It's been a rough week here at Time Goes By – mostly troubling stuff about Social Security payments if the government defaults next week, problems with the annual Medicare enrollment period due to the government employee furloughs and hard decisions we all face about living arrangements in our old age.
When I let myself think about the consequences of default, I can barely breathe. It is the most awful thing to face an abyss and have zero control. There must be a particularly deep circle of hell for Republicans who do this to the people of the United States.
Maybe you need a silliness break as much as I do.
It was way back in 2004 when I first published an internet fable about retiring to a Hilton hotel instead of a nursing home. It is such a delight that I've republished it again once or twice but I think I prefer the version about a retiring to a cruise ship.
If you've been hanging around here for a few years, you've probably read both of these but maybe, like me, they still delight you. Here is Let's Retire to a Princess Cruise.
At dinner through the Mediterranean aboard a Princess cruise ship, an elderly lady sat alone along the rail of the grand stairway in the main dining room. The staff, ship's officers, waiters, busboys, etc. all seemed very familiar with her. When a waiter was asked who she was, he said he knew only that she had been on board for the last four cruises, back to back.
Wanting to know more, a fellow passenger asked her one evening if this was true. “Yes,” she replied and without a pause added, “It’s cheaper than a nursing home.”
The average cost for a nursing home, she explained, is $200 a day. With a long-term cruise discount and a senior discount, the price of a Princess Cruise is $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for:
- Gratuities which will only be $10 per day.
- I will have as many as 10 meals a day if I can waddle to the restaurant, or I can have room service (which means I can have breakfast in bed every day of the week).
- Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers, and shows every night.
- There are free toothpaste and razors, and free soap and shampoo.
- They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.
- I get to meet new people every seven or 14 days.
- TV broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No problem! They fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience.
- Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don’t even have to ask for them.
- If you fall in the nursing home and break a hip you are on Medicare; if you fall and break a hip on the Princess ship they will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.
- And here's the best. If I want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Asia or you name it, Princess will have a ship ready to go.
- And don’t forget: when you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.
Anyone want to join me at the dock in New York?
[EDITORIAL NOTE: On a past publication of this, Tarzana commented that Snopes discovered at least two people had actually retired to a cruise ship. You can read about that and the history of these retirement stories here.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Six Eggs and I