Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sage words.

I live across the street from a house which is covered in the most unlikely graffiti of any house that I have ever seen. I swear that I'm not exaggerating.

To start, even before you consider the prose, the fantastic colours catch your eye.
Then, you notice the stuffed animals stapled mercilessly by their ears to the soffet.
Lastly, the messages:
"Our police are doing a great job!",
"I had a Labatt Blue and Molson Canadian at Wayne Gretzky's and took a cab home!",
and finally,
"Kids killed by drunk drivers can't hug Pandas!"

No, they certainly can't.
They also can't:
. . .play croquet with 'The Beatles'! (for more than one reason)
. . .sit on a pole for the Guinness record!
. . .explore the Scenic Caves near Collingwood!
. . .go through a period of loving Weird Al Yankovic!

Rich lives, full of potential, cut short by someone who should have just taken a cab.
Think about it.

Friday, February 25, 2005

There's no business, like snow business!

On Eastern Ave between Broadview and Carlaw Marky-Mark is shooting a film.
The film takes place during Christmastime, one gathers, as production crews have hung lights and ornaments all along the street. Last Friday it was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as I drove to work--except that there was no snow on the ground!
I could hear the producers screaming on the line from Hollywood:
"God Damn Canada! The one thing you would think it was good for is snow, and now, in the middle of winter, there isn't one God damned flake to be seen! Jesus H. Christ, find me some fucking snow!"

So on my way home, production crews were blowing snow, chipping ice, and laying down long rolls of white cotton batton to make Eastern Ave in Toronto, Canada look like a snow-covered street in Brooklyn. Which, incidently, had its own snow.

Sunday evening it snows like there's a sequel to "The Day After Tomorrow" being shot.
Monday morning, a discouraged production crew begins melting snow to match footage they had already shot when snow was hard to come by.

"God damned Canada! I wish to God that damned Chinook would make up its God damned mind!"

Gentleman's Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

I've given many, many people a quick Q&A period on my dazzling Smart car.
How fast? How much? etc. etc. etc.
I always invite people to sit in it; and occasionally, I'll give them a ride around the parking lot.
It brings me joy to bring joy to the lives of others.

I could be more selective about where and when (and with whom) I bestow my particular brand of philanthropy, as I learned outside Jilly's Gentleman's Revue at Queen and Broadview.

Perhaps the time of day, or the dark, moonless night, or the reputation of the neighbourhood should have put me on alert; but no! When a fella, obviously drunk, knocked on my window as I warmed up the Smart in a Green P lot across from Jilly's, my first instinct was to chat.

When he asked me if he could sit in the car beside me, "because it's so cool looking!", I should have said that I needed to get going--that if I didn't show up at my house in 5 minutes, my wife (a cop) would get her gun and come looking for me.
Instead, I said "Absolutely!".
Not just "yes"; but "absolutely".
This is when, on The Flintstones, The Great Gazoo appears over Fred's shoulder and says, "What on Prehistoric Earth are you doing, Dumb-Dumb?!"
I have no Great Gazoo to assist me in my daily choices.

When "Brian" climbed in beside me, left hand shoved deep into his coat pocket, my inner voice found only these two words: Oh snap.

I positioned my hand near to the driver's door handle, knowing in my heart I came from a long line of "flighters"--men who didn't know how to fight, and weren't interested in taking any first-hand pointers.

As it happens, B2 was very well-versed in our lovely little brewery, and spoke with enthusiasm about the brand and the biz in general.
I began to feel so comfortable that I moved my hand slightly away from the door handle, and was just taking back my Oh snap! when he asked me if I'd like to smoke some crack with him.

My hand went back up in flight position.

Rescuing me from B2's persistent crack advances was a lonely friend, Barry (B3), who B2 had abandoned in Jilly's Perv's Row. I gave them both bottle openers for their praise of Steam Whistle; in return, they swore to buy some of our pilsner once safely back inside the Club.
After my new friends staggered away, I checked to see if B2 had wet my passenger seat.

It left me, the Great Philanthropist, wondering whether or not I'd share my last rock of crack with some random beer salesman I had just met.
My generous streak and love of my fellow man, I figure, stops at sharing crack.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Sunni Triangle on my Face

My poor little Smart gets me a lot of attention.
It's kind of awkward.
At stop lights people stare and grin and wave at me, which is fine for the first 10 seconds; the remaining 20 seconds crawl by. What was once an exciting, new relationship full of hope and promise soon develops the all-too-familiar signs of wear-and-tear. Honeymoon period over, smiles get strained, waving hands get limp with fatigue, we find out that we have nothing in common, and lastly, we begin to avoid each other. A phone call? Tune the radio? Read an inane billboard? Do anything but spend time with each other.
Then, as suddenly as it began, it's over.

