It’s been almost two weeks since Canadian music Icon and activist, Gord Downie, went to Fiddler’s Green, and while celebrity deaths normally don’t affect me beyond a dismissive comment of, “Oh, that’s too bad.” This man’s passing has left me feeling that our great country is just a little empty. While not a big fan of The Tragically Hip growing up, (They were just, there, everywhere, a part of music), the band meant more to me the older I got, until I could often be found listening to their music at work (Pun).
It set me to thinking about other Canadian Audio Icons to me, and by that I mean those Canadians who entertained me in an audio platform during my formative years. When a single post from Twitter user @nutshellversion asked: Have you ever eaten popcorn and gotten a kernel stuck in your teeth for so long that you’re just like this is it, this is my life now? I paused for a second, and reflected.
Suddenly, it is an autumn Sunday. We’ve just made it back from church. Outside, the air is crisp, cool, but not see your breath, but a cold that dries you out and slowly leaches into your bones, while the earth and rotting leaves are moist. The sun is coming in through the large kitchen window, and the house itself smells of a combination of a burgeoning woodfire, and chicken hot-dogs cooking away on the old, wooden-handled cast iron skillet.
We are all in the kitchen, hungry, excited about enjoying the last few hours of our weekend before we are forced to prep for school or work, we are pattering on about our favorite songs, our plans for Halloween, when the radio squeaks to life, and we grow quiet as the opening strains of the Vinyl café filter into the air, and the late, great, Stuart Mclean begins to spin his tales about Dave and his little record store, or the fast and eclectic speaking of Lorne Elliott, going Madly off in all directions, or the comedy gold of John Morgan, Luba Goy, Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, and of course, Sergeant-Major of the RCMP, Dave Broadfoot of the Royal Canadian Air Farce as they dressed for their skits and performed them in some routines that have become engrained into my consciences.
Maybe, Norm Macdonald has been invited to the stage, or the cast of This Hour has 22 Minutes is on the television behind us and Cathy Jones, Greg Thomey, Mary Walsh and Rick Mercer are attacking politicians with self-deprecating humor, or an old episode of SCTV has somehow found its way on instead. Maybe Mom wants more levity, and asks Dad to put on Bob & Doug McKenzie’s The Great White North, and the voices of Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas playing caricatures of us all are threatening to soak each other with beers from their sabotages six-packs.
Then I was back in reality, staring at my keyboard. A smile played at the edge of my lips, my fingers hovered, descended, and typed out the following lines as I remembered all those icons of Canadian comedy playing through my mind. I had a story to tell, one that was partly based on truth.
“A roll of floss failed to dislodge said kernel. For two days it dug deeper until it cut its way free, and all the while I tasted butter.”
When the response was, “This would make a terrific short story.” The rest came easy. Easy enough to turn into an almost 400 word adventure of semi-autobiographical adventure.
I must have channeled something from all those years ago, because I was immediately followed by a gentleman, the ever encouraging Brian Hagan (@windsmith) ( http://windsmithcity.com/ ) who is starting his podcast. He plans on reading one of his own shorts per episode, and then will read a guest short.
Mine is to play in the debut show, this Sunday, the 29th of October, 2017.
To all those who inspired me, thank you. I raise a glass of maple syrup, and pour a fifth onto the curb for those who have left. Thank you. I hope I do you proud.