Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

When the whole world seemed to slip into flip flops, I kept my toes together. A few times, I tried partitioning them with leather, rubber and velvet to be stylish, but was miserable.

I finally accepted the truth that my toes travel best as a family unit.

But I never imagined that flip flops could spark violence – blisters, certainly – but a mass brawl aboard a Carnival Cruise ship?

In case you missed this real news story, an extended family of 23 cruisers turned into bruisers after one man stepped on another’s flip flop. According to spectators, the flip flop stomper apologized, but a verbal fight followed. Ugly words turned into ugly fists and feet. The ship’s security officers jumped in and kicked and threw a few punches of their own.

It reminds me of rowdy road trips with little kids when backseat bickering breaks out and the driver inevitably shouts,

“Don’t make me stop this car!”

The Carnival’s captain must have made a similar threat – “Don’t make me stop this boat!” – because, indeed, he made an unscheduled stop in Eden, Australia, to boot off the brawlers. Passengers cheered as the family walked down the gangplank and into the hands of authorities.

I’m not sure what the charges, if any, will be. Wearing flip flops while intoxicated? Acting stupid? That’s certainly not a crime or Washington, D.C., would be a ghost town.

I’ve tried to make sense of this nutty behavior aboard a 10-day cruise that’s billed as the ultimate relaxation vacation. I can understand, sort of, family members coming to blows over great-grandma’s heirloom diamond brooch or the deed to the family chateau. But a fistfight over a flip flop is unbelievable in this venue – a floating fairyland dripping with chocolate fountains, 8-foot-tall castles sculpted from ice and eat-‘til-you-pop-and-drop buffets.

Clearly, flip flops are dangerous footwear as I’ve suspected for years. On land or sea, I won’t be stepping out in them because I would accidentally step out of them and cause a ruckus.

If I take another cruise, I plan to wear sensible combat boots with steel toes with my swimsuit.

And leave my 20 family members on shore.