In the Sunday newspaper a fellow reported all the way from Angkor Wat about something any landlubber who's been on Lake Ogleton can appreciate.
He was perched atop a high ceremonial staircase in the ancient Cambodian city when he looked down, was overtaken by dizziness and felt he'd fall into the abyss.
That only proves seasickness exists the world around and isn't even dependent on water.
A principal rule of seasickness is Don't Look Down, because down is where the trouble is. The only place trouble isn't is in the sky, where things are normal, or on rock-solid shore if you can see that far. And never go inside the cabin for anything.
Anyone can get seasick, even the most grizzled blue-water captain. Many haven't been yet, which is nice for them, but there's no one who,under the right circumstances, won't feel dizzy and hot-flash sweaty while sinking into the abysmal abyss.
Take that from one who goes upon the water where he can and who looks at every wave, every round-bottomed vessel and every threatening storm cloud with the knowledge of the misery it might hold.
Take it from one who felt his extremities numb, his brow damp and his thinking feverish last week on his thousandth or worse water voyage, and who looked around with the practiced eye of one who knows shame and found the lee rail, to which he repaired with a roar and a spray.
Seasickness: bane of Spanish soldiers en route to the Sahara, crammed in a troop ship where the steel reverberates with gurgling moans; humbler of the roughest motorcyclists, crossing the Irish Sea for the Isle of Man races; destroyer of Caribbean cruises and sweet, floating love trysts.
Physiologically, seasickness is the result of imbalance in the inner ear, but realistically it's caused by finding oneself on an aqueous roller coaster that owns no logic. The body reacts crazily to total craziness.
It's said that seafarers get used to the roll, and it's a fact that in 76 years, mostly on the water, old Tom, mate on Captain Orlando Bunting's Ocean City headboat, found himself sick only twice.
"Once," said he, "when I was a little kid."
The other time?
"Two weeks ago on this very boat. Got me again."
No one's safe, but there are things to do to avoid Neptune's Revenge.
Landlubbers putting to sea want to ride comfortably in a stuffy cabin, breeding ground for the sea-bug. Smart veterans stay out in the breeze when seasickness threatens, no matter how cold or wet.
Stretching out on deck or chair helps. So does training the eyes on some land site that remains unwavering, just to let the mind know all is not chaos.
Stay in the least rolly part of the vessel, generally the stern. But stay away from diesel- or gas- engine fumes, which roll aboard in a following breeze with their own nauseating effect.
Know your boat, which is to say check the vessel's direction relative to the wind and identify the lee side. That's the side the wind blows away from, instead of onto, and where you'll go when you make your run.
Never, when time expires, race for the head because it will either be occupied by others in your state, leaving you green and defenseless, or it will have been used by others in your state, making your state worse.
There are over-the-counter drugs, notably Dramamine and Bonine, which, if taken an hour or so before departure, can calm the unruly stomach, but they create drowsiness and can take the joy out of a trip you might not have been sick on anyway. I always get aboard and wait to see if it's going to be bad enough to require a pill. Then if it is, it's too late. Great system.
Doctors prescribe a patch to wear like a Band- Aid behind the ear, which releases scopolamine through the skin and is said to calm the beast. A number of users report significant success with the patches. But they don't always work. A fellow on a headboat out of Lewes, Delaware, tried some and gave a critique.
"I put one on last week and got sick as a dog," he said.
"Do you normally have a problem with seasickness?"
"No, not really."
"Well, why are you wearing one now?"
"The prescription cost $24. I gotta use 'em."
The real truth is that there isn't much you can do about seasickness but sit back and despise it. At least it's over when you regain land.
That reasoning is harder for folks facing long sea journeys. They say the first seasick day they feel as though they're going to die. By the second day, they wish they would..