Jewish World Review Dec. 2, 2002 / 27 Kislev, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

High-seas adventure would enlist few takers today | So here it is, a once-in-a-lifetime-offer (telephone operators are standing by!): a trans-Atlantic voyage for the entire family. Adventure, excitement and suspense on the high seas like you never dreamed possible. Look at those phone lines lighting up!

What must you do to sign up, caller? Our New World travel guide says the first order of business is to draw up your will. Seriously. Write your will, then sell all your worldly goods. This is no adventure for arm-chair quarterbacks. As a vested partner in this daring excursion, you will help bankroll the charter boat and entire crew. You'll also need to outlay some cash for supplies. We suggest flour and sea-biscuits, gunpowder and firearms.

What's that, caller? The supply list doesn't sound like the Carnival cruise you took with Kathie Lee? You'd like information about the ship? Well, you should probably know it doesn't have a motor. It's a sailing vessel. The ship's master and his officers are respectable men. They believe there's a good chance the ship will reach its destination, but in all honesty, there is a chance it may lurch and reel and bust apart in the clench of a raging storm.

Hello, line four. You want to know about the crew? You've heard those brawny, cursing fellas are threatening to throw sick passengers overboard? Ignore them, caller. They won't hurt anybody as long as you keep your eye on them. Don't go to sleep and don't get sick.

Callers, all lines are busy, but keep trying. Right now we have nearly 100 passengers signed up and there's still room for more! As for the demographics, almost half of the booked passengers are male, in their mid-twenties. Eighteen passengers are women, two of whom are expecting, and there will be about 30 children on board.

Excuse me, caller? You're a travel agent and you want to know about group activities? Ma'am, due to the intensity of the trip, prayer and scripture reading will be the only organized events. The limbo contest was a rumor.

Accommodations? Bunks and hammocks or you can sleep in the shallop stowed on the gun deck. The cabins are dark and dank and the ventilation system isn't up to code. Frankly, the stench has been known to make more than a few sea dogs lose lunch, but this isn't about comfort, people, it's about challenge.

Smoke-free rooms? Afraid not, caller. You will find that once you reach your destination and settle in, this is going to be a very pro-tobacco group.

What does the destination point offer? Excellent question, caller. Your destination will offer cold, hunger, scurvy, sickness, death, trials, tribulation, tests of faith and the challenge of survival.

What's that, line two? You want to know when you'll get the million dollars? Callers, for the last time, this is not a Survivor audition and there is no cash prize! What we are offering here is an opportunity to make history by sailing on the Mayflower.

Yes, caller. You want to know what's in it for you?

Freedom, callers! Freedom of religion! Freedom to worship the Creator without fear of imprisonment and without government controls. Freedom to pray in the house of worship of your choice without oppressive mandate regarding altars, candles, incense and rituals This destination offers the freedom to talk about the Divine without being muzzled by your government, workplace, marketplace or school. Yes, this is a place were you will be free to end a conversation with God bless you and post the Ten Commandments in the Town Square. That's a powerful freedom worth some substantial risks, right callers?

Callers? Hello? Callers?

Operators are standing by. All lines are open.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman