Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Horton Wasn't the Only One to Hear a Who!

My whole life is a lie.

Okay, maybe not the whole thing. Parts of it. Small parts. Parts that I didn't know I had. No, wait, that doesn't sound...

If you haven't read the book "Horton Hears a Who" (and I'm going to segue here to say how interesting it is that I only had to type 'Horton' and my auto suggest came up with the rest of the title; I find that fascinating and terrifying), the premise is that an elephant named Horton hears a very small sound and discovers a civilization of microscopic creatures called the Whos. He is the only creature in the jungle to believe that the Whos exist, and all the other animals spend the book trying to get him to admit they aren't real and also killing the Whos.

It all boils down to the phrase "A person's a person, no matter how small", which is repeated enough that you understand that this is an important lesson, but not so often that you wish Uncle Ben hadn't died so Spider-Man would stop flashing back to it so often.

It's a heartwarming book and I don't really remember it growing up. This was probably because my parents have good taste and realized it wasn't a great book. Oh, call the police, I don't like a Dr Seuss book. Face it, it's no "And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street". It doesn't matter what I think anymore because my daughter loves it, so I'm putting my time in now hoping that I won't have to read Twilight later.

So, imagine my surprise when I discover that there is a shadowy element to this book. A single line that changes everything, and puts a darker spin on almost everything that happens to Horton. Before you read any further... SPOILER ALERT.

Here's a page from around the middle of the book:

This is the first time that the Mayor of Who-ville has identified himself as the Mayor and as a Who. Previous to this, Horton's just sort of yelling at this tiny voice coming from a speck of dust. 

The next page introduces us to a bunch of monkeys called the Wickersham brothers. They are in league with a really mean kangaroo for the duration of the story, doing the kangaroos dirty work. 

They are very mean monkeys. But they're even worse than your kid thinks.

The conflict of the story centers on the fact that only Horton can hear the Whos. It's right there in the title. None of the other animals can hear them, so they believe Horton has made it up and punish him for it. Really terrible things. It's a whole big thing. And through all the trials and tribulations, Horton keeps going on with his claims that he knows the Whos exist and that they deserve to live.

And right through to the end, the Wickersham Brothers (and cousins, etc) are right there, persecuting poor Horton. Because nobody can hear the Whos except for Horton.

And the Wickersam Brothers.

They MUST have heard the Whos. Because Horton never says "Who" or "Mayor". Only the Mayor of Who-ville says that.

The Wickersham Brothers know the Whos are real, but they participate in the persecution of Horton along with the other animals because it's fun. Only after the Whos finally prove their existence to the Kangaroo do they stop. The final scene of the book is a picture of Kangaroo and Horton bonding over a shared goal of protecting the Whos. But there's no Wickersham Brothers.

The real lesson of the book isn't what Horton keep saying over and over. And it's not that if you believe in something hard enough your belief will eventually win over others. And it isn't about perseverance in the face of adversity or the power of knowing yourself or any of that.  

I think the real lesson of this book is sometimes people will do bad things to you because it's easy and it's fun and confronting them head on will only make it worse. Sometimes, the only way to get people to stop doing bad things to you is to get allies and to know you are not alone. The minute the Kangaroo expresses belief in the Whos, the Wickersham Brothers disappear.

That or monkeys are just a bunch of jerks.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Writing prompt - I can't believe I have to point this out

"You're not going to believe this, but my dang ferrets chewed through my iPhone cable!"

"Oh, that sucks. How's it look?"

"They literally chewed the cover off the cable."

"If they just chewed the cover off, you might still be able to use it."

"You think? Hold on, I'll send you a pic."


"Let me know when you get it."

"Got it. Wow, they really what the hell is that Denise?!"

"It's bad isn't it? Damn it. I'm going to have to drive all the way back to the mall to get one."

"Denise. Forget the cable, what is that on your feet!"


"I swear to god, what is wrong with you? How many times do I have to tell you: Sandals are not slippers!"

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Writing Prompt - House Party

"Guys, guys," Shelly said. "Come on, I want to take a picture!"

"Come on, Shelly, do we have to?" Blake asked. He hated getting his picture taken because his smile always made him look a little awkward.

"Yes, we have to! Come on, when are we going to see each other again?"

"In class next semester?" Tony joked. He often joked a little more than the others, and secretly hoped that they thought of him as the clown of the group instead of, well, something else.

"Ha ha, Tony. Coooooome oooooon, stop messing around! Kyle! Come over here! We're taking a picture!"

"That's cool."

"Hey Kyle, nice tie. Where'd you get it, your dad's closet?"

"No, Tony, this is mine."

"Greg! Nikolai!" Shelly waved them over. "You guys gotta come and stand here for the picture!"

"I am happy to picture be in."

