just off the top of my head, currently covered with a tuque
JULY 1ST IS CANADA DAY. So I took a break from my usual morning task of rendering seal blubber in my igloo to count the ways it’s great to be a Canuck. It’s not an exhaustive list.
I’m sure there’s at least eleven.
(*Note to Americans: Canada is one of those “other countries” that you first learn about at Harvard. If you need to get your bearings, just think “Up there. Snow. Mounties. Cold. Justin.” Confusion, dizziness and sobbing are normal. You’re going to be fine.)
One: You get to say “beaver” in mixed company.
Two: You don’t have to worry about your country’s leader messing up and embarrassing you in full view of the entire world, because Justin doesn’t really do anything, and if he does mess up at least he’s a feminist, and anyway helll-oooo?! Trudeau, OK?
Three: The heavy ankle shackles and full-body chains of Socialism help you stay trim and meet your “Canada Moves!” fitness goals when you drag their jaw-dropping extra weight along the sidewalk day in and day out.
BONUS: Looking for someone to play the ghost of Jacob Marley in “A Christmas Carol”? Hire a Canadian! We already have the costume!
Four: It’s cool to have Queen Elizabeth II as our official head of state, or to be accurate, the giant, stuffed sock puppet dressed in primary colors that is used to represent Her Majesty, who actually died in 1973.
Five: Taking the jaw-dropping VIA Rail train with the glass dome to the west coast!
During this fabulous, epic journey you pass through the State of Alberta, renowned for its jaw-dropping one-hundred-percent unemployment rate ever since the oil industry collapsed.
BONUS: Get Andrew Scheer to pose for you in his cowboy hat, flanked by his forty-five wives dressed in modest full-length calico!
Get the little lady to sign her uterus over the the Conservatives and receive a limited-edition baseball cap that says, “My handmaid pledged her womb will U2?”
Six: Our annual, jaw-dropping White Heterosexual PrideWeek festivities.
Top-rated parade experience this year: Faith Goldy and her sensational “Night Porter”-themed float with its celebrated Nazi Rainbow Flags. Kanada Über Alles! Droppings of the Jaw, ja?!
Seven: We can eat delicious “poutine” in historic Québec City! (Except while wearing a niqab, currently punishable with death by guillotine.)
Eight: Playing rollicking, traditional Canadian games, like:
Who’s Got the Transfer Payment Resentment”
“Canadian Celebrity: Race to Oblivion”
“Super Frank Gehry-O”
“Save Toronto Waterfront! Trash Toronto Waterfront”
“Snub the Rich Asian”
“Honey, I Lost the Indigenous Women”
and, as a nod to equality,
“Bury that Fag in a Planter, Yo” sponsored by Mark Saunders, Chief of the Toronto Amateur Police Association.
(No prizes for the last two, just that warm glow…
Nine: I get to live in Toronto, “The City that Never Sleeps Except When it’s been Partying Too Much and Gets a Good Eight Hours so it Won’t Catch a Cold,” and the financial engine of our vast nation!
Here are some Visitor Tips! (Uh-oh: Three-Alarm Envious Warning!)
The Great Wall of Condos. Legend has it that beyond the wall there lies a mysterious, glittering body of water called “Lake Ontario” — but don’t try and find it because you’ll be trespassing; and
Sidewalk Labs’ “Googleopolis,” our future center of government, the office where you’ll go to pay-per-service when you want electricity or an ambulance, and headquarters of “STASI.”
Most popular this week:
After a heart-stopping two-hour wait to witness a migrating herd of the famously shy and skittish TTC Streetcars, it’s just a quick jaunt to the University District where you can gasp at stunning “Queens Park.”
Formerly the Ontario Legislature, this jaw-dropping piece of priceless Romanesque Revival granite architecture that we forgot to tear down is now the sumptuous private playground of Doug Ford and his entire extended family!
Ten: It’s so woke to see the look on peoples’ faces when you say, “Eh?”
As in, “They should have put the Statue of Liberty up here, eh?”
Don’t forget: If you enjoyed my post, let me know! Click the “Like” button; share on social media, give it a star rating (top of the page) and/or comment below. That way I know how to pander to you.
Dear valued visitors and followers: This is the content of a new page, accessible from the main menu (above) and let’s everyone wish it a very warm welcome. I wanted regular and new readers to know it exists, to draw your attention to it (me), to be encouraged to read it, and to take the hint. — DR
MY, HOW STANDARDS HAVE FALLEN! I can hear you rolling your eyes from here to Des Moines, and I know you’ll say to yourselves, “Of course, he’s doing the old-guy thing, the back in my day speech.” You may be right. I may simply be following tradition and experiencing inevitable change as a worsening, a dumbing down, when I should be grateful for progress.
That’s the narrative, isn’t it? That humans are following this trajectory of progress, albeit so slowly at first that nothing happens for millenia. Everyone just sits and stares at each other. And trust me, after a lifetime spent examining the fossil record so you don’t have to, I can confidently tell you that these millenia of staring are sheer tedium.
