What would Granny say?

The Compass - - OPINION -

At Rankin In­let in the lat­ter part of May, Gov­er­nor Gen­eral Michaelle Jean — Long live the Queen and her rep­re­sen­ta­tive in this coun­try! Or not — to much me­dia fan­fare, ate a sliver of raw seal heart.

Yes, she did so. I saw it on tele­vi­sion so it must be true.

Im­me­di­ately, the me­dia stirred up con­tro­versy. Was the G.G. pro­mot­ing the Inuit way of life? Was she sup­port­ing the East Coast seal hunt? Or was she sim­ply grand-stand­ing as politi­cians — they can’t help it; it’s vis­ceral; it’s in their raw flesh and blood — are wont to do?

Com­ments were culled from men and women in the streets; Open Line shows hummed and hub­bubed; news an­chors begged for emailed re­marks.

You might be won­der­ing what my re­ac­tions was to Ms Jean’s Nu­navut nib­bling. Then again, you might not. Why would you? Surely you have other fish to fry or flip­per pies to bake.

Nev­er­the­less, I’m go­ing to tell you.

The mo­ment I wit­nessed the blood-drip­ping slice of jig­gling heart flesh in tran­sit to Michaelle’s mouth, I thought of dear, de­parted Granny.

Granny was no bigot. If all was equal in God’s eyes, she will­ingly al­lowed all to be equal in hers. The an­tics of one group were no more pe­cu­liar than the an­tics of an­other.

Back in the last cen­tury when…?... hip­pies, I sup­pose you’d call them, were seek­ing al­ter­na­tive, cheaper sources of pro­tein than bossy-cow beef, some of them de­cided to savour the stringy suc­cu­lence of horse meat.

In Granny’s dif­fer­ent bay, a hud­dle of hip­pies had es­tab­lished a makeshift com­mu­nity — a com­mune— among the skele­tons of the near­est re­set­tled out­port.

Ru­mour had it, they were feast­ing on horses!

When asked by some en­light-

The mo­ment I wit­nessed the blood­drip­ping slice of jig­gling heart flesh in tran­sit to Michaelle’s mouth, I thought of dear, de­parted Granny.

ened, pre­ten­tious, so­cially con­scious scholar—could that have been me?— what she thought about the hip­pies’ un­tra­di­tional diet, Granny gave the same an­swer that I be­lieve she would give to an in­tru­sive mi­cro­phone seek­ing com­men­tary on the G. G’s drip­ping morsel of mam­mal, were it pos­si­ble that one could be shuffed in her face to­day.

Granny said,“ Well, the dirty ghosts!”

“ Harry, my pro­tein-lack­ing gourmet,” said Dear­est Duck. “ You know your grand­mother would never say that about the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral in this day and age.”

“ She would, my Duck. Not be­cause of the seal it­self but be­cause of its un-cooked, blood raw, con­di­tion.”

Be care­ful; don’t trip over this abrupt tran­si­tion.

One day re­cently— p’raps at the same time Ms. Jean was sam­pling seal snip­pets— Pop’s East Coast Girl came home from school and pro­claimed at the sup­per ta­ble that she was learn­ing about car­ni­vores and ex­plained about tigers and prowl­ing fe­lines of that ilk be­ing meat eaters.

Dear­est Duck el­bowed my ribs when she no­ticed my de­cay­ing, erst­while school­teacher brain cells gear­ing-up: “ Harry, don’t say it.”

Too late. “ Sure, you’re a car­ni­vore of sorts,” I told Pop’s East Coast Girl.

In shock, she bared her ju­ve­nile ca­nines. “What kind of car­ni­vore am I?” she asked.

“Don’t heed your grand­fa­ther’s fool­ish­ness,” said Dear­est Duck. “He’s only teas­ing.”

“You’re eat­ing chicken. That’s meat. There­fore, you’re a car­ni­vore,” I said, tick­led by my ques­tion­able wit.

Un­know­ingly echo­ing— kinda—the im­mor­tal words of Scar­let O’Hara, Pop’s East Coast Girl said, “I’ll never eat McDon­ald’s again!”

“Harry!” said Dear­est Duck. It was enough. Sup­per had ended.

I don’t much care about who is or who isn’t sup­ping on seal or­gans. I’ve never eaten seal, not even a fork­ful of my sis­ter-in- law’s fa­mous flip­per pie. Ac­tu­ally, once, in that oh so dis­tant and dif­fer­ent bay when I was a cal­low boy, I did sam­ple one tiny taste. I re­mem­ber spit­ing, “ Yuck!” and think­ing I’d need a glutch of cod-liver oil to clear my palate.

Okay, so I didn’t think palate. At that in­no­cent time of life I didn’t know what a palate was or even that I had one.

To close, to find a fee­ble way to fin­ish, and al­though you haven’t asked, I’m go­ing to con­fess the kind of car­ni­vore I am.

I’m the kind that loves a se­ri­ous wedge of fruit­cake with his draught of herbal tea. So there.

Thank you for read­ing. Eat up.

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