Elec­tions leave Harry con­fused

The Compass - - NEWS -

When I was a tod­dling bay­boy, Joey Small­wood was King of New­found­land. For frig sake, there were grown men and women who be­lieved Joey was King of Canada.

The length of Joey’s reign was com­pa­ra­ble to Queen Vicky’s from across the Pond in Jolly Old Eng­land — years and years and in­ter­minable years. By the time New King Frankie ousted Joey I was fully grown and liv­ing in a dif­fer­ent bay.

Since then, king­doms have risen and king­doms have top­pled and fallen. Most re­cently we dwelt in the Land of Dan and Dun­der­land. To­day we dwell in Davis Days with a pro­vin­cial elec­tion loom­ing that might — might! — clear the dance floor, so to speak, of a brand new king­dom — the Ball Room.

Oh, and there’s a fed­eral elec­tion su­per­im­posed on the down­home crowd.

“Harry, no pun­dit love of mine,” says Dear­est Duck, pulling up a chair to the cor­ner of my desk, some kind of fill-inthe-blanks form in hand, “you’re play­ing in a game for which you have no skills — kind of like if you were try­ing to play … well, pick a game.”

“Have some faith, my Duck,” say I. “May­hap I will as­tound you.”

“You think?” says Dear­est Duck, se­lect­ing a pen from the col­lec­tion in my Ap­ple iMug.

The thick­en­ing for­est of pegged picket signs in­creases my con­fu­sion ev­ery time I drive down the road. There are blue signs and red signs. There are or­ange signs and — truly — black and white signs. There are scat­tered green signs strug­gling to sur­vive like sprigs in an an­cient for­est.

I’m con­fused. I tick off ques­tions on my fin­ger­tips. Which blue sup­ports the Ball Room? Which blue anoints Prince Justin, youth­ful im­i­ta­tion of Ol’ Fud­dle-Dud­dle him­self? Which red pro­longs the length of Davis Days? Which red will let the coun­try bleed?

“Harry b’y,” says Dear­est Duck, busily fill­ing in blanks and tick­ing boxes on her pa­pers, “it’s not that hard to fig­ure out I’m sure.”

I’m ag­gra­vated. Some evenings af­ter supper has ended, no sooner am I hove off in my Lay-Z-Boy, a cup of Ten­sion Tamer near at hand, then ev­ery phone ex­ten­sion in the house com­mences to crow a clar­ion call…

…and since Dear­est Duck has likely gone out with her group of quilt hook­ers, it falls to me to snatch up a hand­set and jam it to my ear.

If I’m lucky, a “live” hu­man voice — not recorded words am­pli­fied by those iAids I bought last sum­mer — speaks into my ear.

“We hope we have your sup-

My Im­per­fect

Slant port...” Or words to that ef­fect.

And I — stack­ing the deck be­cause one never knows when one might wish a favour done — an­swer, “You surely do,” to ev­ery sin­gle one.

“Harry, knock off your lies,” says Dear­est Duck and checks another box. “Not lies, my Duck.” I con­fess. I never watch the evening news. I sel­dom read the daily pa­per. I trust Dear­est Duck to keep me abreast of con­tem­po­rary things — the im­pend­ing end­ing of the world, for in­stance. I trust her to keep me up to date with cur­rent af­fairs such as pol­i­tics and lay­ered elec­tions.

Yet, although I count on her for guid­ance, Dear­est Duck re­fuses to help me make my choices.

“Please, my Duck,” I beg, “help me sort through all the women can­di­dates. There’s a whole slew of them.”

“Harry, tell me there is no gen­der bias af­fect­ing your de­ci­sions,” says Dear­est Duck, flip­ping pages, mak­ing sure ev­ery line is filled, ev­ery box is ticked.

“You should know me bet­ter,” say I. “Women reared me. Mammy and grannies and maiden aunts. So I know of women’s strengths.”

“My love,” says Dear­est Duck, “stop ram­bling. You’re miles out of your league. Key-in a pe­riod, full stop.” Then, root­ing though my desk, she fin­ishes with, “Do you have an en­ve­lope that I can use?”

Come polling day I will get out and vote be­cause I live in a democ­racy, a land in which I’m free to cast my bal­lots.

If I don’t ex­er­cise that fran­chise, as they say, which­ever colour rules the realm when all the votes are tal­lied, I’ll have no right to bitch and moan, eh b’ys?

“My Duck,” say I, “what’s that you’re stuff­ing in the en­ve­lope?”

Says Dear­est Duck, smirk­ing like Alice’s Cheshire pussy­cat, “I’m ap­ply­ing for a polling job with Elec­tions Canada.” Oh, for frig sake! Thank you for read­ing.

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