Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Glasgow Strangler


Yesterday, my children and my brother heard the elderly Scottish man who lives next door shouting death threats at our new puppy from across the fence.

"Yair a mangy cur! I'll wring yair nack w' me bare hands! Ai'll put a gun to yair head I will! Yair a dairty stinkin' disgustin' mongrel!", he apparently shouted.

I found out there was a problem just as my brother was coming in from having tried to calm the guy down. "Your neighbour's a psycho", Brigham said.

This is the old guy who I thought was my flower friend; I've been trying to turn my property into the Garden of Eden for a solid year now (and it's looking pretty good, I think), and we often chat as we're out landscaping. What can I say? I was shocked.

"Why was he shouting?", I asked the kids.

"We don't know - he just saw Bonnie and started going crazy", said L, my nine year old daughter.

"Maybe's he's losing his marbles", I thought. After all, the guys's like 85 or something. But age or not, I don't like my kids hearing death threats, and I don't want anything happening to Bonnie, and I don't want him filing some false report because he has some mental problem with respect to dogs; I would have gone and tried to talk to him, but shortly after the incident, they got into their car and left to go somewhere.

So I called the pound to get them to make an official note about the incident. The lady at the pound informed me that making death threats against someone's pet is actually a violation of the Criminal Code of Canada, and that the case ought to be reported to the police.

I replied that I wanted to calm the situation down, and thought my neighbour wouldn't respond well to a visit from the police. "Let me just talk to him", I said. "No need to involve the police at this point". She said she understood.

Nevertheless, about an hour later, she and a police officer showed up to take witness statements (I guess the local police don't have a lot of stuff to take care of these days...). As we stood there, I kept thinking about how much the entire scene reminded me of a scene off of the fake reality comedy show "Reno 911", about the Reno, Nevada sherriff's department. L. was the star witness, and seemed quite captivated by all the drama.

Anyway, the good news is that my brother and I have gotten a lot of comedy material out the incident. We've been trying to outdo each other with imitations of the "Glasgow Strangler" ever since, mixing in quotes from "Braveheart", old Sean Connery movies, and every other things we could think of:

"Every man dies; but not every little puppy gets to live!"

and

"Don't yoo hear it? Don't yoo hear what she's sayin' to me? Listen to the VILE, FOUL mouth on that beast! She's taunting me I tell yoo! She's got yoo fooled! DON'T TELL ME YOU DIDN'T JUST HEAR THAT, WHAT SHE JUST SAID ABOUT ME MOTHER!! It's me or this sick disgustin' creature now, kill or be killed! NAY SURRENDAIR!"

and

"REMEMBER BANNOCKBURN!"

and

"This is my clan against yairs now; I didn't stairt this war, but I intend to FINISH IT!".

and

"I'm pretty shair James Hetfield was refairring to puppies when he said 'kill 'em all, let God sairt 'em out', and that's what I aim to do!".

"Yair wife's English, int she? WELL THAT EXPLEENS IT! YOO AND YAIR LIMEY WIFE ARE IN TROUBLE NOO; IN THE NAME OF ROB ROY MACGREGOR I DECLARE WAR ON YOO AND YAIR SICK, DISGUSTING, NAUSEATIN' LITTLE PUPPY!"

etc.

Last thing to say is, it's a good thing my wife is visiting relatives in the UK right now. If she'd been here, she would have been over shrieking obscenities at the guy within five seconds, which I think would really have complicated things. As it is now, any more problems now from the guy and he'll be charged.

Sairves him right, the loon!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Santa


Dear Santa

I know it's kind of early, being July and all...but what can I say? I just wanted to write, and I figured this way, my letter wouldn't be competing with all the others you start getting in November.

I guess I should apologize for not having written since I was five. I still remember that Christmas, by the way: the sounds and smells and lights, the view of Tipperary Park through the front window across Queen's Avenue in New Westminster, the snow that fell on Christmas Eve...I got an Ernie puppet, and a hockey goalie chest protector, and a cool little battery-powered tower which dropped steel balls on to drums, and they would bounce in a particular pattern, and then fall into a funnel and go back again to the tower. They don't seem to have toys like that anymore. And of course, my fave of all: "Chip Away", the little block of white plastic that you could chip at, to reveal some dinosaur, which you could then paint.

And that night, before bed, my dad and my uncle told me that if we left out milk, cookies and apples, you and your reindeer would eat them. And sure enough, when I woke in the morning, the milk had been drunk, the cookies reduced to a few crumbs, and the apples had big bites taken out. It was a thrill picking up those apples - they were my link to you. So cool!

Anyway, instead of getting all nostalgic, I guess I should get to my list for this year. My problem is that there's a lot I want, but since I now know that you're not real, I feel kind of stupid asking for them. The other problem is that all sorts of people may read this, and basically, everything I want is extremely personal. Maybe I can just mention one or two things here, and send the rest in a private email later - to santa@thenorthpole.com - 'cause if you had an email address, I figure that's what it should be.

One thing I'd love is superior recovery time after workouts. See, I'm trying to get in shape so I can be a better rugby player, and I don't want to get into 'roids or anything. If you could just give me a serious boost here, just to get really cruising, that would be great.

A reason to live would be cool, too. I mean, I know I have the family and all, and that's great, but I mean, one outside the family. Maybe if you could get me rolling with a few local friends, that would help.

Last thing I can mention broadly here is...well, let's say things have been quite volatile in some areas of life over the past few years; but what I really need now, is deep, lasting peace and understanding in my life. I need that. I think I need that even more than I need to improve my rugby skills.

Maybe it doesn't make sense, but I don't have a whole lot of options other than to ask you for whatever you can do, even though you don't exist, and I know that.

Looking forward to Christmas 2008,

Talmage