Saturday, February 17, 2018


Our toddler, Snoopy, is on the brink of being toilet trained. To that end, we have created a culture of celebrating poop in our house. Nothing raises more cheers than a beautifully executed toilet timber. We huddle around and admire it as the executor flushes. It’s not the type of small victory I ever imagined I would celebrate as a father; but it beats the hell out of shovelling dirty trousers into the toilet. 

Snoopy is bought in on the excitement wholeheartedly, and waits breathlessly as he gives last rites to last night’s dinner. Impatience has begun to encroach on his excitement, and now he doubles over to watch between his legs, attempting to catch a glimpse of the prairie dog’s head as it peeks out of his sphincter. 
Today, between Olympic recaps on CBC, he paid a price for impatience: while doubled over peeking between his legs, he peed in his own face. 
As a father, I know I am sending the wrong message laughing at my children when they are wailing away with the sadness of a thousand men; but sometimes it can’t be helped.

Terror at Zero Thousand Feet

On yesterday’s flight I was the aisle passenger of a trio of travellers. The gal in the middle was a chatty American primatology undergraduate; and rounding out our threesome was a very nervous-looking mother of four against the window. 
“I’m a very nervous flyer” began the mother’s apology to the student, “so I might grab your hand if there are bumps”. 
The student, sympathetic, replied “I completely understand—don’t worry. I mean, I get it: if you’re in a car accident, there’s a great chance you’ll walk away from it. But a plane crash...” and there the student let a pregnant pause hang in the air, giving the nervous mother of four’s imagination plenty of time to fill the silence with dozens of tragic and horrific scenarios. 

The mother finally broke the silence, a distant and sad look in her eyes, “I know”.

For the first time in a long time, I was excited for turbulence.

Last Meal

I try to be a loving, supportive father. But on days when the art brought home is a collage of owl vomit, no matter how thoughtfully arranged the owl vomit might be, I struggle.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

This evening the kids were being scallywags after bedtime. By that I mean laughing and occasionally yelping, their hearts full of wild abandon. 

After bedtime. 

Which was getting in the way of me watching Coronation Street and Riverdale. So I had a problem with that, but I channeled the Dali Lama and didn’t go in and blow a gasket. 

Finally—unsurprisingly—one of them began creeping around outside their room, so I yelled “Get back to bed!”, which is just another thing I do exactly like my parents before me. Finn cleared his throat, and in the most faux-feeble voice croaked “Daddy...I feel sick.” 
To which I said, “It’s because you’ve been laughing too much with your sister—go to bed!” Finn yelled his response: “You don’t even care about your son!” And went back to bed.

About five minutes later he sent his emissary, Peapod, to come and plead his case to me: “Finn’s tooth is sore”.
“First his belly, now his tooth? He’s going to keep finding sore things to avoid going to bed!”

Peapod quietly added, “His foot’s sore too”.

Beautiful Plummage

On the scanner this morning someone called in a report of an owl that wasn’t moving—that the caller had been able to pet the owl, and the owl just sat still. 

So they called 911, as all reasonable animal lovers would. 

The attending officer, when asked if Alberta Wildlife was required, responded “Negative. The owl is deceased”. 

I would love to see the paperwork on that one.

10-4 Indifferent Buddy

Last night Peapod was sick with something like seasonal influenza, which threatened to interfere with our plans to hang out with the neighbours and have a tipple. 
Since she wasn’t anywhere near Death’s door, I had the brilliant idea to leave her with Netflix, some water, and a walkie talkie. Peapod was very happy to have the place to herself (she’s a homebody who never gets to pick the shows on Netflix) and we were similarly delighted to be able to step next door. 

About 20 minutes into our visit, the walkie talkie kept squelching. Curious to see if P was struggling with the correct operating procedure for a walkie talkie I keyed her up and asked if she needed anything; her response was a clear, concise, “Nope”. 

But the squelching continued, so I tromped next door to investigate. I found P sitting on the chesterfield looking mildly irate. Before I could ask what was wrong, both our walkie talkies sparked to life with the voice of a young lad imploring: 

“Are you out there? Hello?” 

