Last week I was working on a snow removal crew and one of the fellows, Serge, was Quebecois. I thought I’d tell a joke and Serge was going to be my inspiration: “What does a French man say when you punch him in the stomach?” Another coworker asked, “what?” as did Serge but he had a smile with a touch of menace that told this Anglo to step carefully.
“Egg,” I said. Serge smiled and another coworker asked me what that meant.
“Oeuf,” I said.
By proclamation of my coworkers, this is the lamest joke ever told.
A few days ago my wife and I saw a TV piece about Charlie Sheen’s recent troubles and moved our conversation to the topic of wild lifestyles and to what I saw in Holland.
The Dutch have a reputation of tolerating things like prostitution and drug use but it doesn’t mean it’s any more socially accepted than elsewhere. They do have some good ideas over there, like treating some drug issues as a medical problem rather than a criminal one; or regulating the sex trade as a matter of public health. It’s a mixture of live and let live and damage control; don’t confuse tolerance with acceptance.
I would sum up the concept of Dutch tolerance with the phrase, “If you aren’t harming anybody else then you should be allowed to waste your life in your own way.”
Rather than try to list all the reasons you might like a visit to Holland I’ll just explain why, besides the obvious health and social reasons not to get involved with drugs and prostitutes, not to do it in Holland:
1) I have it from a good authority that the drugs are better and cheaper here in BC.
2) If you pay attention, you’ll find that there are plenty of nice women who are giving it away for free.
I was fueling a boom lift recently and noticed that there were two fuel container filler spouts in the bottom. I always seem to damage spouts like this and finding two was a real boon so I used a bent filler rod to quickly pull them out before filling the machine.
What I want to know is how on earth sombody loses one, let alone two, fuel spouts in a tank; they’re screwed down to the gas can when you’re using them after all. I’ve found lengths of siphon hose in tanks before and while losing a hose in a tank isn’t exactly smart, losing a fuel container spout strikes me as being a real boner move. I think it’s safe to say I can keep those spouts for myself without fear of the original owner coming to claim them as they would have to acknowledge losing them in such a weird way.
I bought a lottery ticket last week and, as many people surely do, I spent a little time thinking about how to spend those winnings. The ideas started out simply and eventually escalated to the idea of a log house that would put Chateau Montebello to shame: I would log Mount Benson to build it and in the main foyer there would be a massive marble fountain filled with the tears of conservationists.
Though remnants of my early nationalist indoctrination manifest at times I’m not a royal family fanatic by any stretch of the imagination however all the talk of the royal engagement has me reminiscing.
Back on Canada Day of this year some friends hosted a barbeque celebration and when dessert was being brought out I mentioned a little tradition in my family where, when there was desert to be served it was usually a surprise and as your plate was being taken you were told, “hold onto your fork; there’s pie.”
I explained that this little joke stemmed from a story how this happened to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at a meal in Yellowknife and how he was amused by the informality; contrary to the popular belief that he’s an irritable man. Imagine my surprise to learn there was a man at the barbeque who happened to be at that supper; he’s a photographer who was working in the arctic at the time.
Apparently the words were spoken by a member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, the hosts of the meal, who was clearing his place and said, “you might as well hold onto your fork, I think there might be pie.” The only other thing he said about the supper was that he ate like a wolf because each course was served in order based on rank and that it was over when Her Majesty the Queen, “who ate like a bird,” was finished.
What an incredible coincidence it was that a reference to an incident at a royal meal 40 years prior and over 2000 kilometers distant was made in the presence of an attendee.
I was up on the North end of Vancouver Island recently when my gas supplier called about my account being due. When I explained that I was 230km from my nearest bank branch I thought to ask if they had a dealer that was a little closer. They did have one nearby but I could only pay by cheque and that the next “cheque run” was in March; I think my debt would have been sold to a collection agency by then.
While up in Port Hardy last week I was stopped by the police for a licence check while out driving with my wife. When police stop me for something I always want to ask them how the fishing is but never do. It seems to me that policemen don’t like smart-asses or street lawyers and that kind of remark could get you labelled as being either.
The officer was sniffing rather loudly while I fished out my licence and at first thought he had a cold but later realized he was smelling for alcohol. When he asked me to get out of the car I was concerned what was going on but relaxed when I realized he only wanted to know if I’d been drinking. When I stated that I had nothing to drink that evening he said that he was going to administer a roadside test and asked with a doubtful tone, “so it will read zero, right?”
“Sure,” I said as he headed back to his car. I went up to the front of our car to talk to my wife while the officer got organized. She was surprised that I was being tested and amused by my curiosity and enthusiasm but for me it was a first. It did have me wondering what on earth he smelled that made him suspicious; we decided afterwards that it was the penetrating oil I had been spraying earlier.
When doing the test I felt like they were more interested in my lung capacity than my blood alcohol. The officer told me to blow and blow and I was almost out of air as he said to stop; I wouldn’t have had enough wind if I were a smoker. He looked surprised when I showed as being sober
After being sent on our way we made jokes about sniffling policemen, my personal hygiene being questionable, and the government using breathalyser machines to secretly collect citizens’ DNA but on the short drive back to the hotel we saw three cars pulled over on separate occasions….so I guess they really were fishing.