That Ringing Sound

By Jim Hagarty
2017
I got up this morning and dressed myself as I am, happily, still able to do. Then reached for the bedside table for my iPhone. It was missing. Rats. So I went upstairs and grabbed one of our cordless phones and dialed my iPhone. I immediately heard it ring. Somewhere, pretty loudly, but I couldn’t tell where. I raced back down to the bedroom. Loud ringing, but no phone. Out to the hallway, laundry, bathroom. Same thing. Lots of sound but no jackpot. I dialled the number again and wandered upstairs. The sound was loud up there, maybe even louder. In the kitchen, in the living room. I searched the couches. Nothing. I went out into the garage and dialled again. Riiinnnggg! Loud as hell. But a careful search produced no phone. More dialling. Back downstairs. In the bedroom once more. Down on my knees looking under the bed. Riiinnnggg!!! Very loud now. And as it rang, I felt a vibration in the back pocket of my jeans. I sometimes forget my name too but fortunately, it is sown onto the front insides of my underwear waistband and so I check there and sure enough, I am reminded of who I am: Harvey Woods.

Tips For Drivers On The Go

By Jim Hagarty
2004

Gee Pee Yes

It has come to the attention of the folks at Better Driving Inc. that some male motorists in Canada are having problems relieving themselves into plastic pop bottles while guiding their vehicles along the expressways around the City of Toronto. This troubling situation came to light one recent summer day when police nabbed and charged a man whose car was bobbing and weaving at a slow rate of speed while its driver was delicately attempting to transfer liquid from himself to a bottle which had most recently contained soda pop.

This unfortunate incident reinforces the idea that what is urgently needed are automobile seats that are built in the fashion of the old commode chairs which people of earlier times used in their bedrooms to avoid cold, middle-of-the-night dashes to the outhouse. Any new auto seats designed for similar purposes could be stylish and fully automated, of course, but their development and installation as standard equipment in all new vehicles is long overdue. Modern motorists simply do not have the time to pull over to gas stations, restaurants and maple trees, as their counterparts from earlier generations did.

Quite simply, the elimination of waste products from the modern human being has become an incredibly inefficient and unproductive exercise that is diminishing the ability to achieve our well-established goals and objectives within the time frames that have been set for their accomplishment. This dilemma could be, perhaps, better explained by the simple declaration that we have reached a point where we have No Time To Waste.

However, in the absence of the needed development of the auto commode seat, we are seemingly stuck with the pop bottle and perhaps other similar containers. Given that reality, there are certain practices that might help the user of this system avoid traffic tie-ups and police shakedowns.

Here are some helpful hints in that direction.

  1. Drivers should do some advance planning such as equipping themselves with a pop bottle with a significant-sized opening, as it may be safely surmised that one with a very narrow neck might produce some problems revolving around the issue of proper aimage. If options are available, it might be suggested a container with a sizable mouth such as a pickle jar, coffee travel mug or insulated picnic cooler be chosen.

  2. When the appropriate receptacle has been found, some practice sessions might be advisable to ensure that the driver is able to adequately perform all the intricate movements required to avoid catastrophe both within the vehicle and outside of it.

  3. The motorist should unzip all necessary garments prior to picking up the pop bottle, lest he experience a shortage of hands to operate steering wheel and related devices such as directional signals, horn, etc. while fumbling with buttons, zippers and cloth.

  4. Where possible, the use of a funnel is recommended.

  5. In the event that the motorist is accompanied in the front of the car by a willing passenger, the assistance of that person might be called on to hold the container or whatever else it might seem appropriate to be held.

  6. A motorist engaged in this delicate endeavour should also be aware that the job cannot be considered to have been completed until some sort of cap is fastened to the receptacle that was used. (In the case of the Toronto man who was pulled over, his pop bottle was not sealed, leading one officer to comment that he ended up, as a result, paying twice for his crime, as his container tipped over in the excitement, spilling its non-soda-pop contents.)

  7. Under no circumstances should a motorist engaged in the activity described here, simultaneously answer a call on his cellphone, regardless of how strong the urge might be to do so. In a similar vein, it is advisable to forgo returning friendly waves to acquaintances who might direct them towards the preoccupied driver while passing, as a hand thus extended might interrupt some critical aspect of the operation under way.

