Satire

An Open Letter to Andrew, Who Just Wanted to Share a Quote

You might remember Andrew. Andrew emailed me again, this time to share a quote:

You’ve got to let it go and say it was the best I could do at that time and place in my life. You hope that the thing you’re doing next is a little bit better.”

-Todd McFarlane

Here is Katarina Savatski’s response.

Dear Andrew,

I thank you for your words of encouragement. When last we spoke I was returning to Russia and, I believed, my likely demise at the hands of Putin’s entourage of gnome-like FSB agents. I was certain my cover was blown, especially how Mr. Turd Ferguson, who you remember to be my handler, I’m sure, refused to see me off.

I spent several unfortunate weeks upon the boat, the SS Hipsmasher. One might believe that to be a comical name, a play on the absurdity, but it was indeed a most harrowing ride and I am grateful that I have survived to tell you the tale. I was brought onto the ship under the cover of darkness the night prior to its departure, carried in my faithful potato sack which once acted as a sleeping bag for me during my youth when my father and I traveled with the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Now, my faithful burlap, would accompany back to the old country and, god willing, convince those meeting me on the other side that I was still loyal to Putin, Mother Russia, and perhaps even the ballet.

I was directed to not leave my sack until I was certain the boat had departed. Oh, how those hours wore on! I was tucked among ballasts and boilers, next to a noisy pipe that was either used for transporting water or rats. I made myself as small as possible, which was no small feat given that part of my obligatory ballet training included spending several hours each day on a rack, meant to stretch my limbs so I might achieve maximum ‘willowiness’. After what felt like days and days, curled in the cold corner of the boat, I felt the world shift around me. Praise me to Saint Jude, we were off!

I emerged from my burlap sack and was quickly escorted to the bow where I met the captain, a Mr. Burt Lancaster-Steele. In the old country his arm hair would indicate he was a man of high rank. As it was, he explained he had some sort of allele condition and that I should not use the women’s razors in the ships bathroom, as they were meant specially for him. Captain Lancaster-Steele explained that he had been paid to bring me back to Russia, and that I should not feel even remotely uncomfortable despite the fact that I was the only woman on a ship full of men who would be isolated from the rest of the world for the next month. In hindsight, I suspect Captain Lancaster-Steele was trying to subtly warn me that the crew were not to be trusted.

I spent my days wandering the deck of the ship, making polite conversation with a young shiphand named Daniel who seemed relegated to what I believe you Americans call ‘Charlie Work’, as more often than not he was covered in some form of human excrement or handling rats. Nonetheless, I found Daniel to be a clever conversationalist. He was born in New Jersey, but I do not hold that against him.

Ah, Daniel. Were it not for Daniel, I would have surely perished upon that boat.

It happened the second week. We had been forced to sail into a storm, or else bypass it and add another three weeks onto our journey. Have you ever been trapped on a ship with a group of sweaty, sea-salt licked men, Andrew? It is deeply unpleasant.

During the night, as the SS Hipsmasher was buffeted about by the wind and waves, there came a commotion from outside of my quarters. Since I had volunteered to tend to Captain Lancaster-Steele’s chest hair he had graciously upgraded my living space from a corner in the hull to a broom closet. I was quite content there given I now was able to lock out the rest of the world if I so desired, but with Daniel sleeping down the hall, and frequently suffering nightterrors brought on by his fear of open water, I was never concerned that anyone would be able to sneak up on me.

I called out, thinking it must be Daniel, come to curse Poseidon in his terrified state. Upon opening the door, I was terrified to realize that the second mate, a wormy-like man I had only known as Dwight, was standing at my door. I learned, not long after reaching shore, that Dwight was actually Dimitri, and was, as I suspected, a plant from Putin, sent to kill me. Dwight lunged, his hands wrapping around my neck. Now, I must caution you to not dear for me, Andrew. Do you recall I mentioned my willowy stature? Dwight’s efforts to wrap his fingers around my neck were halted as I was able to deliver several swift blows to his kidneys with my lanky arms. I drove my toned ballerina foot directly into his sternum and managed to haltingly leap over him. Alas, Dwight recovered from my attack and lunged towards, me, tackling me just as the ship lurched to one side. We crashed into the wall of the hallway, and began to kick out fiercely at Dwight, landing blow after blow on his delicate man bits.

