The callow little ballcapper barrels out of the doorway of theG n’ R Liquor Store on 109th – the rockin’est liquor store in town; watch it bring you to your kna-na-na-na-na-knees, knees! – with the inertia of full hustle velocity times fireplug mass plus the heft of a case of Budweiser. Knocking into me slows his flight just long enough for the whistle to get blown:
“Hey! Hey! Your card did not go through!”
“Your card did not go through!”
Sow confusion, ninja smokebomb-style. “Whut? I don’t know." Vague wave to somebody somewhere in the back of the store. "Fukkin’ talk to that guy.”
Escape foiled. When you’re busted, you’re busted. The kid shouldn’t have stopped on the whistle and tried to throw the screen; without that momentum, there’s no way he’s gonna be able to ram his gym-doughy frame deep enough, fast enough into the densi-thronged Canada Day crowd to make a getaway. Lots of sullen what the fucks and a big show of angry money-flinging later, he clomps off with his well-gotten cans, a fistful of Lauriers lighter.
What is it with dudes not wanting (or being able) to pay for their booze tonight? Is all their liquid cash tied up in F-250s and muscle shirts? Not ten steps from the scene of the foiled lagerheist, a smiling, wobbling guy with a frosted fauxhawk and a slick silk shirt hits us up as we crowd-swim upstream against the fireworks-bound flow.
“Can any of you folks spare a couple bucks?”
Man! Come on! You’re still dangling your iPod headphones in the hand you’re holding out for money! It’s one thing to liquidate your checking account, storm-drain it into getting wasted in celebration of peace, order and good government and end up staring over your crossed fingers at INSUFFICIENT FUNDS… but the fact you’ve ended up out on 109 St. cadging toonies from strangers to clear your tab at Martini’s means you weren’t even partying with friends who would cover you. Pathetic, man; as my buddy put it, with his head hung in shame: “These are’t hosers… they’re lo-zers.”
What’s this country coming to?
DJ CHAD PRESENTS
O CHADADA DAY
NO PANTY PARTY
A huge black truck crawls through Jasper Avenue traffic, its engine roaring louder every inch by creeping inch, its windows rolled up because otherwise how would the plastic Canadian flags stay in? The feeling of willful, desperate mind-abandonment (Samuel Johnson by way of Hunter Thompson: “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man”) on the street is unprecedented in my experience. The mass is still the mass, and there’s never been anything wrong with people howling and acting a little stupid, but there’s a troubling screech in the unending WHOOOOOO that’s no longer quite human…
The “Canada Day Riot” and the Oilarchy of last spring triggered an intense allergic response in the immune system of the city, the white cop cells. Their broad deployment and feverish response to antisocial (and especially anti-property) action keeps things contained, and I doubt they’ll ever be able to ease up; there’s too much inflammation now. The squinty-eyed dumbness is one wrong shove from danger, from breaking the surface..
The affronted lefty idea is that Edmonton’s Young Manhood has been spoiled by near-full employment, turned idiot by the boom… or maybe it’s the drugs, or maybe that all that violent rap music… or maybe more people are coming up who were never taught any goddamned manners, who have been raised to view rudeness and ignorance as virtues. Whatever’s happening, in combination with alcohol the effect is animal Hyde beating the shit out of genial Jekyll in the heart of Edmonton hoserdom.
Yeah... listen to me getting old, in the ancient rite of one generation ripening into the anti-whippersnapper phase of its life-cycle. I just don’t know how to fuckin’ party. It’s true; I had a better time in my parents’ sunshine-and-flowers backyard, chatting with a priest of my acquaintance and watching the joy on my brother’s face as he superman-flew his son through the sprinkler than I’m having down here in the stereoboom with the howlers, screamers and text-messaging drunk drivers. Fit me for a walker and stick me in a Home.
Post-fireworks in the lounge of the Hotel MacDonald, Blonde Redhead from the bar speakers blending with Celine Dion bleed from the ballroom next door. I think it's a wedding… Is it ill-mannered to not know whether etiquette precludes Sunday weddings? Sipping on the second-least expensive red wine, I glance up at the Fathers of Confederation. What would they think of me? Their look makes me feel like a nose-picking caveman. They shake their heads at me across the generations:
“What’s this country coming to? Nothing it hasn’t come to seven or more times already…”