Peapod calmly lifted the walkie talkie to her lips, gently opened a channel, and said in a clear, measured voice “Shut. Up.” Then she lowered the walkie talkie. 

The whole time she maintained her focus on “Be Cool, Scooby Doo”. I changed the channels on our handsets and went back to the party satisfied that P was more than capable of handling herself.

Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner

It was a day that started out like any other (when you have a heavily pregnant wife): cries for coffee, silence, and food. There were also some complaints lodged regarding the continued residency of a 10 pound freeloader, and the hope that the day for his eviction had finally come. This hope was balanced, as it always was when Babs is pregnant, with an acute fear for the real and present danger her vagina, and it’s integrity, face as a newborn’s head forces its way from the dark into the light. The same acute fear has also followed all our unprotected trysts; and considering those occasions may be counted on one hand, yet account for 3 additional mouths to feed around the Goddard house, it is not an irrational fear. (As a sidenote: I’d like to flatter myself that my endowment would give Babs cause to fear her vaginal integrity PRIOR to a “coupling”, but the story of her anxiety has a direct line to head circumference. So if, gentle reader, you’re going to be in awe of me for anything, be in awe of the circumference of my noggin).

 My darling Babs had wondered if her water had broken midday on Sunday, so at breakfast Monday, December 7th, it was decided that I would stay home from work and chaperone her on a trip to the midwife. As it turned out, the midwife determined (through science!) that she had likely just peed a little. The news was anticlimactic for Babs; to me, it was hilarious.

 While at the midwife’s office, she asked us a leading question: did we want to have the baby sooner (like today) or continue to let nature takes it merry time. We both elected sooner, rather than later, and so a second question was asked that had several choices attached to it: how would you like to get things started? For those who have never been pregnant, or rode shotgun on appointments like this, there are a few options: a stretch and sweep (gentlemen, imagine someone fisting your asshole); going for a bumpy drive (which would likely result in more pants-pissing, only now on the luxurious leather seats of my truck); or having a smoothie with some herb called verbena and castor oil. I will surprise no one which option Babs chose: the smoothie. Indeed, if only science would provide a smoothie option for so many of life’s other conditions, what a happy world it would be. Presently, beer alone has to do its best.

 Home we went, and I created a smoothie on which rest higher stakes than any smoother I had made previously. Only knowing the reputation of verbena as possessing seemingly magical properties to bring on childbirth, I won’t lie that I was a little nervous when I got some on my finger making the smoothie; would it make my bowels contract and cause me to shit my pants? I wish I was kidding; but my guts are fashioned from very delicate and sensitive materials, and those who know me well, know that I certainly had grounds for concern.

 Fast forward two and a half hours, and I was quietly pretending to answer work emails while watching Failblog on Youtube in the basement, when I hear a commotion. Then I hear my mother yell down the stairwell, while clearly running, to come upstairs. Up I bound only to discover Babs covered in tea towels hastily thrown upon her lap (or as much of her lap as was available, owing to her girth) and a look of real panic on her face. “I think my water broke—I heard a pop!” “Have you called the midwife?” ask I. Knowing the phone number to the midwife was essentially all the preparation I had done for this birth, taking for granted that this was the third child I was going to watch come into the world, and knowing that, once Babs is fully engaged in the act of labour, I can do nothing right—so preparation is futile. Preparing to do everything wrong neatly describes most of my life; but now that I’m getting old and lazy, not preparing to do everything wrong matches my energy level.


 I had already asked the wrong question, so I was off to a good start. It was then that my mind began to slip into gear: Babs’ water was breaking. . . and she was still sitting on our couch. . . so she was likely making one hell of a mess ON THE COUCH. . . and once the new baby comes, there’s a high likelihood I will have to clean the couch.

“Can you get off the couch?”
“NOOOOO! I can’t move! Oh God!”
“. . . it’s just. . . you’re likely making a mess on the couch. Can I help you get off the couch?”
“NO! Fuck the couch!”