Temporarily free, I made my way down the hall, thinking I might make it to the deck and take one of the life rafts to safety. Alas, as I reached the stairs, the SS Hipsmasher at last gave way to the power of the storm, and a torrent of water surged down the stairs, knocking me back down the hallway and into Daniel, who was just emerging from his quarters.

Now, Andrew, I must tell you what happened next is a blur. I recall the sea, cold, empty, and endless. It churned around me, frothing. I recall seeing Daniel and Dwight both grapple for a knife, and the sudden and complete submersion of the boat below the water. I cannot say where I found the pipe or what I thought I was doing, but as I delivered a first, second, and then third blow directly to Dwight’s hip, I knew the SS Hipsmasher had remained true to her name.

But oh, that water, Andrew! So cold! And I say this being Russian! Do you know how much it takes for a Russian to admit they are cold? I would not admit it even if Putin had had my father hung over a bear pit! We Russians are proud people.

I’m not sure how Daniel delivered us from that balmy abyss. When next I woke I was curled on a life raft with Daniel on one side of me and Captain Lancaster-Steele on the other.

And my hands. My glorious, Putin-Oiling hands, bandaged using my faithful burlap sack. The pipe I had grasped, the very same that kept me awake during those first few hours on the boat, had been a steam pipe. Even now, as I write to you, Andrew, my palms blister and pus. The pain is excruciating.

We were not on that raft for long. Land was already in sight when I awoke. But I already knew that I would never be able to return to Russia. Were Putin to see me now, he would surely have me killed. His favorite prima ballerina and chest-oiler, now disfigured, useless. No man wants scarred, lump hands massaging unscented baby oil into their ripped pecs.

I could not go home to Russia, for I would be killed., I could not go to my adopted country of the United States of America, for I betrayed their trust in rigging the election. I was anchorless, homeless, and country-less. And so, when we arrived on the Irish coast I knew at once, Katarina Savatski surely died on that boat.

Kathleen O’Whiskey, on the other hand – oh, hands. It still pains me – Yes, Kathleen O’Whiskey would make a new life for herself on this emerald isle.

Dawn is breaking, Andrew, and I must be off. If I stay in any city too long I run the risk of being spotted by one of Putin’s spies. There is so much I wish to tell you. That your President Trump is not who he seems; that Bannon is not the puppet master you should concern yourself with. There is much you need to know, Andrew. When I am next able to contact you, I will explain much more.

Yours truly,
Katarina Savatski

The Wicked Earworms: Part Deux

So, ha-ha, funny story. Ha, oh boy. Remember… hahah, remember how I finished the draft of Book 2 and it was like, Woaaa, draft done in record time! Hooray!

I may have been jumping the gun a tiny bit on that.

Not that I was displeased with how Book 2 worked out. It followed my previously written draft precisely. Each element fell into place without hesitation. Wait, no, that might be a bit of a lie. Each piece was gently forced into place with a mallet. I was writing to get to the end of it and, as I learned somewhere along the line with book 1, that is not way to write a strong piece of literature. I’m not suggesting you have to love it every step of the way, but I think there is something to be said for understanding that what you write has value, even if it isn’t immediately apparent.

In this case, I couldn’t see the value, and believe me, I tried. I loved the ending. It was strong, full of action leading into the next book. Maybe, just maybe, a bit to much action.

And then I deleted 75,000 words and was like, “Yeah, I should probably rewrite that.”

The problem was that somewhere between finishing the draft and deleting 75,000 words, I wondered what would happen if…

If… Jim’s family were involved more heavily in the plot.

