My friend Trevor is not lucky with holidays. To illustrate this, let me tell you about one of his holidays. Not the holiday in Venice where he slipped and nearly dropped his baby daughter in the canal. Not the holiday in Finland where he got a viral infection which caused his penis to swell up like a golf ball. This is the holiday in Turkey where he almost drowned and nearly lost his wife, all during a so-called Boat Trip.
It was meant to be their big treat, last day of their first holiday together, clear water, blue skies. A perfect, romantic day.
So, the boat sets out – against all weather warnings – on what became the worst August day in living memory. Most of the passengers have vomited to some degree but with true grit, everyone is determined to enjoy the day. The Captain shows everyone a laminated sheet of all the colourful fish they might see during their snorkelling later that morning, and also casually points out the poisonous Lion Fish which everyone definitely won’t see, but if they do, should swim away from. The plan is the boat drops anchor near a cove, everyone snorkels for a bit looking at the pretty fish, then it’s back to the boat for a greasy fried fish lunch.
Now, Trevor doesn’t like snorkelling, or even swimming, but when he sees his queasy wife, the tiny Italian woman who’s been sick twice, her hunky boyfriend and everyone else going for a swim, he feels shame-bound to join in, so he pulls on some flippers and in he goes.
The choppy water splashes into his blow-tube, stressing him out, but he’s determined not to give in.
Now, a few passengers, including his wife, have swum onto the beach, so Trevor decides to join them. The water’s now too shallow to swim so he stands up and starts wading ashore but with the flippers still on he’s getting knocked off balance. So, he decides to take off the flippers – his wife is now waving wildly – and he starts to walk ashore.
He takes one step and then screams like a small girl. “Argh, I’ve been speared by a Lion Fish!” Trevor panics, knowing he is almost certainly going to die.
His foot is bleeding. He starts flailing about, salt water in his eyes, groping in a panic for something to steady him. Luckily, he finds the strong, hairy legs of the man standing beside him, who is the boyfriend of the tiny Italian women who decided at the last minute to stay on the boat. The Italian saviour, irritatingly handsome, and wearing rugged, rubber-soled swimming shoes, scoops Trevor up and swims him back to the boat for emergency medical attention.
Trevor is hauled on board like a corpse, where the Captain examines the hundreds of tiny black spikes sticking out of Trevor’s foot. “Sea Urchin.” says the Captain as lights a cigarette. “What?” Trevor blubs. “Sea Urchin. You will not die today.” Trevor is relieved, but the pain in his foot is intense. The Captain recommends vinegar but there is none onboard, so the compromise is to use lemon juice from the kitchen, which annoys the chef as the fish he’s deep-frying really needs the lemon more than Trevor’s foot.
Trevor screams as the juice is applied and then, freshly seasoned, hobbles off to the ships toilet to vomit, while the Captain takes Trevor’s wife off to drive the boat to distract her from fretting too much.
From the smelly cubicle, Trevor can hear his wife and the Captain laughing, and as the boat rocks violently, Trevor topples backwards out of the toilet and onto the lemon-scented deck.
As he slowly loses consciousness, Trevor hears the Captain casually ask his wife if she actually is happily married.
Luckily, Trevor doesn’t hear the answer.