The Ship Shank Redemption

Sunday February 27th, 2011 – Still Sailing

It’s like the Ship Shank Redemption – one more day and I’m free from these four walls that bind so tightly. I hope. I guess there’s always the possibility of an unexpected glitch, but as of now I’m scheduled to be home by this time tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier.

I tried to objectively answer what it is about these gigs I dislike so much, because all in all it was a tremendously upbeat experience. I’ve learned a lot, met some fantastic people and significantly improved myself as a standup comic in just a few short but hard months.

A year ago, I’d never been on a cruise ship in my life. Now, I’m a seasoned veteran who can’t wait to get off. What went wrong? I’m not sure if anything did. I just find myself in desperate need of some time off to work on other things and recharge my travel batteries.

These gigs are anything but easy. There are a lot of what seem like perks, but there are a lot more things that draw attention away from the fun stuff. For example, getting checked constantly from Immigration, Customs and airline security are a complete pain in the ass.

Having to get to ships on time in foreign countries is a constant source of stress that I’m still not used to. Landing in some outdated airport and waiting in a long line to have some Customs agent rifle through my luggage is not part of the job title of comedian. Or is it?

This kind of stuff goes with the territory, and if I don’t like it I don’t have to come back. The truth is I don’t like it even a little, but that’s not a reason to not come back. Money is the reason to keep coming back. Plain and simple. This is a gig to do for the paycheck.

For me, it’s also for the improvement possibilities. I put more hard work into my shows in these last few months than I have in ten years. I used the time at sea to watch and learn, and I’ve made tremendous strides on stage and off. It was hard work, but it sure paid off.

Still, I wanted to narrow down the exact cause of why these gigs are so painful and I’ve come up with the answer – it’s the cabins. That little room with (usually) no windows is a lot like what I imagine solitary confinement to be like in a penitentiary. It gets to a person, especially after time. The longer I’m out here, the lonelier those cabins become. It’s hell.

I hope they’ll have me back, because I definitely would do it again, but I’d have to be in a mental groove before I said yes and prepare myself to be out here again. This time I was a greenhorn and learning the ropes, and even though I did get stuff done it wasn’t enough.

I can’t be more thrilled to be going home tomorrow, but I’m not at all trashing anything about this experience, even the cabins. I got a chance to learn and experience and I didn’t burn a bridge or do anything stunningly stupid like I’ve been known to do in the past with situations I wasn’t fond of. I chose to hang in there and do my time, and I’m proud of my maturity in doing so. The old me might not have been so patient. Now, the smart thing to do is thank everyone for having me, not burn a bridge and go home and start work there.


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