Friday, December 31, 2004

Right makes Right.

I was cruisin' with my finest beeatch the other afternoon in Bam-Bam (The Smart), and while we were stopped at the lights on Front at Church, this ratty mini-van beside us, and one carlength ahead, pops his vehicle in reverse and backs up even with us.

Down goes our window, as we're used to the celebrity our Smart attracts, and get ready to answer any questions they may have about safety, or speed, or roominess--the usual.

A- "Is that a Benz?"
B- "Yes it is!"
A- (to the back seat)"See! Fuck you! I told you that it was Benz!"
Clearly he and his kids had disagreed about the lineage of The Smart.

Without any gratitude, the mini-van rolled forward one car length and waited for the green.
The driver did have what appeared to be a modestly smug, self-righteous look on his face. Though objects in mirror could be smugger than they appear.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Worst. TB. Ever.

One of my dearest old chums and I decided to do some Christmas shopping together.

I was early, rummaging around the documentary DVDs at Sunrise, when my cell phone rang. It was him. He was late. His College Streetcar was not moving.
What was going on?
He didn't know; the streetcar in front of him was standing still as well.
Was there an accident?
Didn't seem to be.

I waited.

Forty-five minutes later, he turns up with this big grin, bursting at the seams to tell me just what had taken so long.
Apparently, just after we spoke, everyone from Streetcar 1 filed off and piled on to his streetcar (#2). They were followed by a public health worker dolled out in some protective clothing and a face mask.

A- "Alright. Who was on the first streetcar there, raise your hands."
A general show of hands.
A- "Alright. And who was on this streetcar, raise your hands."
Another general show of hands.
A- "Okay. Anyone who wants to be tested, follow me."

His cavalier attitude did not go very well with his protective clothing.
People began to ask, quite loudly, just what the hell they might be tested for.
A- "Now, now, now--I can't tell you anything but that people on the first streetcar may have been exposed to a communicable disease. If you want a test, come with me. Going once. Going twice." (a casual look around) "Gone!"
And just like Kaiser Soseh, the public health worker was gone.
His ominous message connected with a few people, who began to file off the streetcar, and on to the Toronto Health Winnebago for their tests.

After a few minutes, Streetcar 1 patients began to climb back on to Streetcar 2, as Streetcar 1 was being thoroughly examined by several members of the public health squad. My buddy noticed someone he knew, and wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened.
C- "What the hell was going on in your streetcar?"
D- "There was this homeless dude at the back, and he was coughing and coughing, in mean, hacking all over the place. Then he finally gets enough breath to say, 'This is the worst TB I've ever had!!'"

Lovely. What a perfect statement.
My life experience only allows me to make such sweeping condemnations as:
This is the worst hamburger I've ever had!
This is the worst Pauly Shore movie my roommate owns!
This is the worst wurst at Kitchener-Waterloo's Oktoberfest EVER!

Nothing there, aside from the Pauly Shore movies, would strike a chord of fear in anyone. Not like the qualitative statement our dear, under-the-weather homeless gent is able to make regarding his "TB".

Apparently, after the subjective assessment of his own condition, a worried fellow-communter ran up to the driver, reported that someone at the back had TB, which set off a chain-reaction. Driver to control: TB present.
Control to Public Health: TB present. Public Health to Control: TB is bad. Control to Driver: TB is bad. Driver to himself: coffee break!

The cherry on top of all this hub-bub is that, in the stampede from Streetcar 1 to Streetcar 2, the suspected TB case buggered off! This is the best time to get the hell out of Dodge!

It is nice to see how much fellow Torontonians care about each other.
If I ever come down with some dangerous infection, I hope that my fellow citizens allow me to run off to a corner and die in peace. I also hope that my eulogy takes a page from the Public Health's crowd control manual:

He may have led a noble life, and could be fondly remembered by his friends and family. Going once. Going twice. . .

Saturday, December 18, 2004

One tough BITCH.

I had a ward named Ali.
She was a loving and intelligent Jack Russell terrier that loved, as the package had forewarned me, "Love my Liver Bits" from a pet boutique on the Danforth.
Sadly, I had to surrender her to the Toronto Humane Society because life as my dog, though luxurious in treats, is want for adequate together time.
But before we went our separate ways, Ali, my fiance, and I had an exchange with an old woman who no doubt drown her children in the bath basin; in their stead, she now rolls a Pekinese with a goiter around in a child's pram, while a much perkier version of the same races about leashless.
The goiter dog is pathetic. It's goiter rivals the dog's snout in length, and it's owner's demeanor in awfulness. Funnily enough, the dog is the same colour as iodine. The Pekinese on the loose is entirely useless, ripe with an eager curiosity Ali, on this particular night, attempted to cure her of.

Ali was attacked by a Pit Bull during her time on the street, which has left an indelible mark on her. She loathes other dogs (apart from my parent's toy poodle, a dandy named Kelsey, whom she adores--though he could never love her back, for his heart belongs to a lifelike monkey puppet he enjoys sinful entry with in our laundry room in Lucan). You can imagine where I'm going with a story who's principle players are a dog that hates other dogs, a dog which is not on a leash, and an old lady you already know me to hate.

So Ali is biting this freewheelin' Pekinese on the face, and my fiance is telling the old hag "My dog is not friendly!" (no kidding) Ali is literally, as Erika describes it, chopping on the Pekinese's face; the Pekinese is pulling one of those, "Sorry? Come again? Jeez, that hurts!". The old lady shows surprising pluck, and says "Your dog is a bitch!"

To which I exclaim:

B- "Excuse me? Did you just call my dog a name?"
A- "Well, she's a female, isn't she?"
B- "Oh! Come! On! We're not swearing behind mom's back right now! A female dog's a "bitch", a "bastard" is the son of an unwed mother, and "fuck" is seal in French; but trust me: rarely do I use them in their intended context! You called her a name! That's ridiculous!! That's pathetic!"

She began to walk away, muttering to herself, sickly dog before her, wounded dog behind.

B- "Come on now! Shame! On! You! How old are you--calling a dog names!! You should be ashamed of yourself! Shame! Shame! I hope everyone in the neighbourhood heard how shameful you behaved! Calling a poor, defenseless dog names!"
E- "It's illegal to have your dog off of a leash! (to Ali) Good for you! You bit that dog very well! Good girl!"

I continued to question the old lady's nobility, language skills, and general character loudly until my lungs were empty. It felt so good to feel so right! I mean, who calls someone else's pet a name simply out of malice?

I don't go over to my brother and sister-in-law's house and say, "You stupid fucking goldfish. Swimming in your own piss like a bunch of fucking idiots!" I don't.

And if I did, and I was caught maligning the fish for no reason, I certainly wouldn't say, "What? They're not 'Ryukin Goldfish'? I thought they were."

Out Smart-ed!

I am now part of the elite "Smart Nation".

I may travel safely at highway speeds, can fit two fifty litre kegs and two twelve pack suitcases of Steam Whistle Pilsner in the rear area, and love to drive it.

I feel extremely safe cocooned amidst four airbags and an F-1 racing-type tubular steel body.

Having said that, I will no doubt say it again and again and again over the course of my relationship with Bam-Bam, my beloved Smart Cabriolet.
I will, however, caution folks who are skeptical of Bam-Bam's ability to protect me (either by way of his several special braking systems and tubular steel, or by rolling over those who mock and defy us like a turbo-charged dwarf elephant). The last man who defamed Bam-Bam designed his own moronic fate.

Near the Summerhill LCBO Bam-Bam and I were placidly waiting for the light to change. A voice from above us spat ill-informed remark after ill-informed remark until I finally had to put the roof down, look way up, and answer his malevolent stupidity with a firm rebuke.

A- (calling from the seat of his large flatbed towtruck)"I wouldn't want to get in an accident with that!! No sir!"
B- "Do you know what safety systems I have to protect me?"
A- "I hope it's a coffin, because you're going to need it if you get hit in that."
B- "Have you ever seen race cars get in accidents? You know that little steel cage that the drivers step out of and wave to the crowd? That's basically what this car is."
A- "I still wouldn't want to get in an accident with that. I need to be nice and high; that's where I'm safe."

It was at this point the light turned green, and I began to roll away. I was just going to call back something to the effect that he would likely never get into an accident driving a Smart, seeing as he would likely never drive a Smart, therefore removing most of the risk of getting into an accident with one. . .when he got in an accident.
Seeing me move made him assume that he could move, which he did--right into the back of the car in front of him. Being so high off the road, I suppose he didn't see the four door sedan his huge towtruck kissed gently.
I didn't have time to chime out "I wouldn't want to get in an accident because I wasn't paying attention, Monkey-Fucker!", which was too bad. It just goes to show that, in a city like Toronto, poetic justice is always stalking you, waiting to punctuate your each and every move with a humbling irony. I love it!

Where I'm from, humbling irony was only ever presented for the amusement of lowing cattle in an ajacent field, making it much easier for one's character to weather.

This man's great misfortune is that he may tow his mistake back to his place of work for his co-workers to enjoy (all at his expense). Talk about hoisting one's own petard! Indeed!

Mr. Blackwell's 'Learning Annex' Graduate

I recently was confronted in an Port Credit LCBO by a woman who sported eyes which looked like two pissholes made in the snow by someone with a bladder infection. I was sampling of our fine Pilsner, decked out to the nines in one of my favorite Western shirts: black, with red desert roses across the shoulders, and fine pearlette dome buttons.

Her eyes were not the only giveaways that she was completely deranged. Her dog, for example, was a very petite mutt, yet she carried a poop scoop the size of a Javex jug. It made me wish for the dog to shit in order to satisfy a morbid curiosity welling up inside. To justify the size of the scoop, the mutt would clearly have to pass a turd the size and shape of a pop can. To do this, it would surely dislocate its hips.
She also, very early in our relationship, told me that:

A- "Honey, that shirt is not workin' for you! It's not! You look like some fuckin' Mar-bor-low Man, or somthin'! Take it off and throw (snap fingers) it (snap fingers) out (snap fingers)!!"
B- "Gosh. I really, really like it, though."
A- "Then you got no taste!"

Then she bolted away, sample in tow, only to single out some poor thirty-something suburbanite in line at the cash and say:

A- "Murray!! You fucking cocksucker! You're dead when we get outside! No one fucks with me like that!!"

