The Devil wears J.C. Penny

July 5, 2011 -

Guest Blogger

Rose Nylund from the Golden Girls once said, “Don’t sit too close the opera, it may spoil the effect.” For the most part that statement is entirely true. Oftentimes people meet their childhood heroes and expect them to be exactly like their public persona; however that is rarely the case.

Take for example my dinner with a rock star:

I had been working at the famed Vancouver design firm Chintz & Company and one of my clients was Canadian Rock Star Bif Naked. She is known for her over the top angry woman punk rock style. She had come into the firm to buy a complete table setting for a dinner party she was having. When she entered, the Vultures were circling. Because we worked on 100% commission, I had come to affectionately call all my co-workers, Vultures.

Duane: She’s mine.
Diana: You had her last time.
Duane: I have a rapport with her.
Diane: We don’t own clients.
Heather: Do you smell burnt toast?

Like I said as the Vultures circled, I decided to “accidentally” bump into her and find common ground. Well as anyone knows, my timing isn’t quite right and I missed her shoulder by a mile and ended up knocking over a stone statue of the Venus Goddess. Completely embarrassed and wanting the floor to open and swallow me up, I quickly began to kick the large pieces of stone into a pile. Bif Naked, began to help me with not one Vulture coming by to my rescue.

As we were sweeping up, we began talking and as we talked her bad girl image flushed away and what was left behind was this great girl named Beth Hopkins a woman who didn’t drink, did yoga, and was a complete vegan who was in bed by eight every night. Not at all what I expected and as we chose out her complete table setting complete with permanent botanicals and an appointment to come by her apartment the next week to discuss Swarovski wallpaper I realized that I had pre-judged her by her public image and I was wrong.

When I first heard John Heald was going to the Carnival Fantasy last May at the same time I was going to be there, I was a little scared. Did this mean I was going to have to shave every day and tuck my shirt in and worse yet, get rid of my yellow watch? Was he going to be this hot headed man who struts down the promenade and orders people around? Would he come with his own manicurist and private vegan chef? How do I make the best possible impression on the senior cruise director when he probably won’t even remember my name? All these questions made me feel like I was a guest on the Phil Donahue show. I laid awake the night before his arrival to figure out the best laid plan to impress this obvious pretentious man who travels with his private back waxer?! There are stone statues along the promenade so maybe I can break one of those when he is nearby. Or maybe I could tell him about my worst birthday ever when my pony dropped dead and one kid had to sit on him while the rest of us dragged it around in a circle.

In the end; however, I just decided to be myself and the first thing he said to me was “I hate yellow” and I immediately took my watch off.

In the end, my fears were unfounded. It turned out there was no entourage. There was no back waxer, manicurist, or vegan chef, nor would I ever find John in the downward dog yoga position ….… ever! John is gentle and kind, true I don’t like hearing about his bathroom habits, or his underwear; however, it is a small price to pay to be able to call John my friend.

In these two examples, I guess sitting close to the opera would not spoil the effect because my perception was worse than the reality and that is a good thing!

– Calvyn Champagne Martins

Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

26 Responses to The Devil wears J.C. Penny

  1. Valdian says:

    Very good! Thanks for posting. I was missing this blog thingy!!!

  2. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:

    Hey Calvyn…..

    True…very true !!

    (and written VERY well)

    Linda (Mom of DJ)

  3. Michelle mann says:

    Thanks calvyn. I know i shouln’t but keep laughing about the poor kid on the donkey. So funny. I didn’t quite get to meet my lovely boys from Take That this week but i did manage to grab three of them (not at the same time)during the evening at wembly and that certainly lived up to my expectations!!!

  4. Henrietta Lala says:

    Very well done. One would think you had taken English lit. at university. The dead pony bit was particularly delightful imagery, been there done that, but with an ex-husband. Thanks for the contribution.

  5. debbie marino says:

    Brilliant Calvyn and thank you for your insight. Your writing is very good and I would definetly read your blog if you ever consider writing one! I truely hope to sail with you as my CD one day soon! Peace, Debbie

  6. Marivonne says:

    We WANT John back!!

