The Chair

November 21, 2008 -

John Heald

Life was much easier when man lived in caves. We spent the day pulling women around by the hair, hunting, drawing on the walls and crapping in the corner. There were no forced trips to IKEA, no bollockings for leaving underwear on the bathroom floor or being asked “Do you still love me?” every Wednesday. I am sure that cavemen did not have to endure the annoying sales calls (I had two yesterday) unless they were cave-to-cave salesmen selling new clubs with better grip with which to smack your lady over the head with should she refuse you rumpy pumpy. Well, us men still need “our cave” even today. But modern society and the female species will do their best to take this away from us………………………and that’s why we must have “man space.”

I haven’t been at home most of this year and I was horrified that when I arrived on Tuesday that Heidi had moved my “man space”………………the only bit I have in the whole house……………..my chair. This is the most important thing in the house as far as I am concerned. It was placed in the perfect position to give me the best view of the television, nothing was blocking the view and if anything ever did I would kick it out of the way. That’s the law. If something is blocking your view of the TV you must kick it out of the way. Wives, pets, grandmothers and small children………..none shall escape the boot. …………this is not that feng shui bollocks…………..this is man shui.

Anyway, Heidi had moved my chair because her Mum was living with her while I was traveling and she wanted it in another position……………no, no, no………that is one of the most important man rules………..nobody sits in the chair but you!

Having rumpy pumpy with another man’s wife is unacceptable but sitting in his chair is a far worse crime.

Heidi had also committed another crime. Not only had she allowed others to sit in my chair but she had decorated it with ……………and some of you may want to look away or have a bucket standing by in which to collect the vomit………………………….Heidi had decorated MY chair with cushions……………yes………………..fluffy brown cushions.

PAUSE TO VOMIT

How dare her. This is my chair and I cannot sit there and deliver sermons and opinions on things (usually speaking only to the TV as nobody else bothers listening to what I have to say) I know bugger all about from a sea of cushions………..my chair looks as manly and butch as Richard Simmons’ underwear drawer. I remember my Dad’s chair from which he would lean down from and give me a good clip round the ear when I was naughty.

This is the piece of furniture that wives and partners hate the most…………..which makes it even more important……….I am sure even Angelina Jolie gets annoyed at Brad’s chair.

And so it was because of this that Heidi and I had our first row since I returned home. She doesn’t seem to understand that it is where we men relax, unwind and put the world to rights from. Take a man’s chair away from him and chaos reigns. Look at newsreaders these days…………….they have been feminized by having to read the news standing up or perched on the end of the desk. My chair has also been feminized. I mentioned the girly cushions and they are not the worst thing……………..nope…………….that title goes to the awful scented candles that surround my throne.

They smell of vanilla and are, according to Heidi, “romantic” and “set a relaxed mood” …………well, we shall see how the scent survives after I have eaten a curry this evening.

In tandem with a man’s chair is the other most important piece of Man Shui…………….and that, of course, is the remote control. I never have time to watch TV onboard but here at home…………..in my chair………….the remote is mine. It is my third arm.

In cave-dwelling, days a man would never be seen without a spear in his hand. The spear has been replaced by the remote control. If I lose the remote control, I spend hours rummaging and turning over everything in the house like something from CSI………I could of course change the channel by walking over to the TV and doing it manually ………… but that is illegal…………..the remote must be found.

Forget Lorraine Bobbitt………….the best way to castrate a man is to take away the remote. It really is the worst sort of thing you can do to a man which………………..is why women love it. There are so many things I love to watch at the same time and for Heidi to deny me the opportunity of this should be illegal as it is immoral. They don’t understand why you have to have it………………….why?…………….Well…………let me explain.

You need the remote so you can flick through all 150 channels pausing for no longer than 1.5 seconds on each…………..unless you see a nice bottom………….or sport.

Women just don’t understand.

Here’s Big Tex with his second installment from the Carnival Fantasy.

11/20/08

We’re back in New Orleans having just completed another successful five day voyage to Mexico. This morning as people were going back home, everyone was full of compliments as they stepped off the gangway. Well, almost everyone. As usual, there were a few people who were certain there was a better way to do things. Perhaps, we could have one big door where everyone could step off at the same time. That way, no one would get to be first and no one would have to be last. But as my Grandmother says, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself…wait…was that my Grandmother or Rick Nelson. Either way, it holds true.

