Rav­ing, rant­ing and recol­lect­ing in Dildo

The Compass - - OPINION - Bur­ton K. Janes bur­tonj@nfld.net

“Can some­one out there please tell me how on earth these two broad­cast en­ti­ties — CBC and NTV — can cram six min­utes of ac­tual news into an hour-and-a-half? It is sim­ply as­tound­ing! Ac­tu­ally, it’s more than 90 min­utes be­cause prior to the early edition of the news ac­tu­ally go­ing to air, we are tit­il­lated by ‘ pre­views’ of the day’s news sto­ries dur­ing reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming ad­ver­tis­ing. The thing is, if you see the pre­view, you don’t have to watch the news; that’s all there is, folks. And, you can see the whole thing again at 11:30 p.m. and again at noon the next day!”

Con­trary to what you may think, the pre­vi­ous para­graph’s rant was not writ­ten by Rick Mercer of the Rick Mercer Re­port on CBC TV. It was writ­ten by Dou­glas G. Ge­orge in his book, “Rec­ol­lec­tions, Raves and Rants!”

Dou­glas and his Al­ber­tan wife of 33 years — May — both spent over 30 years in the mil­i­tary. Now re­tired, they live in the Trin­ity Bay town of Dildo.

Dou­glas has a wicked sense of hu­mour, per­haps ac­quired while he was sta­tioned in seven prov­inces, as well as Nor­way, Ger­many and Bos­nia. In his book, he de­scribes his writ­ing as “the pass­ing of pent-up gas. Now that it’s com­plete, I feel so much bet­ter!”

At a more se­ri­ous mo­ment, though, he says, “Pri­mar­ily, I wanted my chil­dren to know me bet­ter, from the point of view of grow­ing up here in ru­ral New­found­land 60-odd years ago.”

He de­cided to place all that “tan­gi­ble in­for­ma­tion” be­tween the cov- ers of a book with a rather un­wieldy sub­ti­tle: “mem­o­ries of child­hood New­found­land some 60-plus years ago (and other stuff); how to change the world to suit my view of re­al­ity; and opin­ion on a baker’s dozen of stick-in-my-craw is­sues.”

Chap­ters in Part 1 (rec­ol­lec­tions) in­clude “Recipe for Goin’ Troutin’,” “Learn­ing to Drive,” “Pas­times of Past Times,” “Down Mem­ory Lane” and “Tid­dly.” In Part 2, he rants about, among other top­ics, signs, bumper­stick­ers and one-lin­ers, Wal-Mart, tough times in Trin­ity, English–how she is spoke, Ge­n­e­sis re­vis­ited, and throw­ing away our her­itage. In Part 3, he raves about, among other top­ics, reli­gious fa­nati­cism, the Union Jack, treat­ment of an­i­mals, or­der­ing our troops into bat­tle, and community polic­ing.

Dou­glas’ sec­ond rea­son for writ­ing is to show his chil­dren “my per­sonal views on so­cial is­sues — some­thing I never knew about ei­ther of my par­ents.” Dou­glas’ par­ents, An­drew and Leah Ge­orge, also lived in Dildo.

Dou­glas quips about his book, “There is no rhyme, rea­son, ra­tio­nale or or­ga­ni­za­tion to the con­tents; I wrote it all down in a 10-day pe­riod as it came to mind.” He de­clares all his rec­ol­lec­tions are true, al­beit “ac­cord­ing to my rec­ol­lec­tion.” At the same time, “given that most of the events in ques­tion oc­curred many, many years ago, I would not ar­gue with any­one who re­mem­bers them dif­fer­ently.”

His rants and raves about this, that and the other thing may leave the reader with the im­pres­sion Dou­glas is, in his words, “a bit­ter, old man.” How­ever, noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

“A few is­sues get my at­ten­tion,” he says, “but not al­ways in a neg­a­tive way, and there are those about which I have strong opin­ions. That doesn’t make me cold, bit­ter or anti-so­cial; I’ve had those as­crib­able at­tributes all my life! Be­sides, writ­ing things down is very ther­a­peu­tic.”

This may pro­vide a clue as to why Dou­glas writes. There is ac­tu­ally a form of ex­pres­sive ther­apy that uses writ­ing and pro­cess­ing the writ­ten words as ther­apy. The most pop­u­lar form of self-help through writ­ing is the act of main­tain­ing a per­sonal jour­nal or di­ary, in which the writer records his or her most mean­ing­ful feel­ings and thoughts.

Dou­glas writes in the epi­logue, “If you have ar­rived here, dear reader, (with­out skip­ping the ma­jor­ity of ef­flu­vium that I have de­posited be­tween these cov­ers), you have got­ten an in­sight into my brain that no other per­son on earth has had the mis­for­tune to un­der­take … You have borne wit­ness to a brain long past its ‘best-be­fore’ date.”

Parts of Dou­glas’ book will de­light, while oth­ers will ir­ri­tate. Ei­ther way, the au­thor’s pur­pose in writ­ing will have been ac­com­plished.

What’s in the fu­ture for Dou­glas Ge­orge? “I cur­rently have two books on the go,” he says, “and it’s tremen­dous fun putting them to­gether.”

Bur­ton K. Janes lives in Bay Roberts. His col­umn ap­pears in The Com­pass ev­ery week. He can be reached at bur­tonj@nfld.net

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