  7. Laura Capano says:

    Calvyn, good post. John is a great guy and you are doing a good job doing the blog. I like your analogy. Personally, I will always remember that the beaver is Canada’s national animal. Loved you on the Magic’s May 22 cruise. Hope to see you again. Bye

  8. Calvyn –

    First of all, I love the name – particularly your middle name.

    As to your blog – bravo. I too found John to be a wonderful individual even if he did back on our Transatlantic cruise. However, given the circumstances at the time, I have forgiven him.

    We have been lucky enough to see him again at the Philadelphia event that Carnival held a few years ago – once again, he was the engaging, funny, irreverent individual that comes through in his blog, yet serious when he must be (like when the crowd in Philadelphia got out of hand. Go figure, a Philadelphia crowd getting out of hand.)

    I am proud to call John a friend. Now if I can only get him to schedule a bloggers cruise for sometime other than the first part of the month, I could possibly partake of the event.


  9. Judy S. says:


    • Jes says:

      how could you say it was boring…. the pony story itself was hilarous, and the lead up to his nerves at meeting John was great!

  10. Cathy W says:

    Ha ha, John with a vegan chef – that’s rich! 😉

  11. Riley says:

    Funniest. Guy. Ever. End of story

  12. Shelly B. says:

    How sweet. Watching you two on the magic morning show was hilarious. It’s nice to know the back story.

    p.s. me and the ladies in our group still laugh from hearing your birthday pony story. Glad you were a part of the entertainment staff.

  13. Thanks for filling in Calvyn! Jumbo sends his regards!

  14. Lizz Mehegan says:

    Not bad…


  15. Steve O says:

    Hi Calvyn,

    I met you on that Fantasy trip out of Mobile last May. Great trip. That was my second “John” cruise….you’re right, he is gentle and kind…..I do, however, LOVE hearing about his underwear and poor Ketut.

    Hope you’ll still be on the Magic in October for the TA…I look forward to seeing you again. I’ll be looking for the guy with the yellow watch 🙂

    Steve O

  16. Rev Barb in Canada eh? says:

    Good job, Calvyn. You should have your own blog – or do you?

  17. Sharon says:

    Great job and great lesson learned!

  18. Jes says:

    Well written, hope you are chosen to do one of the FB pages, I’d ready your posts. I could so envision you and your friends pulling the poor pony around for improved pony rides.

  19. Loretta says:


  20. April says:

    Sounds as if John is rubbing off on you—
    Cheers and thanks for the laugh too
    PS I like yellow but it isn’t my favorite color—–

  21. Annie says:

    Calvyn I just reread your post searching for something negative that I could shout out about but couldn’t find a thing. I really love John and am looking so forward to doing the BC5.I have been fortunate enough to have sailed on 3 out the 4 previous bloggers cruises but the one coming will be my husbands first BC cruise.
    Take care of your girls John and hope to see you soon!!!

  22. Hi there Calvyn,
    When I first saw there was a Blog posting this week I was getting worried that I would have to book a really expensive British Airways flight from Phoenix and come over and rip the cord out of John’s computer as I had promised last week.
    Oh my relief when I saw it was you.
    Thanks for keeping the blog going while John is away getting his underpants bleached and remembering how to have rumpy pumpy.
    It was great seeing you on the Magic in May both on the morning show and in person at many of the activities.
    Keep up the good work and don’t listen to ANYONE that says Boring, because you are anything but boring.
    Also I don’t know if you have seen the Geico commercial with the Drill Sergeant as a Phsycyatrist (my spelling sucks).
    The guy is lying on the couch and he says to the Drill Sergeant “Yellow makes me sad”
    The DS says “You know what makes me sad? You do you jackwaggon!!!

    Well you can try that one with John next time he does not like Yellow 🙂

    Take care and have a good time while John is away.

  23. Randy Smith says:

    Hi John! I wonder what the chances are of your joining us for the Transatlantic Cruise on the Breeze in November, 2012? My wife Diane and I are veterans of numerous Fun Ship Cruises including cruising on the Dream and the Splendor early on in their cruise lives and on the Holiday’s Final Cruise. Yet, we have never had the pleasure of cruising with you. Is there any chance of your being on the Breeze for the 15-day?

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