If… I cut the traitor of Lena Barnett

If… I didn’t send them all the way to Russia, but kept them closer to home.

If… Pete were my secondary antagonist.

If, if, if… damn you earworms, making me think about things. But there you have it. The seeds were planted, and I couldn’t very well ignore them. And in many ways I’m glad it happened so quickly. If I had been attempting to rewrite Book 2 over and over again, knowing that deep down I was never satisfied with the outcome, I would end up wasting a lot of precious time on trying to fit a square peg up my nose (which is a roundish hole, I suppose.)

Still, 75k is a lot to lose, even if I have saved it elsewhere just in case I change my mind. But I won’t. Because Jim’s family is now involved, and Pete is back and there is no more traitor named Lena Barnett, and somehow, in erasing and creating new threads I can see how the whole woven story has pulled closer together to keep out the breeze.

75k is a small price to pay for a stronger story.

 

(Header By sarefo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=716296)

An Open Letter to Whirlpool CEO, Jeff Fettig

To the Whirlpool CEO, Jeff Fettig,

Dear Sir,

My recent experience with your Whirlpool W10219708A Compact Front Loading Automatic Washer has been, how to put it delicately, something of a bit of a joke. Were I a calm and reasonable person, I might describe it as mildly frustrating, perhaps even undesirable. Instead, I find that the simplest and most effective way to describe said experience is to equate it to that of a Shakespearean tragedy, with more irony than even the Bard himself could possibly muster in this day and age. I am, therefore, obligated to write to you now and express my dissatisfaction with as much vim and vigor as I can muster. Vim, because that is one of the cleaning products I utilized after the A10 error supplied by your clownish machine caused my laundry room to flood, and vigor, because that was the rate I wished to strangle myself after I was able to finally run a successful load of laundry without calling in a local priest to exorcize what I can only assume is the restless spirit of some North American Buffalo God whose golden idol was bulldozed to make way for our condo.

Spoiler alert: The priest was useless and the rabbi has since stopped returning my calls.

But I am getting ahead of myself, as I am want to do when I find I have wasted the majority of my day scooping water out of the bottom of a washing machine with a ladle.

My husband and I purchased our condo just over two years ago, and were most thrilled to learn that appliances such as a washer, dryer, stove, and fridge would all be provided by Whirlpool. There is nothing quite like pulling the plastic off a shiny new brushed steel appliance. I suppose I might equate it to the sensation of peeling the top off a yogurt cup or, to give an example you are more familiar with, unzipping a dufflebag filled with grand wads of cash that you can roll around in naked.

But the good times were not to last. Fairly soon we began to notice several things going awry, least of all the fact that our neighbour down the hall turned out to be absolutely insufferable and, quite frankly, a bit of a dick, as well as the presence of a mad pooper in our building. Those issues were negligible though, when compared to the vicious, insensitive flashing of the A10 error which began to appear on our washer’s display. I’m sure you aren’t aware of what A10 means, given that you probably do not furnish your house with the same appliances that you sell. That would be silly. Why use an itty-bitty stackable washer and dryer when you can pay orphans with baby smooth hands to wash your clothes for you in the local enchanted spring? I am, of course, only assuming your local spring is enchanted. Ours is filled with geese, and thanks to a series of unfortunate events involving the retrieval, and subsequent returning of their eggs, I can confirm they are not enchanted.

A10, sir, means there is a clog. A nasty old boogery clog that is preventing the washer from draining. There is only one solution when an A10 error happens, and it is quite possibly the most aggravating solution your company could have possibly come up with. A10 means taking a flat blade and prying off the bottom bit of the washer (in my case I opted for a butcher knife so I could feel marginally superior to the machine I was servicing) and then proceeding to open the small valve at the bottom to clear out the blockage.

Youtube ensured me that this was very simply, but could get messy as there might be a bit of water in there, so make sure you have a towel nearby to mop up any mess.

