Sad Birthdays and Forgotten Lyrics


Enjoying our last day at sea together.

This day was spent heading back to Miami’s port after an amazing cruise through the Caribbean. And really, out of all of the days, this one was one of the most difficult for a couple of reasons.

First of all, this was a very lazy day for us. We didn’t do much other than relax and lounge around a bit…feeling both a bit anxious and a bit sad about having our trip ending the following day. I, however, was feeling more nervous than anything else.

What?  Why nervous?

Well…remember how I said I had auditioned for a role in the Carnival Legends show as Elton John?  For a guy who normally thrives on getting up in front of a crowd, I was really scared for this one. The biggest problem wasn’t getting up in front of 500 people (or however many filled the Amber Show Palace on the Carnival Glory).  The biggest problem was that I had to sing “Crocodile Rock” and, quite frankly, I really didn’t like the song very much before this cruise and didn’t know it at all.  I spent a couple hours that afternoon trying to memorize the song in my room with Sunshine, and kept flubbing my lines and making myself even MORE nervous.

I’m a guy who can do anything in the world if he is confident in what he does.  However, much like writing exams back in university, if I’m even slightly nervous about my ability to do something or not quite 100% confident, then my mind goes blank.

So I was pretty much a wreck all afternoon, making myself crazy about this performance.  I just wanted to put on the best show out of anybody (especially in front of Sunshine and dad) but after rehearsal earlier in the day (a 2-hour rehearsal, at that), I realized that almost everybody else not only could sing REALLY well but most knew their words, too.


So that was weighing heavily on my mind all day.  In addition to that, my dad’s birthday was also weighing heavily on my mind.  He turned 65 on this day and it was a very bittersweet moment for him.

Sunshine started off by giving him a hug at breakfast and wishing “the old man”  happy birthday.  He chuckled and then got choked up.  Y’see, this was his first birthday alone after mom passed away in February…and while he had been doing good most of the cruise (except for a few moments here and there), this day was really tough on him because they both would have been 65 together.

I can only imagine how tough this day was for him, where he would have been married 45 years in April (due to be another extremely difficult time for him) and having to spend special dates without his life partner going forward.

Happy birthday dad.

At supper my little brother had arranged for the waiters to sing “Happy Birthday” to dad.  While he was smiling and was appreciative of the gesture, he still began to cry a bit after blowing out the candles.  It was so difficult watching him so I just kept staring intently at him…wanting to make sure he was okay.  One of the great folks who had dined with us all week happened to see me staring and mentioned how awesome it was to see the love we show for dad.  That started getting me a little choked up because I then started to think about mom and how she would have LOVED to have been here for this.

Our last dinner on board the ship: 03-19-11

Once supper was over, I attended one more trivia game with the family and then head backstage to get ready for my performance.  I was NERVOUS.  I then put on my Elton John costume and while a bit confident in how I looked, I really didn’t feel confident in my knowledge of the song…and that led to me being more and more nervous.  I was a WRECK by the time the show started.

“James Brown” was on first. He was pretty darn entertaining.  Of course he knew the words because there’s only ten words in “I Feel Good”…jeez. And then”Aretha Franklin” got up onstage and she was incredible. I definitely got the sense that she had done this before.

Then it was MY turn…

My debut as Elton John

I played it up as best I could, but once I got on the microphone I went blank.



Once the performance was over, I really felt terrible.  Sure, I had gotten a nice ovation and the crowd seemed to love the outfit…but I am my own worst critic and I skewered myself.  The fellow guests backstage didn’t care, though…they high-fived me and said that it was really entertaining.  I tried to feign happiness but my immediate reaction was utter disappointment.

Right after me were two of the “Fun Patrol” (i.e. crew members responsible for running the activities on board the ship) singing “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher. The tall skinny guy played Cher and a woman got on her knees to play Sonny.  The good news for me was that they were terrible (lol). They couldn’t sing and forgot their words, too…and that made me feel a bit better.

A young woman playing Britney Spears came up next and pretty much rocked singing “Hit Me Baby One More Time”.  She even got back-up dancers! It was quite entertaining.  Up next was Madonna singing “Like a virgin” with MALE dancers in mesh shirts and bootie shorts (lol). Then came Garth Brooks doing “Friends In Low Places”.  He wasn’t that great, either…which made me feel a bit better.  Is that wrong?

Up next was (I think) Gloria Estafan doing “Rhythm is Gonna Getcha”. She looked ridiculous but sounded great and remembered all of her words.  Then they had the illusionist who had done his magic show earlier in the cruise play Ricky Martin singing “Livin’ La Vida Loca”.  He remember most of the words but couldn’t really sing.  And then there was Elvis singing a medley of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog”.  Dude drank all day and wrote the lyrics down on his hand…so when he posed and sang, most people didn’t realize he was reading the words because of his sunglasses (Sunshine could tell, but she was in the front row).

The show finished up with Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and he was really great. We all came out on stage during the song and ended up doing our final bows to the crowd before heading out to the lobby area to take a cast photo…

Carnival Glory Legends: 03-19-11
"Elton" & a fan

Then something weird happened…people wanted to take pictures with me.  I know I was dressed up fairly odd, but I didn’t expect anybody to really care.  But no…here they actually wanted to take pictures with some dude from Canada dressed as Elton John!!  Well, at this point I began thinking about mom again and how she would have LOVED to have seen this.  And really…I’m sure she was looking down on us from above and smiling.

And of course, I just HAD to take pictures with Sunshine (I think she enjoyed me in this costume almost as much as I did…lol).

Ahhh yes...Sunshine with her Elton John. I may have been playing it up for pictures a bit...
Guess who found a piano??
C'mon...don't act like you're not impressed!

Okay…you’ve seen the pictures, you’ve read the story.  Now since you’re all the way at the bottom of the page, you’re now going to get rewarded (or abused…depending on your reaction).

Against my better judgment, here is the video of me performing “Crocodile Rock” as Elton John.  Again…I totally realize that I flubbed the words (and though you can’t hear it, the crowd was TOTALLY singing the “la la la” part), so please be gentle in your comments:

Y’know, looking back I don’t think I allowed myself to enjoy the whole performance until after the show was over. I really was too hard on myself. Sure I forgot the words, but I still think I entertained people.  Having said that, I totally was a do-over of the performance.  I’ve been singing that damn song in my head for two straight weeks now and know every line by heart.  So I guess I’ve either found a new song to perform at karaoke or I’ve got even more incentive to go back on another cruise and do this again.

We had one last towel animal in our room one the night had ended.  It was simple, it was cool, and it capped off a very impressive week of towel animal fun by our room steward.

The towel snake.

Tomorrow’s post is the trip back home, reflections, and the possibility of a “Blogger Cruise”!  Until then…


8 thoughts on “Sad Birthdays and Forgotten Lyrics

  1. Ok, that’s awesome! Ha! The show must go on man! It takes mucho huevos to get on stage much less to sing up there. You did good. Give yourself a break.

    The pics are fabulous too. You really rocked that outfit. 🙂

    I’m sure your dad enjoyed the hell out of it too.

    1. T, *EVERYONE* loved it! He did great!!

      What he failed to mention is that NO ONE did a perfect job. The whole point was to just get up there and have fun. It was totally the most entertaining show all week.

  2. Oh please, as someone who has sat thru countless of these shows (ok – 15) you totally rocked it! I prefer these shows (passenger shows) to the “professional” ones cuz it takes huge balls to get up there – something I for one, have never done. Way to go, I loved it!

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