Res­o­lu­tions and re­solve

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - Bob Wake­ham

On tack­lin 2019 in New­found­land and Labrador.

So here we are, New Year’s week, 2019, that time when tobe-pitied souls are fresh into their soon-to-be-bro­ken res­o­lu­tions to main­tain a health­ier life­style, re­plac­ing de­li­cious cin­na­mon and raisin bagels with taste­less Weight Watch­ers bread, re­fresh­ing Corona with buzz-chal­lenged, non-al­co­holic beer, de­light­ful, drool-in­duc­ing nap­time on the couch with de­mand­ing, de­cid­edly mis­er­able walks on the slip­pery side­walks of down­town St. John’s.

As for me, I’ve never been much into the New Year’s res­o­lu­tions game.

But it could be forcibly ar­gued that, in ret­ro­spect, a good healthy shot at so­bri­ety on any given New Year’s Day dur­ing my drink­ing ca­reer would have been quite a sen­si­ble move.

How­ever, that was not to be. For one thing, I was just so de­lighted when the am­a­teurs of the ine­bri­a­tion world, the mi­nor league im­bibers who up­chucked af­ter four or five beers, re­turned to the side­lines of nor­mal tip­plers af­ter the Christ­mas hol­i­days and dis­con­tin­ued their ef­forts to cramp the style of real pros like my­self, that any no­tion of tem­per­ance was re­placed by the de­sire to get back in my Babe Ruth po­si­tion, hit­ting clean-up on the New­found­land drink­ing team.

Con­tem­po­raries of mine have some­times re­ferred to my drink­ing as “leg­endary.” Noth­ing to be proud of, I guess, but it did prompt a good friend, the for­mer jour­nal­ist, labour leader and politi­cian, Earle McCurdy, to pen a poem in homage to my booz­ing prow­ess: Do­min­ion, oh Do­min­ion Oh golden frothy brew. Oh where, on Sun­day morn­ings, would I be if not for you? My Fri­days would be dis­mal If my gut I could not fill, With a whack of cold Do­min­ion,

That golden frothy swill. Those who’ve been for­tu­nate enough ( or un­for­tu­nate enough, de­pend­ing on your tastes) to hear me rat­tle off the “Do­min­ion poem” would be aware that there are nu­mer­ous other stan­zas, none of which I have the space for on this oc­ca­sion; but I’m sure you get the drift.

And, as reg­u­lar read­ers would be aware, as well as just about ev­ery­one I’ve known over the decades, my drink­ing ca­reer even­tu­ally came to a halt, a de­sire for nor­malcy and longevity far su­per­sed­ing the plea­sures of get­ting drunk. Those am­a­teurs I re­ferred to got the last laugh when I was forced to the side­lines my­self 35 years ago. (But who’s count­ing?)

Now, back to the ques­tion of New Year’s res­o­lu­tions (af­ter that char­ac­ter­is­tic tan­gent above): there are a cou­ple of pre­oc­cu­pa­tions I did con­sider this week that I might put on pause now and then dur­ing the com­ing year, as a way of giv­ing my ex­is­tence less ex­as­per­a­tion and anger, one of those is­sues in our own back­yard, and the other in that gi­gan­tic back­yard to the south of us.

I’m talk­ing about Muskrat Falls and Don­ald Trump.

As to the lat­ter, I’ve thought for some time now that there should be a 12-step group to help those of us ad­dicted to CNN cov­er­age of that hellish Amer­i­can saga, es­pe­cially for the white-haired geri­atric crowd with way too much time on our hands to ob­serve hours on end the lat­est Trump as­sault on ci­vil­ity, in­tel­li­gence and tol­er­ance.

I know — the tele­vi­sion gods know I know — that I have to merely switch the chan­nel to get away from the Trump in­san­ity, but it’s as if I can’t help my­self, like gawk­ing at a bad ac­ci­dent.

So maybe, just maybe, I can try for a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to at least cut back on my Trump view­er­ship.

As for the Muskrat fi­asco, well, that’s a whole dif­fer­ent story, as mad­den­ing as it is to con­tem­plate and ab­sorb, and to write about, for that mat­ter.

I’ve ac­tu­ally heard peo­ple say that we — re­porters, com­men­ta­tors and colum­nists — should give Muskrat a break, that New­found­land and Labrador has seen and heard enough, that the me­dia has given Muskrat Falls more at­ten­tion than it de­serves.

Need­less to say, any in­cli­na­tion of that sort would be down­right dan­ger­ous.

The in­quiry into Muskrat Falls has shown us, in un­nerv­ing ways, that this fi­nan­cial catas­tro­phe, brought about by politi­cians, their man­darins and Crown cor­po­ra­tion em­ploy­ees, was the re­sult of a dis­grace­ful com­bi­na­tion of ar­ro­gance and ig­no­rance, a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil phi­los­o­phy that will cost us tax­pay­ers, bil­lions upon bil­lions of dol­lars.

So, no, there won’t be any New Year’s res­o­lu­tion on my part to give Muskrat Falls some ob­server slack.

Or to re­duce vig­or­ous com­men­tary on our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. ( A res­i­dent of a se­nior cit­i­zens res­i­dence cor­nered me for a minute over Christ­mas and ex­claimed: “Loves your col­umn; the saucier the bet­ter.”)

It would be a mis­take to give our politi­cians even the slight­est break; just take a gan­der, for ex­am­ple, at the pro­found prog­nos­ti­ca­tions made last week in The Tele­gram for the com­ing year: Dwight Ball doesn’t want to be “per­fect,” just “bet­ter”; Ches Cros­bie wishes to “re­store faith” in the sys­tem; and Gerry Rogers wants “unity.”

The calm­ing ef­fect through­out the prov­ince was pal­pa­ble.

Happy New Year.

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