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It took me more than forty years to sing in public, but now I quite enjoy it, even if I still have anxiety because I know I don’t sing well. Still, it’s a long way from the time when I wouldn’t even sing in front of my family. My father was happy to sing but he embarrassed me, because he always sang with a huge smile on his face, while I rarely smiled at all. I can’t pinpoint the time when I changed from the happy child that can be seen in early photos to the miserable bastard that I am now. It was well before the typical age when changes like that happen, as a teenager. Was it the same age–eight or nine–as I stopped believing in Satan, and then God? But shouldn’t that have been a happy time, knowing I was free of the illusions that held most of the world down? Or did I then begin to mourn the realization that I was different, and therefore doomed to a life of loneliness? That was a tough understanding to come to at such an early age, especially since it’s turned out not to be a pessimistic lie, but eerily prescient: I have indeed spent the bulk of my life alone. Contrary to popular opinion, my greatest fear isn’t to die alone, but to live alone, since I have to face that reality every day, and I’ve always had the feeling that, while I may not be immortal (although, I might be, it remains to be seen), I’m going to live for an awfully, terribly long time. When Halley’s Comet was all the rage in 1986, and everyone was thrilling to its rare appearance, I determined that I’d wait until the next time it came back to view it, even though I’d begged for a telescope for Christmas, largely on the premise that I’d need it for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Well, once-in-a-lifetime experience for most, but surely at least twice-in-a-lifetime for me.

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.

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