No man, woman, child, or god could have predicted the torrential flooding of water that gushed from my washing machine. Indeed, had I not been wearing arm floaties there was a very strong chance that I might have drowned at that moment. Frantically I shoved the plug back into place and raced for more towels as the now soapy, mildew-esque water began to seep into our baseboards, which are now permanently warped, thank you so much. I threw every towel I had at the floor, watching helplessly as they became instantaneously soaked by the deluge of dank washer water.

Now here I must offer kudos. It is very convenient that the means to dry said towels is so close by. Theoretically one might able to toss the ruined towels into the dryer with one hand while sopping up the mess with another. However, I must caution you that towels, when soaked absolutely through, are rather heavy and thus, when attempting to pile them into the dryer, you can expect them to drip to the point where you may slip and fall on the linoleum, only to find yourself being crushed beneath a mountain of towels, quietly whispering ‘why’ as your life flashes before your eyes and the room around you grows dark and cold.

If you manage to struggle free from the pile of death and you manage to get those towels into the dryer, you are still up shit creek, as I learned. Because much like the vagina of your mother, it is still absolutely soaking in there.

That was rude of me. I’m sorry. I’m just so upset that I wasted my own day off doing this whole process over and over again.

Oh, didn’t I mention that? This is not the first time we’ve received the A10 error. It has happened multiple times over the last two years and, fortunately, we have become masters in the art of hastily acquiring towels, bed sheets, and duvet covers to cover the flood in order to prevent even further damage to our walls and baseboards.

Where was I? Oh yes. So you’ve managed to survive the flooding, the crushing, and now the drying, and somewhere a long the way you’ve found a spare dry square of cloth that you can place under the Magical Faucet of Neverending Water. You’ve probably accepted at this point that no amount of specialty fans or emergency clean up will help with this issue, so you might as well let yourself be baptised in the abysmal flood of suds. Miraculously, there is an end to the water. Somewhere between the swearing, crying, and fighting with your spouse, the washing machine does appear to be fully drained and you are able to carefully pick out the microscopic piece of lint that managed to ruin your entire load of laundry, your baseboards, and, at this rate, your marriage. Now you put it all back together, press the cancel button, let the machine finish draining automatically, and do a test run on “Spin/Drain”. Yes, you’ll have clean underwear for work ye-

Are you serious? Are you fucking kidding me? There is another A10 error? There isn’t even anything in the machine! I just cleaned out the trap! There is literally no reason why this machine should not work unless for some reason it is cursed in which case Whirlpool better have a damn exorcist on retainer because apparently I need one!

I’m not going to mince words any more than I already have. I am frustrated. In a wild effort to do several loads of laundry today (because your machine is only slightly bigger than a bread maker and thusly I have to do my four bras in two separate loads) I have soaked, dried, and soaked again the following:

5 towels

2 Duvet Covers

1 King-Sized Fitted sheet

6 rolls of Off-Brand paper towel

7 paper napkins

1 Fuzzy blanket

Untold number of hand towels

 

These are the atrocities of war. The victims of untold flooding. The smell of mildew is now firmly embedded in the above textiles and as such they have been relinquished to a cupboard which we have deemed to be our “Emergency Stupid Washer Is Broken” cupboard where we can grab them, as well as a bottle of vodka, at a moments notice. The duvet covers were unsalvageable even after being washed in a real machine. The off-brand paper towels were as useless as one might expect them to be, however I believe given the amount of fluid ounces of water that was used that day, even Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper would have had their work cut out for them.

