By Bam! Mego – Columnist Absurdist
Halcyon Township – Ontario
I live on the edge of an abyss, surrounded by rocks trees and more rocks and more trees.
I am now a fully endorsed member of the Shrike staff. Which means I get to lickspit, giggle, and flip a wiggle in the direction of all of you country folks.
See. Full disclosure. I am writing to a country audience and telling you how to live better because I have the benefit of blindsight.
Blindsight is a little like hindsight. Except that hindsight is 20-20 and blindsight is… well… 0-20? If you happen to be an optometrist and I got that wrong. Don’t bother to write. I don’t listen. That’s the great thing about blindsight. I’m from the city. I may have a law degree. I may be a publisher. I may tell people that I was once approached by Google… to work for them. But maybe they approached me for something else entirely? Restraining Order? Hacker Violations? Who knows?
It’s all blindsight. See? Isn’t blindsight wonderful. (See that. I used the word see? as an interrogatory and beveled that with the made up word… Blindsight! Just to show you I’m pretty darn smart in spite of my avuncular hominess.) It means I get to come down here and write for your little publication and spout effusively about the things I have learned. While living in the country. I am in the catbird seat as it were. Isn’t it wonderful. I came here three years ago… and as I have said many times, ad infinitum ad nauseum? I know this land. I know it better than you all. I have walked the trails. I have stared at stars. I have thrown my television, remote and dish in the ditch. Why doesn’t anyone pick it up? Please. The township is going to charge me with littering. I count stars in a meteor storm y’all. I am… Grizzly Freakin’ Adams… y’all!
See how I used the vernacular you all? That is supposed to make me more approachable. Same reason I never shave. Same reason I wear plaid shirts and am contemplating the purchase of some Oshkosh BeeeGosh overalls. ($149.00 over the internet.. wait .. you people call it the eenternet don’t you? So cute!)
So the topic? Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time of year. My nieces and nephews come up to the country. To break bread with their countrified uncle. Am I a fun uncle? You bet! And I get to show them my articles. I write for the glory y’all. (Didya’ catch that tidbit? I said y’all! Again.) So now we get to sit down and I get to tell my citified relations and siblings and their brood about how great it is here in the country. In The Halcyon Highlands. Not to be confused with the Haliburton Highlands. We’re better. We’re Winnipeg to their Saskatoon!
By inference, through this avuncular reference, you readers all are supposed to attach a greater signifigance to living here in the great beyond. In spite of the rampant unemployment, no access to travel, and the lowest per capita income in Ontario, you are supposed to take away that this close proximity to nature makes up for all of that. Of course, I couldn’t give a crap. I got a job. I ain’t got kids. And I’m one of those cheapskates that shops at Costco. Sorry Foodtown! Yes. It’s thanksgiving people and I am the tonic you need.
I, the self-appointed I am…. gets to tell you all just how lucky you are.
You live here. Yes some of you have lived here your whole life. Some of you have even never left here. Ever. Not even to Toronto.
I just got here. So I can remind you all why you like it here. It’s the woods, the fishin’ (see that… lawyers don’t call it fishin’ and MBA grads don’t like fishin’… they angle… get it? MBA grad? Lawyer? Angle??? Huh? Pretty smart eh!?)
Wait I didn’t mean to wave my credentials (err creds.. sorry vernacular failure) in front of you. I am here, after all to tell you what you’re missing. |I’m here to tell you to bring your fat butt off the couch. Throw away that remote. And take your weekend guests out to the woods.
Why. Geez. Every week you ask and every week I have to explain it… errr.. ‘splain it .. oops.. I’m beginning to sound like a shylock again.. my badsy Ladsy… hee-haw… this is fun, ain’t it?)
Anyway, before I wrap up this supercilious cudgel, dressed up as chicken soup for your soul, I had better leave you with the wiz on this Diz! (Wisdom on this self-serving Dimdom!)
Harumph. (me clearing my throat…. but not in a lawyerly way… in the manner instead of an old man clearing his throat to get the attention of the listeners… plaid-coated coffee sippin folk who like to sit around a wood stove) So HARRRRUMPH
Listen here folks.
I am about to spout that pearl. The one you wait for every week. You know the one.
The one that tugs on your coveralls.
Yes, this is where I decry your failure to grasp just how beautiful it is here in Halcyon Highlands.
So pucker up for my big kiss off.
Wait. This just in.
A quote from my better half over in Haliburton Highlands. I hate to say it. But, hey, there’s a man after my own heart.
Let’s see what he had to say last week and see if it fits into my own harangue about how to live here in the Highlands. His name’s Bram Lebo and I think he really knows where my rubber hits the road. Where my ticker meets the flicker, as it were! Another transplant from the city who’s here, just like me, to tell you people just how lucky you are.