The man later made an appeal to leave by the rear door, which fell on deaf ears. Obviously only he had taken the threat seriously. It may have been that she pointed at him with a poop scoop that made the rest of us doubt her conviction.

As she left, clutching a can of Maxiumum Ice, she showed me a pen and said:

A- "Par-lee-ment of Canada! This was Paul Martin's pen, and he gave it to me!"

Again, she lacked credibility in my eyes.

More clever than I thought, she went home (I'm only guessing) and changed clothing. Her new fashion choice far-and-away outdid her earlier drabs--a brilliant red dress of polyester, with a plunging neckline which began at her shoulders and ended, mercifully, just prior to her vagina. She had accessorised with a fat red stretchy belt. It wasn't very becoming; but that's coming from a man who himself has been accused of lacking in fashion sense.
Her strategy was to pretend that we were meeting for the first time. To say 'strategy' is giving her the benefit of guile, which could be flattering this specimen. She very well may have been meeting me for the first time, again.
I gave her a sample, and this time, whether it was the result of the red dress I don't know, she was the absolute picture of feminine grace. Save for the dress.

She left again, this time armed with a can of Yankee Jim.

Who would have thunk that a Port Credit Friday night would have so much character?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

In Canada, it's called 'Sparkling White'.

My hometown is many things.
The place where my family has lived for nearly two centuries.
The home of Canada's oldest Shell Gasoline Station.
Rich farmland.

But mostly, it's home to Canada's Bloodiest Massacre.
Yes, The Black Donnellys, so oft referred to as Canadians Tragic Roustabouts, is second most popular reaction to my response "I'm from Lucan"; the first is a blank stare.
The fact that hundreds of people own "Tales of the Donnelly Feud", written and performed by
Earl Heywood "Canada's Number One Singing Cowboy!" (I shorten his title to "Number One Singing Cousin"), or have caught wind of Lucan since A&E christened the village as "the second most haunted place in North America", do little to expand what is a rather cursory recognition of my birthplace and its rich history.

Finally, I met someone to whom the mention of "Lucan" sparked a synapse deep within the recesses of his mind.

A- "Lucan? North of London?"
B- "You got it, Pontiac."
A- "'The Shillelagh'?"
B- "Yep. It used to be on the north end. . ."
A- "That's the first place I ever saw a stripper in a champagne glass!"

And so it went. He recalled the evening in vivid detail, as if retracing his snow-packed footsteps from the evening. Footsteps which led him to a motel room conjoined to the back of The Shillelagh for a 'roll'.
Lucan, for him, was a special, mythical place. Just like it is to me. But for different reasons.

I, to date, have no place where a stripper has performed in a champagne glass for my mind's eye to drift mistily back to. Lucan no longer affords such bourgeois luxuries to the areas lustful Irishmen; so sadly the first generation of Goddard men in quite a while must make their memories elsewhere.

Township of Biddulph Lucan Council, this be a baton I fling from my failing hand to you.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sleep when you're dead; Pray that death comes quickly.

I went to the film "The Notebook" a few evenings back with my fiance because, well, I suppose we both just needed a good cry.

A word to the wise: get a good night's sleep beforehand. Because I saw the movie with someone that didn't, and boy did they ever have a bad case of the yawns.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Seated safely in the VIP theatre at the Varsity Cinemas, I was impressed at how many women had joined my fiance and I to see the touching story of lost love.
I mean, I couldn't believe that I was the only guy!
I thought that any film Gene Shalit called ". . .as beautiful and rare a love story as ever caressed the heart" would be something men flocked to. Beat a path to. Stepped over their mothers to see.

Apparently I was wrong.
But not as wrong as Jeffery Lyons of WNBC, who cautioned ". . .bring your Kleenex!"
That bastard should have gone on to say, ". . .bring your Kleenex. . . to stuff in your ears, and a pillow to smother your loved one. Then, if you have any strength and willpower left, smother yourself."

Ten minutes into "The Notebook", and two elderly couples turn up on the darkened aisle, late. They hadn't missed anything.
As if their intrusion wasn't bad enough (to be frank, it was nice to have something to divert my attention from the movie) they began to discuss, in outdoor voices, their wish for some nice young people to "volunteer" their seats. To my knowledge, the etiquette of public transit does not apply to movies in progress. Others must have been of the same opinion, as the status quo established before the movie began was maintained, forcing my elders to seek out the only remaining seats--those oh-so-desirable ones at the front of the theatre.

Couple A shared, in very loud exchanges: the plot; clarifications of certain romantic intrigues on which the success or failure of the plot depended; and whether or not TV's Maverick was the actor reading the much-ballyhooed Notebook.
Couple B had a more interesting, passive/aggressive relationship. Husband B, every ten minutes, yawned like a cartoon bear awakening from hibernation.
Actually, strike that--this description of Wookies at is more in line with what I observed:

"(Wookies) tempers, however, are short; when angered, Wookiees can fly into a berserker rage and will not stop until the object of their distemper is sufficiently destroyed. "


He yowled like a Wookie being exploited by The Empire; the object of his "distemper" foolishly played on, unawares of the "Berserker" in aisle 1.
Wife B, each time, gave him a withering look. He did not respond to the powers of the Dark Side. Soon she began to yawn loudly right after he did--even anger cannot override the human reflex to yawn after seeing someone else yawn.
In the arch of the Holy Trilogy, this appeared to be "The Return of the Shuteye".
I envied his restful state.

And so the story unfolded, and women wept openly around me while I sat silently, dreaming of my own "Return"--"Alien vs. Predator" is still in the theatre, and it's my turn to pick the next movie.
You see, my fiance and I have a relationship, as far as going to the cinema is concerned, not unlike the one which exists between the Alien and the Predator: Who ever wins. . .we lose.
I figure, over the years, my horror movies will more than adequately cover the innumerable "greatest love story of our time" car wrecks that I am conscripted to see; while she fails to see the value in catching "Friday the 13th: Part 3 in 3-D" before it is lost due to the gross negligence of the Academy's film restoration efforts.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Fodors Toronto:"Blue Balls on a Budget"

I must have a trusting face.

Or an intelligent face.

It could be that I have a lonley face.

At any rate, my face was the most inviting one down at Pier 6 this afternoon when a wayward American traveller, perhaps a little stoned, approached me in his tie-dyed shirt to ask:

A- "Buddy! Buddy! Where's the ferry to the nude beach?"
B- "One block east of here, at the York Quay."
A- "Thanks! Buddy, is there a lot of nude chicks out there?"
B- "Not really."
A- "I heard that there was nude chicks with big guns out there, on the nude beach."
B- "Uh. . .Sometimes there might be. I think, uh, generally it's just dudes on that beach."
A- ". . .dudes?"
B- "Yeah."
A- "Should I go?"
B- "Uh. . .I. . .uh. . .I don't know. I don't think that there will be many 'chicks with big guns' out there today. It's kinda cold."
A- "I just got today to burn. Should I go?"
B- ". . .uh. . .I don't think that it's what you're looking for."
A- "No? (pause) You're sure that there's no chicks out there? Just dudes?"
B- "I think that if it's chicks you want, you should go down Yonge St. to the peelers."
A- "Is that expensive? I heard that the ferry to the beach on the island is only, like, six bucks, and I'm kinda short on dough right now."
B- "Ah-ha. Well. I'd save your six bucks and look at the moon from the docks here."

I left him wondering what course of action to take.
But I couldn't help feeling like I wasn't much help to my fellow man in his moment of need.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Lead by example.

Unlike rain on your wedding day, or a black fly in your Chardonnay, I did notice something whiz past me on the Danforth two nights back that was ironic.
And it wasn't ten thousand spoons when all I needed was a knife.

Helming the Heart of Darkness in the dense traffic that floats down the Danforth can be relaxing--you know, take in the sights and sounds of Little Greektown while sipping an espresso, letting the 'Best of Guns and Roses' on the compact disc player entertain pedestrians and stir rabid jealously in those that wish they were me.

This particular night would have been nicer had a guy driving a Ford Focus covered in decals asking: Have A Traffic Ticket? Speeding Ticket? Don't Want To Lose Points? WE CAN HELP!! not blasted past me, driving down the centre of the avenue (which is to say, at the risk of putting too fine a point on it, directly down the solid line safely bisecting eastbound traffic from westbound traffic) and weaved between oncoming and outgoing traffic until he disappeared into the horizon of twinkling red brake lights.

I suppose, if one was to believe the claims made on his automobile, he was immune to conventional traffic laws--he was, dare I say it, in a class which is . . . Above the Law. A class where there is only one other student: Steven Segal.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I'm with Dummer!

It is good to get out of the city every now and then.

Having grown up in the country, far far far from the city, I was used to people, places, and things being a bit backwards and silly. I mean, we didn't know how stupid, unsophisticated, and occasionally, inadvertently, funny we were, because the people from the city never came and pointed it out to us.

Like my Korean boss putting "Scoop Ice Ream" up on the sign because he was missing the 'C' and thought people would get the point anyway. You know, get the gist of it.

I have lived in the city for one year and eleven months TO THE DAY today, and while driving through the Kawartha Lakes region last week I saw a sign on the roadside indicating which way to drive if one wanted to reach the office of "The Dummer News".
There is a town named Dummer.
They have a paper which they called "The Dummer News".

I wonder if there is a Dummer Elementary School? Or a Dummer Library? Or a Dummer Town Council which decides on Dummer Bylaws?

I laughed for ten kilometers.

Eat Shitz and Die!

Recently, while plying my brand of Pilsner in a local LCBO, an elderly woman came in with her trusted friend and companion, a Shitzund (a Shitzu and a Daschund crossed--a Shitz-wiener if you will) dolled-up in the 11th Century French Rococo style.

A woman with her dog is not in itself an extraordinary sight in Toronto, a city where people love to take their dogs everywhere; even the way she was striking her four-legged friend with her foot was not, unfortunately, an uncommon spectacle. It was the ridiculous abuse she was hurling at the confused, yet well-ribboned, bitch that drew my eye. Abuse hurled in German!

