Once upon a time there was an elderly gentleman suffering from Alzheimer's. His wife of 40 years loved him very much, but she couldn't handle him any longer. He would wander about, never knowing where he was or, sometimes, even who he was. She decided to take him to a nursing home.
At the nursing home, while the wife was filling out paperwork, a nurse had the gentleman sit in a chair. Suddenly the man started slowly leaning to his left. The nurse ran over and put a pillow on his left side to prop him up. A few minutes later, he started leaning to his right. The nurse ran over and put a pillow on his right side. Then he started leaning forward. This time the nurse strapped him into the chair.
After completing the paperwork, his wife walked up to him and asked, "So are you sure this place is okay?"
"It's okay," he said, "but why won't they let me fart?"
This year, in October, we celebrate the 203rd Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in which that Great National Hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, took on, and beat our long-term adversaries, the snivelling Frenchies and their Spanish allies.
But what would have been the case if the battle had taken place in October 2008 ?
Picture the scene:...
October 21st 2008 - Upper Poop-Deck - HMS Victory - 0700 hrs
Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."
Hardy: "Aye, aye, sir."
N: "Hold on a minute, that's not what I dictated to the signals officer. What's the meaning of this?"
H: "Sorry sir"
N: (reading aloud) "England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. What gobbledegook is this?"
H: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid sir. We're an equalopportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."
N: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."
H: "Sorry sir, you're not allowed to smoke whilst on board ship. All naval vessels have been designated as smoke-free working environments."
N: "In that case, Hardy, break open the rum ration and we'll splice the main brace before the battle."
H: "The rum ration has been abolished, sir. It's all part of the Government's policy on Binge Drinking."
N: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it then. Full speed ahead."
H: "I think you'll find there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water, sir."
N: "For fuck's sakes, man! We're on the verge of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all speed. Send a man to the crow's nest."
H: "Not possible, sir."
H: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest sir. No harnesses, and they say that the rope ladders do not meet current regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."
N: "Then get the ship's carpenter without delay."
H: "He's busy building a wheelchair access ramp to the fo'c'sle, sir."
N: "Wheelchair access ? I've never heard anything so absurd."
H: "Health and Safety again sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently-abled"
N: "Differently-Abled? I've only got one eye and one arm, and I refuse to hear mention of the phrase. I didn't get to be an Admiral by playing the disability card."
H: "Actually, sir, you did. The Admiralty was under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."
N: "Whatever next? Give me full sail, the salt spray beckons."
H: "A couple of problems there too, sir. H&S won't let the men up the rigging without harnesses and hard hats, and they don't want them breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"
N: " I never heard such infamy. Break out the cannons and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."
H: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."
N: "What? This is mutiny!"
H: "No, it's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of Legal-Aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."
N: "How then are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"
H: "Actually, sir, we're not"
H: "No sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. And, according to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in these waters. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."
N: Devil take it, Hardy. You must hate every Frenchy as you would hate the Devil himself."
H: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you say that, sir. You'll be up on a charge."
N: "You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of our King."
H: "Not any more, sir. We must all learn to be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest, sir. It's the rules, and it could save your life."
N: "Don't tell me, Health and Safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"
H: "As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu, and there's a ban on corporal punishment."