Coping with Adversity

For the past week, I have been suffering from flu-like conditions that I apparently picked up secondhand from the current consort of my roommate. Such misery! My throat feels like ground glass when I cough or sneeze – not an infrequent occurrence – and I have plenty of aches of the head, neck, shoulders and, at times, the teeth. My nose is rubbed raw from blowing it and there is a disconcerting presence of phosphorescent liquids. More than you care to know, perhaps, but I’m sure it paints a picture of the discomfort.

Unpleasant as it is, though, one must remember that at any given time, someone, somewhere, is suffering more grandly. What better way to put one’s pain in perspective than to pay some heed to someone else’s suffering? With this thought in mind, I went to visit the Globe and Mail to see what tragedy might be unfolding toward which can focus my blurry vision.

There on the front page was a photo of Stephen Harper. This didn’t help. For the first time during my illness, I felt nauseous, as I always do when the words “Prime”, “Minister” and “Harper” are combined into a single, spirit-dampening triactor of unfortunate phraseology. The accompanying article contained text that showed the words “Harper” and “Mulroney” in the same sentence. In my rich fantasy life, I often think of Harper and Mulroney in a single sentence, but usually the fantasy includes a cell in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines shared with “Mom” Boucher, with “Mom” taking more of a “Dad” role after lights out. But this isn’t the way that I meant to make myself feel better. Let’s move on.

It was the mention of Brian Mulroney that got me on track for feeling mildly empathetic. Not for Mulroney himself, of course. It’s Mulroney’s “spokesman”, Luc Lavoie, the guy that has to stand up and publicly proclaim the depth of Mulroney’s innocence and the peerless extent of the great man’s unquestionable virtue. Maybe it pays well, but what a shitty job!

I’ve been contemplating a return to the workforce of late, which means that I’m actually going to have to go out and do a little self-marketing, something I never enjoy and therefore find it a difficult activity to embark upon. In my darker moments, I sometimes fear that, in some sort of perverse path-of-no-resistance, I’ll end up being employed as the counter boy at the New York Fries outlet in The Mall. Have you ever been there?

Many years ago, I was a shoe salesman in the previously mentioned mall, an occupation that I despised thoroughly. Whenever I was feeling like I could sink no lower than to be on my knees stuffing a size nine foot into a size six shoe while trying not to look up the skirt that was splayed open before me, I would take a walk down to the food fair and watch the pimply-faced kid behind the counter, shaking the grease off the potatoes for probably less than minimum wage. He’d dump them in a paper bag, collect some money, and turn back to make more, all while a frumpy middle-aged manager yelled at him if he stopped moving for a second. And then I would go back to the shoe store, feeling a just little less miserable.

But I think I’d rather work in the fry shop than be Luc Lavoie. The poor bastard!

Posted in

hedley bontano

1 Comment

  1. carolyn on November 10, 2007 at 09:57

    Oh the oozy, gooey mucus seemed to be all over your words too. You are one of the best writers in the world if you can get that through. if it helps at all, you have my sympathy and I won’t say be happy cause some of your karma is clearing off.

    I noticed your recent reads and I wonder if they are a self proclaiming prophecy… don’t get too comfortable… changes trains… skinned alive…

    As for jobs…hmmm
    We create eggs-actly what we need until we can hold the thought of….. I AM WORTHY…. I am the embodiment of success…. I am master almighty authority of my life.

    Come out to mission next weekend.
    We are going to have a little yoga powwow at my house.
    Many good wishes to you!!