The Weather

Dear Mr. Levinson

After Andrés Martin received his second “incident report” as a staff member on the Carnival cruise liner Independence of the Seas, he felt compelled to respond.  

Dear Mr. Levinson,

Having received my second incident report from the Adventure Ocean Manager, I feel compelled to respond. The first one I took in the way I thought most dignified: silently—I had failed to iron my evening talent shirt, despite knowing full well that smoothness and crispness were important. But this second incident letter, I don’t deserve. And so, on behalf of my reputation, and my career, I am going to defend myself.

The Adventure Ocean Manager filed an incident report that detailed an episode in which I was late to and wrongly uniformed for an afternoon activity. What the Adventure Ocean Manager failed to note is that I was slimed—on account of his own, last-minute change in policy—and therefore had to wash my hair and change into my only remaining clean pair of pants, which was a pair of jeans. Had I known that I was going to be slimed, maybe I could have prepared for the showering and laundering that occupied me throughout my lunch hour. But, thanks to the aforementioned change in policy, I did not know, and, I think it’s fair to say, I could not have.

You see, the Adventure Ocean Manager unexpectedly changed the slime-target selection policy, and the Adventure Ocean children unexpectedly elected me. I had no reason to think this would happen. A different member of the staff had already been chosen, for having received the most slime points over the course of the cruise. This was our traditional method. In all my time on the Carnival cruise line, I had only been slimed, and only seen others slimed, for slime point accumulation.

On this day, however, the Adventure Ocean Manager offered, on the heels of what I admit was a rousing speech, the chance to “choose democracy.” He told the children what democracy was, he told them what the outcome would be if they abstained from their right to vote—that the top point earner would be slimed as normal—he told them what the alternative could be—that somebody “different” could get slimed—and then he proceeded to encourage a melee of a Parliamentary-style-esque debate, but without any order and without any gavel, save for the one he boomed out with his own voice, the one that stilled the children and announced that he had discerned that they had picked me.

As he called my name, I detected the distinct pleasure he took in pronouncing the words.

“Andrés Martin,” he said.

“Me?” I asked, although I knew he could mean nobody else.

They had selected me, and as I faced their eager faces, I knew I had no choice but to take the slime. I sat in the slime chair. I waved. I raised my thumb and urged the children to slime me harder. They shrieked when it looked like the slime was dripping out of my nose. I tried to explain that it was dripping “down” my nose, and that I didn’t have slime “inside me,” as some of them had begun to speculate. But they would not be persuaded. And when I left, through the gauntlet of gleeful children, dripping but unbowed, I expected that the Adventure Ocean Manager would grant me a little leeway to prepare for the afternoon activity, as he was well aware that I had only one pair of uniform track pants, and he could see himself that my hair would need shampooing.

“I’m going to need a shower,” I said.

On account of his silence, I expected the worst. But I did not expect he would send a second incident report to you.

Mr. Levinson, I put on the jeans because I didn’t have an extra pair of track pants, and because, while I knew that the jeans are against regulations, often we wear them during AO “You Be the Youth Staff” theme sessions. The children had seen me in them before. They had seen me in jeans many, many times before. So when I entered the dining room to eat lunch, before the afternoon activity, I did not expect to cause any uproar. Mr. Levinson, the children had seen me in jeans before. Jeans, in fact, are the pants they most admire on me. I had asked them. I said, “Do you like what I have here?” And I pointed right down at my jeans. And they all said yes, Mr. Levinson. Every single one of those fair children said yes. Some, even, had begun to refer to me in their humble, bright-eyed way, as “Pants.”

Please forgive me,

Andrés Martin

Andrés Martin is superstitious.