  8. When the urgent task has been completed, the receptacle and its contents should be tightly sealed and, if possible, stored beneath a front seat or in the glove box. Under no circumstances should the driver attempt to empty the material out his window, as the effect of this matter hitting a strong crosswind, for example, cannot be predicted. It also cannot be guaranteed onto whose windshield the liquid in question might splat.

  9. A precautionary approach, which might help the motorist to avoid all of the above, would involve a visit to a washroom prior to leaving the house or office. Or the ordering of something less majestic than the super-double-jumbo cup of coffee at the drive-through.

  10. Above all, motorists in such circumstances should attempt to avoid the action taken by another hapless one among them who was caught by police driving down the highway with his driver door open, hanging out over the roadway and marking his trail as he went. In contrast to the actions of the man with the pop bottle, this solution to the call of nature must be considered especially primitive.

That Sinking Feeling

By Jim Hagarty
2014

I do a lot of joking, I know, but at heart I am deeply concerned about the direction society is heading. Too many rules and regulations, too little freedom. And I worry about the next generation and the world we are leaving them.

For example, somehow it has become wrong for the manager of a fast food restaurant in Kermit, West Virginia, to pee into the sink in the restaurant kitchen. What? In my day, peeing in the sink is just something you did, especially the guys. I can’t vouch for the women. And it was just a several-times-a-day habit for restaurant managers back then. I don’t know if I ever saw a restaurant manager come out of an actual washroom. They are busy people; no time for the fancy manners some people insist on.

These high-brow sorts who object to sink peeing would have others believe it is wrong and that they would never do it. But have they ever tried it? Well, have they?

So now the poor manager, for a long time to come, will be known as the dreaded sink urinator from Kermit. Eventually people will forget his unfortunate transgression but he certainly will forever be known as someone who lived in a town named after a frog puppet.

When Fate Gets Involved

By Jim Hagarty
2017

When I met Edward, I was the editor of a small weekly newspaper in my hometown. I had somehow convinced the publisher of the paper that we needed to add a sports reporter to our incredibly large newsroom staff of two – a news reporter and me. Sports were everything in our town, I argued, and if we wanted to compete with the daily in our midst, we needed sports coverage. I could have probably had all of us driving in our own personal Cadillacs if I had told him it would help us compete with the daily.

I interviewed several people for the sports reporter’s job including Edward. I don’t remember anything about the other candidates but I do recall that Edward did not stand out as the obvious first choice. He was not an athlete and had never played sports. But he lived and breathed hockey. He could barely skate and had never played the game, but he was almost obsessed with it.

At one point, I asked Edward what his longterm goal might be. He replied that he would like to work at The Hockey News, a glossy magazine out of Toronto that covered all things hockey, with a focus on the National Hockey League. I liked his ambition but I didn’t want to crush his dreams by sharing with him the realistic appraisal that the road from the Stratford Gazette to The Hockey News would be a long and torturous one.

Responding to his enthusiasm, I hired Edward. And he did a great job. He was funny, personable and willing to learn everything a two-person newsroom could pass onto him.

A little over a year later, Edward arrived at work one morning with his notice. He was leaving for a job in Toronto with the online edition of The Hockey News. Ten years ago, online versions of magazines were not much more than an afterthought, without the status they have today. And to be hired to plug in stories and statistics on a website was not the Brass Ring of Journalism. Still, it was The Hockey News.

We said goodbye to Edward as he moved to the big city.

A week ago, I was in a book store, looking for gift ideas for my son, who is a hockey fanatic. I picked up a copy of The Hockey News magazine and flipped to an inside page near the front of the publication to look through the lineup of contributors, a little habit I picked up years ago.

My jaw dropped at the first name that jumped out at me:

Managing Editor: Edward Fraser.

He made it.

Two things:

  1. Dreams can come true.

  2. Success depends on knowing exactly what you want. As a friend says, when we take a step towards Fate, Fate takes a step towards us.

Edward’s success had nothing to do with my hiring him for a sports reporter’s job at a small newspaper. Had we never met, I believe, he would be managing editor at The Hockey News today.

When the Universe demands an outcome, nothing can stand in its way.