 The gears were still turning. If she’s making a mess on the couch. . . and I move her to the floor. . . she’ll make a mess on the floor. . . and there’s a high likelihood I will have to clean up the floor.
“I’m going to go get a shower curtain!” I said, triumphantly.
This is something I surely cannot do wrong, since it involves simply conveying something from one location to another. Off I dash in search of a shower curtain. Even caught up in my rapidly rising level of stress, I knew just where to find a shower curtain: the hint was in the name! I ran to the shower, ripped the curtain down; it was then that another bright idea struck me (foreshadow: I should have stopped with one bright idea): what we need are more towels! I had learned this from the PBS programme “Call the Midwife”, which we had watched religiously up until Babs got pregnant and the show was barred from our house due to its occasionally harrowing, and always painful, depiction of natural childbirth. In that show, the aforementioned midwifes always call for towels. I stopped and grabbed literally every towel we had in the house.

 Arriving back in the living room—prior to this, referred to internally by the Goddards as “the good living room” (the value of which—at least, from a literal sense—had likely depreciated while I was gone for 20 seconds)—and I unfurled the shower curtain like an aspiring Aladdin. Then I helped my wife, despite her protests, float off the couch, buoyed by what was quite a dramatic deluge of “water”. It was like the dark blowhole of Moby Dick had replaced my one-time playground in Babs’ lap.

God bless the shower curtain, it did Yeoman’s service despite the tsunami. I quickly began establishing a dyke system around Babs with the towels I had brought. It was then I realised that perhaps Babs wasn’t either focused enough on the job at hand, or in enough pain to distract her attention adequately, because she began to complain that I had grabbed “the good towels”. I, being a guy, don’t give two fucks for free about a caste system in our linen closet: they’re all merely “good enough”.

It was right around now that Babs told me 7 words that chilled my blood: I feel like I want to push.
To which I replied, “I want to get a second opinion on that; pushing does not sound like a good idea to me”.
So I began running, essentially in circles, trying to find my phone and the fridge magnet that bears the number for the midwife—you know, the type of thing I’m absolutely supposed to know the location of, if nothing else. And despite having no fewer than 3200 contacts in my phone—contacts for Legions in Manitoba I once sold beer to in 2009, and drunks who live in Peace River, Alberta whom I wanted to be able to screen should they call me back—I never bothered to put the goddamned midwifery contact in. And clearly, I didn’t bother putting their number in when Poppy was born, because it was the same midwife then too.

I got the midwife on speakerphone and relayed Babs’ desire to push, and my editorial opinion that it was a bad idea; the midwife, also on handsfree, said, “Tell her not to push. . . tell her to make ‘horse lips’. . . and you’re going to hear me accelerate my automobile. Stay on the line until we arrive.” Then I heard the engine of her Hyundai Santa Fe roar in the background. I later found out, the midwife got an expensive speeding ticket.

 Not knowing precisely what ‘horse lips’ were, but also knowing that my role was rapidly turning towards showing a necessary composure, sense of control, and confidence, I crawled up besides my wife and said, “Do this!” and did a cross between a loose-lipped raspberry and my impression of a horse’s whinny. I must have done it was some conviction and credibility, because Babs followed my lead. Between coaching Babs on making horse lips—which was departure from all the breathing and birth hypnosis training I had—I was yelling directions to the midwife on speakphone. It went something like:

B- “Pffffffffffffft! Take the 52nd Street exit! Pfffffffffffffffffft! Turn right! Pfffffffffffffffft! Turn right again! Pfffffffffffffffft! One more right!”

Babs—whose “water” was still creeping around the shower curtain—asked me to pull her pants down to get her more comfortable. “Great idea!” I thought, since it felt like something I actually had demonstrated a skill for. . . I mean, I had knocked her up three times, after all; so back to my wife’s hind quarters went I to do something productive.

Trying to pull soaking wet lululemon pants off of a pregnant woman is like trying to peel a Hot dog wiener wearing oven mitts. Once I got them down towards her bended knees, I was treated to the sight of my son’s hair colour.