Now let’s talk about the smell. Yes, the smell. I don’t know if you have any idea what it is like to live in a condo, and before you decide to call your pent-house suite a condo let me explain: a condo is a living space where you can stand on either end and long jump to the other side without much effort. Condos are tiny. They are tiny and cramped and they do not come with air conditioning unless you pay extra, which we would have done except that we had already used up our ‘extra’ budget on a washing machine that is probably imbued with the spirit of Mrs. Topechka, an angry Ukrainian Turn-of-the-Century Pioneering Woman who does not care for our new-fangled ways. So there was no room in the budget for an air conditioner, which, given that we live in Alberta, means we rely heavily on fans during the summer. But not all the fans in the world can stop heat and water from crushing together and creating the stench.

Let me tell you, when something stinks in a condo, it really stinks. My husband’s mildewy dress shirts, for one thing, which he put in to wash over night only to wake up and discover an A10 error the next morning. Our towels. The towels we used to clean our bodies with. All of these things, now forever drenched in the scent of mold, mildew, and probably my tears. And the stench in the condo is horrendous. The water sat in the washer for less than 12 hours and yet the smell that culminated in our condo is so ripe that it is literally transcending time. I can feel my eggs shriveling up in my ovaries. My children will be born with a perpetually puckered nose simply because the odor in the condo is clinging to everything. My cats curled up into the corner of the den and projectile vomited everywhere before dying abruptly. My dog has turned rabid and is now locked in the bathroom, which I imagine is making her even more upset given that the bathroom is right across from the laundry room and is probably the second most smelly place in the condo.  They say Vicks Vapor Rub under the nose is a good way to deal with the smell of decaying bodies, but what they don’t tell you is that smearing it all over your face will only serve to help the smell of mold and mildew permeated deeper into your pores. I am actually molding as I sit here and type this.

But yeah, sure, shit happens, right? Roll with the punches. I did try to make a game out of it for a while. I played “What will dry these towels faster: The Majesty of the Sun or This Perpetually Disappointing Whirlpool Appliance?” I am sorry to say by the end of the saga it was Majestic Sun: 4, Whirlpool Appliance: 2. Of course, those games only take you so far, especially as you spend more and more time steeping in the smell of mold, watching water trickle carefully out of a small valve that you have adjusted the perfect amount to avoid more flooding. It makes a person introspective, really gets you thinking about life, the universe, and how goddamned crappy an appliance has to be if the smallest item not classified as a textile in the washer somehow causes it to have a grand mal seizure. I mean, let’s be honest here, I know it’s a small appliance for a small space, but I should be able to leave a receipt for a box of tampons in my pocket without having to worry if the neighbours below us are going to have flooding in their kitchen.

And yeah, cleaning your pockets is always a good plan prior to doing a load of laundry, but give me a fucking break, I actually do have other things to do (aside from today which I dedicated entirely to watching water trickle from a valve, did I mention that yet?) I have a condo to clean, a rabid dog to walk and/or put down, food to make, actual work to do for my actual job which I am actually paid to do, and clothes to pu- Oh, well. I guess I don’t have clothes to put away at the moment, but we know whose fault that is, don’t we? The point is, people generally live very busy lives these days, and worrying about a scrap of lint in a pocket is not on the top of my priority list. If your product cannot sustain itself in those little moments, how can anyone ever expect it to clean the grass stains off of my metaphorical snub-nosed child’s soccer gear? Failure to do its most basic job in the face of slight interruption does not bode well for the longevity of your product.

And before you ask What about warranty? Yeah, that was a year long. And as is tradition with all things produced in the 21st century, it broke roughly 6 minutes after said warranty expired. Of sure, we called in the dealer a couple times, but that was about as useful as nailing a banana to a fruit bat. It was not useful at all, and was incredibly pointless and, in the long term, will probably result in the loss of life.

So what is the point of all this, you might ask, knowing full well that you are going to receive a snarky reply.