Shortly, I’ll head off the ship for a couple of hours to do the something I’ve been dreaming about for the last two weeks. I’m going to eat some BBQ. In all honesty, “eat” is probably a bit of an understatement. I’m going to DEVOUR some BBQ. Envision the scene where the lions catch the antelope on the National Geographic Channel.

I’ve found a place in New Orleans that makes the best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten. It’s tender, sweet, and you can literally taste the calories as you ingest it. In fact, each delicious fork full is like an angel hugging your tongue. Now, I’m sure that some of you think I’m way too excited about this, but to be fair…OK…I am too excited about this, but give me a chance to explain.

For those who have cruised with me recently you may be aware that there is less of me. In fact, over the last seven months, I’ve lost 70 pounds. I’m happy with my decision to lose the weight, and I’m planning to lose 40 or 50 more, but it hasn’t come without sacrifice. I’ve given up food (I can’t tell you how much I miss things like fried chicken and gravy), I’ve given up fun (it’s been months since I’ve had a cocktail or a beer), I’ve given up time (I go to the gym six days a week, two hours a day) and I’ve given up money (buying new clothes is neither cheap nor fun). As I said, I’m glad I’ve done it, and I still have more to do…but it ain’t easy.

Losing weight takes some getting used to. One of the things I’ve found difficult is coming up with new and funny material. Since I’ve lost the weight (by no means am I what you would call “skinny”) my fat jokes just don’t have the same punch as they used to.

Another thing that takes some getting used to is people’s reaction to me. Most people have been very complimentary about the weight loss. But, I suppose as a work related hazard, people feel completely comfortable saying to me whatever is on their mind. As such, comments have ranged from “Are you sick?” to “You were much funnier when you were fatter!” to “We were here last year and you were a land whale!”

I digress, back to the BBQ…

All in all, the trip to the BBQ joint is therapeutic and necessary. For you see, what’s the point of losing weight to live longer, if you’re not really going to do some living.

I hope wherever you are, that you’re doing some living as well. As for me, I’m off to get drunk on meat and enjoy all things porcine. It’s time to let those wonderful folks do that voodoo that they do. Here are some shots from the Fantasy as she is docked in the Port of New Orleans.

a-view-of-the-crescent-city-connection-from-the-deck-of-the-fantasy
A view of the Crescent City Connection from the deck of the Fantasy…

e280a6and-downtown-new-orleans-from-the-water-park
…and Downtown New Orleans from the water park.

Until tomorrow,

Tex (the sick, unfunny, former land whale)

Thanks mate………….have you got any photos of your football playing days. The Carnival Fantasy sounds great and we are all excited to see you and the Evolutions of Fun when we board in February.

Well, the press release went out for the two Bloggers Cruises on the Carnival Dream and I know many of you are excited about sailing. Lets hope we can all be together again at the end of next year. I saw the final gift for the February Bloggers Cruise today and I have to say……………..it’s ummmmm…………..well…………actually, I am speechless ……………you will be as well when you see it.

And, of course, there is the Carnival Valor when – from late February until mid-April – I will be a full-blown cruise director. I will be aboard the ship for the first time and I can’t wait. Over the next few weeks I will be highlighting some of the ports we will visit ……………..I won’t be with Heidi so I hope some of you will come and sail with me.

I saw that I have lots of questions to answer again and I promise to do those on Monday. Please keep them coming and if you feel you need my help I remain at your service.

Heidi is doing well. On Monday we have her final blood test and then next month a scan which will reveal the sex of the Thingy if we decide to know. That is very much still up in the air and we shall see how we feel after the scan. I really want to know …………… Heidi remains undecided……………….I will obviously go with whatever she decides …………….not that I ever had a choice, of course. Some of you asked for photos and I will have these ready for Monday, as well.

Tonight, Alan and his wife are coming over for dinner. Heidi is cooking a chicken stir-fry. It will be great to see my mate again. He is a walking miracle……………..an ugly one……………..but still a miracle and we will spoil him tonight…………………no way is he sitting in my chair though.

Heidi hit me with a bombshell this morning as I munched on my porridge. I love porridge by the way…………especially in the winter…………….and it is quite cold here today and snow is expected on Saturday. This means the country will come to a standstill. The British people can survive being bombed by the Germans, the IRA, and Al Qaeda. We can survive foot and mouth and bonkers cow disease………………but put a light sprinkling of white powder on the ground and its total anarchy. The trains can’t run, power cuts happen nation-wide resulting in little old ladies having to eat their pets and keep warm by burning their next-door neighbors.