In making Babs more comfortable, I became infinitely less comfortable.

I’m tearing up right now just thinking of the complex mix of absolute fear, excitement, and helplessness I felt in that moment. It’s hard to make sympathetic horse lips with your wife with your bottom lip trembling.

B- “Pffffffffft! We’re the first right—a green house—and there will be a terrified-looking husband standing in the driveway to greet you!”

Up I leapt to greet our speed demon midwives in the driveway to carry 80 pounds of equipment into our house. They literally roll with everything short of a machine that goes ‘ping’. The midwife who delivered Peapod was pulling rubber gloves on as she ran into the house, and as soon as Babs clapped eyes on her, she said, “Can I push now?!”. Our midwife got in position behind Babs and said, “Yes, dear—go ahead.”

One push. Sullivan’s head popped out.

“Can I push again?”


A second push. . . and the boy I now know to be Sullivan Stewart Goddard (the boy with three surnames) plopped out onto the floor. Babs asked if she could push again, not knowing that she had actually given birth to our son, and was pleasantly surprised to find that she had—in all her womanly glory—made giving birth unexpectedly in the living room beside our Christmas tree look easy and natural.

Forty minutes later she was lying in bed, juggling a fresh baby and a bowl of chocolate ice cream. 

And that, my friends, is how our third child came into the world. It took me far longer to describe the event than it does Finny, who simply says, “I went upstairs to read a book, and Sullivan popped out of mommy’s belly and landed under the Christmas tree!” What he misses is me using the good towels, which I will never be allowed to forget. . . but is otherwise basically true.

Four months on, and everyone is very happy, very healthy, and the zoo that is now family of five seems to have settled into a rhythm that doesn’t feel as challenging as I thought it would. . . says the guy who doesn’t stay home all day, every day, with three kids. But I can still lift all three at once, which is basically the measurement I have for managing three kids; and I now get to be snooty and judgemental about people who only have one OR two kids. Or as I call them: wussbags.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wayne is for Wieners.

The other day I had the real pleasure of driving to Wayne, Alberta. Wayne, stuck deep in the heart of Alberta's Badlands--great devourer of dinosaurs--is one of those places that takes some doin' to get to. One must traverse the quaint "Road of 11 Bridges", all which are single lane, all of which are wooden-decked. It truly is a lovely drive, ripe with run-down trailer homes and abandoned vehicles that act as trophies to the excess of the 1950's and 60's auto design. At the end of this 11 bridged road is, of course, the Hamlet of Wayne, and the aptly-named "Last Chance Saloon", which could even more aptly be named "The First, Last, and Only Chance Saloon", for it truly lies in the middle of nowhere. . . safely out of reach of the World's Largest Dinosaur in Drumheller. 
As I rolled in to the Last Chance Saloon, the brilliance of my green vehicle was not lost on some locals sitting outside having a smoke; neither was the fact that I'm clearly a beer salesman. . . an animal I think is even rarer in these parts than the thick-headed Pachycephalosaurus. . . though, as I would come to realise, thick-headed decedents clearly still roam. 
 At least one. 
 An old-timer with fewer teeth than fingers bid me welcome, then quickly proceeded to bid me give him some beer. This is not a habit exclusive to Wayners; I've been flagged down by folks on the side of the road to ask me not for assistance, but for free beer. I've developed 101 different ways to laugh them off--and this time it was easy. 