"Nikolai, your accent is soooo awesome!"

"Nice beard Greg, where'd you get it-"

"That's like the third time you've said that to me today."

"HOLY SNAP!" All the guys winced as Shelly screamed. "Is that Evan! Evan! You look AWESOME!" Everyone had to agree: Evan was looking pretty awesome today. Without being weird about it, they knew that he was the best looking of them all.

"Okay, you stand over here! We're taking a picture. Jenny! Can you take our picture?" Shelly thrust her phone in Jenny's hands.

"Sure, I guess." Jenny was cute, but shy. Blake had had a crush on her since they'd met at the start of the semester. "Great," he thought, "I don't want to smile too much, or she'll think I'm a dork. But I don't want to not smile in case she doesn't think I'm fun. I'll just roll up my sleeves, then she'll think I'm more relaxed than I am."

Shelly put her arm around Tony, who reacted by putting his arm around her.  Unfortunately, at that moment, Kyle also put his arm around Shelly. Their hands met for the briefest of moments behind her back before they both pulled back.

Kyle thought "Great, what am I supposed to do with my hands now?"

Tony thought "Great, does Kyle know I like him?"

"Okay everyone, smile. Greg, I can't see you. Tony, Shelly, squeeze together. Greg, can you lean forward? Nikolai, I can't see you, can you lean - perfect. Greg, you're in a shadow so move over. Blake, can you, um, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm righteous," he replied, dying a little more inside.

"Evan, you look soooo good. Okay, everyone, on the count of - Greg, come on, I can't see you, you're all dark back there. Wait, is that supposed to be a beard?"

"Jenny, just take the picture!"

"Fine! On the count of three! Greg, I still can't see you - okay real mature. One...Two...Three!" CLICK "Frankenstein! You totally just walked into the picture!" She looked at the picture on the screen. "And you walked in front of Evan!"

"Aw, Frankenstein!" Everyone moaned.

"Frankenstein blending in! Frankenstein just regular student like everyone else!"

"Oh Frankenstein," Shelly shook her head and rolled her eyes. "You're, like, some kind of zombie or something."


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Superbowl 2018 Sport Prediction!

Eagles VS Patriots (on Vikings home turf)

This one is easy.  Eagles win. Why? 

Patriots are great, they're the best. Bigly. Everyone knows it, I've talked to the best sports people and everyone says it. That was my impression of what goes through my head when people talk about Patriots right now. Basically, I'm saying that it's hard to be a Patriot right now. There's just too much political baggage. What happens if they win? The President has to invite them to the White House. They'll have to go, because Patriotism. But then it's going to be awkward, because you just know you're going to have to get a picture with him. And then he'll make a comment about how happy he is that you won and not the other team which is full of and the whole time you're thinking that your kid heard that and you're going to have some explaining to do when you get home.

Let's not forget the game is on the Viking's home turf. Eagles are proud, soaring birds of prey. While territorial, they don't hold artificial borders like the Patriots. Everything looks basically the same when you're a thousand feet in the air. The Patriots will be awkward and out of sorts. They'll be saying things like "Oh, that's a nice scoreboard, but we have a better one back home" or "I can't believe a hot dog and beer cost $85, that's $5 more than you'd pay back home" or "I don't know how how people live here". Some of them will probably have Canadian flags stitched on their bags, just in case. You never know about foreign places, right?

None of that really makes a difference though. Not when you consider that the Patriots won't have it in them to attack one of the symbols they hold so dear. What can a Patriot do but stand in awe while the very embodiment of freedom blows past them to score a touchdown point? Is a true Patriot going to tackle an Eagle carrying a ball to the touchdown place Big Square Y thing score zone and risk injuring even one single feather?

Honestly, this Superbowl might as well be called the Only Grandchild VS The Grandparents (at Toys R Us).

Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018

Jerry sat in his on the deck overlooking the lake and lit a cigarette. Have to remember to pick up some more, he thought.  The air was crisp.  It felt like fall was coming earlier this year, so he'd need to pick up the pace. 

He faced the water, the mountains, the sky.  Taking it all in, but not really seeing it.  The Valley was as quiet as ever.  Eventually, as always, his thoughts turned to days gone by. He wondered if he had made good choices, if maybe things could have been different.

He took a sip of his last remaining bottle of scotch whiskey from the tin can he used as a cup. He thought how nice it would be to have more of it. Maybe some friends would drop by with a bottle, like the old days. Or maybe his grandchildren would stop in, Lord knows his children wouldn't.

Things were different now. There was a time when the world turned around him, when he was respected and feared.  Now it seemed to be doing just fine without him. There was a time that would have angered him, and he'd have come out fighting and pushing and yelling and making sure the world knew damn well that he was there. But he was different now. 