Sitting and staring. That’s it, dude. You could kill for a decent conversation, but because there’s no other activity—except for finding food, eating food, getting sick from the food, dying from the food or surviving the food, at which point the survivor carves the name of the food onto the Great Big Rock of Food That Won’t Kill You, with five stars and the “best before” date, which at this point is straightforward, “best before you starve to death”—because the only rainy-, or cloudy- or unseasonally cold- or even sunny-day activity is sitting around staring at everyone else who survived the food, good luck with that having a conversation thing.
I mean, there’s only so much feigned interest you can project in a lifetime.
While the proto-men and proto-women stare at each other it’s so quiet they can hear individual leaves falling onto the savannah, which they experience like bowling balls thudding onto parquet, notwithstanding they would likely not use that exact terminology just yet. Bowling, and therefore similes involving bowling balls, have not been invented. We’ve got a long ways to go before they invent bowling, let me tell you! So they just shriek and run for cover.
Then once in a hundred years somebody pipes up, “Hey I was just thinking that maybe—” and everyone gasps and turns around in astonishment with a big whooshing sound to look at her.
Unfortunately, this is so intimidating she immediately forgets what she was going to say.
“Oh… nothing. Never mind. No, really, it’s OK, it was just—an idea…” (This, by the way, is the birth of passive-aggressive behavior, and not a moment too soon.)
Everyone sighs, maybe a couple of grumblers go I wish she’d stop DOING that! and then—silence again for another century or two.
Meanwhile everyone’s thinking, What are those pin pricks of light in the night sky, and how did they get up there and why don’t they fall down? If someone asks, I’ll say it’s Wilbur, The Great Caribou! We could use a little light humor!And anyway,what the heck are pin pricks, or for that matter, pins?
Gradually the silences get shorter and shorter, and you hear distinct noises as civilization develops. The chattering of villagers, the whoosh of the scythes, then, at exponentially increasing speeds, the rattling of looms, the hum of conveyor belts, the blasts of jet engines, ending in the present with the whine of one-sided conversations hitting the back of your neck, announced by smartphones generating what was probably supposed to sound like music but only if you’d never heard music.
Do you see how the standards fall? Nowadays you hear the one-sided conversation.
Growing up, I was taught: Ssh, not so loud! People will hear you! Use your indoor voice! Be seen and not heard! Conversations were restricted to the participants. Likewise telephone calls. You went into a little booth and slid the door shut because you didn’t want people to overhear you. Think what this means: a telephone call was as private as going to the bathroom.
Privacy has always been mankind’s greatest luxury, and no, I don’t mean data. We didn’t use words like data in the fifties, sixties, even seventies. You didn’t get data on your Princess phone. You got your mom’s voice asking why you hadn’t called, or your boyfriend saying he had a headache when you know very well he’s screwing the football coach. Data was a word you used, maybe, if you were Robert Oppenheimer. Probably even Einstein didn’t say data.
Yeah, right. I’ll show you “headache”! That’s rich!
We worry about data now, but back then we were worried about our conversations being overheard or disturbing other people.
Remember other people?
And we’d be mortified if someone had been listening to our conversation or found out our secrets. Secrets were still in their early phase of something you didn’t tell. My great aunts, Victorian women all, never told anyone that my eldest sister got pregnant before she married the guy, nor did they tell anyone about my parents’ divorce. This was private business, and if you talked about someone’s private business who wasn’t there, that was gossip.
Gossip was tacky, except for the rare occasion when it was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy afternoon.
“How many months? She didn’t! Oh, I know! And you mustn’t say you heard this from me, but—apparently he’s that way!“
We kept to ourselves out of fear of making the other person uncomfortable. No one knew your financial woes, the minutiae of office politics, the state of your marriage; we did not make our friends into our psychiatrists or social workers.
Now we live in public, holy prostitutes assuming the face-down spread-eagle to receive validation from anyone who might pass by. We are nothing on our own, because we are empty, and we are empty because we know nothing but the fascinating contents of our own heads and because we haven’t left the house since MySpace.
We have no allure, because we are so easily accessible. We are brands, personas, stories we tell that might as well be true.
We have no need for privacy, for we are at once the incentive and the prize, the scoop and the investigative journalist. Our mere bodies, those archaic chunks of pre-industrial too, too solid analog flesh, may melt, like so much ground beef past its sell-by date, into compost; but our personalities, fizzing with fake pizzazz like artificially sweetened soda and echoing third-hand opinions down broken phone lines crackling with static, have been uploaded to the cloud for all-device synchronization and easy universal obfuscation.
Standards have fallen. Where there was once charisma we now have persuasion; for glamour, brand loyalty; for thought, sponsored content. We long to read web copy that doesn’t suck instead of literature that, guaranteed, did not contain the word “suck” unless someone was talking about bees.