B- "I'm calling on the Innkeeper, and the last thing I want to do is start pedaling free beer in the parking lot and undercutting his business. I'll tell you what--make an appeal to him if you want to get your hot little hands on one of these freebies." 
O- "Awww! Is it any good?" 
B- "Now what kind of a salesman would I be if I told you it wasn't?" 
O- "Haw haw haw haw!" 
B- "It just so happens that I can tell you it's exceptional and still have a place saved for me in Heaven." O- "She sure looks good! Maybe you could just sneak me one?" 
B- "Not a chance! I'm willing to bet everyone in the bar is watching us--I mean, I did pull up in a bright green truck. I'll give you a church key this same green for you to remember me by, though." 
O- "You a redneck?" This kinda caught me unawares. I'm used to guys pushing their luck for free beer until I walk out of earshot. Perhaps, I thought, he was trying to buddy-buddy his way into my beer tickle trunk. 
 B- "Well. . . . I grew up in a pretty small town in Southwestern Ontario that wasn't renowned for its liberal ideas." 
O- "Then come on over! I've got a xeroxed page of n****r jokes and redneck jokes for ya! You'll love'em!" 

 Then he started to laugh, either because he was thinking fondly of the jokes on the page, or because the barium discharged from the local coal mines into the water had driven him insane. I half-heartedly laughed and told him that my boss would kill me if I sat around looking at jokes all day. 
Inside the sales call went smooth as could be expected for a place that serves primarily the OV crowd. But I wasn't getting out the door without another close encounter with the locals. . . this time, in the washroom. To say that this washroom was the size of your average phone booth, outfitted with a sink, two urinals, and a toilet, would not evoke the aroma; for that, I would have to say, "The washroom was no bigger than a phone booth that, on Thursday nights, doubled as a change room for the local Junior D hockey team". 
As I bellied up to the urinal and let loose the fluid cargo three coffees and a 90 minute drive had amassed, I no sooner wondered what it would be like if someone else were to join me in the pause that refreshes (as my father used to say) when I had my answer. One of the 7 locals on hand decided (likely knowing the size of the facility) that he could wait for relief no longer and joined the 'outsider' for a whizz. Either that, or he wanted to make sure I wasn't stealing the shit tickets and climbing out the window without reading some racist jokes and bidding adieu. This fellow pee-er cozied up next to me. From behind, we must have looked like two sardines sitting in a tin, dressed for Halloween as those great monsters: Humans! I have to say--and I preface this with the comment that I'm neither a homophobe, nor too queasy about my personal space--that having my arm pressed up against another man while taking a pee--indeed, having his zipping and own wiener-handling motions set my own urine steam all aflutter, is unsettling. 
 And then we started to talk. 

P- "Well! Snow's a coming!" 
B- "So I've been told by the weather man. . . but he's been known to lie like a rug." 
P- "Har har! Ain't that the truth! . . . . For Sale!" 

With this abrupt change in subject, I felt suddenly even more ill-at-ease. What on Earth could he possibly be selling to another man (whom he is touching) while stood at the urinal, both with bishops in hand. 

P- ". . . . Last Chance Saloon. Real Estate ad over the pisser! Maybe I'll buy if I have another couple! Har har har!" 
B- "Har har har!" 

I tried to put myself away with as little motion as possible, not wanting the close-quarters and interference to cause my shoe to become the surrogate for his urinal. . . put the next challenge presented itself immediately. The sink was directly--and I mean DIRECTLY--beside the other urinal. . . basically at the right height to wash this other gent's balls in. I contemplated not washing my hands; but as a salesman of a type of food product, I felt this would set a bad example for Good Beer Folks attention to quality. Not that hands covered in ball sweat and a mist of urine would cause listeria; but still, not a positive thing. Placing my hands beneath the tap, I calculated that they were now, roughly, 20 cms away from this other man's penis. Again--no disrespect to those who enjoy having their hands in this kind of proximity to another man's fleshy wand--but I didn't even know his name. 

A quick rinse was all they got--a "Fine afternoon!" was issued to my bathroom buddy--and I was away. Vaulted through the "dining room" and safely to my vehicle without reading the xerox of jokes, giving away any free beer (save the samples to the Innkeeper), and successfully avoiding touching another man's saber of love. My trip to Wayne, at a paltry 20 minutes, had been eventful. Now, whenever I pee, I am overwhelmed with lonesomeness.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That Seventies Birthday!

Today I was asked, by the bank, for my "current date of birth".

