So, no matter how hard I try to act like cool, deep-voiced Gregory Peck, I fail, and I will give you one example of my not being cool. Only one, because I don’t like making my blog too long. (The blog regulations can be found in the blog/twitter/selfie manual.)
Last Tuesday night. Yes, let’s take last Tuesday night. I’m chewing on another weather-related decision. I have plenty of them. This time I’m asking myself, do I or don’t I drive to the hockey arena? Because it’s pounding snow out. However it’s not windy. So probably not going to be blizzardy.
Anyway, at seven pm, I decided to drive over the lonely, snow- and-ice-covered mountain road to Baddeck.
I said to Sue, “I’m used to buying a second-hand piece of machinery and having it gradually accumulate a list of mechanical eccentricities, but I’m not used to buying a brand new machine and having it, almost immediately, fill out a roster sheet of problems.”
Well, I drove to the arena. It was a nail-biting trip at times and I saw two separate places where it looked like a vehicle had gone off the road.
Whenever I’m in the arena, I somehow morph into becoming a hockey player. In my mind, I take on my hockey player persona. A combination of Gregory Peck and Davy Keon. He was a great centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I turn on my flashlight. Poke its light around in the back of Basque’s cap so I can find my two hockey sticks. I find them, pull them out, then fetch my hockey bag from the front of my truck. I like it to ride in the cab with me. It’s a good conversationalist and the truck heater warms its contents.
I decide, rather than putting my flashlight back in the truck, which I always do, I’ll put it in my pocket. It's warmer in the arena and therefore the battery will be stronger and more energetic.
I haul my sticks and hockey bag into the cold arena and then into the warmer locker room. Because of the bad driving, only three players have arrived. It’s getting late. I plunk my equipment down. I’m pumped. I’m the man. The not-really-so-good-any-more hacker player. Ready for the game, if there is going to be a game.
As I’m standing in my straight and true hockey pose, a fellow hockey player casually says, “You have a flashlight in your pocket.”
Big deal, I think. I pull it out of my pocket, to show him it really is an authentic, two-battery flashlight. But when I take it out of my pocket, I’m surprised, and somehow not surprised, to see the flashlight shining forth in all its brilliance. My goodness, I must have looked funny, strutting around while the flashlight shone out of my pocket. Like a walking lighthouse.
Last year, one fella, who had only shown up for one game, asked me if I had stayed in Cape Breton and played hockey the whole year. When I said, “Yes, I’ve played the whole year in Baddeck,” he said, “Oh damn! I missed all the fun.”
Do some of you want a name for my computer? Okay, how about “Percy Macintosh”?
Percy has a word-changing feature. You know, if I want to change a name from “Tom” to “John”, I just fill in the existing name and the name I want to replace it with and hit Change-all. Then my whole manuscript has the name “Tom” changed to “John”. Can be a thousand “Toms” and they will all zap to “Johns” in a matter of seconds.
One day, not so long ago, I decided to change a character’s name from “Ken” to “Calvin”. Hundreds of Kens lurked inside my manuscript. So, I clicked on “Edit”, wrote in “Ken” and “Calvin” and hit Change- all. Voila, all my Kens were Calvins, and I was hoping it wasn’t too traumatic for Ken, and for poor Calvin, who must have felt a few pounds heavier.
Everything went well. Except, Percy is very, very efficient. Possibly too efficient. So he conscientiously changed all Kens into Calvins.
Example: She hung her tocalvin around her neck.
Example: She said to poor Bob, “Sorry Bob, but I am already spocalvin for.”
Example: Larry wasn’t a very good hockey player and ended up with a brocalvin arm.
My god, it changed every darn “ken” in every darn word.
“Oh, excuse me, Mr. Computer, I think you have a flashlight sticking out of your stupid pocket.” Hardy, har.
A few weeks ago, I was in the trailer by my lonesome. Sue was in town. I went into the bedroom to get something out of the closet. I opened the door and heard a funny chirping sound. It stopped. I hit the closet door. It chirped and squeaked. It stopped. I kicked the wall. Heard a cackling sound. I went to the other wall, near the phone, which broke down last week, gave the wall a knock and heard the tattling, crackling, dripping noise. My god, do we have squirrels or ghosts in our walls?
I walked to the living room. Listened. Nothing. I stomped on the floor. From the bedroom came the weird, playing-a-horn sound, a squeak and something like the sound of dripping water from a tap. I walked back to the bedroom and as I went to knock on the wall, a crow flew away from below the window.
One afternoon, he was sitting in a spruce tree sounding off. The tree grows close to our woodshed. I went there to fetch some wood, and when I opened the door, I found a poor red squirrel, standing in the middle of the room. He was pleading with me not to evict him.
You see, the wood pile is getting smaller. So, I was literally about ready to break into his home, hidden in the last row of wood. Poor squirrel. I felt sorry for him. And maybe the crow did too, and when I went to bed, I got worrying about whether I should make another home for the squirrel to live in. It was still very cold out.
Which I know sounds rather funny to some folks, because what many folks do is pop them off for trespassing. Which makes me wonder about who was there first, but I won’t go into that.
So, see what happens when you live in the bush too long? But maybe it’s good to have shining flashlights in your pockets and peeping-tom crows, and snow blowers that don’t follow new snow blower rules and computers which are overly conscientious. Because it means there will always be wacky material to draw from. At least enough to keep this blog going.
Anyway, I like surprises, inconsistencies, wackiness and the humour that arises from these incidents.
Sydney Cox wrote in his book, Indirections for Those Who Want to Write, "Humour frisks the minute to make incompatibles unite. (We earnest people - whom atom bombs and dated obligations to salvage civilization keep on the jump and on the dot - miss that “waste of time.)"
Have any of you found yourselves being wacky without trying?