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

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.