While this question may have been relevant prior to my 19th birthday, those happy carefree days and drunken nights as "R.W. Munchkin" have long since passed. Now when I've bought and drank in excess of my need, I have only "B. Goddard" to blame.

Now, if Marty McFly was an RBC customer. . . there could be an interesting conversation.
"Current date of birth? Uh. . . negative 46".

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kiss of Luck

The other night I overheard an exchange in the alleyway behind our new condo that brought me up to speed on the territorial conflicts between waring tribes of hobos.

H1- (clattering along the alleyway, bottles and cans bouncing merrily inside his cart)
H2- "You better get outta here. . ."
H1- "What?"
H2- "You better get outta here--this is Lucky's territory!"
H1- "It--"
H2- "You better get outta here or Lucky'll kill you!"
H1- "I didn't know this was Lucky's territory."
H2- "Yeah? Well now yous do. And you better get out of here or Lucky'll kill you."
H1- ". . . okay okay. . . "

I can just imagine how proud my mother would be to receive a call from the police informing her that I had been killed for 45 cents worth of cans. Life well lived.

Friendly Neighbourhood Beer Givesman

I have just moved. I left my much-loved Anglican rectory, on a street where my neighbours included a Widow who gardened, an Englishman who gardened, and a man who swore at his dogs constantly because the new owners (yes--I was a 'renter') raised the rent 85%. Welcome to Calgary: home of delusional real estate speculators and absentee government regulators. 

My new home is 5 blocks away and has no gardeners, and one camouflage-motif motor home in which a couple from Nova Scotia live. Yes. Live. In a motor home on the street. What a difference 5 blocks can make, eh? Our condo is very nice; every new little "touch" is classified by the developer as "high end". Included in his tour of "high end" finishes: the over-size buttons in the elevator, and handles on the kitchen cabinetry. Both which are nice, to be sure; but they haven't been carved from ivory or ancient wood--nor do they have big dollar signs on them like in Richie Rich's house, so my heart fails to flutter every time I clap eyes on the fixtures. 

The other morning I went out to climb into my conspicuously green SW vehicle, only to meet our new neighbours across the street: hobos. Not the rail-riding, harmonica-playing Boxcar Willie hobos of yore, nor the German Shepherd variety that help children foil robbers hiding out in Cullen Gardens, but shopping cart pushing, bottle-picking hobos that seem as common in Calgary as sow bugs under a rotten log. I had been warned by our building manager that a senile old man allows several bottle-picking hobos to squat in his house; now, standing before me, was one of the aforewarned hobos, standing by my beer vehicle, shirtless, and applying deodorant. Glory glory. 

H1- "Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem Wha-stistle! Toot toot!" 
B- "Morning." 
H1- "Got any free samples of that Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem Toot toot in your car there?" 
B- "No." 
H1- "Come on! You must have some!" 
B- "Nope." 
H1- "Well hell--what kinda salesman does that make you?" 
B- "The kind that sells his beer and doesn't give it away." 

 I drove off, and he continued to apply deodorant to his other pit. . . . but I wouldn't make it far without bumping into another garden variety douchebag: the drunk "friend" who happens to be a tradesman, and is will to work for cheap. I found just such an animal at my old rectory; he was lurking around the garage I had filled with various SW goodies. The thing that I've learned about these individuals, having known many (and occasionally been one), is that you truly get what you pay for. This one was a plumber. Allegedly. The only thing I could tell you at first smell is that he was drunk. 

