Odds and ends and words that wound

Our latest column from William Thomas

This just in … after trying to help PC Leader, ex-Leader, Wannabe Leader Again Patrick Brown’s political career, Russia has issued a statement saying they’re getting out of the business of rigging elections, for good!

From Britain where, as it turns out, Brexit may also have been a rigged vote with illegal money used to sway opinion, comes Royal news of … Sir Ringo Starr! Really? Ringo got a knighthood!?! Can Viscount Ozzy Osbourne, Baron Boy George and Lady Lady Gaga be far behind?

So you’re a 19-year-old kid from London, Ontario driving to nearby Clinton to take your driver’s test and you’re late. The other four kids in your car are also going to take their tests and they are also late. Whatteryagointodo? Well, not 160 km in an 80 km zone that’s for sure. Charged with racing by the OPP, the kid had his licence suspended and as if this couldn’t be anymore embarrassing – he had to spring for cab fare to get everybody back to London.

Spent an entire day last week trying to break into PayPal’s vault of online systems to report suspicious and probably fraudulent transactions on my account. Then I heard on the news that President Donald Trump is proposing that drug dealers get the death penalty. And I would fully support such a bill provided it included computer hackers as well. Oh and litterers. Yeah, and people who talk during a movie at the cinema.

Proving yet again that the new Toronto is the old Detroit, a war between rival gangs that is being raged again in that city. Recently gang member Thanh Ngo was shot dead much like his father Ngoc Ngo was assassinated back in 2014. And let’s not forget Chang Thong Vo. Nicknamed “Tommy,” Vo was a member of a Vietnamese gang and eventually died in a hole of bullets face down on Gerard Street East with an AK47 lying beside him. But four years earlier, with a pistol shoved down the front of his baggy pants, Vo accidentally shot off part of his own penis. New name on the street? “No Wang” Vo. So yeah, sometimes words can be as painful as a bullet impersonating a circumcision scalpel.

So I’m at the checkout counter of an unnamed Canadian Tire store somewhere in Ontario, paying for an ottoman which is in a heavy cardboard box. The middle-aged woman at the register is pleasant enough, but also struggling to flip the box over in order to scan the price. I try to help, but in so doing shifted more of the weight to her side of the box. That’s when she broke a finger nail and at that same instant screamed: “F—k!” A private, painful moment had just gone loudspeaker public. I looked at her. She looked at me. We both looked down. And the people behind me lapsed into a chilly, awkward silence. The “F” Bomb had been detonated accidentally. She continued to ring up my purchase but what she really wanted to do was make herself invisible. Hardly offended, I felt real sympathy for this woman.

I could tell she was a nice lady and truly mortified by her one-word outburst. However, it was also a telling moment in the state of our language in today’s society. Atrocious!

I was scanning Amazon’s Bestsellers Humor list and came across no less than two of the top 20 that have the F-word in the title including Go The “F—k To Sleep which appeared to be an animated bedtime reader for children! Comedian Bill Maher uses that word so casually on his HBO show, he guests and his audience are no longer shocked. Newspapers now print the word fully lettered and there’s a popular Canadian punk band out there which CBC Radio euphemistically refers to as “F’ed Up.” No prude here, I myself use that word, not often and I am trying to quit.

I used to be the guy who lectured teenagers cursing (and smoking) outside a convenience store. “Hey! Hey! There’s girls present here!” Now the girls are as foul-mouthed as the boys and I just shake my head and walk on by them. The ‘F-bomb’ has become ‘F-normal.’

Today’s prolific and public profanity is much more than lazy syntax or feeble brains on limited vocabulary. I think our language is in perfect sync with the rest of the general downward trend of this world as we slide fearfully and helplessly to a very bad end. Our expletive-laced language goes hand in hand with our pervasive mood of moral mediocrity which reveals itself in rigged elections, hacking and an unprecedented level of corruption worldwide.

Meanwhile back at Canadian Tire, the silence was killing us all so I turned to the shoppers behind me and said: “She meant to say ‘heck.’ Okay?” Sorry, best I could do. Mel Brooks may have said it best: “I have been accused of vulgarity. I say that’s bullshit.”

On a lighter note, last week there was a fatal crash in Arizona in which a driverless car killed a pedestrian. With all the years of testing, these autonomous vehicles are still a hundred times safer than those with a human at the wheel. Still a spokeswoman had to come out and defend these prototypes and a bit frustrated, she said: “And let’s remember, robots don’t drink!” And I’m thinking – no, not yet they don’t! But when the robots come to realize the state of the planet they’re about to take over, they’ll be knockin’ ’em back like three guys named Bob at the Belmont Hotel! It remains to be seen what effect a serious hangover will have on Artificial Intelligence.

For comments, ideas and copies of The Legend of Zippy Chippy, go to www.williamthomas.ca.

 


 

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