Joe Fonebone has apparently been flattened by a steam roller

By Andy Yemma

It’s a fine day in Funchal, on the Portuguese Island of Madeira, off the coast of Morocco.

I, Fester Bestertester, and my best bud Karbunkle, stumbled upon a STEAMROLLER! A real, honest-to-goodness steam roller! Powered by steam once-upon-a-time.

Upon closer examination we found that our pal, Joe Fonebone, has apparently been flattened by said steamroller! “We must get Joe to a hospital,” I, Bestertester, said emphatically. So we folded him up like a phone book (who also remembers those?) and headed off to hospital.

Joe Fonebone, flattened by a steamroller in Funchal, Madeira
Joe Fonebone, flattened by a steamroller in Funchal, Madeira

On the way we passed the “Nearsighted Strongman’s Club.” And as you might guess, if you ever read the Don Martin comics in Mad Magazine in the 1960s, one appeared. He took one look at poor Fonebone, judged him to be a phone book, and, well, the rest is left to your imagination. 

In real life, my brothers and I grew up on Mad Magazine, as well as National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, Steve Martin, Blues Brothers, Bill Murray, Christmas Vacation, you name it. One of my brothers, Mark, was here a few months back on a trans-atlantic crossing and discovered this steam-age gem on a hilltop park adjacent to the cruise terminal. It’s only a short climb up some steep steps, and the steamroller it neatly tucked away in a corner near the kids’ playground.

I needed to “up the game.”

Scenic view on Madeira
Scenic view on Madeira

Sometimes when you’re traveling the world you need to have some imagination. There’s only so much of the Crusades, medieval heads on pikes, hot flaming pokers of the Inquisition, slave trade in the Azores, that you can handle in one day.

That’s where Joe Fonebone comes in.

On, and by the way, Madiera is a fine island! Nice wines and cheese and other culinary delights. So lush that almost any crop grows here, from bananas to grape wines. 

We are 2/3rds through a transatlantic crossing, NYC to Barcelona, on the Regent Seven Seas Grandeur, a swell ship with a lot of unruly passengers in their 70s, 80s, even 90s. Just like Don Martin would have liked.Salut! Cheers! Safe travels.