Raving, ranting and recollecting in Dildo
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org