I am watching an old guy strutting around the stage wearing a leopard-print loincloth while twirling some torches over the painted body of a nubile babe in as menacing a fashion as he can muster. In the shadows, more sweating natives begin to dance rhythmically, but without the benefit of choreography or even raw talent. As the drums on the cheesy soundtrack reach a crescendo, two of them begin a fire-breathing fight using bottles of rum as fuel.
I feel like I’m watching a movie that’s so bad it’s funny, like some old rerun of Mystery Science Theater 3000, except Joel is trapped on a tropical island and forced to drink rum while the movie tests his will to live. It may be the White Russians talking, but finally, I can’t take it anymore and begin to laugh uncontrollably, which is probably a kind of a faux pas at what is supposed to be some type of hokey island performance art.
At the Blue Bay resort this is what passes for high culture, wherein the history of the islands is acted out in fur bikinis and Karaoke is King. Other highlights include slapstick Stupid People Games, Michael Jackson impresarios, and cross-dressing natives. Finally you just give up and hit the oceanfront bar at night, where the weirdness achieves truly Caligulan levels, but it’s the guests who provide the show.
During the day, the fun revolves around Games You Can Play While Drunk, like ping pong, water volleyball, Frisbee and/or pineapple tossing, darts, and, of course, a beer drinking championship, which was won by, natch, a Canadian. There are more inventive games as well, like bursting a balloon while simulating intercourse. In fact, I know the couple that won this event, and they’re so good at these erotic games that they’ve earned themselves more prize rum than they can reasonably expect to bring home.
On day three, I walk by the swim-up pool bar on the way to breakfast and notice it’s closed for repairs. This is like going to Disney World and finding out Mickey Mouse died, because the pool, which is about the size of Lake Superior except it’s three feet deep, is THE place to meet, not only in the afternoon, but also after breakfast for Bloody Marys. It’s best feature, besides the bar of course, is that you can’t hurt yourself in such shallow water no matter how wasted you get, and so I am concerned about how the crowd will react to this tragedy.
I needn’t have been, because when I hit the beach, there they all are, the old familiar faces from the swim-up bar, standing in waist-deep Caribbean water (and this time it’s crystal clear) with a drink in their hands and a smile on their faces. They haven’t missed a beat, and I neither do I, though I don’t have a floating mug, or, like the guy from Hungary, my national flag printed on the ass of my bathing suit, which I think is a kind of strange way to honor your country of origin, but I join in as best I can anyway.
There’s a nice mix of folks out here, but I am worried about some of them because they have achieved the look of cooked lobster, while others like Brian concern me because he’s been here 3 weeks and I don’t think he has any functioning brain cells left. I say this partly because he consumed about three pounds of quesadillas at the café for breakfast this morning and I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t swim after that, but also because he never actually stopped partying from the night before.
Soon I’m chatting it up with a lithesome little blonde from Taxachusetts. She has two or three young guys completely enthralled and keeps up a constant line of chatter not only with them, but loudly enough also for the guests at the next resort. A buxom friend spends most of her time doing backwards somersaults oh, so languidly in the warm and enveloping embrace of the sea so, and, although listening to the blonde is like hearing Nancy Pelosi deliver a sermon to the NAACP, I am hypnotized beyond my own ability to reason, or maybe even to breath, and am rendered incapable, trancelike, of anything more active than staring from behind my mirrored shades, mouth open like a guppy, at the acrobatic grace of this goddess, and if you’re a man, don’t lie, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Suddenly the blonde turns up the volume even more. “So I had a choice to be on the fencing team or pre-med at Harvard”, and here she paused a beat to make sure that tidbit had soaked in for us all, “but I thought, I’m going to make $500,000 a year as a doctor and what will I have to show for going to the Olympics?”
The thought crosses my mind that she might have a medal to show for it and something she’d remember for the rest of her life, but then I guess such old-fashioned notions are silly in this day and age, and besides, I’m pretty sure being “pre-med” means precisely nothing whether at an Ivy League school or not, and that her entire story was a line, to borrow from Norman Schwartzkopf, of pure “bovine scatology”, so I swim away and lurch onto the shore.
I look around, and on the beach, there’s some old geezer with this extremely young hot chick. He’s at least 65 and wearing blue jeans, a plaid shirt, and a Gilligan hat, but I can see he has that most important sugar daddy accessory: a money belt. It’s obvious what they have in common, but it isn’t pretty or right. In fact, it’s downright ugly. Could that be me? Well, yes it could be, and I have to admit the idea is tempting, but, to what end? For some purely physical, temporal pleasure? And then what? More of the same? Doesn’t it get old?
If it doesn’t, maybe I’m as shallow as the Harvard girl. That’s not a pleasant thought.