Lance Armstrong, poor son of a bitch
Here’s the deal.
If some extremely disciplined, gifted, hard-working Canadian trains like a madman day and night, day in, day out, month after month, year after year, and wins a bicycle race (or, let’s say, a world championship or an Olympic event), that means that I, lazy-ass, TV-watching, poutine-eating sports fan that I am, I’m better than you, if you’re not Canadian. Right?
Because, if that weren’t the case, why would I, a lower-middle-class tax-payer who’s having enough trouble already meeting his financial obligations, be willing to encourage my government to dump a ton of money on a host of intrinsically meaningless athletic endeavors just because they have a chance of scoring on the world stage?
Why else would I do that?
The only other reason I can think of is that I’m really, really, really stupid.
And hey, you Americans. Are you mad at Lance Armstrong? Do you feel he let you down? I think you want to be asking yourselves a few questions right now—like this: why would a man—a man whose very life is in the balance—do a thing like that? What made him believe it was worth it? Could it have been you?—you and the utterly crazy-ass demands you make on the tiny handful of gifted athletes who represent you, the way we Canadians do?
Think about it.
This guy could well be just another victim of the international sports thing, just like all the kids who gave up their early mornings, weekends, and after-school hours as sacrifices to national pride—the kind of pride that allows me to feel that I, personally, am better than you, a citizen of some other country whose extremely disciplined, gifted, hard-working athletes didn’t happen to make it to the podium.
I have a lot more to say about this, but I have to go and throw up a little bit right now.
IDLE NO MORE
Sunday was a bright and sunny day in Gatineau, but it was cold for a long walk. It wasn’t the -12 degrees—it was the 24 kph west wind. It blew right through your brain just as if you weren’t even wearing a hat.
But the walk was necessary.
At 2:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time, on Victoria Island (Ontario, not Nunavut) something was going to happen. I wanted to be part of it. Or, at least, I wanted to witness it. I’m not a person who likes to show up anyplace uninvited. I don’t want people to ask me what I’m doing there. But I don’t think you need an invitation to history. Also, there’s no dress code. I checked.
Chief Spence of the Atiwapiskat First Nation, actually, had issued an invitation. She had invited Chief Harper to drop in and chat about how things are.
You may remember Chief Harper as the man who stood in the House of Commons back in the summer of 2008 and told all the First Nations how deeply sorry he was, as Chief of the Canadian Nation, about how we had treated them in the past. You may also recall him as the man who stood in the House of Commons and said (addressing the Atiwapiskat First Nation), “Well, what did you do with the nine million dollars I gave you . . . before?”
Actually, as I recall it, he limited his embarrassment to the residential schools issue. He didn’t really shoulder any particular responsibility for our over-all genocidal history. Also, while he founded a commission to resolve the residential school issues, it hasn’t done so. I don’t see that it’s done much of anything. It’s called a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’. On the African model, it’s supposed to bring perpetrators out into the light so that their acts and intentions can be examined, and so that they can make some gesture in the direction of redress. Chief Harper’s commission doesn’t contemplate any such process. Chief Harper’s process is more like, throw them a few bucks and say, “Endeavour to persevere”—put the ball in their court.
That process has met with limited success.
And it hasn’t met with Chief Spence, who holds all the cards in this showdown.
I wanted to be there when the long black motorcade of heavily armoured sports-utility vehicles, all gleaming in highly polished Security Black, arrived on the island. I wanted to see Chief Harper make the necessary cheap but gracious gesture. I wanted to be the guy who applauded and shouted affirmation of the cheap but necessary gracious gesture.
So which would be the more profoundly historical moment—the cheap but necessary gracious gesture, or the stubborn refusal to face reality?
And if the decision troubles you, ask “What would Jean Charest do?”
It doesn’t matter how slow you go. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. I doesn’t matter if you stop. Why the hell would any of that matter?
Fat? That’s a relatively small part . . .
Not all of us hate our bodies. Try to respect that.
ring a ding ding
. . . what there is to hate (and fear) about bodies.
“What shall I do with this absurdity—
Oh, heart! Oh troubled heart!—this caricature,
Decrepit age, that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?”
My body is the wreckage I cling to to save myself from drowning in the sea of mortality. How can I hate it?
But I know I can’t love it, foul thing that it is. Somehow, I have to make my peace with it. I don’t expect it to be easy.