We no longer keep to ourselves in dark studies lined with ancient texts teaching ourselves eternal truths, while disciples as yet unknown to us spent a lifetime beating a path to our door; now we are everywhere, and depressingly unavoidable.
To award yourself Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame you at least had to throw on a metal mini-dress by Paco Rabanne, gloss your lips white and learn to frug before hailing a cab to The Factory. Compared to Instagram, this is like getting your Baccalaureate in semiotics at the Sorbonne.
We document the mysterious trail of our morning glory muffin from its perfect plating at Jet Fuel to its passage through our perfectly moisturized lips; we would, given our druthers, eagerly await and document its return to the primordial light and the roiling waters at the other end had we the time, the followers and the influence that really matters.
Not wishing to be thought an old piece of dried-up ear wax, a wizened pair of donkey testes, not au courant, I take a deep breath and, both melding with and standing out from the crowd, I vow to proffer my creative process for public, that’s you, consumption. Why wait, all high-and-mighty and flaunting my good taste, until my work is polished and ready?
That’s why, like a fledgling terrorist holding in front of me a terrified kindergarten child as hostage, I thrust into the limelight my crude first drafts and confused initial thoughts.
These are never totally crude and unworthy of your attention, though. I mean, this is me, dudes. I consider a pressed shirt and a bow-tie from Harry Rosen to be casual wear. Or at least, I considered that way during the three years I actually got paid by an employer and could afford to be abused by the Harry Rosen sales staff, and how, I ask you, how will they keep me down on the farm, once I have seen Harr-ee?
Oh my god will he ever get to the point, and meanwhile could someone drive right through that red light while I dart onto the crosswalk without looking? comes your exasperated cry.
I interpret this as a metaphor for wanting me to get to the point, the promised point being: how to read my blog. Very well, then.
Read each piece more than once. Again for emphasis: Read each piece more than once.
(Including this one.)
That’s it! Really. That’s how to read my posts. As a series of drafts that I polish into their final form, for I have turned the light and breezy blog post about making waffles or how to monetize your hate group into a soul-searching, overly-literate polysyllabic Proustian nightmare clocking in at anywhere from two to three thousand words.
Yep, that was me.
Thus, to get the full effect, and only if you’re interested in these things, read my unpolished initial thoughts, but return, once, twice or even three or more times, after a few days, weeks, or months, for my posts are not mere words on a screen, but living entities that materialize, mature and mutate at hectic, time-lapsing speeds.
And you’ll never know what living entity to expect. Sometimes you’ll see a peony fluttering its petals like runway model’s Oscar de la Renta ballgown; sometimes a gecko opening its lipless lizard maw to gulp down a—whatever it is geckos gulp down. I’m no one to judge.
This means that you can follow the progress of each piece as though I were on live cam, but without the cam.
Why no live cam? Because I write naked.
That’s correct. Tits to the breeze and always wary of my hot cup of coffee. And now that I’m certain you’ll never, ever be able to get that image out of your mind—
Sorry to SHOUT BUT I’M REALLY EXCITED! Oh, fuck I started SHOUTING AGAIN BUT I CAN’T HELP IT!
Really, really sorry about my lack of control. But it’s not every day that you PUBLISH A PAPERBACK !!!. Oh, god. This is really embarrassing. Just try to bear with me as I tell you a little bit more about MY PAPERBACK WHICH IS NOW ON SALE!!!!.
This is what my friend Shaun Proulx, life-transforming guru extraordinaire and architect of the #ThoughtRevolution, tells me is a “soft launch”. Well, I’m going to take his word for it, as what he doesn’t know about gorgeously shameless self-promotion and roll-off-a-log success wouldn’t fit on the smallest, fiddley-ist hors d’oeuvre Martha Stewart could stamp out with her heirloom cookie cutter.
In fact, he’s been cheekily dubbed “The Gay #Oprah”; word has it that Ms O’s acolytes occasionally forget themselves and refer to their bossatrix as “The Big, Black, Obscenely Rich and Heterosexual Shaun Proulx, Except Shaun Doesn’t ‘Balloon'”, which earns them a great, big, corrective “love tap” from the CEO. I can picture her now as she hauls back and, with a follow-through like a Wimbledon champ, cracks the back of that jewel-encrusted hand across each penitent face while screaming, “This is gonna hurt you more than it hurts me! KIDDING!!”
The book is for sale on Lulu.com, who are the gentle and helpful publishing midwives to this elderly primo gravido. Once I’ve approved the physical copy, it will be sent for possible distribution on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other so KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED! I AM SO EXCITED!!!
May only, get 20% off. Click on the cover image above to go to my product page on Lulu.com and to purchase.
If you’ll go onto Lulu.com and write a review, I’ll send you a PDF of the paperback final version, free of charge. Shoot me an email at email@example.com with subject line: Paperback review offer and I’ll get it off to you within a day or two.