If you’re like most people, you had no idea that today is National Something On A Stick Day. And why would you, unless perhaps you’re a connoisseur of state fair fare, in which case you’ve likely sampled numerous stick-toppers, from the traditional (corn dogs and cake pops) to the outrageous (Spamsicle, anyone? Bueller?). 

The National Day Calendar tells us today is “a food holiday that lets you use your creative talents,” and points out that “once you get started, the possibilities are endless!” While I have no doubt that’s true, I seem to be the one person who has, for the past five years, spent this day not reveling in the culinary possibilities, but feeling a deep, painful yearning that most will never understand. 

You see, I long not for chocolate-dipped bacon on a stick, or even deep-fried balls of butter on a stick, but rather something inedible. 

What is this elusive thing that my heart desires? 

A ship on a stick. I mean, just feast your eyes on this beauty. 

Clearly, so beautiful an Objet d’art will not be appreciated by all. But those of you who’ve sailed on a Carnival cruise ship will recognize it as that elusive reward given out to the few, the proud… the trivia winners. 

Or the dudes who win the hairy chest contest. 

The point is, you can’t simply purchase a ship on a stick, it must be earned. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true, as you can find a bunch of them on e-Bay, being auctioned off like the red-headed wench on Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride before she morphed into a more politically correct pirate.

During my last cruise on the Carnival Sunrise, I practically stalked the poor entertainment staff. Every time they hosted trivia, I was there, drink in one hand, miniature answer-writing pencil in the other. Granted, there were some trivia sessions I just flat-out wasn’t going to win. I freely admit to knowing nothing about geography, what with being widely known for saying things like “I’m going up to Florida”… which is a really, really, really long drive from my native New Jersey.  

I also didn’t have much chance at the country music trivia, although I’d hoped that the friends I brought along could help, what with being self-professed fans of that genre. As I am still ship-on-a-stick free, you can guess how well that went. We’re still friends, but they’re on thin ice. 

I was sure that the Friends trivia would be my jam. Surely, I could walk away a winner this time! But lemme tell you something… there are people out there who know some crazy minute stuff about that show! I mean, I was ready to scribble my answer to, “How many categories of towels does Monica believe exist? (That would be 11, thank you very much.) And of course, it was Yemen that Chandler told clingy Janice he was moving to. 

But dang it, I didn’t know that Chandler was the Friend who plucked Joey’s eyebrows for his headshots. And trust me when I say that in the cutthroat world of cruise ship trivia, one wrong answer can cost you the game… not to mention the object of my obsession.

So, to paraphrase the bathroom graffiti of my youth… 

Here I sit, broken hearted
Lost at trivia before I started.

As of now, my next opportunity to try and win a ship on a stick will be in August (assuming the cruise industry is no longer being ravaged by coronavirus), when I sail the Carnival Spirit to Alaska. I’ll be going with several others, and my intent is to grill them in advance to find out what their areas of expertise might be. Ancient history? Useless to me. Political dynasties? Good for you, but… next! Musical hits of the 90s? Perfect, pull up a barstool next to me. 

Victory will be mine… eventually. 

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