I loved you, gratis smorgasbord, and look what you have done. The agony of my inflated abdomen is too much to endure. I’ve consumed antacid tablets by the handful and found no relief in their soothing mintiness. A laborious walk around the shuffleboard courts helped no-thing. A trip to the privy only worsened my condition. I’ve em-ployed glasses of bi-carbonate, cool rags to the forehead, heat compresses on my midriff, and supine positioning—all to no avail. There is no end to my misery nigh. I see only one solution: Will somebody please lance my bloated gut?

Never again will I fill past full on complimentary double tequila sunrises. Never again feast to surfeit upon the seafood salad with the tempting shell macaroni and meticulously diced celery! Never again glut myself with cocktail weenies swimming in sauce! No more teeny tacos and seven-layer salad. Imitation crab roll-ups, you are my nemesis. Cheese and crackers—no and never! Oh, evil poolside bar. Happy hour, you are so ironically named!

If no one will relieve my tribulation, then push my reclining deck chair to the luxurious Scandinavian Dawn’s edge and roll me over. I will bounce and bob like an apple until some barracuda, my finned agent of compassion, mercifully heeds my call of distress. My God, why have you forsaken me? If there is a power in the heavens above, I beseech you—though I cannot lower myself to my knees—please be clement and alleviate this pressure in my belly.

You stare up at me with your pimento pupils yet, green olives? Oh, bacon- wrapped water chestnut, you beckon me forward but I shall not heed the call. The many colors of Muenster, Cheddar, Swiss and Colby... so alluringly patchworked on the plate. How could I have resisted you? I am but a man. Still the ambrosia bubbles in the fondue pot! The fruit tray burgeons with tantalizing strawberries and extravagant kiwi, orange slices complementing the exotic mangos. Just hours ago I cried, “More little eggrolls on toothpicks, more individual cheesecake cups! You sluggish costumed servant, bring more!” Now the unceasing pain in my inflated paunch is so great, I wish only to die.

These five days and four nights on the definitive Funline cruiser were to be a dream realized, but instead the temptation of unlimited resources and the luxury of unoccupied hours upon the open sea have brought on this odious, hypertumescent state. I could approximate the worth of the food items I have consumed and subtract them from the cruise package ticket price, surely finding that I have come out in the advantage, but what have I gained? The quest for bargain is my Achilles heel. Remove those napkin- wrapped drumsticks from your purse, my lovely wife, and let us call it a miserable defeat.