Written by Erskin Quint

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

image for TV Listings A Starboard Listing Yesterday

My TV was listing to larboard, so I propped it up on the other side with a copy of "The Blue Peter Guide to Hegelian Philosophy".

Then it was listing to the starboard side, so I shoved a copy of "The Bible in Morse Code" on the larboard side.

However, it was then listing to larboard again. At this point I became confused between larboard and starboard, as I had to go behind the TV to adjust the books, which meant that I was facing the other way. I then had to retire to a darkened chamber.

I now understand why the term larboard was replaced by the term port in Naval circles. No wonder they went in circles before they began to use the term port.

An old Admiral of my acquaintance was always talking about the navigational significance of the port buoys. Mind you, I suspect that he had a boy in every port.

Apparently, a phrase used as an aide-memoir among sailors is "any red port left in the can?". This is supposed to help you identify which side is port ("red" is the colour of the navigation lights; "port left" shows you that port is the left side; "can" refers to the shape of the port buoys).

Unfortunately, by the time I had emerged from the darkened room with the bottle of Joffreys Imperial Ruby Port and had drunk enough of the port to make the question "any red port left in the can?" a valid one (I had no can, so I had to use the bottle, which was shaped like no port buoy the old Admiral would recognise, but never mind), I could make neither head, nor indeed tail, of any of this.

I don't think I am cut out to be a sailor.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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