Not a Moment Too Soon

June 10, 2011 -

John Heald

There are some people in this world that truly make me laugh. John Cleese, my mate Alan, Ricky Gervais and of course my beloved daughter Kye……………………oh and this chap here…………Entertainment Staff member Calvyn Martens.

Here is a guest blog written in his own “happy” style.

A great cruise director once told me that it was important to marinate in the moment in which I am living.  Now I must be honest and say he didn’t use the word “marinate,” it would be to ….…”artistic” for his liking and considering that he’s constantly wearing three day old underwear, he won’t be making bids at Christie’s art house any time soon.

He is right, however, at times I don’t live in the moment. I remember when I used to live in the moment. I remember being in the moment every second of my figure skating practice or my interpretive dance lessons in which my dad made me practice in the garage with the car running.

I remember when I used to live inside every moment when I was working at KFC. It was a job I remember fondly as it was KFC that instilled a great work ethic in me. I had just been fired from the local Dairy Queen which was ironic as I thought Dairy Queen was the mother ship calling me home and so going for an interview with KFC I was a bit gun-shy.  I really wanted KFC to like me enough to hire me so I thought what better way to secure my triumph then to bring up the word “chicken” as often as possible throughout the interview. It went something like this:

Tracy Vokins (Manager): How are you today, Calvyn?

Me: Just Clucky. (What does that even mean?)

TV: What is your best asset?

Me: My need for chicken. (This showed her I wasn’t a vegan)

TV: What is your weakness?

Me: Fried chicken basked in 12 ingredients. (This showed her my love of the KFC product)

TV: What do you do for fun?

Me: Chicken Catch. (LIE, but it showed her I was serious about my love of chicken)

TV: are you available weekends?

Me: Do chickens fly? (Trying to show her I was fluent in the behavioural habits of chickens)

TV: I… don’t really know.

Me: I’m available weekends. (Realizing I have absolutely no idea if they fly or not)

This launched my many years making above minimum wage,  as well working with all seniors when I was a junior was fantastic because I had no friends in high school (my mother once told me Rosemary had a better baby) and now I was having the cool seniors saying “hi” to me in the school hallways.  Because there was no need for me to advance or be promoted, it was easy to live in the moment. I can still remember my first car. I was suited up in my maroon (maroon is a deep red/purple for those of you who are not familiar with the color wheel) low thread count shirt and polyester pants dividing the two was my battery pack belt and I pressed the call button:

Me: Hello welcome to KFC my name is Calvyn with a Y how can I help you?

Car: Hey how many pieces come in a 10-piece meal?

Me: I think it’s nine, but let me go check. (I was already saving the company money)

Car: ‘k I’ll take that.

Me: Would you like any hot gravy for your fresh fries (I was not required to put in descriptive words, it was my version of the mint on the pillow).

Over the years I got very comfortable with my job. Sometimes I would tell customers that we were out of French fries, but we have German Fries standing at attention.  Other times I would convince the cars that we ran out of chicken, but we managed to get our hands on pigeon.  I always got in trouble for the pigeon prank, but it was so worth it because in the moment it was hilarious and who would really believe such RIDICULOUSNESS and complain about me? The one Latvian family that lived in my town, that’s who!

At present, I am still living by Tracy Vokins’ words “treat everybody how you want your mother to be treated” and I do… most of the time.  Take having a guest throwing their Sail & Sign card at me and telling me to go ______ myself. Well first of all, my mother would NEVER say such a thing, so in such a case I let my wit take over and simply state “That’s why I’m learning yoga.”

But at the end of every day on the ship, I dream of being something greater within the helm of Carnival Cruise Lines. I dream of taking the CD chair and leaving my mark on a ship. Dreaming is good, but it takes you out of the moment.  Sometimes I get so focused on advancing I become very intense, I forget to share a laugh with my team, or dance my interpretive dance – ‘The Lifecycle of a Leaf’ as if no one is watching.

So maybe what I will begin doing is do something every day that is just so ridiculous, I have no choice, but to be in the moment. Maybe tomorrow I will sneak into John Heald’s cabin and hide under his bed until he is sound asleep and then pull myself out with my arms and say repeatedly in a shaky Katherine Hepburn-esque voice “My legs! My legs! Give me back my legs!”

Have a “ridiculous” day.

Calvyn “Champagne” Martens

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.