This week I think he’s tellin’ the schools to teach their children about local history! Whoooo weeee. We got kids graduating from grade 12 who think that William Lyon MacKenzie King played net for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And ol’ Bram says. Yep! Let’s give ’em a better curriculum. You know. Where we get to find out that Big Joe Mufferaw paddled up the Ottawa all the way from Mattawa in just one day! Big Joe Mufferaw? I thought he set the record for most penalty minutes with the old Ottawa Senators.
Anyway. Bram’s got a tremendous idea here. Just ask the teachers over to HHSS, in the history department. Whooooweeee! I bet they are thrilled to GD pieces! Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Brammy! Notice he says US when referring to us parents? I mean even I ain’t got the cohones to grab a hol’ o’ that steer!
“Without that sense, there’s no reason our young people should think the Highlands are special. To change that, we need to be teaching the what and why of here (and maybe the who, where, how and when). Are we?
I’m not sure. Ultimately, it’s up to us, parents in particular, to demand localization of the curriculum.
Part of the solution to building a younger workforce, to keeping young families here so that our schools and businesses can thrive, is to make it clear that here is somewhere too. It may be obvious to many of us at 40, but at 14, with popular culture relentlessly degrading the rural experience and the political system simply ignoring it, it’s not.
If we’re training our young people to be citizens of everywhere, we shouldn’t be surprised that everywhere is where they go. But if we take the time to show them where the fish are, their emotional and cultural investment in the Highlands may be enough to keep them here for a lifetime. It’s an investment worth making.” Bram Lebo, The Haliburton Highlander. Publisher! (Editor insertion Tgav – Oct 24: Okay a friend just called and said that Bam! Mego stepped over the line. He said that Bram Lebo – the writer quoted by our columnist – in this sentence above just set education in the Highlands back to the “f%$#king stone age” and proved once again that in spouting such poppycock he has proven once again just how out of touch with reality he really is. The writer, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Beachtree is a proud resident of the Haliburton Highlands and he maintains that the publisher of the Highlander is a breezy, self-serving, egoist with the intellectual acumen of microbial algae.”) Ed note… continued. I think that’s pond scum but you could look it up… just send the memos to Bam! not me. I am Pontious Pilate here folks. Hands washed of the whole affair. Although I would take Judge Kenesaw Mountain Beachtree 1999 to 1 in moot court wager against Bram Lebo.. who says he’s a lawyer. Just me spitting in the breeze! Oh and thank you Kenesaw, my good friend. I have to admit that I threw up a bit in my mouth when I read that paltry piece of piss uttered by my publishing colleague to the west. And yes. Of course Halcyon is Winnipeg to Haliburton’s Selma, Alabama. See that Bam! Took it up a notch with the Emeril thang! BAM! (see how I popped Emeril Lagace into the picture. Comedy Gold here folks. Gilt edged humor! Love TG)
Aha. As always. Bram Lebo. A man wit ideas! What a grand chap. Grandeloquent? Pshaw! Of course he is. A bard, a lawyer, an MBA… a man for all seasons if three of those seasons is, like Winnipeg, Under Construction. A true Polymath.
And? What’s more important? Bram Lebo remains, without bias or jaundiced eye: A true practicioner of “Blindsight!”
And what about that idea. Teach local history? Get those kids to hang around the Haliburton Highlands and never see the goddam world. I can see it. a town full of old football heroes like Louis Connor, who carried a 4.0 GPA, out of HHSS. He married Mary-Lou, a budding songstress who went to Trent to get her degree in pottery. Yes it’s 2033 and Mary-Ann and Louis have four kids. Louis has a job at the ski hill, running lifts. Mary-Ann worked at McKecks until she was laid off in the fall. Their combined income is $26,000 a year and their kids have swipe cards at the local food bank.
But hey. Louis and Mary-Ann run their own pottery barn. They give guided tours at the Haliburton Sculpture forests. And their kids busk downtown in Haliburton at the old Skateboard Park. Mary Ann might get a winter job at the new restaurant across the street from McKecks. It opens on November 11, 2033. It will be… just rumors here. Either a Punjabi Take-out, a Dim-Sum themed restaurant that serves potlickers, or something called Billy-Bob’s Craw and Catfish Heaven.
Anyway Bram. Thank you. Thank you from us all. It’s no wonder that whole Haliburton Highlands is in love with you. A visionary in your midst. And don’t worry about all those rumors about you not being able to cut it in the real world. You know. At Heath Ontario, Google and the like. Poppycock. Yep. Bram. It’s all poppycock.
I should know.
I am like you… the king of BlindSight.
Or acronomyaly speaking. His Majesty of BS. Like you. I wear the title with pride, no angst!
Yes you may reach Bam! @bam!mego.
Editors nod: Please be aware that the MEGO stands for my eyes glaze over. TG The Shrike is not necessarily in line with the nonsense spouted by any of its pundits.