Things By Simon

Things Said to Me on Cruise Ships

“I’m a private detective,” said Dirk.
“Oh?” said Kate in surprise, and then looked puzzled.
“Does that bother you?”
“It’s just that I have a friend who plays the double bass.”
“I see.”
“Whenever people meet him and he’s struggling around with it, they all say the same thing, and it drives him crazy. They all say, ‘I bet you wished you played the piccolo.’ Nobody ever works out that that’s what everybody else says. I was just trying to work out if there was something that everybody would always say to a private detective so that I could avoid saying it.”
“No. What happens is that everybody looks very shifty for a moment, and you got that very well.”

-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of The Soul

On recent cruise ship gigs, I’ve started keeping a log of things other passengers say to me. Here it is so far, with time stamps and occasional context notes to help paint the full picture. As you can probably infer, every single one was delivered with body language and intonation implying that the speaker was very proud of their joke.


Ship 1

Day 1
8:53am (Gesturing to his coffee) “You’re not going to make it disappear on me are you?”
12:56pm (As I reach across the table for salt) “Aren’t you supposed to make that just magically appear?”

Day 2
9:28am “Can you do me a favour? Can you make my wife disappear?”
12:32pm (At lunch, pointing to my chair) “That chair’s just an illusion!”
12:33pm “Don’t make us all disappear now!”
9:08pm (Walking past as I eat a lamb chop) “You need to make that bone disappear! Ha ha ha!”

Day 3
8:46pm (En route to bar with musician friend) “Aren’t you afraid to walk with him? He can make you disappear!”
12:37pm (At lunch) “We enjoyed the show last night! And now are you making your lunch disappear?”
7:06pm (At dinner, after walking halfway across the restaurant in order to deliver the quip) “Are you going to make that food disappear?”
9:23pm “Remind me not to play cards with you!”

Day 4
1:05pm (At lunch) “I’ve eaten way too much. [Gestures to stomach] can you make it all disappear?”
1:54am (Still at lunch) “Can you do some magic to refill the juice?”
4:19pm (At team trivia) “Wait a minute, his answers are going to magically change once they read them out!”
7:21pm “Oh you’re the magician! Are you really here, or are you just an illusion?”
10:01pm (In corridor) “I’m waiting for my wife; she DISAPPEARED into the bathroom.”
11:32pm “Can you make arm fat disappear?”

Day 5
11:12am “Can you make the shuttle bus appear?
2:17pm (While sitting, working, minding my own business) “You working some *magic* with your laptop?”
3:12pm “What have you got up your sleeve tonight?”
10:41pm “Don’t make me disappear!”

Day 6
10:49pm “If ship departure time is too early, Simon can just change it right? With illusions!”
4:03pm “Is that photo you just took an illusion?”

Ship 2

Day 1
12:21pm (Gesturing to me eating lunch) “Making those vegetables disappear, I see!”
4:31pm “Don’t play poker with him!”
7:30pm “Don’t make us disappear or anything!”
11:34pm (Walking by, with no context) “You never know what this guy will do!”

Day 2
10:40am “If I sit here will you make me disappear?”
6:47pm “Going to make us all disappear?”

Day 3
8:54am “Having a magical day?”
10:48am “Something’s going to disappear!”
5:53pm (At excursions desk) “When swimming, can you please make some fish appear. We need more.”
6:26pm “Can you make the ship disappear?”
11:17pm “Hey Magician! Can you make all my money from the Casino reappear?”

Day 4
9:43am “I see you haven’t disappeared yet!”
10:02am (Gesturing to his friend) “I’m still waiting for you to make him disappear!”
11:49am “Is it real, or an illusion?” (with no context as to what “it” was supposed to mean)
9:23pm (In restaurant) “Do they check you for the cutlery when you leave?”
9:44pm “Restaurant’s pretty empty today; you made some of the guests disappear!”

Day 5
4:55pm “Are you an illusion?”
9:30pm (Gesturing to my coffee) “Did they bring it to you, or did you make it appear?”

Day 6
10:28am “Don’t make that cereal disappear – I haven’t had my breakfast yet!”
10:31am (Gesturing to my toast) “You gon’ make that magically disappear now?”
4:14pm (At trivia) “Can you read her [the announcer’s] mind and get us the answers?”
9:06pm “What have you got up your sleeves?”
9:09pm “Careful, he’ll make you disappear!”
9:10pm: “Can you make a few pounds disappear?”
10:36pm (Next to elevator, in dramatic tone of voice, with dramatic gesture, with no other context) “It’s magic!”