P- "Steeeeeeeeeeem Whistle!" (I truly hate the way hobos in Calgary draw out the word Steam--they all do it the same, and the way they deliver it makes it seem like they themselves find it very clever and amusing; I've found that it simply blows more of their pestilent breath in my face) 
B- "Hi!" (I'm always cheery to hobos, some of them are a very cheery lot) 
P- "Say. . . I've never tried that stuff--any good?" 
B- "Would you believe a salesman if he told you otherwise?" 
P- "Say--yeah--good point! Got any for a sample?" 
B- "Nope. Beer is best kept in the refrigerator, not the trunk." 
P- "Yeah, yeah! I hear that--I just wanted to try it and tell my friends to drink it." 
B- "Well. . . you could still tell your friends to drink it." 
P- "Got any shirts?" 
B- "Nope." 
P- "Hats?" 
B- "Nope." 
P- "I'd even take a neon sign if you had one." 
B- "You would?" 
P- "Sure! It's no cold beer, but it'd go great in my living room!" 
B- "Don't have'em. Never have." 
P- "Oh." 
B- "Do you get the impression that I get asked for a lot of free stuff all day long by people?" 
P- "Well--that's you're job, ain't it? Promote the Steeeeeeeeeeeeem Whistle with free stuff?" 
B- "No. It isn't. That's the Beer Giveawayman's job; I sell things. I'm a salesman." 

After some more pleasantries my new ex-landlord beckoned me in to show me the wonders of cheap plumbing. I had seen what lay behind the walls prior to all the fancy new copper that now hung before me in a great network of pipes, and I had to admit that it did look good. It did. . . until my new pal, Economy Plumber, turned on the hot water. Then it looked like a scene from Das Boot. 
My earlier cheek was rewarded with a blast to the face of hot water, which issued from a pipe in the wall. As i later found out, after a "professional assessment", the hot water line running directly from the hot water heater had been cut straight through with no . . . but I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll let the plumber lend his voice of experience to this transcript. 

L- "Shut the fuck'ing water off, man! She leaking like crazy in here!" 
P- "What? Leaking?" 
B- Glub Glub Glub! 
L- "I tellin' you, shut dat water off--it's a fucking mess!" (my new ex-landlord is French Canadian) 

The plumber actually came to look, and stepped right in my way as I was trying to retreat from the royal soaking I was getting. 

P- "Shit! It's leakin' like a horse's cock!" 
(It's a new expression to me as well) 

After the water got shut off, and my new ex-landlord stood steeeeeeeeeeeeeeming, the plumber looked at the pipe--a pipe that was clearly cut in half--and said, "Well hell! That pipe's cut!" 
Bang a gong. 
Then he said, as if to reassure us, "No problem! That's a fucking mess--but no problem. Easy. Fix it right up." With that he left for another smoke break and a can of brain food in the form of Economy Lager. 
You get what you pay for--and I guarantee that if you paid this piece of work a nickel to kick you in the ass, he'd only give you a 3 cent ass kicking. That's just the kind of operator he is--the friend whose a tradesman and will do it for cheap and drink on the job kind of operator.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Marcel Justgeau!

I like to dress myself up.
Not to the nines--just nicely--and I do so frequently. What's "just nicely" entail?
I'm glad you asked.
On this particularly evening it bears an explicit description of my attire so that the court of public opinion can weigh in with an educated viewpoint--either in support, or in condemnation.
So, to put a fine point on it, I was in a charcoal cardigan, with charcoal wool trousers, a crimson narrow tie on a white collared shirt, with a grey short-brimmed fedora and red black and white Adidas. Spiff, if I do say so myself.

So while I was waiting in line at the parking ticket meter with several other Calgarians anxious for their Friday night to get underway, I was feeling like I had the world by the tail. Until. . .

. . . there were two hobos perched beneath the meter, and with each new parking customer one of the gents was engaging them in a bit of polite smalltalk, which inevitably turned into a solicitation of money for "coffee". When my turn came, the hobo blinked at me, and I could see the wheels turning behind his eyes.

H- "You look like one of them. . . one of them mimes."
B- "Pardon me?"
H- "You look like one of them mimes."
B- (pause)"Geez--you're a real sweet talker, ain't ya?"
H- "It's a compliment!"
B- "Then you must have a completely different opinion of mimes than I do!"
H- "What?"
B- "The world hates mimes."

With that, I strode off, having entertained the line behind me--and no doubt garnered their silent support for my position on mimes.
A Marine (his car plate read "Marine" and he had a giant "Semper Fi!" sticker on his back window), who had been immediately behind me in line, asked me when I would be performing next. I told him that when I wasn't wearing my white gloves, I was off-duty.

