Saturday, March 2, 2013

Across The Universe...On A Cruise ship

My husband, Ray, and I went on a cruise in February, his first. On one of the days at sea, we decided to try one of the on board activities. After Ray refused to take part in the hairy chest contest, I found another activity more to his liking; Beatles Trivia. Wow...this was perfect. Ray had been in a rock band for years and I had actually won tickets to a Beatles concert. (I knew the magic word “John” when disc jockey Swingin' Sweeney picked out my postcard and called me. I remember shouting, “John, John, John!” and running half way down the stairs, then back up, then back down not realizing I had slammed the phone down without getting instructions. Luckily they called back.)

But, I need to return to the cruise trivia contest. Ray and I walked to Ocean Plaza, deck five mid ship and scoped out the area. We found a table in the back against the wall and sat facing the other competitors. To our left was a Johnny Depp wannabe wearing a hat and looking a bit out of place with the rest of the Baby Boomer crowd. The man sitting in the front was going to be a challenge. I could just tell by his head bobbing as he hummed Beatles songs to himself. A man who looked like Danny DeVito was sitting at the table I had in my sights for us...but he scuttled ahead of us and sat down with a frown on his face. Later his wife joined him, drink in hand and at least a foot taller than he. I wasn't too worried about them, they did not look like serious Beatles people. I could not get a good grasp with the other thirty some competitors, but kept alert to any body language that would give me a clue as to who our primary rivals would be.

Soon the young MC began. It was appropriate that he was from Great Britain as his accent added to the flavor of the contest. He informed us that he would play small piece of a Beatles song and we would identify it. The twist was....the music would not be the original songs but would be symphonies playing the songs.

First song: “Across the Universe,” I whispered to Ray as he wrote it down on the sheet given to us. That had been our first movie date.

Second song: "And I Love Her."

My excitement was growing and yet we had heard only eight songs but knew them all. I noticed that the the head bobber was writing with vigor at each tune. Mrs. 'DeVito' was on her third drink batting at 'Danny's' pencil as he scratched his answers and then erased in frustration. I could hear the table to our far right talking and they had been stumped with the song "Eleanor Rigby". I feel ashamed to admit that their failure pleased me ("Please, Please, Me"). I was also getting frustrated that the MC would play too much of the song. At times I wanted to run up and jerk the needle off the record, but I kept my cool and remained seated ready for the next song.

Ninth song: "All You Need Is Love" The tension is building. Everyone seemed to know that one. A table of what looked like a group of teachers (I know because I have been in many such groups.) was singing and laughing. One shouted out to give us some more dificult ones. Darn, I had not noticed that they might be a group to watch.

BONUS POINT!! "What county's national anthem is played at the beginning of song number nine?" Ray looked at me and I said, "France!"

Song number twelve: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." The head bobber hesitated...oh yes, he was stuck, I could tell it. Come on and start song number thirteen before he figures out the song. Oh my, the 'kind, thoughtful me' was disappearing with each song.

Song number thirteen: "Da da dah da dah da da da da da dah" OH NO! My mind was blank. I looked at Ray. To my dismay, he shook his head. I kept humming the one recognizable section but no words came to me. I looked around and to my delight realized that everyone seemed stumped. Later we learned that the unknown song was Mother Nature's Son.

Song number fourteen: "Help!" That one was easy and so I went back to song thirteen, but had no time before song fifteen was being played. 'Johnny' had put his pencil down and just listened for the rest of the contest. 'Mrs. DeVito was still singing "All You Need Is Love" as she ordered another drink.

Ray and I knew the rest of the songs, but song number thirteen was still blank on the answer sheet. Time was up. I checked the room. The teachers' table looked confident, head bobber was still smiling and singing to himself, Danny was supporting his wife's head on his shoulder. But there was another table that had been quiet the whole time and suddenly shouting out their answers with a gusto that dashed my thoughts that we could win.

"So, how many of you have all 20 right?" No one! We were still in the running! "How many have 19 right?" "WE DO, WE DO!" I wanted to shout, but a voice from the surprise table said that they had 20 right because they got the bonus point right. "But, Ray, we got the bonus right so that means we would have 20 right. We forgot to count the bonus!" I said that quietly, but the table next to us heard me and shouted out that we needed to say something about it. "Over here, they have 20!" My shy self began to show now, as we were shuffled to the podium to receive our award. Even though I had really wanted to win, I did not want to win unless it was fair. After checking the answer sheets it was found that we were indeed the winners.

For such a stressful, and anxious contest the prize was a "beautiful" plastic gold trophy of the Carnival Dream. We proudly took the trophy to dinner that evening and placed it at the center of the table for all to admire. I am sure they all wondered why they spent their day by the pool in the sun when they could have been in the Ocean Plaza room particiapating in this important contest...but then maybe they already knew they would not have had a chance. :-)


  1. Great story! It was so funny how you scoped out the competition and kept tabs on them throughout the game. I see you are a competitor! That will be important to keep that spirit as this month moves along. BTW, what was the song that stumped you?

  2. I love the way that you gave the other players special names like Mrs. DeVito. I laughed several times while reading this.

  3. Jackie,
    A little competitive, huh? Your post made me smile. The suspense had me all the way through your story; the suspense and the other participants. Hilarious! I hope that trophy is proudly displayed somewhere in your home.


  4. I smiled as I read your piece. I could envision the audience. Your competitiveness did show a teensy bit. Your writing has a great voice.

  5. Oh, I could have given you a run for your money! Or trophy! I may have gotten Mother Nature's son, but I would have missed the bonus.... Loved The Beatles!
    Congratulations on winning AND on correctly posting your link today!!

  6. Thanks, Donna, you help was much appreciated.

  7. I smiled through you whole post. I love the play by play action and the names you gave each contestant. I felt like I was right there with you. And the'll bring back memories every time you look at it.

  8. Fantastic story telling qualities! So glad Cathy got you slicing! Thanks for sharing your wonderful voice with us!

  9. feel great after readung your views about cruising activities. you are one of the best writer. i have seen.

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