Knowing that wiener Dogs were stoned in the streets of London during World War I and World War II due to their Germanic heritage, I thought it unpatriotic for this German septuagenarian to be assaulting a mongrel of Aryan lineage. The only thing I could think of, was that she was trying to kick the Shitz out of the dog.

As she passed, I remarked:

B- "What a beautiful dog! She's a Shitzu and Daschund cross, isn't she?"
A- "Yes. She's beautiful and I wish she would die."
B- "I see."

The maligned pooch looked up at me from beneath her ridiculous, north-pointing ponytail, her little cross-eyes conveying a certain tired sadness in her soul that only the meek possess. I felt for her and wondered if the Germans would ever change their wicked ways.

I dreampt that a bulldog with a big stick took it to the Kaiser later that night, and felt a bit better.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Nancy Drew and the Missing Poo

My fiance works in a hospital's emergency room.
The night shift.
There is never a dull moment.

Like the time a girlfriend ran her boyfriend through with a samurai sword, then benevolently drove him to the hospital.
Or the time she was nearly done registering a quiet, intense man, before noticing that he was being admitted for "Homicidal thoughts".

I like to pick her up from work whenever I'm not too busying partying or having a good time, because one never knows the type of person lurking about outside the hospital, considering that all the responsible crazies and invalids are safely registered inside.

On a recent visit I overheard, 'eavesdropped on' more like, two homecare workers that had brought their elderly homecare patient in due to "concern". It seems she was pale, cold to the touch, and wouldn't poo.
But more importantly, as younger of the two pointed out:

A- "If she dies, I'd rather these doctors have to explain it."

Yes. Nothing kills the good times quicker than having to explain a body. Especially a body full of poo.

The older homecare worker comforted the younger with a sexy little tale from 'back in the day'.

C- "I was working at a nursing home, and some of those men were absolutely wicked. If they offered me a chocolate I never took it, because one time I did and the old bugger grabbed me by my uniform and tore it right off of me!"

A- "NO!"

C- "Yes! He was a sex maniac! He was sex crazy! I tried not to go too close to any of those men again."

I can't imagine there are many bed-ridden septuagenarian sex maniacs out there; if she didn't exaggerate, and really turned his head as she said, she must be an extraordinary woman! A virtual Viagra on heels!

I stole a peek.

She was not.

Then I began to wonder how effectively one can care for another over a six foot void. If you threw too many air balls, a patient could go without medication for a week.

Friday, July 30, 2004

The Walrus and the Dock

My corpulent Texan friend, the Walrus, had never, ever captained a kayak before; however, "degree of experience" wasn't a consideration for him when deciding to make his maiden voyage a solo one.

If you read no further, know that one should never go out in a kayak, for the first time, alone. Especially if one's tummy is liable to get stuck inside the portal of the kayak.

While driving a party boat full of pre-teen girls over to a lakeside bar for pizza (I know how that sounds, but it was for pizza, and pizza alone) we toddled past the Walrus in his kayak. He looked more like he was wrestling with, rather than operating, the paddle. Having never seen a Texan paddle before, this was my amateur opinion.
The zipper on his life jacket was showing signs of fatigue.

I am not strong in problems dealing with Physics, but if a fully-loaded party boat can best a kayak in the momentum department, something is amiss. Instead of "The tortoise and the Hare", it was "The tortoise and the Turtle".

When I asked if he needed any help, my voice straining to be heard over the indiscreet whispers and giggles of my pre-teen passengers, the Walrus took a page from the screenplay of "Falling Down" and answered only with a steely glare fixed on the horizon. He was either: 1) deep in contemplation, for at the time the WWF(sic) RAW storyline concerning Stone Cold Steve Austin was particularly complex; 2) deep in psychosis, caused by acute stupidity.

We chugged on to the bar for pizza, leaving behind the Walrus, the paddle, the kayak, and the life jacket locked in a dead heat for which one would give up first.

Two pizzas in, with some girls opting to pick off all the toppings on their slices and eat them, and some picking all the toppings off and eating only the crust, we were relaxed and having a good time. The bar was decorated liberally with animals (mostly baby black bears) that had been hit by cars and then stuffed and twisted into idyllic pastoral scenes as if to give them a new lease on life. The stuffed fish even had synthesised slime drooling out of their little gaping maws. It was Norman Bates' America as it would have appeared on the Saturday Evening Post.

I left for the john, and when I came back there was, what appeared to be, a series of dead jellyfishes lying on the floor. They were dirty, wet footprints. Big fat ones.

The bartender called to me:
A- "You're from the camp? Some fat guy broke the dock and sunk his boat. Got my floor all wet."
B- "Really?" I was trying not to laugh. "Sorry about the floor. . .and the dock."

So down I went, to the disabled dock, where my girls were gathered around the Walrus. He was wet from the tip of his toes to the top of his Arizona Diamondbacks cap. As I passed other boats moored along the part of the dock still standing I could hear men laughing and retelling the story of how "that fat guy. . .broke the dock"! I wanted to stop and ask for details. I could see the story of "The Walrus and the Dock" fast becoming a legend--an Aesopian tale of caution--and I wanted to get all the juicy facts.

It was a picture that I wish I had. The Walrus dripping wet, standing barefoot on a half-submerged dock, with a large yellow kayak, also half-submerged, gently knocking on the dock like the Tell-tale heart.
CLUNK. CLUNK. CLUNK. I know what you did. CLUNK. CLUNK. CLUNK.

B- "You know, this looks like a perfect example of an Incorrect Docking Procedure, girls."
W- Nothing.
Girls- (tittering)
B- "Need a hand? Where's your sandals?"
W- (pause) "The bottom of the lake."
B- "The bottom of the. . .how'd they get there?"
W- "The dock broke and I fell in."
B- "What happened to the kayak?"
W- "Help me get it out of the water."
B- "Don't you know how to un-swamp your own kayak? It's a one man job."
W- "Just help me pull it out."
B- "You shouldn't go kayaking across the lake alone if you don't know basic kayaking procedures."
W- "Just help me get it out of the water."
B- "Okay. Go back to the bar, girls, and wait for us there. These docks are unsafe--they collapse without warning."

Once we were alone, I showed the Walrus how dead easy it was to pull a swamped kayak onto a dock to empty it. He watched from a safe distance while I worked.
Through questioning I discovered that he had only made it halfway out of the kayak before the dock collapse, and thus all three (kayak, Walrus, and dock) had ended up in Sandy Lake.

B- "Now let's find your sandals. They're rubber, and should be floating around here somewhere."
W- "No. They sunk into the mud under the dock and came off my feet."
B- "So. . .? Let's get them!"
W- "Forget it; let's go back to camp."
B- "It'll only take a minute to get your sandals. Give me your paddle."

So I poked around in the muddy lake bottom until I felt some resistance that could have been sandals.

B- "There! Jump in and pull them out!"
W- "There's leaches!"
B- "There's no leaches! Kids are swimming in this lake every day! Go in and get them."

I'll never forget the sight, till the day I die, of the reluctant Walrus, his face barely above the water line, groping around the lake bottom looking for his sandals in locations I chose based on poking a kayak paddle into the muck. He made this "Gah! Gah! Gah!" noise while he worked that made each breath sound like it would be his last.
And as if he hadn't suffered enough indignity, I took an opportunity I could not pass up. Pointing at a piece of lake dirt that had stuck to his neck as it bobbed up and down I exclaimed, "What's THAT!"

Everything went just as my wicked little mind had planned; that is until, in his spastic rush to escape the leaches, he beached himself on the dry bit of dock I was standing on and broke it.
I joined my pal in the leach-infested Sandy Lake.

The party boat cruised into camp with more passengers than it left with, and two of them were soaked.
And the moral of the story? All good Aesop fables have a moral!

If a dock will not hold a Walrus; it certainly won't hold a Walrus and a Jackass.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Ass Mint

Acting, as a profession, isn't generally bad for your health. The late nights spent drinking, smoking, and carousing can occasionally have restorative powers. Auditions can wear on a fella. 
My most recent audition was especially draining. A popular gum company is creating an ad campaign for their new mint. During the course of my audition I ate several of these mints, the routine being: 

Shake mint into hand. 
Pop mint into mouth. 
Deep breath in (with sound). 
Look right and say, "Hmmmmmmmm!". 
Look left and say, "Refreshing!!" 

 About 12 mints or so into my "performance" the adjudicator stopped me to say: 
 A- "Oooh! The Brand X guys told us to tell the actors not to eat too many of the mints. . .they, uh, cause, uh, may cause diarrhea. So you likely shouldn't eat any more." 

 I can confirm, for the sake of posterity, that by the time he had voiced the concern of Brand X, it was already too late. One would think that an overdose of diarrhetic mints would have a pleasant, refreshing sensation on the posterior, coupled with a minty freshness in the bowl. One would be wrong. 
 My Toilet Duck resigned, and I think that the resident Mr. Clean will spawn children of diminished capacity. 
 This is my Agent Orange fiasco.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Ranchero, we give our thanks and praise.

We all have something in our life that takes us back to a time when things seemed simpler. The smell of a fresh baked apple pie. The feel of sunlight on skin. The sound of kids at play in the park. For some of us, those memories are the only things in our lives that bring us joy, make us feel happy, young, and invincible again.

The Ranchero is this to many many men.
And one of them works at the Executive Car Wash.

While I waited behind the glass of the car wash lobby for The Darkness to set upon the industrial dryer, I watched the art of Chamois Man. His lythe ponytail seemed light as air, flitting from one shoulder to the next like a big hairy butterfly. It did not betray the sadness of the Chamois Man, whose skin was much thinner, I would find out, than the delicate, though durable hyde of his chamois.
I turned my back but for a moment, and missed something--a spark! My imagination has set to work on conjuring the moment up in my mind's eye, but I don't think even the greatest Irish poets working 'round the clock with the most skilled French painters, could capture the moment my Chamois Man met my Ranchero. I don't think that they would know how to paint "Boo-yah!"; I don't think they would be able to rhyme "Boo-yah!". But if they could, they'd be millionaires.

A- "Boo-yah! Boo-yah! Boo-yah! Boo-yah!"

A bellowed each exclamation louder and louder, hopping on one foot, the other cocked up close to his body--he looked like a grungy Arsenio Hall, if Arsenio had been a flamingo.

