If Canada had a soul (a doubtful proposition, Moses thought) then it wasn't to be found in Batoche or the Plains of Abraham or Fort Walsh or Charlottetown or Parliament Hill, but in The Caboose and thousands of bars like it that knit the country together from Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, to the far side of Vancouver Island.
Shame on you. Don't tell me you've been married for an hour and you've already got eyes for another woman.
I don't hold with shamans, witch doctors, or psychiatrists. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, or even Dickens, understood more about the human condition than ever occurred to any of you. You overrated bunch of charlatans deal with the grammar of human problems, and the writers I've mentioned with the essence.
When a child is born, I once explained to the kids, some dads lay down bottles of wine for them that will mature when they grow up into ungrateful adults. Instead, what you're going to get from me, as each of you turns sixteen, is a library of the one hundred books that gave me the most pleasure when I was a know-nothing adolescent.
It seems to me that our lives are consumed by countless wasting years, but only a few shining moments. I missed mine. Yes is what I should have said. Of course I should have said yes.
Following the death of his wife, Sam Johnson wrote to the Reverend Mr. Thomas Warton, I have ever since seemed to myself broken off from mankind; a kind of solitary wanderer in the wilds of life, without any certain direction, or fixed point of view: a gloomy gazer on a world to which I have little relation. But my wife wasn't dead, merely absent.
Better my right hand should have been cut off. Go know I was setting in motion events that would lead to the ruin of one of the few truly good men I ever met.
...and then I began to drift, fighting tears. I used to come here with Miriam. Miriam, my heart's desire. What was troubling her this morning? Maybe Kate had reproached her on the phone for leaving me? How dare Kate. Oh yeah? Go for it, my darling. Remind her of what she's missing. No, don't.
Bad days my memory functions no better than an out-of-focus kaleidoscope, but other days me recall is painfully perfect.
Let me put it this way. Canada is not so much a country as a holding tank filled with the disgruntled progeny of defeated peoples.
But the truth is, nothing delights me more than a biography of one of the truly great that proves he or she was an absolute shit.
But I hate being a grandfather. It's indecent. In my mind's eye, I'm still twenty-five. Thirty-three max. Certainly not sixty-seven, reeking of decay and dashed hopes. My breath sour. My limbs in dire need of a lube job. And now that I've been blessed with a plastic hip-socket replacement, I'm no longer even biodegradable. Environmentalists will protest my burial.
Cripples are not the stuff of romance. Only Lord Byron, dragging his club foot, springs to mind as an exception to the rule, but such a failing in a man is regarded as interesting, even provocative, rather than disfiguring. Women must submit to a more exacting measure.
All the same, it strikes me as unfair that I still have to defend myself against her moral judgements. My continuing need for her approbation is pathetic. Twice now I have stopped myself on the street to remonstrate with her, a crazy old coot talking to himself.
Ernst was still in the Eastern Zone, about ninety kilometres from Berlin, when the truck emerged so inexplicably out of nowhere that it seemed to have been created by the rain itself.
...if I were an angel of the Lord, I would mark the doors of each of my children's homes with an X, so that plague and misfortune would pass over them. Alas, I lack the qualifications. So when there was still world and time enough I fretted. I nagged. I corrected. I got everything wrong.
Obviously the raven with the unquenchable itch was at it again, playing tricks on the world and its creatures. Once by air, he thought, and now by water.
One final thought. In the years leading up to my trial, whenever I was caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway leading to my cottage, creeping along behind a battered, rust eaten pick-up truck with a sticker on its rear bumper that read JESUS SAVES, I used to think don't count on it, buster. Now I am no longer sure.
Actually when it comes to knocking the Canadian cultural scene nobody outdoes Canadians myself included. We are veritable masters of self-deprecation.
Listen your Lordship I'm a respecter of institutions. Even in Paris I remained a Canadian. I puffed hashish but I didn't inhale.
There are ten commandments right? Well it's like an exam. You get eight out of ten you're just about top of the class.
I work every day-or at least I force myself into my office or room. I may get nothing done but you don't earn bonuses without putting in time. Nothing may come for three months but you don't earn the fourth without it.
I work every day-or at least I force myself into my office or room. I may get nothing done but you don't earn bonuses without putting in time. Nothing may come for three months but you don't get the fourth without it.
I work every day - or at least I force myself into office or room. I may get nothing done but you don't earn bonuses without putting in time. Nothing may come for three months but you don't earn the fourth without it.