It was as we watched the Lovely Lisa Sky News’s beautiful Irish weather girl tell us winter was 24 hours away that Heidi nearly had me choking on my porridge……………she said “We won’t have chance again and this will be our last chance to have a holiday without the Thingy…………….let’s go on holiday.”

OK, I thought thinking we would get in the car and go to London for the weekend …………..or at worst we could hop on a P&O cruise for a few days from Southampton …………. ummmm………nope. Heidi wants to go to …………….The Maldives …………….for those who don’t know where that is……………it’s ummmm…………………a long bloody way.

We had a similar holiday in The Seychelles when we got engaged……and I hated it. It sounds like one of the most exotic places anywhere on earth, a collection of islands dotted over an area of the South Pacific that’s the same size as Europe. In reality it takes two forevers to get there and as soon as I did get there……..I wanted to bugger off again.

I want to make Heidi happy…………there is nothing more important to me than that …………..but I really can’t go through this hell again. Apart from the fact that there is no raspberry coverage for sure and that means no blogging and being out of touch with humanity…………………….there is absolutely nothing to do. I took Heidi there because I wanted to impress her and because I envisioned romantic nights of fresh lobster and rumpy pumpy on the beach……….and that happened………well……..the lobster bit anyway.

But that was 1997…………..I was young…………..and I looked good in a pair of Speedo’s wandering down the golden sands………………but I could never do it again.

At the airport, everyone from the flight attendant to the bus driver gave me a necklace of flowers so that by the time I arrived at the hotel and conference center, I looked like a Delta Force Sniper.

When we got there the first thing they wanted to know was, after they’d given me another necklace or two, was whether we would be coming to the restaurant or would we like the meal…………delivered to our room by canoe.

And therein lies the heart of the problem with all these pointy lumps of volcanic residue that were pretty much a secret until the jet engine came along. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Mauritius or the Maldives, Tahiti or the Seychelles. They are all the same: completely overdone.

All of them are advertised in the brochures with a picture of what I swear is the same palm tree. You must have seen it: the horizontal one, wafting its fronds gently over the turquoise waters and white sand of pretty well everywhere. Then there are the hotels, with their increasingly idiotic ways of giving you a taste of life on a tropical island.

This means sharing your bath with half a hundredweight of petals and finding your toilet roll folded into the shape of a rose every morning by your very own manservant. To complete the picture, the staff are dolled up in a ludicrous facsimile of what once, perhaps, might have been the national dress. Even the blokes had to wear skirts and they weren’t even Scottish or from South Beach, and to complete their humiliation they had to walk up and down the superheated sand all day in bare feet.

Unless, of course, they were trying to deliver a lobster salad, in a canoe, on a choppy sea, without letting it blow away or go cold or fall into the water. Small wonder they behaved like everything was too much trouble. Give the poor bastards some shoes, for crying out loud. And some pants.

Thinking that this sort of thing is giving you a taste of life on a tropical island is as silly as thinking you can get a taste of lamb from licking a sheep’s bottom. On a real tropical island, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, you have to smash your own teeth out with ice skates and talk to footballs, and there are insects, huge Hummer-type thingies with the head and upper torso of a fly and the rear end of a lion. I know many people long to visit places like this. Everywhere in the world seems to be so packed and so full of tourists ……………………..did you know they just opened a Starbucks on the Great Wall of China.

And there’s the thing. We dream the tropical dream. But we’re built to live in Ohio.

So, I have no idea what we are going to do. Heidi wants “one last holiday” before our lives “change forever”……….bloody hell are we having a Thingy or are we moving to Mars? Hopefully I can get away with a night in a posh hotel on December 6 …………….. our wedding anniversary……….a night in the Marriott London………………..or 10 days in the Maldives……….same thing………and I shall blame it on the credit crunch.

Talking of which I wrote to my “personal banker…………..or “relationship manager” as he is called at AIG, inviting him over for a chat. I am referring to the one who wrote to me yesterday saying he had invested my money in mini-discs, The Segway, NCL’s new series of ships and Vanilla Ice’s new album.

I’ll be happy to see how he likes being a prisoner in my spare room for a year or two.
I should imagine, after the daily doses of the cattle prod and being forced to watch The Home Shopping Network 24 hours a day and being fed nothing but fried yak poo, he’ll be fully rehabilitated and able to go back into the world of international finance ready to pay me and every other unfortunate sod he did business with all our money back …………. with interest…………..delivered by him…………in person……………..naked.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and the Thingy.

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.