And with each exclaim he pumped his fist into the air.
He stopped.
But it was only to swish his ponytail from side to side--HE WAS--NO!--It appeared that he was whinnying like a stallion!
SWISH! went his mane! SWISH! it went again!
This was no Flamingo Arsenio! This was Andalusian Arsenio!

The older Chamois Guy asked me, calmly, was The Darkness a '68.
No. A '69.
Was it pretty fuckin sweet?
Yes. It was.

A came up to me, eyes twinkling.

A- "That car is fucking awesome! I never owned one, but I drove a lot of them!" (and a knowing wink)

I wasn't sure what the knowing wink was for; had he stolen a lot of Rancheros as a kid, or did his father own a dealership, or did perhaps in dreams he was cowboy that rode wild Rancheros at the rodeo--I don't know.

Then things got serious.

A- "You know, that car--it takes me back. You know, to a time when I was young and a somebody. I was having a pretty fuckin' bad life since then--until you drove in here--and now, I feel awesome! Thanks man!"

. . .and so Ranchero of Arimathea placed her sun visor on the leg of the cripple, and he walked; on the eyes of the blindman, and he saw; on the head of the Chamois Man, and he remembered. And God looked down, and saw what good the Ranchero had done, and said that She may sit at His right hand forever and an eternity. His Son could sit in the back seat."

Heterosexual, Homosexual, Metrosexual, Ranchosexual

My brother lives in New Toronto across the street from a man who proudly wears the moniker of "Neighbourhood Drunk". People new in the neighbourhood of New Toronto receive a visit, my brother told me, from this man, so that he can state for the record, and in no uncertain terms that he is beyond a shadow of a doubt the "Neighbourhood Drunk".
Then, later in the evening, he'll come back and say, in confidence, that he isn't that much of a drunk--it's the bastards across the street that tell everyone he is.

And so it is into this neighbourhood I mixed the Ranchero, my Heart of Darkness.

The "Neighbourhood Drunk", Drunk A, used what was left of his legs to get over to my open window. They may have been crooked like a dog's hind legs, but he could get around on them pretty well, so long as he had a target to work towards and lean on when he arrived.

A- "That is. . .I'm not a homosexual. Okay? But your car has given me the biggest boner I have ever had. Seriously. It's given me a huge fuckin' erection. What a fuckin' car!"
B- "Thank you. It is pretty sweet."

More drunk talk followed, of which I listen to very little. The Heart of Darkness receives so much admiration from guys down on their luck, on a daily basis, who ask all the same questions and tell me what a fine fuckin' machine she is, that I've started to go on auto-pilot.
I'm guessing Steve Gutenberg has begun to do the same thing when people start asking him about what projects he's been working on lately--so I'm in good company.

I go in to my brother's house, which is surrounded by a white picket fence (literally) and dig in to my delicious meal. My sister-in-law is pretty handy around the kitchen. About twelve bites in, we hear the white picket fence latch open, and across the yard a shadow looms. The shadow's legs are crooked like a carpenter's square.
It's Drunk A.
I'm wondering if he's representing the role of "Neighbourhood Drunk" or "Not Nearly the Neighbourhood Drunk" right now. When he opens the door, the trail of urine staining his jogging pants shorts tells me that clearly, he is either quite drunk, or has a prostate problem.
Seeing as his opening line was NOT:

A- "Hey guys, can I come in. I just got some bad news from my urologist...I have a lazy prostate!"

But was instead:

A- "Guys, I'm sorry, but that car--if it was a chick I'd fuck it! I've got a big--sorry ladies--guys, you know what I mean. It's fucking hot!!"

Then he started doing something that I do fairly often. He made an "OK" sign with his hand, pressing his thumb and index finger together, and splaying the rest of his fingers like a peacock's tail, and started smacking his lips to make a kiss-kiss sound. And he did it, and did it, and did it, until everyone in the room was uncomfortable. Except me. I was trying to figure out if this display meant that I could no longer do the "OK" kiss-kiss action myself. Did this spectacle ruin it?

A left, kiss-kissing all the way to the curb.
I decided that it was still a useful act to resort to when words describing the fine quality of something failed me.

When I left, call it Monica Lewinski-like foresight, but I gave the exhaust pipe a real good looking over. I'm going to put it in the back of my closet and bide my time.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Ranchero Tractor Beam

Any "Star Wars" nerd will tell you that a tractor beam is "an invisible force beam that drags objects from place to place", but only I will tell you that those nerds are wrong.
Wrong wrong wrong.

A tractor beam does not necessarily have to be "invisible". In fact, a tractor beam can be quite visible. It can also have a black metallic finish with red decal racing stripes, and a pair of dangly black fuzzy dice.

The scene: 6am-Parkdale
The players: myself (B); early morning traffic; one guy having his morning coffee.

'Morning coffee' might not be totally true; someone as drunk as he was likely hadn't gone to sleep yet, making his coffee more of an apretif.

I pull up to a red light on Queen and begin waiting my turn. To my left I hear an un-Godly exclaimation, and turn to see this man eject himself from the greasy spoon he was sobering up in, still holding his cup of java, and begin across the street towards me.
The Ranchero had him locked in a tractor beam. I've seen it happen before.
Drunk A stumbled infront of a moving car, which honked, to which he saluted with an upturned middle finger, in turn spilling coffee on his own arm. He stumbled to an eerie stillness outside my passenger window, a watery thousand-yard stare fixed in my direction ("watery" because the cigarette in his mouth was issuing smoke into his eyes, imparing his admiring gaze).

A pursed his lips and plucked the cigarette from its resting place. Then, with the hand holding the cigarette, he placed it gently on the chrome moulding around the window and slowly began to trace its elegant curve. The expression on his faced matched one I'd seen in a movie from the Forties, where this guy watched the mirrored reflection of a woman in her bedroom putting on silk stockings. Forbidden sensual delight.

His caress went from the window moulding, to the chrome running the length of the cruck's box. The expression on his face made me thankful that the cruck stood just high enough to mask the erection surely straining his britches.

The light turned green, and like a stern father who's heart is hardened by the loss of a wife and now stands mute in the face of Aphrodites' work, I stepped on the pedal and demanded The Ranchero leave her lover behind.

The chrome sped out from under A's hand, and there was a second where he stood in the middle of the street as if the cruck was still there, purring underhand--then he looked up to the silhouette of his ever-fading love, staining his eyes to cut through the early morning smog of the city, wishing that life were different. Wishin' that things hadn't turned out like this--drunk in the morning, a daughter that doesn't speak to him, no hope of realising his full potential, AND A CAR HONKING ITS HORN.

My rear view-finder painted a picture of loss: A was fighting with the horn-blower, the spell of the Ranchero broken.

The bumper sticker on the car ahead? "You can have my Ranchero when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!" There's a little picture of a skelton with a Rebel flag waving in a wind of flames.

Ranchero Dragnet

Most days I get from A to B in a Fairlane Ranchero. To the people of Riverdale's Ass, who's wake-up call is the opening chords of Mr. Jon Bon Jovi's cover of 'Keep on Rockin' in the Free World' tuned well above legal limits (my opinion), this is not news.
The Ranchero's devil-may-care attitude towards convention--it's striking refusal to be labeled neither car nor truck--has drawn me a lot of attention. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.

Yesterday morning, it was somewhere between good and bad. It was "The Man".

Roaring down the Queensway, The Ranchero (henceforth referred to as 'The Heart of Darkness', or any part thereof) was urging me to press its accelerator harder. The 'burbs is no place for a 302 small V8 engine. I would have obeyed, save the appearance of a copper pulling out of Licks Burger.

B- "I smell chicken. I smell pork. Run piggy, run piggy! I've got a fork. . .in the shape of Bruce Springsteen's Live album."

I nodded my head in time to the music, rolling past the cop not too fast, but also not too slow--just right.

He pulled in behind me and stayed close on my rear. I looked casually in my rear view-finder.
He was typing on his computer.
He was looking at me.
He was typing on his computer.
He was turning his lights on.
He was blasting his siren.
I, in my naivete, made eye contact with the cop, pointing at myself, then pointed at him, as if to say, "Me? Mais non! Me! Shit."

We pull over. The Darkness was frustrated; told me to run. Told me, "What about 'the stuff' you got behind the seat!!"
I told The Darkness adjustable vise-grips and two sleeves of Steam Whistle coasters were not enough to get me thrown in jail.

He was calling for backup.
I was trying to turn down my Springsteen, but the radio was locked in my glovebox. I was afraid that Officer A would suppose my awkward fumbling for the glovebox as an attempt to attempt to murder a cop. 'American Skin' was blaring--an eerie warning from the Boss to let the music stand.

The cop approached.

A- "license, insurance, and ownership."
B- "Certainly."

I gave him my license, insurance, and the original bill of sale dated August 12th, 1969.

A- "What's this?" (referring to the bill of sale)
B- "It's the original bill of sale."
A- "I don't want that; I want the ownership."
B- "I figured that the bill of sale would prove that since it was bought, it was owned."


A- "Is this your name. 'Bradley David Goddard'?"
B- "Yes. Is there something wrong, officer?"

He hadn't told me why we were meeting yet.

A- "Yes. I ran this plate, and it is licensed to Mr. C (not his real name). Mr. C is a prohibited driver. If I find that you are Mr. C, I'm takin' you in."
B- "Mr. C owns the car. I am Mr. B, the driver. Mr. C is a prohibited driver because he's in a wheelchair and can't feel his feet."
A- "The computer doesn't mention that information."
B- "Well, take it from me then. I'm not surprised he's a prohibited driver; I wouldn't take a ride from him if he offered it."
A- "Stay here."

He left for his car, to run my license through his computer. Even if he hadn't suggested it, I would have likely stayed put anyway.

Officer A came back after a few minutes and told me that I could go. I thanked him for keeping our streets safe, slid my aviator glasses back on, and shoved The Heart of Darkness in Drive just in time to hear the Boss advise "Baby, we were born to run!"

I must just look guilty.
Like in "American Graffiti", where the cops hassle the kids with the hot cars just for kicks.

This exchange was reminiscent of a time not too long ago when two officers of the law stopped me on the street, at gunpoint, because my duck-like gait smacked a little too much like Al Qaida. But that's another story. . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The taste of democracy.

