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Publication Title | Shipping Out On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise

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On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise



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

.../ I

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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