Paul Davis — cue­ing up the ‘Rocky’ theme

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL - Bob Wake­ham

Some­where re­cently, most prob­a­bly in a rink in Paul Davis’s dis­trict of Top­sailPar­adise, a young hockey player may have shed a tear of hope when he heard his hero had ut­tered words that re­ver­ber­ated through­out the prov­ince: “Never say never.”

Yes, for sure, adult vot­ers may have taken to the streets in ex­u­ber­ant cel­e­bra­tion when Davis — for­mer cop, for­mer premier, now the lame duck Tory leader — re­sponded to the lat­est po­lit­i­cal polls by sug­gest­ing that maybe, just maybe, he might have a change of mind about his pend­ing res­ig­na­tion and ac­tu­ally be a can­di­date for the PC lead­er­ship when­ever his party gets its act to­gether and or­ga­nizes a con­ven­tion.

But it was the kid whose heart swelled when the news spread like wild­fire through­out the prov­ince.

Surely, you re­mem­ber that young fella. Davis, his voice break­ing, told a story dur­ing a lead­ers de­bate that, as I men­tioned at the time, sounded like a scene out of one of those maudlin (but slick and ef­fec­tive) videos pro­duced by the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints crowd, pub­lic re­la­tions mes­sages on be­half of the Higher Power de­signed for the spir­i­tual se­duc­tion of soul­less sin­ners.

The hockey player, whom Davis prob­a­bly wanted us to imag­ine had red hair and freck­les, spoke with a charm­ingly thick New­found­land brogue, and made ap­pear­ances in tourism ads, those brightly coloured tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tions where all the par­tic­i­pants — the chil­dren run­ning through the fields, the horses, even the whales — move in su­per slow mo­tion, and he al­ways made sure he sat next to his favourite politi­cian.

(By the way: per­haps the spin doc­tors with the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints and the New­found­land Tourism De­part­ment of Dwight Ball’s ad­min­is­tra­tion should join forces to spread the word: the Lord Loves Lib­er­als).

And why, we all won­dered at the time of the de­bate (with bated breath), did the lonely kid sit next to the politi­cian? Be­cause, as Davis told us, the young­ster knew that Davis would al­ways help tie up his skates. That’s why.

It was Davis’s way of de­liv­er­ing an awk­ward il­lus­tra­tion of the deep and pro­found good­ness he feels ex­ists in each and ev­ery New­found­lan­der, but it con­sti­tuted a mo­ment when most view­ers un­doubt­edly shuf­fled their feet, or looked away, pray­ing for the story to end. (Al­though for the scat­tered voter in his cups that night, the sappy tale may have brought on a cry­ing jag, a tor­rent of beer tears).

As our jour­nal­ism files now tell us, the yarn and ev­ery­thing else Davis ut­tered that night, and through­out the cam­paign, for that mat­ter, fell on mostly deaf ears, and Dwight Ball went on to a pre­dictable win in the pro­vin­cial elec­tion.

But, hey, as Davis im­plied last week, he may ac­tu­ally take an­other shot at be­ing the premier, given those polls show­ing the Tories ahead of the Lib­er­als (and the NDP in their tra­di­tional third-place slot).

Even if the year he spent in the premier’s of­fice — put there, you might re­call, by a hand­ful of PC del­e­gates, rep­re­sent­ing a minis­cule per­cent­age of the vot­ing pop­u­la­tion — did not ex­actly prompt a re­write of po­lit­i­cal his­tory in New­found­land, Davis can al­ways dream of a come­back, es­pe­cially when his suc­ces­sor, Dis­as­trous Dwight, con­tin­ues his down­ward plunge in pop­u­lar­ity.

But it re­minds me of the sort of long shot made fa­mous in the movie “Dumb and Dumber.”

(If you’re cruel of spirit, un­like yours truly, you can take time here to place Davis and Ball in the tit­u­lar roles; Earle McCurdy, of course, and past NDP lead­ers, haven’t been given an op­por­tu­nity to play ei­ther Dumb or Dumber, New­found­land vot­ers con­tent since Con­fed­er­a­tion, masochis­ti­cally so, to repet­i­tively place the Tories and the Grits in power; you’d think, at some point, New­found­lan­ders would give the NDP a gov­ern­ing man­date, even to screw up, to act dumb or dumber).

Any­way, I’ve wan­dered, as usual. Get­ting back to “Dumb and Dumber,” the char­ac­ter, Lloyd, played by Jim Car­rey (Davis, in your lo­cal play­bill) is won­der­ing about his chances to get it on with a woman he’s got the hots for (the New­found­land elec­torate).

Lloyd (Davis): I’m gonna ask you some­thing flat out and I want you to an­swer me hon­estly: what do you think the chances are of a girl like you (New­found­land) and a guy like me (Davis) end­ing up to­gether? Come on, give it to me straight. What are my chances?”

Girl (New­found­land): “Not good.” Lloyd (Davis): “You mean, not good, as one in a hun­dred.”

Girl (New­found­land): “I’d say more like one in a mil­lion.”

Lloyd (Davis): “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

He leaps joyfully and op­ti­misti­cally in the air, as does, in a lo­cally adapted scene stealer, the lit­tle kid at the rink.

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