Monday, September 19, 2005

Two Posts For One

Fran and I sat down last night to watch about 20 minutes of television -- because we'd missed the beginning of Bowling for Columbine, the only thing seemingly worthwhile to watch was the Emmys.

So we watched while “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” won award after award in several categories, then William Shatner and Frederica von Stade perform the theme to Star Trek (with a strange memory in my head where I seem to remember someone telling me that the original theme song actually had real lyrics, not just Shatner’s little intro and the “ah ah ah’s”) -- and then they did a nice tribute to three news anchors: Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings.

It was a touching pause to acknowledge three men whose faces have represented integrity and straightforward honest television journalism for as long as I can remember. Fran and I chatted about memories of the last name and face that used to represent that and the sadness when he stepped down: Walter Cronkite. But this was bigger, this was a year in which three very powerful icons all stepped down or passed away. I tried to think about what news icons existed now (in US journalism, because Canada still has it’s Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson and, of course, Alexander’s favourite meteorologist, Global’s Anwar Knight) but the only ones that came to me were Rick Mercer, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart.

That thought was brought home properly when Dan and Tom finished their poignant speeches and the camera cut to audience members applauding. Just as we turned the television off, there was a glimpse of Donald Trump clapping, with that patented grimace on his face.

I finally realized what it was about his grimace that I found peculiar. The scowl or twisted frown, or whatever people call it that he wears almost all the time makes him look like he’s trying to figure out who it was that dared to fart in his presence.

I’ll have to keep that in mind as I watch this season’s The Apprentice, especially if the boardroom scenes ever get boring and I need a new way to amuse myself.

Things I Haven’t Done

I've never done two single posts in a single entry space before, but I'm going to now - I have no choice - the guy beside me on the GO train is begging for it.

Here’s another thing that I’ve never done: I’ve never licked my finger in order to turn a page.

It comes to mind because as I sit on the GO train typing this, the gentleman beside me keeps doing it. Let’s see, he got on in either Apply or Burlington, and right now, we’re speedling along between Oakville and Union Station, and he must have licked his finger at least 6 or 7 times in order to turn the pages of the Metro newspaper that he’s reading. Ah, he's done it again. Bleck.

I’ve never done that. I’m a paper-licking virgin.

Oh sure, I’ve eaten paper, I’ve even eaten glue (two cute girls in my grade 4 class were doing it, so I joined them, instead of just stirring the cup of white glue with the flat little stick, I followed their lead and ate it -- yeah, it was just the beginning of a lifetime of doing stupid thing to try to impress girls), but I’ve yet to lick my fingers to turn a page, yes, even when I thought it might make me look studious and impressive.

I understand the physics behind licking one's fingers to turn a page, but the act bothers me. Okay, hygienically (because Francine has helped me think of hygiene more and more often), do you really want to be licking your fingers after touching the newspaper, nevermind the box it came out of, a multitude of doors, and perhaps even touching the seat that God knows who did what on earlier? Nevermind the hygene. What about the taste? Yuck. While I remember eating paper when I was young, I don’t think I dared ever try a newspaper. Look at what the newsprint does to your hands -- you want that in your mouth?

Oh, he’s looking around now -- I wonder if he’ll pause to look down, read what I’m typing on my laptop. I have my fingers ready to quickly hint ALT-TAB to change the document I’m working on in case I need to cover my little episode of extreme journalism. Gee, I’ve never done this before, write about the person sitting immediately beside me -- I've written about people on the train, even used folks sitting on the train when I needed to come up with a physical description for a minor character in a story -- but I've never written about someone sitting directly beside me -- it’s kind of fun, and sort of naughty. It reminds me of something my buddy Peter Mitchell might do. (See, Pete, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)

Oh, okay, he’s stopped reading the paper and is now sitting there, hands crossed in his lap, head down -- he's going to have a little cat nap, I think.

It reminds me of another thing I’ve never done -- I’ve never slept on the GO train. I’ve always been afraid of two things that I do when I’m sleeping. Drool and fart. I remember back when I was dating when I’d wait for a long time to ensure that the girl beside me fell asleep before I did, because I was afraid if I fell asleep first, that I’d let one rip (especially after desperately holding it in for the entire duration of the evening). Sure, I wouldn’t be able to control these bodily functions once I drifted off, but at least there was a chance she’d think it was just part of a dream she was having. Lord knows, when she woke up and saw me beside her, she'd wish that too was a nightmare she was having and not the sad reality that it was for her.

Oh man, speaking of fart, I think the sleeping guy beside me just let one go. Isn't that nice? He's all dressed up in this business suit, looking impressive and gentleman-like. Then he starts liking his fingers as if to state he's a busy man and doesn't have the patience to carefully turn the pages of the newspaper, but it just makes me disgusted and then he falls asleep and lets a silent one go. My impression of him continually goes downhill this whole trip.

No, maybe I was just imaging that he farted in his sleep. I pause, take a fresh bresh. Oh yeah, that putrid smell is there. And, for confirmation, I just looked up and the guy across the aisle has that Donald Trump “who just dared fart” look on his face. So it can't be my imagination.

Ahh, the train is slowing down as it rolls into Union Station. There’ll be fresh air soon (at least as fresh as the air gets in downtown Toronto)

1 comment:

Pete Mitchell said...


Commando journalism on the Go Train! That Pulitzer is so-o-o-o-o-o yours bud!

Just promise not to lick it!