The Armchair Garbageman tickled me pink when he anointed Steam Whistle Pilsner the pint of democracy.

Like a politician, I'm reading more in to his gesture, but as my blog will attest, I am particularly fond of dramatic statements.

A mighty wind.

Yesterday my fiance and I were enroute to Focaccia to sample their Summerlicious effort, when a man served up an amuse bouche of homme en chute al dente to whet our appetite.

At Yonge, just south of Hayden St., a man literally sneezed himself off his own two feet, landing face first in the gutter. I immediately thought:
Jeepers! I'd hate to have allergies that bad!
And seriously considered helping him up.

He stood without my help, but just barely, and weeved his way south on Yonge. The 'heel-toe' crossover he was using to walk robbed him of any elegance. I immediately thought:
Jeepers! I hate to be that drunk on Scope!
But something told me he didn't mind being that drunk on Scope.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

WASPiest Jew in Kensington.

The other day I was strolling though Kensington Market in a vain effort to find sharkskin suits that fit me. Most were either former closet dwellers of 'fat men with short arms', or 'tall men with long arms'--happily, I fall into the 'average men with mid-length arms'.

I was distracted from my search by a man sitting on the curb of Augusta Ave.; with no job to keep him chained to a desk, he was taking little advantage of the sunny day by sitting in the shade.

A- "Got some change?"
B- "Sorry. Not today."
A- "Are you Jewish?"
B- "No."
A- "You look like you have a bit of Jew in you."
B- "Nope. I'm about as WASPy was they get."
A- "You could pass for a Jew."
B- ". . .thanks?"

I thought, originally, that the man was paying me a compliment. I'm trying not to sound like a boor, but he looked more Jewish to me than, say, my identical twin brother. I assumed that he was paying me a compliment, however strange, by suggesting that he and I were cut from the same cloth. Assuming that he was Jewish. And that I look Jewish. It wasn't until I related the story to my brother, who promptly branded the man "an anti-Semitic ass" for suggesting that my thrift regarding panhandlers was related to some 'religious stereotype' typified by thrift, that I too thought the man an ass.

Had I realised where he was going, I would have drawn from my proud Christian tradition and burned him on a stake.

Monday, June 07, 2004

The next best thing.

After sliced bread, the next best thing ever conceived was a miniture, self-inflating WHOOPIE CUSHION!
And I did just as the advertisment directs--I squeezed farts right out of the palm of my hand. What awesome power!

On escaltors! On elevators!
On Jewish Seders!

I tooted wherever, and whenever, I pleased.
And I usually followed the "Bronx cheer" with a few very audible sniffs while casting an accusitory glare meant to implicate any passerbys or fellow passengers.
In elevators I recommend the following procedure:
1. Toot your mini whoopie cushion.
2. Give a digusted look at one passenger (A), who will no doubt try to ignore the goings-on.
3. Look at another passenger (B), smirk, roll your eyes, indicate the first passenger(A) with either your eyes, or a head nod in their direction, and "discretely" wave your hand beneath your nose. Make sure that (A) catches you doing this.

The absolute best time I ever had was lying in wait in a public washroom at The Bay on Yonge St., hidden in a stall, biding my time until nature called someone. Just as my victim began to relieve himself at the urinal, I let my mini Whoopie Cushion off its leash--toot--and followed it with the most agonizing moan of "Ohhh, God".

Immediately A stopped mid-stream for a listen.

I waited silently until the waterworks started up again, then--toot--followed by an even bigger moan, trying to make this one sound more worried and weary. I took my inspiration from seeing (and hearing) a cow giving birth in the middle of the farmer's field across from my house.

Immediately A stopped his relief for a listen.
What morbid curiosity!

I let out another, smaller toot and was tempted to call for my "Mommy", but resisted.

A zipped up and fled, in his haste neglecting to wash his hands.
I stood in my stall, exited, and after an approriate amount of time, exited the lavitory. I suspected A of being cut from the same perverted cloth as I, so while I was exiting I quickly glanced around to see if anyone was paying special mind to the inhabitant of the can who had crapped himself within an inch of death.
A guy perusing frames glanced quickly at me, then back at the frames.

No guy is that interested in frames.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Goo Goo G'SPLAT!

A few years back I worked in the mighty Wisconsin North Woods at Chippewa Ranch Camp (an all-girls camp) and met a Texan.
The Texan was the width of two axe handles across his ass, and easily one of the dumber specimens in the zoo of my life.
I called him "The Walrus".

By the end of summer, he hated my guts, and had gambled his entire wage away on bartop Monte Carlo machines in a place called "Sportsman's Bar". He owed the camp two hundred dollars by the end of August. He was just an amazing beast.

On Canada Day my parents came to visit, and we were outside exhibiting our hearty Canadian spirit by standing and talking quietly and politely to one another, enjoying nature, and considering whether to go to the Rhinelander Rail Museum (we did).
The Walrus was in a jolly mood, swinging merrily on a rustic, tree-hung, swing, chatting up some pre-teen girls.
A loud CRACK!.
The sound of little girls crying.
The sight of the Walrus, flat on his back, his chubby legs sticking out from the leaves of a broken tree branch now lying on the ground.

No one was hurt.

I think the girls were crying because the "old tree swing" was broken beyond repair.

My father summed up the event just as Lorne Greene might have reported it on CBC radio--
He turned to me, and in a grave tone said:
"That fat guy just broke the branch off that tree."

He sure did. Broke it real good.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Perversion: A success story!

With a title like that, I'm afraid that the payoff won't satisfy.

I am proud to report that when I wrote the following lie I fully expected it to bear fruit. . .

"Alexander Graham Bell invented the Slinkey

In 1957 Alexander Graham Bell was flying a kite in a thunderstorm while enjoying a Coca Cola. When the kite was unexpectedly struck by lightening, the Coca Cola can that Mr. Graham Bell was holding blew to ribbons. Shaken by the experience he strapped the tin ribbons to his feet and bounced home in a hurry. Arriving at home, drunk, he fell down the stairs. Though Alexander's numb body lay limp at the terminus of the stairway, his shoes continued into the kitchen, then on to the den. Legend has it that the tin-ribbon shoes came to rest perfectly at his fireside lounge, though many historians believe this story to have been fabricated by marketeers trying to sell Slinkeys."

. . .and it has!

Two innocent Googlers so farhave happened upon my perversion of the great Yankee history books, and it is my hope that the number will climb to as high as five!

Hey, if it's okay for Americans to write their own history surrounding the War of 1812, then I see my action as simply following in the footsteps they left in the horseshit.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Just a litter bit of advice.

It must be the company that I keep.
Recently I've been very upset at the sight of people littering, and I've been dealing with litter situations like I'm 6'2" and 190lbs.
If I had a goatee and played the tuba I'd be the spitting image of my dear friend The Armchair Garbageman.

Behaving like a hulk of a man is something that I just shouldn't do.

I was with my fiance the other day and saw this punk chuck litter on the floor of the Eaton's Centre. Something in me came loose, and I swiveled on my heel and caught up to the offender.

B- (tapping the punk on the shoulder)"Hey buddy! You want to pick up the litter that you threw on the floor back there?"
A- (surprised, not impressed)"Who the fuck are you? A mall cop?"
B- "No, I'm somebody that doesn't want to walk through your trash; who the fuck are you to throw garbage on the floor?"
A- "So what? You want me to go pick it up?"
B- "I'd really appreciate it if you did."

At this point he became very agitated. He was either: A)very embarrassed and trying to think of the right words to apologise; B)trying to think of a clever way to avoid having to pick up the garbage; C)wondering whether to use his left or his right fist to punch a hole in my face.
Or perhaps, D)all of the above.

He paced back and forth in front of me like a caged tiger, then came right up to my face and delivered his ultimatum.

A- "Okay. Okay. I'll pick it up. Where is it? Show me."

I felt like saying, "Jeez, it took you long enough!" Instead, I pointed to the garbage on the floor and said, "Right there, buddy."

A- "I'm not your fucking buddy!"


Then, a light goes on in his head.

A- "Follow me outside. I want you to see me throw this out. Just come with me outside, yeah?"
B- "Hey, if you tell me that you're going to throw it out I believe you. I didn't call you a liar, I called you a litterbug!"
A- "You know, I could throw you down on the floor in, like, two seconds and embarrass you, but I'm not going to do that!"
B- "Fine, fine. Hey, I'm just glad that you picked up your garbage."

And I waved my little condescending wave, the one I reserve for jerks I bother while in a moving vehicle or on the other side of a pane of glass, and chalked another one up for our beautiful city. He left, up the escalator, hopefully to use that street level garbage can that he had so desperately wanted to show me.

Along with my clean streets vigilantism, I've decided to eat my vegetables so that I can grow up big and strong, and become an "environmental champion" just like Woodsy Owl. In the future, I'd prefer if punks just said 'Ye-ye-yes, sir! Right away, sir!" and got their damn litter without all the drama.

And lastly, in an effort to pattern myself after my hero even more completely, my "wise request" will forever be. . .
"Give two shits, don't toss garbage where I sits!"

Instead of a forest ranger, I'll be a litter pirate!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

From the mouths of babes.

Yesterday I got a ticket nearly a full two minutes after my parking voucher had expired, so I was asking for it.

I noticed the ticket the same time two slack-jawed teenagers three chapters in to an excellent bottle of Maximum Ice did. They offered their support:

A- "You got a ticket, man!"
C- "Ya! You got a ticket!"
B- "Yes, I certainly got a ticket."
A- "Man, that is an awesome car, dude! It should be illegal to give a ticket to such an awesome car!!"
C- "Ya! Your car is too awesome to get a ticket!"
B- "I couldn't agree more."
A- "It's not right to give that car a ticket. . .!!"
C- "It should be illegal!"
B- "You're telling me. . ."
A- "Fuck, man, that car is awesome! You shouldn't get tickets!"
B- "Yes. Thank you. Write a letter to your member of city council."

I doubt they'll do it.
Sure, right then they thought it should be illegal to give tickets to people who drive '69 Rancheros, but wait until they get home and sober up. Then suddenly all that energy, and all that interest in civil law, will lose its immediacy.

