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On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise
BY oAUIO FOSTER IlALA[E
THE FOUR-COLOR BROCHURE, PART I
Ihave now seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright blue. I have seen an all-red leisure suit with flared lapels. [ have smelled
suntan lotion spread over 2,100 pounds of hor flesh. I have been addressed as "Man" in three different nations. I have seen
500 upscale Americans dance the
Electric Slide. I have seen sunsets that looked computer-enhanced.
I have (very briefly) joined a conga line.
I have seen a lot of really big
white ships. I have seen schools of
little fish with fins that glow. I have
seen and smelled all 145 cats inside
the Ernest Hemingway residence in Key
West, Florida. I now know the difference be- tween straight bingo and Prize-O. I have seen fluorescent luggage and fluorescent sunglasses
and fluorescent pince-nez and over twenty dif- ferent makes of rubber thong. I have heard steel drums and eaten conch fritters and watched a woman in silver lame projectile-vomit inside a
glass elevator. I have pointed rhythmically . at the ceiling to the two-four beat of the same disco music I hated point-
ing at the ceiling to in 1977.
I have learned that there are actually intensities of blue be- yond very bright blue. I have eat-
en more and classier food than I've ever eaten, lind done this during a week when I've also
learned the difference between "rolling" in heavy seas and "pitching" in heavy seas. I have heard a professional
cruise-ship comedian tell folks, without irony, "But seriously." I have seen fuchsia pantsuits
David Foster Wallace is a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine. His most recent novel, Infinite Jest, will be pub- lishedbyLittle, Brown inFebruary. His lastpiecefor Harper's, "Ticket to theFair," appearedintheJuly 1994 issue.
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