Day 7
12:40pm (At lunch) “We were going to do the disappearing act on your cupcake while you were gone!”
3:25pm “I thought you disappeared!”
8:55pm (Next to casino, handing me a $5 chip) “Can you turn this into a fifty?”
9:02pm (Walking past in corridor) “Don’t make me disappear!”
9:02pm (Friend of above, overhearing her and turning around) Oh, that’s cute! “Don’t make me disappear either!”
9:29pm (While preparing to leave the ship) “If you were really good you could make yourself *disappear* from here and be home already!”

Ship 3

Day 1
5:24pm (At safety drill) Are you going to make your life vest disappear?

Day 2
4:18pm (At afternoon tea) “I’m waiting for you to make your food disappear!”
7:46pm (In response to explaining that I’m a magician) “Oh, you can make us all disappear then!”
7:47pm (In response to the above comment) “Yes, but is he here or is he just an illusion?!”

Day 3
10:41am “You could make the shuttle bus disappear!”
7:21pm “I’m glad I’m not sitting at this table, because the food might disappear without me eating it!”
10:38pm “Now we’re hoping you can make our excess fat disappear.”

Day 4
10:56am (Vague series of sleight-of-hand gestures) “…did you see it?”
11:57am (Holds up deck of playing cards) “I don’t want to tempt you.” [Grins like this is the funniest thing a human has ever said.]
8:12pm “Now I daren’t shake hands with you, because I’d have to count my fingers afterwards!”
8:22pm (Walking past at dinner, gesturing at the food I’m eating) “Now make it disappear!”

Day 5
11:57am (Holding up plate of cookies) “I’m going to make these disappear!”
11:59am (To people I’m sitting with) “Careful, he’ll make you disappear!”
1:30pm (At lunch, gesturing to her meal) “Can you magically remove all the calories?”
5:26pm (As I struggle to get my many bags into the elevator) “Surely you can just levitate them up the stairs?”

Ship 4

Day 1
1:13pm “You’re not the only one who can make things disappear… we just made lots of food disappear at lunch!”
1:26pm “If I give you a five dollar bill, can you change it into a fifty for me?”
3:08pm (While eating lunch) “Boy, you’re making that sandwich disappear!”
7:04pm “Oh, I’d better hide my watch!”

Day 2
2:16pm (In corridor, walking past) “Are you real, or an illusion?
4:43pm (Waiter in cafe, referring to now-empty plates) “Shall I make something disappear for you?”
6:02pm (At reception) “Can you magically shrink my bill a little?”
7:48pm (Guest, to sommelier) “Watch out; this guy can make your corkscrew disappear!”
9:14pm (Barman, bringing me a drink) Boom! Magic!

Day 3
11:34am “Don’t make my lunch disappear, ok?”
2:05pm (To friends) “Hey, any of you want to play cards with this guy?”
4:12pm “Look at you, disappearing up those stairs!”

Day 4
12:54pm (At lunch) “Making that food disappear, are you?”
7:51pm (In corridor, passing by) [Vague series of mystical gestures, with no dialogue.]
7:55pm (Buttoning jacket, gesturing vaguely at pockets) “Don’t make it all disappear!”
9:35pm (At dinner) “Don’t make the cutlery disappear!”
9:38pm (Walking past with no context) “It’s magic!”
9:52pm (Gesturing mystically at my meal) “I can make that change into two plates!”

Day 5
8:43pm “Can you make everything disappear for us?” (My reply: “…everything?”)
9:28pm (Displays napkin, then hides it behind her back) “Now you see it, now you don’t!”
10:12pm “This guy! He’ll make it disappear!”

Day 6
11:04am “Watch out for this guy!” [Vague series of magical gestures] “He’ll do some sleight of hand!”
12:58pm (Server, in restaurant) “Let me make that plate disappear.”
1:27pm (In an excessively loud dramatic voice) “Is it an illusion, or is it not?!”
8:43pm (In restaurant) “You made the waiters disappear! They’re all gone! Poof!”

Day 7
10:58am (Preparing to leave the ship) “You can’t just magically transport yourself home?”

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