And I'll keep getting tickets.

Judge an audio book by its sound, not its cover.

Today I went to see Supersize Me!.
I stepped into the popcorn line behind a woman who has aged fairly well over her 60-some-odd years and began to daydream about whether or not the documentary was going to live up to its hype.
During my introspection I felt eyes staring at me, and realised that it was the well-kept aged woman before me in line.

A- "You have an absolutely beautiful face!"
B- (I was taken aback)"Well, thank you! I have a twin brother, so there's plenty of this face to go around!"
A- "Beautiful and amusing!"
B- "Ha ha ha!"

To be honest, I wasn't surprised that she found me handsome. I have, since I worked a bingo in my youth, been very popular with her demographic. In fact, my wit and sex appeal have very strong showings with woman aged 58 straight through to 90! I think it stems from the fact that I have a face which looks very well in knitted sweaters. (a caveat--keep your widowed grandmother away from me if you want her chaste image to stay in tact)

She turned to get napkins, and the space between us was bisected by a middle-aged man going towards the ticket wicket.
As he passed, he broke wind with extraordinary vigor. It was shamelessly loud.

My sweetheart turned around in surprise, and there I was, grinning for the wrong reason. Her eyes said, "J'accuse!"; I tried, unsuccessfully, to get mine to say, "Mais non!".
Immediately I inherited the guilt meant to wrack the conscience of the braying ass who had dealt the deal-breaking overture; however, he had more pressing issues at hand, asking the ticket seller in a loud urgent tone for the washroom's whereabouts. . .apparently he was out of room in his pants.

She gave a polite smile, like you do on the subway to the parents of a child you've just observed picking their nose and eating it, and went off to find a seat in Theatre 3.

Had I been on the ball, I would have answered her gawk with, 'You're excused' followed by placing my hand over the top of my tea cup so as to suggest that it needed protection from contamination.

That, or given a surprised look and used a line my father has employed among friends and family--"Did anyone see that little elephant?"

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Universal Language of 'Ranchero'

When in my Ranchero, it's hard not to feel like a celebrity.

In fact, while in the Ranchero, it is hard not to feel a number of things. A short list of inspired feelings includes, but is not restricted to:

-feelings of David Lee Roth-like power;
-feeling that, with a six pack, anything is possible;
-feeling that the world changed, for the worse, on December 31st, 1982;
-feeling that, given the chance, a Ranchero driver would never permit a white tiger to bite his head like Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy), and would soundly whoop the ass of any tiger, white or otherwise, attempting such bitch-ass behaviour;
-adopt Alfred E. Newman's laissez-faire attitude of 'What, me worry?'

I'd like to see the list of feelings conjured up while driving a Civic:
-feeling that living in the basement of mom and dad's place is okay;
-feeling that Ground FX, decals, and noise of modified Civic adequately replace awesomeness, speed, and ability to haul loads in the bed of a Ranchero cruck;
-feeling that, in a Civic, one could skip 4th period math and not get caught.
-feeling that, given the chance, a Civic driver would never permit Odie to steal his Lasagna like Garfield does, time and again, with humorous results;
-adopt Randy Newman's attitude that 'Short people got no reason to live'.

My point is this: today a pan-handling deaf-mute walked up to me while I was putting a parking receipt in my window, pointed at the Ranchero, then gave the thumbs up.
I nodded.
He then produced a note explaining that he was a deaf-mute looking for money.
I shook my head.
Finally, he pointed at the Ranchero, then at himself, then made a motion like he was driving.
Even though he used proper ten-and-two steering technique in his mime, I shook my head.

The power of the Ranchero to bring people together and bridge language barriers may be exactly what the Middle East needs right now.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Tony Robbins on Mongoose

Union Station is the heart of Canada.
Every creed, colour, and income bracket converge there.
When you mix so many different people together, you really never know what you're going to get.

A few days ago, what I got was a daily affirmation of self.

For the amusement of those in ear shot, a man who's been alive for more years than he has teeth in his head (he most certainly was not 10 years old) was singing 'King of the Road' in an attempt to gain either money or fame. Folks didn't seem to be ponying up much dough, and he wasn't holding a Starbucks cup, so I assumed that it was the latter.
As Janet Jackson was in town I felt like suggesting that he show a tit and really step up his performance. I even started picturing my delivery of the comment in my head--I'd say it loud enough so that the crowd waiting for their respective Go Trains would think that I was both witty and topical, as well as kindly to the homeless and edgy. The remark would surely immortalise me in conversation; my bit of wit repeated to "Train Friends" on the ride home to Oshawa and Markham, making life even more closely imitate the art of "Train 48".

Just as I was about to open my mouth, the Tent City Balladeer sang, ". . .I'm a man of means by no means
King of the belt buckles"!
"Wait a cotton-pickin' minute! That's not the words to the song!!", thought I,"He was referring to ME!"
Self-centredness aside, I was sure that it was me he was referring to because it was I that he was making eye contact with. . .and I was wearing my Bodacious belt buckle which is the size of a large tea cup saucer, and is totally awesome!

B- (with a nod and a wink)"It is the 'King of the belt buckles', that's for sure!"
A- (jolly)"You're an all around guy, brother!"
B- (gracious) "Thanks."
A- (suddenly serious) "No. I'm serious, brother. You're an all around guy! You got it together!"
B- (uh. . .gracious?)"Thanks!"

It was inspiring to have someone that I didn't even know see so much potential in me. To look me right in my belt buckle and know that I was a wonderful person. I felt empowered. I felt invincible! I felt like the mighty Mongoose--if the world ever bit me, I had the strength to bite it right back!

Night Moves

After a lovely night at the movies, while I was attempting the cross John St. at King, I noticed a large Chevy Suburban making a left hand turn, and creeping closer and closer to me.
The little white walking fella was lit up, so for once I was obeying the laws of the land, yet this Suburban was practically on top of me.
I wasn't lollygagging, but I wasn't running.

A- (window down, music pumping, lots of girls inside)"Take your time, buddy."
B- "Next time, just drive over me, jackass."

And, "Scene".

Saturday, May 01, 2004

One Tic Tac short of a full hand

The 1969 Ford Fairlane Ranchero I use as a sales vehicle is sick, and I had to take her to "the hospital".
The "hospital" is, in reality, little more than a junk yard decorated with old school buses, a transport trailer that acts as an operating room, and the biggest mud puddle anyone has ever seen. It is a place that little cars have nightmares about and middle age cars threaten to send their parents to--it's a place that, if I was a car, I would pray for death. The "head doctor" at this facility is a charmer I'll call A. He is 'on call' 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from his trailer on site.

A will never, ever, ever be clean again.
When I first met him and held out my hand for a shake, A reached out, looked at his filthy little paw, gave it a courtesy wipe on his pants, then completed the greeting.

The irony is, if his hand had been clean to begin with, and he wiped it on his pants, I would have thought twice about shaking it.
It's like cleaning an apple that fell into a Port-a-Potty with a dirty handkerchief.

Upon closer inspection of his hand, I noticed that one finger was considerably larger than the rest. And oozing. When asked, A replied:

A- "Oh, that. I cut it with a saw, burnt it with a welding torch, and got a hot piece of metal in it, all in one day."
Then, with a laugh,
A- "The girlfriend loves it!" (thrusting his swollen finger into thin air rhythmically)


A then pointed out another finger which was slightly shorter than the rest.

A- "I broke that one eight months ago and just got the use of it back."
B- "Did you go to the doctor?"
A- "Nah. One morning I was eating breakfast and a piece of bone fell out of it. Hard piece bigger than a Tic Tac."
B- "You should have gone to the doctor, pal!"
A- "Nah. What was he going to do? I threw the bone out."

If it offends thee, wait for it to drop off.

Despite appearances, he does do a fine job.
And anyone who will risk life and limb for the Ranchero can't be a bad dude; not on the inside. Deep inside.

I will post when his romantic horizon opens up, for any of the single ladies out there looking for a project.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

A Streetcar Named Shame

At least one man in Toronto had a rough Thursday afternoon.

And I met that unfortunate man's friend, we'll call him A, as he tried to solicit streetcar fare at Yonge and Dundas.
With suspiciously fresh n' minty breath, A explained that his buddy had been shot and that he needed change to make the fare so that he could rush to his friend's side and whisper things like "Everything is going to be okay", "Hang in there", and "Don't follow the light" into his fallen pal's ear.

If my chum was going to whisper encouragement into my ear, which I will add is quite close to my nose, I should hope that he would show me the same courtesy as this fine specimen. His breath was beyond reproach, even from my standing position halfway down the streetcar! It was as if someone had open a window on a blustery January day only to discover that it was snowing and blowing Mojito out. Dee-lightful!

Patience, not brevity, was the soul of his wit, and it eventually paid off; but apparently some riders had their doubts regarding the validity of A's story, or the severity of the injury caused to his friend.

A, having reached the summit of his goal, now faced the challenge of descending safely into a seat. By the expression on his face, this was a taxing decision. He was considering seating options with the careful attention of a Bride-to-Be examining Reception floor plans. While he weighed the alternatives available, a tiny voice squeaked:

C- "You! Sit down!"

Not the most offensive thing I've heard squeaked on the streetcar, I must admit, but to A this was an attack that wounded him deeply. He turned his entire attention to the complainant, relieved, in my opinion, to set aside the seating issue for a bit.

Focusing, as best as he could through eyes glazed over with welling tears, he gave the speaker a thousand yard stare that was meant to be withering and critical.

Everyone was on the edge of their filthy red seats, waiting for what would happen next.
Pause. Pause. Pause.

Finally A broke the silence. Slowly he admonished:

A- "There are women and kids on here--women and kids! Shame on you. Shame."

He pointed, but his finger roamed from person to person, as if to indite all those on board for the perceived slight. Then he collapsed into a seat and muttered, "Shame!".

Things were starting to settle down, which in Toronto takes about ten seconds, when inspiration struck and A leapt to his feet, and dove at the yellow 'stop request' cord. Straining under A's weight, the 'stop request' cord cried 'DING!' and the streetcar stopped. Off A got.

No hospital in sight.

Only the 'New Moon Cafe', it's window reading "Bottle Beer. Draught Beer. Free Internet."

