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Sailing with Charlie: Freudian Slips

Charlie has been a sailing instructor for years. He is very patient, tireless at repeating easy operations, generous with compliments and never shouts or raises his voice and never embarrasses his students in front of the class—purposely, that is.

A typical course involves a week’s tuition on a live-aboard yacht cruising around the islands. Charlie always starts his courses by taking the students below, showing the boat and engaging them in small talk to calm nerves and get everyone acquainted. Recently one of his students was a gorgeous blonde with huge breasts that peered at him through a semi transparent T shirt and, while they all sat chatting around the salon table, quite by accident he said, “How was your prip from Tittsburgh?” There were sniggers and giggles around the table. She looked at him suspiciously but try as he may to apologize, the damage was done.

Charlie then explained the Freudian slip saying that subconscious thoughts sometimes come out in speech quite unexpectedly, and that rather than being an affront it was merely an expression of admiration for her beautiful figure.

The week continued and as time went by, the Freudian slip was forgotten, although any nautical terms with a sexual double entendre were the subject of ribald hilarity. I won’t go into detail here but some words were: head, pole, bottom, lay, spanker, stern, golly wobbler, goose neck, head up, spreader, no-go-zone, big dipper…the list goes on.

Back at the bar after the week was over Charlie was relating his story to fellow instructor, Dave, and he was very sympathetic. “I had the same thing happen to me just a few weeks ago,” he said. “This guy was hopeless. I tried everything: practice, practice, practice – repeated myself over and over. In the end I told him that he needed more time on the water, more practice, book learning and visual aids. Then came the Freudian slip. It was my intention to say, ‘Keep at it; perseverance wins in the end; you’ll get it.’ But what came out was, ‘Some people are more suited to golf!’”    

“Well,” said Charlie, “that’s not so bad; perhaps you were doing the guy a favor.”

“Yep, that’s what I thought. But then he wrote to the head honcho in the States and applied for ‘golf 101’ and the whole story came out. Now it looks like I may be fired.”

Charlie thought for a moment, “Well, you could have said, ‘You’re the worst f%$#ing student I have ever met. You’re a danger to yourself and every other person on or near the water. Go to Arizona and take up bird watching…but instead you were very polite.’”

Dave thought this a reasonable response and explained it in a long letter to his boss. It worked, and Dave has even been promised promotion. Charlie, though, received a letter yesterday from a lawyer—the subject was “inappropriate sexual advances toward a female student.”

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