Thursday, January 25, 2007


God, these people LOVE their hockey!

There was some kind of game at the local sports barn last night, and it appears that every knuckle dragger with a credit card moved into the hotel across the courtyard from my Russian Hooker Apartment because they KEPT ME UP ALL NIGHT hooting and hollering for “their team”.

I’ve never really understood the attraction of WATCHING sports events. It’s not as if you’re actually DOING anything, and yet these fanatics insist on referring to themselves as part of the organization, as in “our win” or “our loss” or “we’ve gotta great club”. I suppose it does bring some kind of meaning to their existence, but maybe if they spent a little less time painting their fat, naked bellies in assorted team colors and a little more time ACTUALLY playing the game, perhaps their lives actually WOULD mean something?

A tad bitter ya think? Well, I WAS a hockey orphan as a child.

My father was determined that I was going to be the next Bobby Orr; for those of you too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination, Mr. Orr was the David Beckham of Hockey back in the day.
However, after an abortive attempt to teach me how to skate, which ended in a tear-soaked Figure Skating Pageant wherein myself and a dozen other frozen six year olds were dressed up in itchy Eskimo Costumes (this before the somewhat-inaccurate-but-at-least-it’s-PC moniker “Inuit”) and forced to parade around a drafty hockey arena – resulting in the first of many “storming off to my dressing room” moments in my life – Daddy Dearest realized that perhaps my future was not on the ice.

At that moment, Saturday nights around our house became “off limits” for Gay Sons in Living Rooms.

From the first annoying chords of the “da da DA duh da, da da DA duh da, DA duh DA da duh DA” theme song of Hockey Night in Canada to the final tedious rehash of every single slapshot, it was as if nothing existed beyond the grainy color of our pre-cable TV set. The house could’ve burned down around my father and he would’ve simply nodded and grunted “uh huh”. But that was fine by me; I would just retreat to my bedroom with the 16mm projector and films borrowed from the local library and watch old Chaplin or Marx Brothers movies – this was back before the advent of VCRs and DVD players changed our lives forever.

Unfortunately, that THEME SONG is stuck in my head to this day!

To his credit, Dad did try once more to engage me in his Wide World of Sports. I was dragged along once to meet Bobby Baun, a rough and tumble hockey player from the Leafs making what I now realize was probably the beginning of a career slide by appearing at a car dealership outside Toronto. My companions, sons of a friend of my dad’s and HUGE hockey fans, all but salivated as Mr. Baun signed pictures and miniature hockey sticks but I recall wondering exactly WHERE I was going to fit these useless knick knacks among my valuable old movie memorabilia.

Mr. Baun, assuming I aspired to someday play professional hockey, asked me “what’s your position, son?”

I told him I felt very strongly that the US shouldn’t be in Vietnam.

My father didn’t bother taking me to any more sports events, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.
A sidebar: I’ve been taking some heat from my “critics” regarding what they feel is my “anti-Canadian” stance. Nonsense of course, given the fact that I AM a Canadian.

However if there ever was justification for me to take a stand AGAINST the red maple leaf flag, it would’ve been this morning. Desperate for caffeine and a place to log onto the internet, I came upon TWO franchise coffee shops side by side. Feeling particularly patriotic that morning – or more to the point, wanting to take a stand against the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-like growth of the Seattle based Starbucks – I decided to venture into the Canadian-owned Second Cup. One for the Beaver, as it were.

After buying some coffee and a rather grim little pastry, I plopped down on an uncomfortable stool and opened up my laptop. Imagine my chagrin to discover that the Second Cup CHARGES for its INTERNET service!!! Almost ten bucks a pop!!

Message to Second Cup: you’re in the Customer Service Business!! Maybe you should rethink screwing your customers for a few extra bucks every time they visit?

I thought about staying anyway, but then decided that my patriotism didn’t extend to lining the pockets of Bell Canada. With a huff, I folded up my goodies and headed next door to the US owned Starbucks where, seated on a very comfortable club chair and listening to soft jazz, I logged onto the World Wide Web – for FREE.

That, in a nutshell, is what really irks me about my homeland and why, many years ago, I fled, an uncultured cultural refugee.

I don’t WANT free health insurance. I WANT free Internet!