Head hung low, A solemnly crossed the 'New Moon' threshold.

Does have E-cards that communicate the idea, "I'm sorry that you got shot up"? I don't know.
Even if the internet did offer such thoughtful sentiments in an E-card, I doubt OHIP covers bedside ethernet connections.

Clearly, OHIP must join the 21st Century; or hospitals must become more competitive and offer bottle and draught beer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Spring has sprung!

There are many traditional signs of spring, iconized by the media, that amount to little more than a hill of buttons to the poor bastard standing in 10 centimeters of mid-May snow wearing capris and Birkenstocks all because he placed blind faith in some hayseed albino woodchuck that didn't see his shadow.
Similarly, the amazed gardener will simply mutter, in a soft, mournful tone while standing over her annuals, "I don't understand--I saw Mr. Robin Redbreast--I don't understand."

What is there to be said? Bad things happen to dumb people.

But to the capri-wearing gents and frustrated green thumbs I announce: Spring has sprung!
How do I know?
"Did he see butterflies fluttering, frogs jumping, worms squirming, or ferns. . .ferning!?!" the ladies at the Bridge Club ask.

My dear friend The Armchair Garbageman would no doubt kindly suggest that, this Friday, the sight of common folks hitting the streets at 2pm to clean up garbage for twenty minutes is a sure sign that spring is upon us.

All are adequate, but rather pedestrian and "commercial", examples of spring; mine is much sexier!

The Snowflake Maker has shaved his beard.
(the tale of how I met The Snowflake Maker begs to be highlighted in an entry of its own, but suffice it to say, he holds a very special spot in my heart)

And since my spotting of the freshly shorn Snowflake Maker is what I consider a bona fide, bankable sign that spring is here to stay, I would kindly ask that you, the reader, assume even more responsibility for your city, and do as my dearest friend The Snowflake Maker does: randomly Windex the street.

On my way to work I spotted my friend nervously petting one of his many LCBO bags. The bag was large and round, and he was stroking it tenderly, as only an actor on Canadian television drama playing "pregnant" does.
The smile on his face, and his lingering hand, was somewhat suggestive of a pedophilic urge; however, it may be unfair to suggest that if he was pregnant his stroking was pedophilic, as there has been little progress on who is ultimately correct in the "Right to Life/Right to Choice" disagreement.
I digress.
No matter the mania, he looked like he was having a hell of a morning.
And so was I.
I'm always delighted to see him.
I was also delighted when he pulled a large yellow hard hat out of his bulging bag, followed by a brand spanking new bottle of Windex!! Experience has taught me that in situations where this individual is concerned, the addition of two seemingly ordinary items can create magic.

Windex bottle in hand, he approached the curb like he was trying to sneak up on it. Studying his street canvas with the shrewd eye of an artist, he pointed his bottle and squirt squirted a spot on the ground. He continued on further down the street, eyes still fixed on the parking lane of Broadview, then squirt squirted again!
My heart cried, "Marvelous!".
What discerned the filthy spots from the clean was based on criteria known to him alone; in my opinion, I would eat dinner off of a slaughterhouse floor before I'd dine on the asphalt of Broadview. It could RAIN Windex and I'd still tippy-toe on some parts! But he had guidelines, and he was passionately sticking to them.
Right in the middle of his superclean, a van tried to pull away from it's parking spot; unfortunately it happened to be sandwiched between two very dirty bits of real estate.
The Snowflake Man squirt squirted at the nose of the van, then scrambled to the rear and squirt squirted a bit there. Back and forth he scurried, and the van rolled to and fro, the driver desperate to escape. It was like a game of monkey in the middle if you replaced the ball for Ammonia.
I was in heaven.
It was my own private Wimbleton!

The van finally escaped and sped away. The Snowflake Man wandered off in the opposite direction, squirt squirting as he walked, until he faded into the horizon.

The first thing that sprang to my mind was the City of Kitchener's slogan, emblazoned on each litter can:
Keep Kitchener Clean as a Kitchen!
I suggest:
Keep Toronto Clean as a Bathroom!
to honour the effort that is already underway in our fine city's streets.

And I happen to have friends in high places that know about garbage in this city.


Modern surgery can work wonders.
People the world over, each and every day, look at themselves in the mirror and say:
"I'm just not making the grade--my nose is too big."
"I have spare tires that only a dune buggy could love!"
"My ears make me look like an waffle."

All cruel, yet all devastatingly true.

Recently, as a result of a visit to the neighbourhood convenience store, my eyes have lingered longer on a certain part of my body. With a heavy heart, I had to ask myself:
Has my back side ever offended anyone?
I mean, really offended anyone.
My question might sound ridiculous to the uninitiated; but those that have been to Trident Convenience will know the source of my insecurity exactly.
And it isn't popular media or fashion runways.

There is a cat there without a tail.
The cat is black and dingy.
The cat and I met when he ambushed me from above the door, continued on down my left shoulder and arm like an unwashed avalanche, piling to rest on the Toronto Sun rack.

I was surprised that my surprise had not caused another avalanche of yesterday's supper down my pant leg.

I noticed that the cat had no tail, and was black, and immediately a funny line occurred to me.

B- (to the clerk) "That black cat's got some bum luck--he's lost his tail!"

It was something to that effect. You may not be impressed by that line, and to be honest I had a million better lines, most making a clever reference to the nursery rhyme about three little kittens that have lost their mittens, but something about the expression on the girl's face told me that she wasn't really the booky type. That literature was something one found on the streets of Toronto when the snow melted.

The clerk, rather matter-of-factly reported:

A- "The tail knocked stuff off shelves; I put elastic on it, and it fell off."

Well. There you have it.

Matthew said it best in Chapter 18, verse 8:
". . .if it offend thee, cut it off."

Monday, April 12, 2004

Specious Beauty!

Mr. Dressup, Raffi, and Fred Penner all advocated the practice of 'sharing'.
Examples of sharing that I like best are: ice cream; scotch; licorice.
Examples of sharing that I tolerate are: colds; responsibility for a broken vase; seal clubs.

Today, however, was an example of sharing that I like least: an opinion contrary to my own.

I drive, as is my good fortune, a classic Ford Fairlane Ranchero. With its aggressive angles, fuzzy dice, and a paint job so midnight black that a bat would get lost, it looks pretty snazzy. The fact that it is a 'cruck', or car/truck, only adds to its mystique and charm.
Driving around town the Ranchero raises a lot of eyebrows, and many people will call out "Nice car!" or "Lookin' good!" or "What year is it?".

The last question is the most popular.
"Lookin' good!" is the least.

People who call out "What year is it?" usually have no idea what year, or even what make, the car should be. Being guilty myself of this, I should know. The question is just part of the fraternity of men. 'Car Talk' binds us together the same way 'Sex in the City chat' or 'Jennifer Aniston Hair Talk' does women, and therefore there is no shame in using a slightly misdirected question to open up discussion.

So today, from the sidewalk at Queen and Woodbine a man calls to me, the Ranchero driver, and he says:

A- "Is that a '68?"
B- "Naw, it's a '74."

The man looked the car back to front.

A- "Looks like a '68!"
B- "Nope. I'm pretty sure it's a '74, pal."

This is where things got a whole lot more 'Toronto'.
The guy looks right at me, and shouts:

A- "Fuck you! It's a '68!!"

I drove on.

Fuck me? What the hell is that? I mean, I'm the one behind the wheel; I ought to know better than some chump walking what year my car is. Things would be different if I called out to him while stopped at a red light and asked, "Those 'Hush Puppies' the Aught-Threes or the Aught-Fours?". In that situation one could safely assume that I don't know the correct answer and require clarification. Isn't that the fundamental difference between a question and a statement?

Flustered, I pulled over to consult the Ford Owner's Manual. I only needed to take it half way out of the armrest to read: Enjoy driving your 1969 Ford Fairlane Ranchero!

So I was wrong.

But so was he!

Fuck him.

I wonder if he'd be as cheeky asking Phyllis Diller her age.

Phyllis Diller- "Twenty-nine!"
A- "Fuck you! You're seventy-eight!"

Not likely. She'd back her car over him.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Panhandling Do's and Don'ts!

I realise salesmanship is a virtue that not all possess.
Take American foreign policy in the hands of George W. Bush, for example.
Or, on a more metropolitan scale, panhandling.

There are certain strategies I have observed around town for soliciting funds that are more effective than others.
For example, smell.
That's a "don't".
Be polite.
That's a "do".
Offer some of your Scope in exchange for a quarter or two.
That's a "maybe". I've had days where I'd have killed for a swig of Scope to keep me keepin' on.
Offer to "smack" someone if they don't comply with your request.
That's a "don't".

A practical application of these rules of thumb can have a positive or negative effect on your cup balance at the day's end.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine from Timmins (or was it Sudbury?) strayed a bit from my 'common sense rules', and his freeform panhandling was both unorthodox and unsuccessful.

A- (approaching me outside Union Station)"Hey, buddy! Can I speak to you for a minute?"
B- "Sure!"
A- "Look. I'm, I'm real embarrassed to be asking you this, but I. . ."
B- "Sorry, pal. I know the schpeel you're going to give; not today. Have a good one, though."
A- (to my back as I walk on)"Fuck you!!"
B- (amazed; turning)"What did you say?"
A- (amazed that I turned to face him)"Fuck you!!"
B- "Look, buddy, I was trying be polite and all you can do is tell me to fuck myself?"
A- "Trying to be 'polite'!" (mimicking my voice, like a girl's) "I know the schpeel! Fuck you!"
B- "Look, asshole! I do know the schpeel. You're real embarrassed, but you need some money to get a train ticket back Timmins, or Sudbury, or wherever, and could I spare some change. Am I wrong?"
A- (silent, a bit confused)
B- "There's no reason for you to tell me to 'FUCK OFF!' just because I don't want to give you money."
A- "I've got $30 already!" (shows me a ten and a twenty)
B- "Can I have some money?"
A- "No! Fuck you!"
B- "Fuck you! You've got more than me!"

I began to walk away again, when A tried to get the last word.
No one gets the last word with me. I hate having the second to last word!!

A- "I should smack you."
B- (turning to face A again)"You should what? Smack me?"

