Monday, October 31, 2016

You'll Find No Sober Second Thoughts In These Parts

Turns out I am not going to be appointed to the Canadian Senate, after all.

PUNCHING BELOW MY WEIGHT: Insert gratuitous shot of J.T. here. 

I read it twice, just to make sure but turns out I won’t have to quit my day job; if I had one, that is. 

You might find this hard to believe, but there was an outside chance of my getting the call.

Early on after being elected, Trudeau announced that he wanted to make the senate less partisan. So he invited regular Canadians to apply for the jobs.

All told there were 21 positions open; six in Ontario. So Trudeau built a website—(given his age, I figure he pulled it together himself, maybe on a break from Grand Theft Auto)—and made the application process pretty simple.

So I, along with about 2,700 other Canadians went for it.

I sent in a CV, a longish essay about why I’d make a good senator, a criminal-record-check and three letters from other Canadians who agreed that it wouldn’t hurt to have me as a senator. The three letters were from Bob Gauthier of Cornwall, Rodney Frost from Orillia and my friend-since-high-school May Chang.

They were very generous with their praise and because I took the whole process so seriously, I started to delude myself. 

"I might," I thought, "have a shot." (Memo to anybody wondering if I ever make up quotes for stories. Of course I do. I just quoted myself thinking. But I digress.)

The FAQs on the website reinforced that Trudeau was looking for non-partisans. Now there’s a box I can check with enthusiasm.

I've been known to not make up my mind until I'm standing in the voting booth with the little pencil.

There've only been a few exceptions.

Two municipal elections ago, I planted a “Vote for Hannu” sign on my lawn.  Hannu is Hannu Piironen.

POSTER BOY: A senator would probably get clobbered for playing like this.

He and I go back a few years. We went to some high school and some university and some bars together so when he asked if I’d erect a sign, I was happy to. 

Never mind that I live downtown Toronto and he ran in our hometown of Sudbury.

Also, about 35 years ago, when my brother in law Al MacNevin in Little Current ON., launched his political career, I was the editor of the local paper, the Manitoulin Expositor, and I took Al’s campaign mugshot. Must have been a great photo, he’s mayor there now.

I just remembered. The same year Hannu ran, when I went in to vote for Toronto's next mayor, I  wrote in my brother Eddie's name.

I’m also on “hey-guy-how-you-doin'?” terms with our own Liberal MP, Arif Virani.  He and his beautiful family live across the street and a few houses to the east of us and they’re great neighbours.
And here's the kind of guy he is.

DEWEY FILING SYSTEM: Every morning, the books are dewey. 
We happen to have one of those little free libraries in front of our house. My daughter Ria and my son Michel put it together for Mother’s Day a few years ago, and for a guy like me who likes few things more than goofing off and talking to the neighbours, the little library’s a source of great entertainment—an instant conversation starter.

Last summer, I was on the front porch, pursuing my hobby of doing absolutely nothing except with a cold beer in hand, and I heard the following conversation.

Kid: “I want that one.” (He could have been pointing to a book or maybe a toy because people leave all sorts of things, like CDs or videos.)

Man: “Sure, but you have to remember to bring it back. These are for sharing, not keeping.”

Kid: “That one too, I’d like to get that one too.”

Dad: “That’s fine but don’t be upset when we return it later. Other children get a turn, too. That’s the way this works.”

I thought--and here comes me quoting my thoughts again--"what a conscientious dad!" Then, and he doesn’t know I overheard, I saw that it was Virani with one of his kids. I’m glad I voted for him.

But the more I think about it, I’m kind of relieved my name wasn’t in the paper this morning.

Senating probably entails work. I’d have to abandon my avocation of doing nothing all day. 

The job could well involve accountability. Receipts. Schedules. 

Worse, as I just realized when I was telling you about Arif, it occured to me that senators, MPs, my brother-in-law Mayor MacNevin—they can’t so much as blow their nose without people ratting them out, like I just did  to Virani.
2 OUTTA 3: A pair of hardworking federal public servants, my niece Jen and my MP Arif...and me.

I once asked our MPP Cheri DiNovo if she ever gets to kick back and relax. 

She told me she and her husband have to leave the country to do so.

Kicking back and relaxing is what I do best. 

Last week a Facebook friend posted the following: "If you haven't grown up by the time you're 50, you don't have to." 

If I were a senator, I’d probably have to start taking life seriously. Nothing good could come of that.

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