Monday, January 31, 2022

Dundas

On the subway back to kindergarten, I’m reminded of Mrs. Sévigny teaching us a new way to draw. Black was the “magic” crayon, and she wanted us to use it to outline our pictures and colour in later. This worked well enough with darker colours, but not so much with yellow, which mixed with the smears and speckles of black to create an unpleasant mess and just a hint of bile. And you’d think if even five year-old me could see this and remember it all these years later, why not the guy who designed the tiles for Dundas station?
Inspired by Boggle Boy. Photo by Chung Ho Leung.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Boggle Boy

Having a carless childhood, Dan got very good at the subway game: Reworking the station names into smaller words and counting how many we could get out before the car left the station. The fun started at Dundas West: Sad, wad, wads, sweat, sunset. Lansdowne Station…land, down, downs, dew, swan. The trip to Scarborough a pedagogical feast until Castle Frank. A knit eyebrow and a bouncing foot telegraphing an internal, imaginary struggle between Professor Calculus and Captain Underpants. Then a gamy smile: Stank, Fart, Farts!!! Proving once again that you can lead an arse to Warden but you can’t make it think.
Inspired by High Roller. Photo by Roy.

Monday, January 17, 2022

High Roller

I’d been living the good life but things turned quickly. Property, that’s what did me in. I was inexorably drawn to high-end real estate, and now all I had left was a tux, a silver roadster and a thousand dollars in crinkled small bills. Nothing for it but to roll the dice.
     A burst of mocking laughter. “Vroom, vroom . . . ” My eyes scanned ahead and I saw where I was headed. I counted it out, crossed the railway, missed a final Chance and slammed into destiny. The grin on Victor’s face was insufferable. “Boardwalk, one hotel. That’ll be two thousand bucks.”

Image from Cool Material. Inspired by This Bit of Innocent Play.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

This Bit of Innocent Play

My cardboard doll house with its miniature kitchen with its miniature rag rug, where everything is imperfect and definitely not square or even to proper scale and who cares anyways, sits in a corner of my home office. Started and then abandoned (for now). Covered in dust, lopsided and forlorn, it is chewed on occasionally by the cat—but even she gets bored of it. I will not throw it out—this bit of innocent play. It’s hopeful. It speaks to me of life devoid of the mundane worries and existential global crises that crush me incrementally each day. 

Inspired by the playhouse in Four Very Short Stories about William Shatner.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Four Very Short Stories about William Shatner

Considering she’d never met the man, my mother certainly had her share of William Shatner stories. There’s the one where they’d both gone to the same high school in Montréal, even if they were seven years apart. There’s another where she first saw him perform at the Mountain Playhouse; and then maybe the early years in Stratford, but she’d lost all her programmes to a flooded basement and couldn’t be sure. Oh, and one more about how she had to convince 11-year-old me it really was Captain Kirk in those Loblaw’s commercials, because he looked so weird out of uniform.
Inspired by Winter Whiteouts and Memory Blizzards. The 1950 photo of the Mountain Playhouse is from the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, where I also found one of the Playhouse programmes from 1952, which lists Mr. Shatner in two roles: “Richard Stanley” in The Man Who Came to Dinner and as the Assistant Manager of the Playhouse itself.

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