By Jim Hagarty
Canadians are too polite. Thank God we are. Sorry if that offends you. (See? And I haven’t even said anything offensive. Yet.)
In Canada, we are raised to not consider the individual to be a god. We learn pretty quickly that we belong to communities and that if we want to live long and prosper, we had better make room for others. This means abiding by laws we might not like, rules that seem ridiculous. Yes, we have our heroes, but we know they are simply people above all else. I once talked to a guy who had peed in a urinal next to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who was relieving himself in the urinal beside him while being Prime Minister. They struck up a conversation while answering nature’s call.
A little thing, but I recently went to pay for my coffee at the drivethrough window. I was told the woman in the car ahead of me had already paid for it. I asked what the car behind me had ordered. Also a coffee. So I paid for that guy’s coffee. Didn’t hurt a bit and made me feel good all day.
I bought the house I still live in 32 years ago. A few months after I moved in, I got into a small fracas with a neighbour. I told an older co-worker about it the next day. He dropped what he was doing, made me look him straight in the face, and said, “If you want to be happy in your new home, don’t fight with your neighbours.” His earnestness stopped me in my tracks. I took his advice and dropped whatever little thing had been bugging me. I have lived happily in my home for 32 years.
I do not get along with everyone in this world but those I disagree with, I try to go around. I cross the street when someone unpleasant is coming my way. And I know people who don’t want to encounter me are doing the same thing. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I know that. I sometimes think of the two road ragers in the United States a year or so ago who pulled their cars off onto the shoulder, jumped out of their vehicles, whipped out their guns and shot each other dead. Two middle-aged white men. They gave up their lives because somebody cut somebody off, or some such horror.
Canadians have all the same problems as other societies. But we do not worship our leaders, our history or even our rights. We enshrine new rights when they are inevitable and discard old ones when they are unproductive. We do not vote for our leaders directly. They are chosen by our political parties and discarded by those same parties, not by the voters.
We look out for each other. I’ve mentioned this nugget before. My neighbour rang my doorbell a while back and asked me sheepishly if he could borrow MY key to HIS house, having locked himself out. He has a key to my house. I always want to live in a town and country where I can enjoy that level of trust. And absence of fear.
You can have your Wild Wild West. I prefer my Mild Mild Best.
By Jim Hagarty
Punn Ditt Inc.
I read a lot of Internet stories about Donald Trump and his government. Many of the commenters who give their opinion on those stories come up with some unique words and expressions to get across their ideas. Rather than just list the ones I have gathered, I thought I would try to write a story using them. Here goes:
I was talking to a group of Morongelicals the other day. Some of these cousin-humping window lickers are avid followers of the Fox news drooletariat. I told them not everything said on that network can be believed to which one of the muthaphuqqas replied, “Blah fuckity blah. You must live in Commiefornia.”
I responded that my critic sounded like just another Trump turd juggler and that I can’t take much more of this poop storm. I went so far as to say that Donald Trump is a lying fakeriot. That did not go over well.
“I can give you eleventy hundred examples of his lying,” I said.
Well shit on a twinkie. Poke the bear, get the paws. The Evangenitals fought back. They hit me with a large load of Republican dipshittery, which made me realize that shit, grease and cream rise to the top in the Republican bullshit factory.
“No way Trump, with his hair stylish golden swirly, goes quietly,” I said. “That monkey will fling to the last poo.” But the Drumpfarshlochs defended all of his scumbaggery and I was then treated to one long swipe of bitch slappage.
“You drippy dog dick,” one of my opponents called me. “You are so fuggin’ stupid. Trump is fighting for our freedumb every weekend at Mar-A-Lardo.”
But I responded that they were spreading too much WTFuckery. It’s just so much nonsense, I said. Like a firehose of fuckery. All his tweets are not butt nutty enough for you?
“Jesus tap-dancing Christ,” one of my critics cried. And then the whole group of Buybull lovers started shouting the Trump supporters’ neanderthal mating call, “Fake news.”
“Ticfuckintoc,” I said. “He who has nothing to hide hides nothing. Mueller`s coming for him. I can’t take three more years of this derpity derp.”
One of my opponents called me a modafaker before they all left, mumbling something that sounded like, “Geezuschryst.”
