All outfitted in soft leather climbing shoes, a helmet, and safety harness, I begged and pleaded and swore. I gritted my teeth. I locked my jaw in stubborn determination. I refused to admit I couldn’t do this. Nothing worked. The body said I should have asked first before I took on this latest challenge in a string of idiotic challenges. “I’ve had quite enough of your abuse,” it accused, then refused to allow my right shoulder to pull my bod up to the next red foothold fastened to the wall.
“Wimp,” I said.
“Sticks and stones,” it answered.
The ironic thing was that the rock climbing wall is what sold me on this cruise. If not for that, and the writers’ workshop on board, I never would have gone on the cruise. I just have no interest in them, and thought I’d be bored silly.
The red blocks, by the way, are for beginners, something that added insult to my failure to make it more than half way up the wall. A few minutes before I had watched a young girl—maybe eight years old—fail to make it even that far. It was a little consolation.
I knew my legs were strong enough, no doubt there. Where I had erred was in my failure to consider what would happen when my right leg and right arm were stretched to their max. That’s when I discovered another problem with being vertically challenged, pardon the pun. I mean, other than not being able to reach what’s on top of the refrigerator, or to see at parades, and always having to be in the front row when group photos are taken. What happened is that I was stuck when I reached the same point three times in a row.
After the third time I was lowered to the deck, I gave up.
“Quitter,” I muttered. My left shoulder chimed in to let me know IT wasn't a quitter. It was going to be reminding me of this latest nonsense for some time to come.
“Don’t feel bad,” said a strapping, handsome attendant. “Out of more than two thousand passengers on this ship, only two hundred have tried. You’re one of the elite.”