"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." - Dorothy Parker

Part 2 - Uncle Bill World Traveler

            Uncle Bill learned all the tricks of the 'Being a Social Host' cruise business. He enjoyed the ports of call on the run from San Diego through the Panama Canal and around the Caribbean. One group of tourists went south, getting off in Jamaica and flying home, another group came aboard for the return trip. Bill never seemed to tire of the transit each way through the Canal, sensing the enormity of the task to build the locks, the rich greenery on each side. Passengers seemed equally impressed.
            He did find himself getting tired of the nightly on-stage routine of dancing with lonely ladies. Free travel, food and drink began to lose their appeal and Bill began declining offers for cruise jobs. Besides, there was no money in it. Just when he thought it was all over, he got a call from the booking agent offering a berth on the prestigious round the world cruise on the Queen Elizabeth, on her one hundred day annual voyage, starting and finishing in New York. His initial re-action was to say no thanks, feeling unwilling to give up that much of his life. The agent, sensing his reluctance, asked Bill to stop by a travel agency and pick up a brochure on the cruise. Glancing through the brochure, Bill saw that the ship would stop in many ports he'd never be likely to visit. He weakened and called back to accept the offer. Bill was one of twelve social hosts on board, most of them retired, well educated, professional people. In addition to dancing, the hosts were expected to lead cultural programs. Bill offered to teach a class in writing poetry and a small group, mostly ladies signed up.
            There were about thirty women passengers who wanted to dance. They'd been married to successful men who didn't want to dance, consequently, the ladies were determined to make up for lost time without exposing themselves to the perils of the singles scene, made especially dangerous because they had money. One woman took a fancy to Bill and wanted exclusive use of his dancing services, a no-no, of course. Not to be thwarted she sought him out during downtime, whispering sweet nothings, encouraging fantasies. She told him that during her marriage to a well-to-do guy she'd learned to enjoy 'sucking the lollypop'. Bill bravely withstood these and other advances while seeing wonders of the world, places he's never have bought to ticket to visit. He avoided the massive quantities of quality food but did heighten his appreciation for twelve year old single malt scotch. He could have done more cruising but decided enough was enough.


Douglas Evered