The point is I assumed Whirlpool was simply a brand name and not a description of what I could expect draining from my washing machine. The point is I would very much like to know why the Whirpool washer has the constitution of an anti-vaxxers child in a room full of whooping cranes with nasty coughs. The point is, I would very much like my washer to not break down the next time I forget to pick each stray thread off of my jeans with a pair of tweezers prior to washing them. The point is, I am horribly disappointed with your product, with its ability to do its most basic function, with my ruined towels and bed sheets and duvet covers, with my warped baseboards that will detract from the resale price of the condo and, perhaps finally, I am disappointed knowing that it will only be a matter of weeks before A10 comes back and we have to repeat the whole process all over again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my head in our Whirlpool oven. I’m not sure if I’m hoping it will work or not. One thing is certain, the outcome either way is sure to be exciting.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky

A Brief Open Letter to Billy of Billy’s Library

Dear Billy,

While I appreciate your concern for my family life, I do not believe I actually require Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. I would, however, like my copy of A Monstrous Regiment of women and presumably [Redacted] of Toronto would very much like her 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are a few areas my husband and I could improve upon. Sometimes we snap at each other, and we tend to use sarcasm as a defense mechanism, but we are definitely working on talking through our issues instead of acting passive aggressively about it. Unlike the people who live in my condo, who are the epitome of passive aggression. I’m fairly certain one day it will become full-on aggression and the end result will be a murder. In which case a detective book like Laurie R. King’s A Monstrous Regiment of Women might come in handy. I’m not saying I have the skills of Mary Russell-Holmes, but I do consider myself to have a keen eye for investigation. I almost became a private investigator once, but then an angry old white man told me that pretty young white girls don’t make good PI’s. How he knew I was white is beyond me because we were talking on the phone. How he knew I was pretty is another mystery all together, as I am not. This leads me to assume that perhaps he is not that good of an investigator after all.

Then again, maybe he was the head of some crime syndicate, and knew I was on to him and was trying to throw me off the trail. That is also a possibility, but still highly unlikely. If I had a copy of Monstrous Regiment of Women I might be able to use the skills gained from reading said book to determine what his angle was. Instead the only thing I can do is help him work through the family issues he is inevitably having with his wife. I say inevitable, because let’s face it, one does not become a PI because one’s life is all sunshine and rainbows. The guy probably eats Film Noir for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which may account for the intense weight he is carrying around, at least according to his image on the website I looked up.

Of course it isn’t fair to judge someone by their image. Instead I choose to judge him based solely on the fact that he thought calling me pretty would somehow get me off his case. The joke is on him. Now I have his social insurance number and a list of his fears, and I’m just biding my time until he slips up. That makes me sound a bit like a villain in film noir but I promise you I am far from it. I am just a simple (and apparently pretty) girl from Canada who would very much like to give this 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families to [Redacted] and receive her copy of Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King.

So, let’s you and I make this happen, eh?
Sincerely,
Kathleen Sawisky Esq, PI
Integrity Commissioner

 

An Open Letter to My Fellow Canadians: I am Your New Prime Minister

My Fellow Canadians,

On the day of this, what is historically the most nauseatingly-propaganda filled election ever witnessed by this country, I would like to pre-emptively thank you for electing me as your new Prime Minister. I know it was a difficult decision, what with Tom Mulcair’s excellent beard, Justin Trudeau’s luscious locks, and whatever the hell crawled onto Stephen Harper’s head and died at least three years ago. But you, Canada, you made the right choice. You went out there and said Hey, I don’t want a Prime Minister who is in contempt of court, or looks like he eats babies, or has brought about an unending deficit, or skins kittens to wear on his head, or, when realizing how foolhardy his clinging to power is, decides to bring up issues such as the niqab in order to distract voters. No, you had enough of that and also, you thought this was a little sketchy:

Say Nope to Dope but Make it Rain Cocaine!

Say Nope to Dope but Make it Rain Cocaine!

Congratulations, Canada, on pulling your head out of a prolonged stay underneath a pile of refuse, which might have been dealt with if it weren’t for all the scientists that got fired and the abandoning of the various environmental protection plans that were in place. Yes, that is what the sun looks like; no, I can’t stop the burning. Even I have my limits as your newly, shockingly elected official.