It has become so common for people to stare at me in my car (or perhaps more accurately, just my car) that I've finally stopped feeling like I've done something wrong.

Which is precisely when I began doing things that could be considered 'wrong'.
I got too comfortable.
I stopped noticing people noticing me, and went back to all the filthy habits people have while driving in their car

Singing along with the radio. Conducting symphonies with twinkles of my fingertips. Picking my teeth. Picking my . . .
. . .danger, Will Robinson. Danger.
Late one night, after dropping off my fiancee, I indulged in a quiet little bit of nose maintenance, wherein I removed something that I shouldn't have, and my nose began to bleed.
Disgusting, I nose; and now, quite urgent.
Tipping my head back, I looked for something to dam the crimson tide. A Kleenex Rick Schroeder, to borrow from the movie of the self-same name; or a little paper Dutchman.

I could feel the blood sticking its big toe into my moustache, and knew that something must be done, and quickly.

I did what I had to do, and stuck my finger back in my nose.

I stopped at a red light.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a vehicle come to rest beside me. I could feel eyes first on my car, then on me. In the silence of the night, above the rattle of the Smart's V3 diesel engine, gales of laughter mingled with the cold winter air.
My finger hung fast.

For the next 20 seconds my relationship with the passengers in car next to me would mirror Canadian/American relations. I showed either incredible pluck, or vain stupidity, and continued to press my finger into my nose; they would look on with disbelief, humour, and quiet superiority.
And I would pretend that no blood was shed, and that nothing was wrong, and everything was perfectly normal.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Shitzunds and Poomans and Bears, Oh My!

An alarming trend has emerged from my statistics page: it seems I have become the foremost source of Shitzu-related questions on Google.

From "how to get my shitzu to eat" searches, to "shitzu + daschund cross" to "shitz dogs" to the very word I thought that I had made up, "shitzund"--yes, I've got it all here, folks!
The traffic seems to be generated by an entry called "Eat Shitz and Die" of August 23 of 2004. Something about that entry has garnered a lot of interest. I have to say that it by no means provides useful information regarding the shitzu breed of dogs--but I'm reluctant to scorn these people, as they make up a large part of my readership. What a dilemma!

My answer is to write, even just briefly, about a breed of dog that I hope others are searching for: a Poodle and Doberman cross I like to refer to as the "Pooman". The "Pooman" came up in a conversation I had with my fiance about entertaining dog-crosses I would make given the time, skill, and island laboratory of Dr. Moreau. Indeed, at the time my musing about a Pooman made me laugh so hard I nearly didn't say it all. Which, I maintain, would have been a great loss to the overall comic history I have laboured hard to build in her mind.

So, Shitzund and Pooman fans the world over: come to me!
Come to me and be profoundly disappointed!

I also rate very high with those who seek "nude chicks"--but I want to discourage that element from visiting too often. The last thing I want is a freakin' Sausage Fest here.

Hospital Hijinx!

I recently had some uncomfortable business with my testicles which led me to St. Michael's Hospital Emergency.

Waiting in the triage area, one gets an appreciation for the trials those who work in emergency rooms around the nation face every day.
To my left, a guy who's foot was sore, and he wanted everyone to know about it. It was unclear whether his sore foot or his loud behaviour were directly related to, or a result of, the amount of mouthwash he had drank for breakfast.
To my right, an old salt whose smile looked like bubble gum with a few shards of glass stuck in it, and who, when asked, reported:

"My gums are shit and my teeth are falling out."

When told that St. Mike's has no dental surgeon, his reply was:

". . .and I have leprosy."

The look of panic which overtook a wheelchair-bound grandmother sitting on the other side of this leper was classic. Up until that moment she had been looking as miserable and vacant as possible--a pantomime to effect quick admittance--hoping, as we all did, that if you look pathetic enough the triage nurse will take pity on you and save you the hours-long wait in queue for a doctor. Upon hearing that leprosy was in her midst, she became saucer-eyed and tried to roll away. Not being a regular user of wheelchair's, while also trying to be discreet and not offend the leper's feelings, she failed to realise that the wheelchair brakes were engaged. She was getting nowhere, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

And lastly, across from me was someone's poor demented father who had taken a spill during his morning walk. The someone in question was clearly too busy to be dealing with dear old dad; dear old dad's hand, it should be noted, was the size of a small Nerf football. I couldn't help but stare--it was the HUGEST hand I have ever seen--and he kept flapping it in an irresistible way. He was tantalizing me to look; he was dangling bait to catch people with poor manners.
I had to bite.

Needless to say, my emergency room experience turned out to be both very interesting and very pleasant. I received excellent service, and would recommend it to anyone looking for something to do on a Friday night when they've broken something as a result of drinking. Or who have shooting pain in their balls.