Friendly advice to anyone: never compliment someone by drawing comparisons between the Complimentee and:
1) A mime;
2) Hitler;
3) Goose shit.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Betty Jubilee!

Poor, poor Betty!
The indignities she suffered at Calgary's Beerfest were too numerous to mention. Her beauty, lost amidst the haze of beer goggles worn by Friday night's horde of revelers, led to her gas cap being stolen and someone generously feeding her beer (via the open gas tank).

Now--Betty's not so genteel as to deny herself a drink now and then--so the small sample of beer in the tank (and maybe some curry chicken, I don't know) had little effect; engines from her era can blow through almost anything. What was truly inconvenient, was the gas that gurgled out of her when the ignition was engaged. Gas that bubbled and spewed with every engine rev. Gas that I inadvertently deposited all the way down Macleod Trail on my way to Canadian Tire to purchase a new gas cap. Gas whose collected vapors in the cab created a nice warm glow within me as I drove. Which is perhaps why the following exchange took place (but imagine it all yelled over the din of wind, moving at 60kms/h):

B- (singing joyously along with the radio--likely to Gowan)
A Civic pulls up alongside Betty, at cruising speed, a passenger's head out the window.
C- "Hey! Hey! There's gas coming out of your truck!"
B- "I know! I'm doing a stunt! I'm going to light it on fire!"
C- (a look of obvious concern and surprise)
B- "I'm kidding! Someone stole my gas cap! I'm going for a new one!"
C- (no response--still kind of uncertain)

That's the last time I try to be funny about leaving a trail of flames down a highway.

Maybe the second last time.

Friday, May 11, 2007


After my bout of laundry-generating digestive disobedience I drafted a letter to the corporate head office I felt was responsible and voiced my concern for the cleanliness in one of their franchise locations. I didn't really want anything more than an "I'm sorry to hear about your shits without giggles--we'll give that kitchen some elbow grease and get'er back to 'like new' condition"--which is what I fully expected would happen.

Days turned to a week or so, and nothing.

In the meantime, the Manager of the Edmonton Coast Plaza (whom I wrote immediately following my letter to the offending restaurant so that I could heap praise on him and his crew for a series of terrific experiences I have had staying with them) responded to my email in under an hour. The Coast Plaza in Edmonton is class all the way.

Then, one evening my phone buzzed to life. Lo and behold--and Edmonton number! And you'll never guess who it was.
The Capital City Health Unit.

The fella I got was a case study in nervous telephone mannerisms, which is why I am willing to cut him some slack in this following exchange:

H- "So, Mr. Goddard--"
B- "Brad is fine."
H- ". . .oh. . . okay--Brad. Brad, you experienced some diarrhea recently after eating at R----'s?"
B- "I actually had some diarrhea and vomiting."
H- "Oh!"
B- "At the same time."
H- "Oh!"
B- "Yeah. It was pretty wild there for a while."
H- "Oh! Sounds serious."
B- "Yeah--I didn't know which end to aim at the toilet. Hahaha."
H- "Oh. Uh. . . did you--I mean--did you go and take a stool sample at a clinic or hospital?"
B- "Nope. I rode it out. When things settled down the next morning, I stopped thinking I was going to die and sat down with a flat ginger ale and watched Coronation Street."
H- "Oh. So no stool sample, huh?"
B- "No--but if you have some forensic guys, I could give you my underpants. Their blue light would definitely find something; I had a bit of an accident."
H- "Oh--we don't have the resources for that type of thing."

My best joke in the food poisoning arsenal, and that's his comeback? Not enough resources?
I didn't know if I should tell him that I was kidding, or that I would write a letter to my MLA requesting funds for a CSI: Capital City Health Department to process dirty trousers.

At the end of the conversation, H determined inconclusively (because I hadn't pooped in a cup) that judging by the timeline and symptoms it sounded like food poisoning. I told him that his professional opinion made me feel much better.
I was joking again.