It’s going to be okay, Canada. I might not be able to grow a beard, or do my hair particularly well, but I promise you that every pet I have ever owned has been well-documented and never once has its carcass ended up on my head as some sad-excuse for a hair piece.

Sorry, hold on, I’m just being told something. Oh… Oh? Oh, it’s real? Oh my god. Oh, oh my god, I had no idea, I just assumed- Yeah, yeah, of course, send my apologies. No, no wait till Stephen is done crying in the corner.

Where was I? Oh yes. I am most pleased by the unexpected results of this election. For once, Canada has shown it cares. Or at the very least, Canada has shown it cares enough about not having another agonizing period of time with Stephen Harper at the helm of this sinking ship. They do say hate is one of the best motivators for getting people off their asses. That, and lighting a fire. And isn’t that exactly what Canada has become? One giant country, metaphorically and, if you live in the Central Okanagan frequently literally, on fire? That environment. Such a shame that we… We just don’t have much of it left.

I know what you’re thinking, not simply because I have utilized the invasive ‘terrorist-prevention’ aspects of Bill C-51, but because it is exactly what I would be thinking were I in your shoes. I am fairly certain I did not vote for you, Most Supreme Prime Minister Kathleen. No, you probably didn’t. You probably voted for Trudeau or Mulcair or… Uh, one of those other ones. But never fear – sensing your unease at the possibility of Stephen Eyes of the Dead Harper becoming our Prime Minister yet again, I have decided to do us all a favor an simply declare myself Prime Minister to expedite the process. Rejoice! Release the clowns!

By the way, our military is now composed almost entirely of clowns, mostly so I can proudly cry Release the Clowns! during our next military action against, I don’t know… Russia, maybe?

And as your new Prime Minister, I am please to announce the following changes:

  • No more First Past the Post nonsense. In fact, I will be adapting an electoral system based almost entirely on what CGP Grey says. Because he clearly knows more than I do on the subject.

  • There will be no Netflix Tax. I repeat, something that you were never concerned about in the first place nor even crossed your mind will not be implemented. Please stop rioting or I will be forced to release the clowns.
  • We will not be taking away your Canadian Citizenship. Ever. You’re a Canadian Citizen and if you have done something atrocious, really shit on the grid, then you are our mess to clean up and we will deal with you appropriately. And yes, it may involve clowns.
  • A consistent number of murdered or missing peoples will be considered a sociological problem that we will look into. Generally, my hope for this new Canada is less murder, more ponies. Less missing people, more healthcare for refugees.
  • We gon’ plant some trees. Go back to protectin’ those rivers n’ lakes.

Dear, fellow Canadians. I know you are tired. 78 days is an awfully long time for us to experience an election campaign (Shut up, USA, we get it.) That is why my campaign lasted exactly three hours and was started and finished on the day of voting. You see, I am just like you. I hate the never-ending propaganda. I despise the robocalls. I am sick and tired of seeing signs promoting an MP who refused to debate because, I assume, public speaking gave him the runs. And I am so god-damned tired of hearing about Justin Trudeau’s hair. I don’t care. None of us care! If Harper’s campaign signs had involve glitter glue and pony stickers I would have assumed he was vying for the position of Prom Queen! Jokes on him though, because Elizabeth May is clearly the underdog in this after-school special, and she would most certainly walk away with the title.

As your new Prime Minister I will levy taxes according to income in the household. Now, I know, that is going to be mighty contentious to some of you, but think of it this way… Taxes go towards things we all use every day. You pay more taxes because you make more. These two things are basically unrelated, and I don’t care. You’re going to pay more, same with corporations. Deal with it. If you don’t like it, you can move to the States where they have an even longer election campaign and they have Donald Trump to deal with. That’s right, you thought Harper’s hair was bad, just imagine Donald Trump’s singular lock of hair blowing in the wind as he blusters about race, wealth, and, oh I don’t know, women or something.

