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Gary BettmanIn a deal that is causing concern in churches and hockey rinks across North America but is surprisingly uncontroversial in Toronto, Satan has reached an agreement with National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman to insure that the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup this year.   While the favouritism is upsetting for fans of teams whose records of futility approach (but could never match) that of the Leafs, the greatest concern surrounds the price that Bettman and The Prince of Darkness have agreed to: a Stanley Cup for Toronto and then, Armageddon.

Satan“At first I thought, ‘Armageddon is a pretty steep price to pay just for a championship’, but then I thought, ‘1967’… ‘1967’… and I couldn’t get it out of my head,” explained loyal fan Jay Patterson.  “Armageddon’s gonna come sometime whether we want it to or not, and I’d rather meet my maker after parading the Cup down Yonge Street!” said Maria Latulippe, philosophically, “Plus, winning the last one, we’d be defending champs for eternity, no matter what!”

Amongst the skeptics are Jim Balsillie, CEO of Research In Motion and erstwhile owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, who speculates that “Bettman wants the Leafs to succeed–no matter what the price–just to block me from bringing the Coyotes to southwestern Ontario.”  For his part, Bettman dismisses Balsillie as paranoid.  “This has nothing to do with Balsillie or the Coyotes and everything to do with the great fans of Toronto, who have been so patient and so loyal for so many years.  Anything–and I do mean anything–I can do to bring the Stanley Cup back to this great Original Six team, I will do. This deal with the devil–literally it’s a deal with the devil, and I won’t sugarcoat that–is something I feel good about… he’s someone I feel I can work with, and trust, unlike Balsillie.”

Satan was unavailable for comment, but was heard to laugh maniacally.

horse-or-what-optical-illusionI love the first moments of perception in between seeing or hearing something and comprehending its true nature.  It’s the time when faces can appear in wallpaper, writing can seem like a random jumble of lines, and “They like the punk and the metal bands” can sound like “They like to fuck in their little beds”.  These are times to embrace, times that open a window to an earlier time in human history when the world was more mysterious, and we didn’t instantly understand everything.  I like to think of these as small moments when a little part of the world is unformed, the perceptual equivalent of quantum theory, the instant when a particle hasn’t yet reached its settled state.  Once we focus and determine the true nature of what we’re perceiving, it’s difficult to see that initial misapprehension again, and it feels like a little something has been lost, an innocence or uncertainty that is all too rare in our rational, materialistic world.  That first glance is like the Schrodinger’s Cat experiment, when all possibilities remain open, and it’s a little sad when the infinite possibilities disappear, and our brains settle on the single perception that it will then hold tight to.  The mind becomes rigid, less open to chaos, and the world becomes just a tiny bit smaller.

Nun Story 1

Nun Story 2

Note: this story first appeared in the journal Magpie in 2004.

A recent nation-wide poll, the first of its kind, has revealed details behind many of the seemingly-innocuous but time-consuming activities in which Canadians engage on a daily basis.  In an unusual move for such polls, its conductors are explicitly passing judgement on the activities.  “We felt we had to drop our professional objectivity in this case, because the data we collected quite simply scared us to death,” pronounced lead pollster Amos Pigginson.  “Consider this poll a warning, Canadians: you are wasting your lives away.”  Some of the startling results are listed below.

Over the course of a lifetime, the average Canadian spends:

2 years arguing about how this year the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup for sure,

10 months huddled in a fetal position or puking into a toilet bowl after another Leafs loss,

3 months adding “u” to words like “labor” and “favor”,

1 month correcting other Canadians who spell “centre” as “center” or “cheque” as “check”,

2 weeks grinding their teeth upon hearing a fellow Canadian pronounce “schedule” as “sheh-jool”,

1 week watching television commercials for shows like Being Erica and Wild Roses that they will never ever watch,

3 days gaping in incredulity that Americans on Jeopardy! can’t identify a single Canadian province,

5 minutes reading blogs that make up statistics in an attempt at humour.

When I worked at a cigarette/lottery shop in Windsor, Ontario, there were a lot of characters.  It wasn’t the nicest part of town, and there were a lot of people on welfare or otherwise had pretty tough lives.  Here’s a transcript of an actual conversation I had with one man:

“I’m losing the tips of my fingers… you know how that happened?”

“No.”

“From puttin’ out cigarettes.”

“Why don’t you use an ashtray?”

“What for?  Why bother, when you’re already psychotic?”

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