My family and I were on a cruise ship, sitting in a public lounge waiting to jump on a little boat to take us to the island just off the ship’s port side. Usually the big cruise lines will dock at a pier so passengers can just walk off the boat, but sometimes (and this was one of those times) the massive vessel drops anchor in deeper water and ferries people back and forth to land. We were next in line to get on our boat when I realized I had left my sunglasses in the room. I wasn’t about to spend all day on a Caribbean island without them.
“I’ll be right back!” I shouted to my annoyed family and hurried back down the hallway.
On this day I happened to be wearing a goofy t-shirt—
“Happiness is Turkey” accompanied by a line drawing of the nation of Turkey. No, it doesn’t make sense but it’s funny to those of us with an absurdist sense of humor and appreciation for geographical hilarity.
On the way back to the room I passed a member of the crew, a middle eastern-y man with a friendly look to him. He stopped me and looked down at my shirt.
“Happiness is…Turkey???” he asked loudly in full-throated, accenty perplexation.
I gave a grin.
The man put his hand on my shoulder and leaned in, prodding, “Are you from Turkey sir?”
“Oh no…” I responded, smiling and looking at the floor. “It’s just a shirt.” I looked back up at him, a little embarrassed.
He slapped me on the back and waved his hand in a wide sweeping motion. “Happiness is everywhere my friend!!” he boomed, a wide grin filling his face. The man continued down the hallway, humming loudly as he went. I stood watching him walk away from me and knew that, in that instant, my shirt had been outdone.