Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.


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Rotterdam 4-10-10

By Milt Abel | April 13, 2010

| April 13, 2010

Rotterdam 4-10-10

Esoteric advise #14
I’ve you’re a personal assistant for singer-extraordinaire Seal, and he asks you to check out the local hot spots in a town he’s touring in, don’t explain you’re assignment as ‘having to go clubbing for Seal.’

April 10th was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in San Diego the Rotterdam’s turn-around port. Later in the afternoon, when I called my wife and told her how gorgeous the day was, she replied with a hint of jealousy, “It’s always gorgeous in San Diego.” And she’s mostly right. One time I was on the Sapphire Princess and it began to rain the moment we tied up in San Diego and rained throughout the day until we left, when it suddenly, and apparently to those of us on the ship, spitefully, cleared up.

That night on the Sapphire I had my show and got a laugh from the unusual weather by saying, “You know ladies and gentleman, I learned the business of stand-up in bars and comedy clubs and it is really something to be performing in mutli-million dollar theaters like this with all the technicians and lights and sound personnel at my disposal. I’d like to take advantage of these resources for once and recreate my impression of today’s visit to lovely sunny San Diego.” At that cue line I had a backstage hand walk out on stage with a partially filled class of water and empty it into my face. It got a good laugh and will use the schtick again …if it ever rains in San Diego again.

This lovely Saturday turned out to be more than pleasant, it was good fortune; because circumstances had myself, and several hundred passengers, waiting outside in a line for a couple hours as we tried to process ourselves onto the ship. There were three cruise ships in port doing a turn-around and we were the third and the port is really only good at handling two. The Rotterdam ended up getting the kiddie-table at the family meal, the ad-hoc, thrown-together improvisation, that wasn’t as good as others, and it slowed everything down considerably. People stood for ninety minutes or more in a line outside on the pier. I did my best to remain quiet and unobserved, but there weren’t that many single men carrying their full compliment of luggage there in line -the others having theirs checked at the airport through to their cabins onboard.

Eventually I had to admit that I ‘worked’ on board. And then I had to admit that I was an entertainer, and then a comedian. I portioned it out, as I am always reluctant to admit I’m going to be their entertainer on board because they’ll expect me to be funny right there in line with them, while I’m just as peeved as they are (nice weather or not) about inching forward about a foot every five minutes in the 100 yards we needed to even begin the paperwork to sign on to the ship. Would people expect dentists to put on some rubber gloves and look at their wobbly crown? A proctologist to put on his rubber gloves?

Not surprisingly everyone around me was decently pleasant. Holland America tends to get a non-youthful clientele (how’s that for not saying ‘old’?). And older people are wiser. They’re wise enough to know that if you can’t change the situation then complaining just makes it more unpleasant for yourself and those within earshot. And part of wisdom of age is knowing what you can and cannot change. So we made the best of long wait in the nice weather, and maybe I told a joke or two.

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