maxed Out 

Our kind of folks

By G.D. Maxwell

Got a second?

As much as I itch to, I can’t bring myself to ask that question of our esteemed Councillor Wells. Though Kristi and I don’t necessarily see eye to eye on many – most – issues, I feel her pain. After all, I often say things that are met with total disbelief and stunned silence as well.

Not long after moving to Canada and going to work for a heartless financial institution, I was invited to a Montreal Expos baseball game. Co-workers and assorted hangers-on numbering some two dozen assembled in very good seats not far from the Expos’ dugout and began an evening of what amounted to indentured servitude on the part of that section’s beer vendor. Being American and considering the sport my game, I comported myself like any red-blooded Yank – shouting witticisms and borderline obscenities at players on both sides and, particularly, umpires.

I believe it was mid-game when Steve Rogers began to flag on the mound. In a bellicose and somewhat slurred voice I hollered, "Schtick a fawk in ’im. ‘E’s done." This was, of course, after comparing his last few pitches unfavourably to those my dear old granny could throw and wondering aloud how much he’d been paid to boot the game.

It was at that unfortunate moment I looked around and first grasped the total disbelief of my colleagues. They were silent, mouths agape, all staring intently at me as though auditioning for an E.F. Hutton commercial. As God is my witness, I did not know Canadians had never learned to heckle at ball games and, worse yet, considered it a social faux pas to do so in a voice loud enough for more than the person immediately beside you to hear. During my long socialization towards becoming Canadian, eh? it was the first of many intensely remorseful moments.

I felt sorry for those people.

I’d like to think Kristi might have gotten some support had she been heckling Jack Poole last week at council. Instead, she withered in the pregnant silence of other members of council struck dumb by her ill-timed motion to support the Vancouver Olympic bid. Alas, she wasn’t heckling and the rest of council will most definitely support the bid once the terms of payola have been spelled out, in detail, to their satisfaction.

I can’t get too excited about the bid. I’m not fer it; I’m not agin it. It still seems too iffy and unreal to get worked up about. I don’t suspect the Vancouver bid will win and there’s no reason to think it won’t either. That’s because there are no ascertainable criteria upon which to guess the IOC’s decision. Part caprice, part graft, part politics, part raw power, the awarding of the Games is like gambling in old-time Vegas. You know the mob controls the table and whatever happens, you won’t be allowed to win too big before some goon strongarms you out of his share.


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