experience this together! We are all the same!” kind of way.


At the end of the show multiple rolls of slightly-stronger-than-toilet-paper are hit by air from fans and the paper makes its way toward the stage over the heads of the entire audience. It is a LOT of paper, covering the audience like a blanket. What? There is PAPER coming from the WALL! It is very exciting.

For whatever reason, about 75% of the audience gets compelled to wear the paper. Scarves, headbands, ties, belts, bandoleers, blindfold type masks…it is FUN! Just like relationships on a ship are fun. We’re all in the same boat (pun intended) together so these paper outfits are perfectly acceptable.

And then…the show is over. The audience leaves. A majority outside the theater waiting for cabs to whisk them out of this fanciful journey and back to the reality of their lives. Lives that don’t include most of the people in the audience. From an outside perspective the astute passerby may catch it…one person wistfully removes their paper headband. This might make someone else self-conscious…they undo their rough Windsor knot and a would-be tie finds its way to the trash.

My point being, when you’re in a relationship…ON a ship, and the ship is all you have in common you may be hit with the reality of a paper headband when you leave. Quickly going from “this is the best!” to “what the hell am I going to do with this thing?”

But sometimes…sometimes it was more than that. It relates to the Championship in that way for a lot of people this time around. As I put it while chatting, maybe it IS time to take off the headband, but this one might get folded up and put in a wooden box with a plastic-encased scorpion that my dad killed near my crib (as a baby, not near my “rapper house”), my great-grandfather’s fancy cigar lighter, and other memories. And instead of going with a few friends, we went with a field trip and actually knew more of the people that shared the experience.

Separate occasion…and more in line with The Office. The particular part of the episode I’m thinking of (spoiler alert?) is when Michael comes back, the office games stop, and Ryan almost instantly throws away his medal (a metal yogurt lid on a paperclip chain necklace). In his interview video he said he figured he could wait and throw it away later or just do it then. This is how I felt leaving the ship in Hawaii. We had a few leis that we had acquired. I only saved the one my dad made, and others were saved by Deanna. What am I going to do in real life with these?

I don’t have a great way of wrapping this one up. Sometimes paper is a memory in a box. Sometimes you wipe your butt with it.