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.