Harold’s as­sess­ment has him down

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Harold Wal­ters Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com.

Last month, Trudeau the Younger was elected King of Canada, so I ‘low by this time prom­ises have been ful­filled, wrongs have been righted and there is no one a’moanin’ or a’groanin’ in the Land of the Maple Leaf.

Ex­cept here on the off-shore Rock where, weeks be­fore the young king’s as­cen­sion, a ter­ri­ble procla­ma­tion was…well, was pro­claimed — kinda.

The de­cree ar­rived for all hands — re­gard­ing mine and Dear­est Duck’s domi­cile any­way — via Canada Post. It ar­rived from the Mu­nic­i­pal As­sess­ment Agency Inc. — may its min­ions suf­fer the chronic pain of bunions.

“I s’pose property val­ues have been bug­gered with again,” said I to Dear­est Duck while show­ing her the en­ve­lope I’d fetched home from the post of­fice.

Dear­est Duck dusted her flour­cov­ered hands — God love her heart, she was mix­ing up a batch of bread — on her apron and stood at my side as she al­ways does in times of ad­ver­sity.

“Harry, my love, my help­mate,” she said, grip­ping my el­bow to steady an in­cip­i­ent trem­ble, “open the en­ve­lope.”

My Im­per­fect

Slant

A chuckle choked in my craw as I at­tempted to make light of the im­mi­nent news. “And, the en­ve­lope says,” said I, slit­ting the flap with my pock­etknife, lifting out the en­closed doc­u­ment and shak­ing open the page.

Dear­est Duck peep­ing over my shoul­der, I com­menced to read the de­tails of our fresh­from-the-agency Property As­sess­ment No­tice…

…and nearly went whoop­sie in my small clothes!

Bad words spewed from my lips and splat­tered against the op­po­site wall.

“Harry, my over­wrought honey,” said Dear­est Duck, “ob­scen­i­ties will solve noth­ing.”

The fright­ful num­bers an­nounc­ing the brand-new value of our place of abode — our ever-so-hum­ble place of abode — puls­ing in my nog­gin like veins on bust, I read the fol­low­ing line in a nar­row box on the right hand side of the page: “THIS IS NOT A TAX BILL/ Tax bills are is­sued by your Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.” I was not com­forted. “Harry,” said Dear­est Duck, pulling the pa­per from my shak­ing paw, “calm down, sit down, mind your blood pres­sure.”

Push­ing me in the di­rec­tion of my Lay-Z-Boy, she scur­ried off to brew me a mug of Tension Tamer tea — or maybe to fetch one of my stress-re­duc­ing colour­ing books. Time passed. At least an hour. Dear­est Duck sat be­side me, pen­cil and pa­per in one hand. With the other hand she pried the mug from my fin­gers and lodged it on the cof­fee ta­ble. “I’ve done the math,” she said. I man­aged a painful glutch. “You won’t like the num­ber,” said Dear­est Duck.

Property-owner’s tears rolled down my whiskered chops.

“Ac­cord­ing to this,” said Dear­est, tap­ping pen­cil on pa­per, “the value of our property has in­creased by 53 per cent.”

I bel­lowed the badest word I know. Yes, that one.

“Harry,” said Dear­est Duck… softly.

Of course, in times of plenty an in­crease in property value might be a good thing, es­pe­cially if one were sell­ing one’s dwelling and sur­round­ing acreage.

Th­ese, how­ever, are not times of plenty.

The bub­ble has burst, so to speak.

At best, oil floats on trou­bled wa­ters.

Min­eral laden ore re­mains jammed against the bedrock.

Pre­vi­ously fluid milk and honey have thick­ened and slowed to a slow mo­lasses crawl.

Soon I was grasp­ing Dear­est’s num­bers-crowded page, my tears sog­ging her sums and tal­lies un­til they bled into the pa­per’s pulp. “Why?” I wept. Some more time passed. Days at least.

A min­ion of the Agency ap­peared on The News and spoke with Deb­bie or Lynn. I’ve been so dis­traught I don’t re­mem­ber which. P’raps both.

Said min­ion ex­plained the rea­son for the in­creased property val­ues, speak­ing in jib­ber-jab­ber; in gob­bly-gook; in mum­bo­jumbo…

… in piles of freshly steaming horse whoop­sie, eh b’y?

Trans­lated, the afore­men­tioned ex­pla­na­tion is some­thing like this: a couple of years ago, when the bub­ble was the size of Saturn — or there­abouts — some guys in town sold their McMan­sions on the hills for more bun­dles of loonies than Don­ald’s [Duck, not Trump] Un­cle Scrooge could cram into his vault. There­fore, or ergo, or hence, my property to­day, even though the bub­ble has va­por­ized, is worth 53 per cent more — 53 per cent, for frig sake! — than it was worth those few years ago.

An ap­pen­dix: by the time you read this p’raps this spe­cific wrong will soon be righted. P’raps the doors to the Ball room will soon be flung wide open and soon the dance floor will be stogged with merry ca­per­ers. “Harry!” “Yes, my be­ing silly.”

Nev­er­the­less, read­ing.

Duck,

I know

thank

you

I’m

for

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