MAYOR’S COLUMN – MAY 3, 2018
My cynical friend, who wishes to remain anonymous (Julie), says she likes to be the person who is the reason someone smiles today or the reason someone has a drink. Whatever works! (Her exclamation mark)
Often asked is Uncle Clary in Belfast Northern Ireland a real person? The answer is yes and we are related. Clary served for over 30 years as a police officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland. His humour, wit, wisdom are legendary (according to Clary). His humour: At the beginning of his policing career as a rookie recruit he was asked during the entrance exam “What would you do if you had to arrest your Mother?” Clary, who came from a tough family responded, “Call for back up”. His Wisdom: When a prominent, very rich businessman died in Belfast Clary said “It doesn’t matter how big your house is, how much money you have, or that you wear expensive clothes our graves will be the same size. Stay humble.” Now retired, Clary spends most of his time on his hobby which is collecting full Guinness bottles and keeping them till they are empty, which is usually the same day. He also loves to take his grandkids for walks around the beaches and harbour in Bangor, a lovey seaside town east of Belfast which is on Belfast Lough where it flows into the Irish Sea. On a clear day you can see Scotland but, thankfully, can’t hear the bagpipes. One day on his walks with the grandkids around the harbour, some of the local louts started hassling him. A lout is an Irish term for a rude, ill-mannered boor. If you are North American, to understand the word “lout” think of New York Yankee fans. Some of the louts thought Clary looked familiar but couldn’t remember why (that’s why they are louts). They started shoulder checking him like in a road hockey game. Clary told them “Stop”, and they didn’t and finally Clary yelled at them “If you make contact with me one more time it will be a violation of the conditions of my parole! (his exclamation mark). “So take off (sounds so Canadian) before it’s my turn to demonstrate why they made it one of the conditions of my parole.” (The Canadian equivalent of this, according to Conan O’Brien, is “you mess with the moose, you get the antlers.”) The louts backed off. Huddled together for a few seconds they then scattered in every direction faster than a toupee in a windstorm on Front Street, never to bother him again.”
“Deputy Mayor” Janis is a die hard sports fan, loving hockey, shopping, baseball, golf, tennis, everything but ultimate fighting which itself is a stretch to associate with the word “sport”. The Sarnia Gazette once did a full page story on Janis’ knowledge and love of sports. Her finger nails are now painted a new shade of blue for the Blue Jays after being painted for the Toronto Maple Leafs through the winter months (different blues apparently). Her love of baseball was inherited from Uncle Festus who used to manage a semi-pro team (sounds like the Detroit Tigers this year). Festus didn’t last long as a baseball manager. His philosophy was we will win if we get more runs than they do. His idea of a double play was a whisky with a beer chaser. He was fortunate, despite his love of beer, he wore the extra calories off from walking out to the pitcher’s mound after each pitch. He was finally fired for using the bullpen phone in the middle of the game to call for pizza and beer. (One thing baseball managers and Mayors have in common is that everyone thinks they can do their job (just listen to Talk Radio to validate that point).
Last column talked about the perils of social media and trying to feed the daily beast and “social media outrage”. Recently tweeted and posted on Facebook a news story in the Toronto Star (so it must be true) about an accordion player who was riding Toronto Transit subway trains playing Despacito to delighted or frightened passengers. The Toronto Transit Commission Security put out an all-points bulletin to find the rogue accordion player who should be considered armed and dangerous on the loose with his accordion (unlicensed). When we returned there were three more accordions in the car. The horror! (my exclamation mark) I relapsed part of the Stress Syndrome)
To everything – turn, turn, turn, There is a season – turn, turn, turn”. The Byrd’s (with help from the Bible) (smart, no copyright fees to pay) There are many seasons……. In Ontario, we are just about to enter the “SILLY SEASON”. That is the time period from May 1 to October 22 called the Municipal Election time period. For those first-time candidates, if you are successful and don’t want to be a cliché politician, here is the Top Ten glossary of phrases you will need to learn to never use in the Council Chamber. (translation provided)
10. “I HAVE SERIOUS CONCERNS” (Fail-safe statement used to protect oneself on any controversial issues. If things go wrong, one can say “I expressed serious concern at the time”)
9. “AT THE END OF THE DAY.” (Means apparently “At the end of the day.” No one ever says “At the end of the night”, although, if they talk long enough they should)
8. “WITH ALL RESPECT”. Longer version “WITH ALL DUE RESPECT.” (Means there is little or no respect for the speaker and their views)
7. “I’M SYMPATHETIC TO YOUR CONCERNS” (Usually said before voting against someone and their issue)
6. “THERE IS ONLY ONE TAXPAYER” (Stating the obvious and makes one wonder how long it took the speaker to figure that out)
5. “FROM MY EXPERIENCE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR” (Usually means the Councillor had a paper route as a kid)
4. “I DON’T HAVE A LOT MORE TO SAY” (The words a chairperson and the media dread. It means the speaker will continue to ramble on for another five minutes without a note or a point)
3. “IN MY HUMBLE OPINION” (Usually spoken by consultants who had humility bypasses at an early age)
2. “‘FRANKLY SPEAKING” (Means what you are about to hear is going to be exactly the opposite of “open and frank”)
1. “WE HAVE TO WATCH THE BOTTOM LINE” (Usually said by the Councillor who is the biggest spender but wants to appear, with all due respect, sympathetic to the concerns on spending because, after all, there is only one taxpayer, in their humble opinion, from their experience in the private sector, at the end of the day)
So welcome to the “SILLY SEASON”.
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