Ramon and I got to be best of friends because the guests on my ship did not know what wasn't a buffet when they saw one. His galley was a buffet during the morning, but at night it was supposed to be closed, for him to prepare meals for a whole 'nother restaurant. I was a waiter who worked the section closest to his galley, so I would help him out by putting up stanchions so the general public might fuck off. We also spoke Spanish, him being a native of Mexico and me just being a kid who excelled at that in high school. I would give him his stanchions and get him some Cokes whenever he was thirsty. He would give me food. It wasn't just quid pro quo, though.

One night, things were going rather rough for me. I was weeded royally, out of iced tea concentrate, had guests needing my precious ashtrays. For that matter, I was halfway across the world from home, had no idea what the fuck I was doing with my life, and basically here because of what a cabbie I'd poured my heart out to had told me.

Thinking of all that, when I dropped a coffee cup and it shattered.

"Ramon! Todo mi vida es un chiste!" I yelled. My whole life is a joke.

Si, Ramon agreed.

We talked about the joke a lot after that, long into many nights on deck four aft. Finally, he said, la chiste de la vida, the joke of the life, is experience. I disagreed, I thought it was the lack thereof.

I would break many more coffee mugs, carrying them incorrectly, the same way I'd carried them before. I'm on vacation now, considering going back to the ship, though I don't know what the fuck I was there for. I am talking to the girl I couldn't share the same mass of land with.

I have the experience, but I might as well not. This is the joke of the life. Este es la chiste de la vida.

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