I was unable to tell if they were praying or cursing.
By Jim Hagarty
The brain is a funny thing. Everybody has one (I think) but the mind that goes with it can sometimes be missing or defective.
Take David Scofield, 50, of Akron, Ohio, for example. He liked to spend time impersonating a police officer. No big deal. Who hasn’t done that? I often arrest people for fun on weekends and even issue speeding tickets (after I chase them for 10 miles to make sure they speed up.)
In any case, poor old David found a way to screw it up for the rest of us. He got caught this week when he tried to pull over a real officer. Akron police say a man driving a Ford Crown Victoria with a spotlight and made to look like a police car tried to block the path of a real Akron officer on his way to work Monday night. He had a rifle, shotgun, handguns, a bullet-proof vest, a silencer and ammunition in his car.
Police say Scofield is a firearms dealer from Lancaster. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of impersonating a police officer, carrying concealed weapons and obstructing official business. He was in the Summit County Jail where records didn’t say if he had an attorney. However, if I could venture a guess, I think David’s next gig will be impersonating an attorney. After that, he’ll be a jailbird, no impersonation required.
His best impersonation so far is that of a total world-record-shattering idiot on steroids but something tells me he did not have to practise for that role in front of a mirror.
By Jim Hagarty
Taped to my computer keyboard here at the office is a small, inspiring cartoon of TV’s lovable, stumbly-bum dad, Homer Simpson, holding a nice, big, round, chocolate-covered doughnut and declaring that, “Doughnuts are a man’s best friend.”
Some writers might opt for a little more lofty saying to tape to their computers – something from Shakespeare, perhaps. Or a few lines from a Robbie Burns poem.
But these days, for me, Homer Simpson and his love of doughnuts suit my mood perfectly. He’s an ordinary guy with ordinary tastes. Maybe he can’t afford a villa on the Riviera for the winter but he can afford a doughnut. The simple pleasures, after all, are still the best.
And yet, while Homer Simpson’s idea of man’s best friend and mine are similar, I am a little more expansive in my assessment of what constitutes the closest pal a human can have. To me, doughnut SHOPS are a man’s best friend.
Next to my own home which, thankfully, is the one place on earth I usually want to be most of all, doughnut shops have for years been my favourite places to hang out. It is not that I am addicted so much to coffee and doughnuts – at home, I rarely have either. It’s just that doughnut shops take care of so many needs, other than hunger and thirst, and they do it without emptying my bank account.
A favourite topic of conversation these days for people who live, work and do business in the city of Stratford is how on earth all the doughnut shops now located here will ever survive. At last count, there are nine operating and soon to be operating in the city, a veritable explosion in a place which, until just a few years ago, made do with only two. And it’s possible one or two more may locate here in the near future. As well, 24-hour coffee shops are springing up in the small towns in the area and even right out in the country.
I listen to and take part in these discussions – after all, this is one of my favourite subjects – and I’ve noticed that many people use the wrong approach to solving the question of whether or not these businesses can survive the competition. Many of them ask, “How much coffee can a city of 27,000 people drink?”, before they conclude we can’t drink all the coffee that nine coffee shops can brew. While they could well be right and only time will tell, I think the current sprouting of doughnut shops in this area doesn’t have as much to do with our need for coffee as our need for companionship and comfort.
To me, today’s doughnut shops are yesterday’s pubs. Where hotels once dotted the city and country landscapes – the town of Mitchell, for example, had as many as nine hotels at one time and now has only one – their fortunes have been in decline for years as people have turned away from drinking and driving and even from drinking itself.
But people still need places where they can gather – like they do in pubs – to shoot the breeze, wait for their car to be repaired, console a friend, take a first date after a movie, sort out their troubles, escape from their wife/husband/kids, stop for a stretch part way through a trip, wait out a recession or a snowstorm and read the Sunday paper when it’s raining outside.
Unless the people of Stratford suddenly don’t need to do these things any more, I think most of our doughnut shops will hang in there for a while. Besides, there’s more than a bit of Homer Simpson in most of us. We have to take our comfort where we can find it.
And as for the coffee shops being man’s best friend, I think sometimes they’re even better than a best friend. How many best friends would be glad to see you show up at 4 o’clock in the morning?