Trump king in world of com­plain­ers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL - Heather Mal­lick Heather Mal­lick is a na­tional af­fairs writer for Torstar Syn­di­ca­tion Ser­vices. hmallick@thes­tar.ca.

The man of the hour, or rather the era, is the Florida guy who this week shot out the tires of two phone com­pany trucks briefly parked out­side his house. He is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of com­plain­ers, the war­riors of ha­rangue, the ragers against the ma­chine.

Jorge Jove, a bald, an­gry, heavy­set - no, I’m call­ing ev­ery­one curvy now - 64-year-old re­tired fire­fighter left his home wear­ing a slo­gan T-shirt, knee-length shorts with a belt, white socks and grey sneak­ers and fired 18 shots. Good to know what the fash­ion­able An­gry Pa­jama wears when he be­comes an IED, an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice.

“He seemed to be a quiet man and some­thing made him snap to­day,” said the po­lice, mys­ti­fied, be­cause the trucks were now stuck out­side Jove’s house where they drove him mad in the first place.

What sent him over the edge? Com­plain­ers al­ways have a thorn be­tween them and the sad­dle, a chip on the shoul­der, an emo­tional wound nursed for decades, a bub­bling sta­tus anx­i­ety, a feel­ing of grow­ing old into fail­ure, in other words, noth­ing that can be fixed.

Com­plain­ing is a great Cana­dian tra­di­tion, al­beit a usu­ally gun­less one. I only men­tion the Florida guy be­cause of the great video taken by the phone re­pair guy. It was a gem, a lit­tle road­side ver­sion of griz­zled Capt. Quint vs. the shark in the movie Jaws.

In Canada, cranky­pants don’t use guns but they do write let­ters to the ed­i­tor, post anony­mous li­bel on the CBC com­ments, send me emails about how much they hate me and could I please write a col­umn on the wind farm con­spir­acy. (No.)

Toronto’s Beaches neigh­bour­hood is where com­plain­ers hone their skills, maybe even take classes. Af­ter the beach flooded re­cently, a pop­u­lar kiosk rent­ing pad­dle­boards had to be set up in­stead in a public park on the in­land side of the board­walk.

Lo­cals were fu­ri­ous. There was al­ready an “eyesore” - tem­po­rary fences for Toronto Hy­dro con­struc­tion - and now this pad­dle­board hulk was at­tract­ing wan­ton plea­sure-seek­ers from else­where.

Peo­ple with homes worth at least $3 mil­lion had a tem­po­rar­ily blocked view of Lake On­tario un­less they moved to an up­per floor. One irate home­owner told the lo­cal pa­per that his prop­erty value had dropped 20 per cent or about $500,000 - though it does not ap­pear he’s sell­ing - and he de­manded 20 per cent be taken off his prop­erty taxes.

One Beach Metro News let­ter­writer was irate. “Here’s what I think about the new Kew Gar­dens: The benches are un­com­fort­able, you can’t lean back, they face the wrong di­rec­tion and what are those long con­crete bunkers?” (They’re flower beds.) An­other let­ter-writer asked of a beau­ti­ful arched en­try to the park, “Whose de­ci­sion was it to put it there? Most of us were not asked.”

Some peo­ple are olives. They need to be soaked in oil to take out the bit­ter­ness.

Beaches peo­ple com­plain about the con­struc­tion of small ex­quis­ite traver­tine back­yard water­fall pools, buskers, park­ing en­force­ment, loud mu­sic fes­ti­vals go­ing past 8 p.m. on Sun­day, bi­cy­cle path con­ges­tion, midrise con­dos on main roads at­tract­ing new res­i­dents, un­ruly mobs and the new Shop­pers hav­ing a makeup de­part­ment, which is not the Beaches way.

Com­plain­ers are like Ama­zon re­views in hu­man form. For ex­am­ple, the Na­tional Post re­cently listed re­viewer com­plaints about Canada’s public at­trac­tions.

Ot­tawa’s Rideau Canal is an “open sewer” and there’s nowhere de­cent to eat, not like in Van­cou­ver, said a Van­cou­ver vis­i­tor. “Hours in a line to get up, and the same to get down. Why did I think view­ing Toronto would be worth any wait?” a Wis­con­sin guy wrote of the CN Tower.

“While this place is a mall crawlers fan­tasy I hate malls,” wrote a vis­i­tor to the West Ed­mon­ton Mall. “If I liked malls, I could spend weeks in here.” Same with me. If I liked licorice, I would eat it, but I don’t.

There was a patent yearning here, a whiff of the golden man that this main-street­ing shop­per could never be.

Com­plain­ers have given up on life’s of­fer­ings. The rest of us want work, love, great sex, a tod­dler’s first clumsy kiss, fields of gold, a view of the Alps, look­ing up in Chiesa San Bar­tolomeo in Venice and vow­ing al­ways to look up in won­der, step­ping in dog sh-- in Venice while look­ing up and then the ul­ti­mate in­dul­gence which is to get fed up with Venice.

Com­plain­ing is clogged de­sire. Com­plain­ers stopped dream­ing long ago. They are vex­a­tious lit­i­gants. They imag­ine slights where none was in­tended. Their world is as flat as spilled milk and just as in­ter­est­ing.

Their in­spi­ra­tion is Don­ald Trump. He is the ul­ti­mate com­plainer. He is para­noid, dis­af­fected, needy, thinks pa­rades are for him rather than Bastille Day - don’t tell him - and he is an­gry.

His fir­ing of James Comey was the equiv­a­lent of shoot­ing a truck. He should not have shot that truck. He should not have anointed mean lit­tle Jef­fer­son Ses­sions as at­tor­ney gen­eral. Will he par­don him­self? He will par­don him­self. Should he have?

Trump should learn to bend, for he is about to break.

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