There was a distant sound of tires coming down the road to the cabin, and he looked up. No, nothing. Just the trick of the mind of an old man.

Then, like always, Jerry remembered that there was nothing left outside of the valley, not since he'd started the robot plague. The robots had destroyed all humanity, but had left Jerry in his valley out of respect for their creator, their God.

Jerry frowned, but tears did not come. They never did anymore. He stood up, crushed his cigarette under his sandles, and went back into his cabin.

I can still get through this, he thought, as long as I have my sex robot.

The end.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jan 23, 2018

It has officially been YEARS since I was in the Hubcap Comedy Festival doing the stand up contest for CBC.

I'm not doing it this year.

I thought about it. No kidding, tomorrow is the deadline and I've been thinking about it all day. But honestly it's a stress I don't think I could handle right now. I've been away too long. 

So... I'm coming back! It's going to be slow, probably, but if I can get back in the habit, maybe this time next year I'll have enough under my belt to do it again.

The last time I got famously funny, I had just started a new job at work. Weirdly enough, I have a new job again, with the same supervisor that I had that time.  And there's all this snow on the ground, just like last time.  And also, just like last time, I'm not sleeping very well.  So maybe, just maybe, it's all about having a new job, with the same supervisor, with the snow on the ground, and somewhat sleep deprived that brings it all together for me.

Or maybe not.

Personal segue over.

I have to talk about this ridiculous phenomenon called "The Tide Pod Challenge".  If you are not familiar with it because, god willing, you are reading this in the far future where people just wouldn't do that sort of thing (but who also treasure my writing style and sense of humour), this is a thing that people have done.  Are doing.  Will have had done.  Sigh.  This is a "challenge" where you film yourself chewing on a detergent pod. You film this, you post it on the Internet, and you bask in the glory that comes to you from your legions of adoring fans, who are admiring you for doing something so dumb that it defies explanation. 

If you happen to swallow the detergent pod while chewing it, then you can rest easy knowing that your friends still posted the video of you choking to death and it'll play at your funeral and your crush will see it and will totally cry knowing that they didn't give you the chance you deserved.

But I get it.  We were all stupid kids at some point.  But when me and the guys got together and decided how rad it would be to jump our ten speeds off the top of the quarry, you know what we didn't do?  FILM IT.  Even if we had had access to a video camera, as dumb as we were we were all smart enough to say "if my mom sees this, it's over".  What happened to teenagers that they aren't afraid of their mothers anymore?  My mom is like the greatest grandmother there ever was, but I still jump up and start cleaning things if I hear her say "damn" under her breath. 

I know that my mother has a tape somewhere of us talking about the things that we're hiding from her. Why there's a tape, I don't remember. I don't even remember what was on the tape. I don't want to hear it, because I'm forty years old and don't want to have to look my mother in the eyes and know that she knows what I did when I was ten or eleven.  Or worse, a teenager.  Thankfully, I'm reasonably certain that I never talked about some of the more interesting aspects of being a teenager, let alone recorded it.  Shudder.

And fathers can't be that much better. If I broke my ten speed jumping it off the top of the quarry (and I'm not saying I did, just that if it happened that way), I could probably have slid it past my father for most of the summer. It's not that he wasn't interested.  It's that he, like every father at some point, decides that if their child isn't crying or injured or visibly doing something ruinous, then things are probably okay.  

could have hidden a busted bicycle in a friend's garage for a week or two, then brought up in conversation that we had all decided to "fix our bikes up at Jason's".  Then after another week, I could have brought said broken ten speed home and said "we tried to make it faster, but we broke it". Then my dad might have gotten angry at me for breaking my bike, but he'd have been sort of proud that I was working on something with my friends and maybe doing a little inventing or engineering or something that proves his kid is smart.  Dumb enough to break his bike, but not dumb enough to jump it off the top of the quarry like some of the kids I hang out with. He'd grumble about responsibility and money and some other stuff, and I'd have to mow some more lawns to make enough to buy a new bike, but he'd still drive me out to get it at Canadian Tire, and he'd probably pay the difference between what I'd saved up and the price for the bike I really really wanted.  

Again, this all could have happened.  Not that it did, Dad.

I don't want that man to sit down at his computer and have one of the relatives from Taiwan forward him an email that says something like "Is this the son you were proud of, or the other one?" and has a link to a video of me eating laundry detergent. He'd take away my video games. Seriously, he'd drive up here and take away my video games. And mom would be standing in the doorway shaking her head before heading into the kitchen to angrily make some cinnamon buns while my father yelled at me.

Because that could happen.  Because I have a healthy respect/fear of my parents.

In unrelated news, my daughter beat me at Candy-land, pushed me over, climbed on my shoulders and demanded to be paraded around the house.  It was super cute!