I was getting pretty indignant. This dude was trying to get money out of me in all the wrong ways.
And, I feel it is important to note that he was no bigger than a benchwarmer on an Eighth Grade basketball team. Now I'm by no means a goliath of a man, but if I can see someone's pattern baldness, I begin to feel at bit bold.

B- (nearly chest-to-chest)"If anyone is going to do some smacking it's not going to be you, little man! Try using some manners, asshole! This approach is getting you nowhere fast."
A- "Whatever!"

He started to walk away, but I felt proud because he kept looking over his shoulder in what I construed to be a 'fearful' manner.

Afterwards, it dawned on me that I should have given him some money to get back to Timmins or Sudbury as part of my civic duty to clean up the manners of the city.

Rush Limbaugh's 'Coles Notes'

Sometimes when I'm riding the streetcar I eavesdrop, or glance over someone's shoulder at what they're reading, or make faces at babies.

Sometimes I downplay character traits that I think people will find undesirable or creepy, like eavesdropping, glancing over people's shoulders, and making faces at babies.

So I was 'glancing' at something this late-twenty-something Asian girl was reading the other day on the streetcar. She was conservatively-dressed and wore glasses, which made me automatically think that what she was reading was likely engineering notes from school or something; but this was not the case.

Scribbled out on one sheet of lined steno paper were the following nuggets of knowledge:

"Children are watching too much television today and it is making them stupid and violent. We need to control television to control violence."

"There is so much war in the world today that life is barely worth living."

"Food in the grocery store is covered in germs."

"Be careful who you trust. Not everyone wants the best for you. Some people will take advantage of you."

"People should be told what to do. If we are told what to do, then everything will be ok."

Life's a real bowl of cherries to her, ain't it?
Regrettably my study of 'her words to live' by was cut short when she noticed that I was glancing at her paper. I felt like telling her that it wasn't my fault, that television was to blame, but she had folded up her paper and moved away from me by the time I thought of my clever line.

The more I thought about the adages on her paper, the more I thought, "Maybe I should make up my own 'words of power' to read on the streetcar!!" So I did:

"People are watching too much 'Train 48' and it is making them stupid and causing them to have unrealistic hopes for their own transit experience. We need to derail the train and park it in the roundhouse next to Mike Bullard."

"There is so much Bubble Tea available on Yonge St. that no one can make a living."

"Food in the Dominion grocery store is over-priced."

"Be careful when picking up newspapers left on the streetcar. Someone may have used it as a tissue. It happens."

"People get off the streetcar through the front doors should be told to go to hell."

My list isn't nearly as interesting as hers.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, I prefer her's over mine. It has more. . .spunk.
I think that they'd make perfect fortunes for fortune cookies. Very right wing, Communist manifesto-cum-Oprah fear-mongering fortunes, but pefect nevertheless for today's world!

Friday, April 02, 2004

Yahoo! A "mud room rug"!

Today, by the grace of sitemeter I learned that, on the world wide web according to Yahoo, the only "mud room rug" is my passing reference:

From A to B
... of the shower NAKED. Washing the dishes NAKED. Maybe running the vacuum
over the mud room rug NAKED. Sighing deeply the whole while ...

In an effort to further frustrate searches, and pervert online research by students too lazy to turn on the teevee, I submit this statement and leave it to be discovered:

Alexander Graham Bell invented the Slinkey

In 1957 Alexander Graham Bell was flying a kite in a thunderstorm while enjoying a Coca Cola. When the kite was unexpectedly struck by lightening, the Coca Cola can that Mr. Graham Bell was holding blew to ribbons. Shaken by the experience he strapped the tin ribbons to his feet and bounced home in a hurry. Arriving at home, drunk, he fell down the stairs. Though Alexander's numb body lay limp at the terminus of the stairway, his shoes continued into the kitchen, then on to the den. Legend has it that the tin-ribbon shoes came to rest perfectly at his fireside lounge, though many historians believe this story to have been fabricated by marketeers trying to sell Slinkeys.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Keller Skelter

There is a tortured soul on Yonge Street whose appetite for the spoken word is insatiable.
I say "word" instead of "words" because his appetite is very selective.
Like Fraggles for Doozer buildings.
Or Gargamel for Smurf meat.
Or Oliver North for lying.

Yes, this discerning palate craves but one word, and one word alone: FUCK.
The Grandaddy of all curses, this man must be admired for cutting to the chase. There's no "Holy FUCK!" or "Jesus FUCKing Christ!" or "Mother FUCKer!"--not for this gent! Oh no! He gets straight to the point when he's cursing!

And he's blind.

And his swearing is very, very loud.

Thankfully, his blindness seems to keep him out of trouble, as he more often than not is cursing at a brick wall, or towards traffic (which in Toronto takes very little notice of those on two legs) and not directly at someone. Occasionally his cursing verges on adorable even! Like the day I saw his so gosh-darned tuckered out from screaming his obscenity that he had slumped to the ground, his only support a wall (which had obviously considered the earlier cursing he had given it as 'water under the bridge--noble, those walls!).

Many times I've been tempted to strike up a conversation--a little small fucking talk--but only once have I made a genuine effort. On the approach, ready to say "How the fuck goes it?", a lady in front of me motioned to put some change in his outstretched Starbucks cup. He jerked the cup back towards his breast just as she let go of the change, and coins danced around on the sidewalk like little elves wearing bells around their tree bakery!

B- "Don't touch them!! Leave them on the ground!!"
A- "Let me pick them up for you."
B- "No! Leave them!"

He was agitated. The good Samaritan was scared. I had lost my nerve.
The kind-hearted lady had put my mark in a bad mood, and I didn't figure he'd appreciate a little small fucking talk.

I was surprised at how quickly he pulled the cup back; I mean, another second and he'd be 35 cents richer!
I'm sure that the lady was surprised at how quickly he pulled the cup back; I mean, another second and she'd have done her philanthropy for the week!
He didn't give a fuck.

I wish that people like him would go on Speaker's Corner.
What a ratings boon that would be!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Pot of bold.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
Why, Parkdale has them all!

Recently I had the pleasure, and courage, to stroll through Parkdale late at night. And to my great delight, I saw a midget!

Being part Irish, we folks from the Emerald Isle consider the sighting of a Leprechaun just prior to St. Patrick's Day a good tiding. Leprechauns are as important to the Irish, and our celebration, as the albino groundhog is to the Wiratonian and Punxsutawnian.

I hope folks have no ill will for me as a result of my using the word 'midget'; then drawing a straight line from midget to leprechaun. If it looks like an orange, and smells like an orange, and tastes like an orange, it's likely an orange, right?
I think that the onus is on YOU, the reader, to accept that midgets and leprechauns exists, and are sometimes one and the same.

And anyway, the story hasn't nearly reached its offensive potential.

A local watering hole in Parkdale, The Dufferin Gate (known familiarly as "The Gate"), set the stage for this little drama to be played out. At nearly midnight I observed what looked like an infant with rickets hobble out of 'The Gate' and towards a tiny bike. Seconds later a drunk blonde and her escort fell through "The Gate" entrance and dove at the Leprechaun as he tried to mount his bike.
I listened carefully to see if, in the spirit of tradition, the Leprechaun revealed the location of his pot of gold.
The dizzy blonde had something other than gold coins on her mind--she wanted to say something to him:

A- (unlocking his bike)
B- (grabbing Leprechaun) "Hey!"
A- (balls himself up as if to protect vital organs and roll away)
B- "I've never seen a little person in real life before! Only on teevee!"
A- (clearly flattered by the attention) "Oh. (inaudible)"

The boyfriend now asked his burning question.

C- "Can you double me on your handlebars?"

To his question, the bow-legged Leprechaun sat on his wee bike in silence. I left the scene quickly, not wanting to see something that would pull at my heart-strings and give me guilt-ridden pause at my keyboard when I tried to record the goings-on.

Also, I hated to look at two people who caught a Leprechaun and blew their chance at riches with stupid queries and questions.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Hurricane Executive!

The other day I was at the corner of Bay and Bloor.
I was patiently waiting my turn to use the revolving door at the TD Bank.
The reason I was patient, was my mother always taught me to respect my elders. And one of my elders was at the power position within the revolving door. The door was moving like the hour hand of a clock.
But I was patient, out of respect.
Even though it was cold outside.

Inside, an elevator opened, and out fired a pinstripe bullet. The executive clearly respected no law above the GO Train schedule as he roared toward the revolving door.
Laws that he lay ruin to:
1. Do not run in leather shoes on a polished surface.
2. Do not run in a suit.
3. Do not run if the last time you ran was in Grade 8, because you will look stupid.
4. Respect your elders.

There I was, patiently waiting for the inevitable. The tortoise was about to meet the hare, head on, and there was nothing I could do.
Or, at least, very little.
Aesop never made the story this much fun.

The Suit either didn't see, or didn't care, or didn't care to see, my most revered senior plodding through the revolving door, and powered through the door like it was his job. He was so quick that I am sure my father would describe the event thusly:
"Like shit through a goose!"

It was just that fast.

As I gathered from eavesdropping on my three scientist roommates in university, for every action there is a reaction, which was traditionally related by the example 'lifting Labatt 50 to mouth will lead to Bruce Springsteen on the record player'.

This poor darling, my elder, having been caught in the cross-hares of the suit in sprint, found that she was no longer pushing the door, but the door was pushing her. Most times this would be helpful (ie. i am walking on the sidewalk/the sidewalk is doing the walking for me) but only if you're expecting such kind assistance. The senior, who I am most deferential to, was not expecting the help.
How she stayed on her feet is a wonder, but she did.
I hurried in behind; the door was still spinning like a hurricane, so I didn't have to exert myself. I did, however, have to approach the door like a little girl waiting her turn at double Dutch.
My elder galed at me, "Someone should tell that man he shouldn't do that!"
That 'someone', according to the lady's wagging finger, was apparently me.
I said, "Yes" and carried on my merry way.
I'm a fit enough guy, but he was moving pretty fast.

Let's not forget that I had, like, wasted half my lifetime waiting for her to creep two feet.

Besides that, what part of the expression 'rush hour' had mystified her? Led her to believe that it was the perfect time for her to do some cherry picking? I respectfully ask her to answer me that.