It’s been a long 78 days, and an even longer 10 years, yet we as Canadians stand taller and stronger today, with the vague awareness that government officials are, at this very moment, checking your browser history and questioning how we were raised. That ends today! No more Bill C-51! No more dead eyes searching the crowd from the podium, looking for the youthful flesh that might once again rejuvenate its ailing human form!

This election asked ‘Do you want a lizard person for a Prime Minister?’ and you answered ‘No, thank you! Please give us someone else!’

I have answered your call, Canada.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to go vote for my local Liberal MP.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky, esq.

Most Supreme Prime Minister of Canada

Integrity Commissioner.

The Story of Dean

Theory: We all have one person we are allowed to hate. One person who, when mentioned, drives us so close to the edge of insanity that we would rather throw ourselves off the cliff into the thorny hell below than spend another moment thinking about that one individual. My husband has such a person, and last night I met mine.

His name is Dean.

Dean is a horrible person. Dean has the personality of an aggressive badger that has been caught in a rainstorm and, with no concept of social norms, has decided to take out his years of pent up rage and frustration on the nearest person. Dean has all the charm of Darth Vader, hopped up on bath salts, having gotten a taste for human flesh. Dean is reason for climate change and, I am almost 100% sure, the Mad Pooper of Building 3000.

Dean is just the worst.

Dean is what happens when you combine the current cast of Saturday Night Live with a large swarm of locusts that have all been taught to play kazoos and the kazoos are on fire.

I had the gut-wrenching horror of laying eyes on Dean last night at a meeting for our condo board, wherein “I might just literally be Satan” Dean decided that the best way to air his grievances was by publicly humiliating our cheerful Property Manager by demanding “Why haven’t you returned any of my emails?”

(Note: He is apparently the only one with this issue, which may or may not be a telling point.)

Now, I like our Property Manager. When we lost our original key fob, she was all over getting us a new one made. And when I went to get said fob, there was some miscommunication, and this Property Manager immediately left her lunch break to make a new one for me, and then apologized profusely for making me wait. She is British and lovely and has never let us down.

Which is why, after she initially apologized for not returning his emails, and Dean continued to berate her repeatedly, I felt the need to interrupt him and explain that she had apologized to him already and the subject could now be dropped.

I got wild, uninhibited satisfaction in watching him turn to look at me. The shock on his face indicated that never before in his existence as a puddle of human excrement had anyone dared to interrupt him, and he had no reply to make. The reactions of those running the meeting were equally amusing as they raised eyebrows at me and smirked.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there is a need for good communication when in a position of authority. If our Property Manager made an error, she has now been more than made aware of it and she will obviously try her utmost best to not make that mistake again. However, to call someone out publicly in such a way is a show of power. It is Dean trying to say, “Listen, I get that I am a total gargoyle of a human being, so here, let me put all the attention on you.” No one ever accomplished anything by trying to ‘out’ someone in such a way, and while it was rude of me to interrupt him, I like to think of it as more of a karmic balancing act. My actions simply neutralized his own, thus restoring the balance of the world.

“I’m a Frogman, Ra-ra-ra” Dean also used the term “Point of Order” during the meeting, which was just so pretentious I almost vomited koolaid all over my shoes. Point or order? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were in a Forum to Address the Misanthropic Ways of World Leaders. Clearly this is a serious situation and not at all simply a meeting where we, as condo owners, form our new condo board. Super serious, guys.

Unsurprisingly enough, Dean volunteered to be a condo board member. Me, being me, could not help but do a quick political calculation in my mind, which went something like this:

I have no desire to be on the condo board, yet I despise Dean. If someone votes for me, they may theoretically no longer vote for Dean. Ergo, if Dean loses, I win. If we both lose, I still win.

I did not win, thank goodness. I have no time for condo board meetings. More importantly, however… Dean lost. It led to a very important realization in my life…

I don’t want to win. I just want Dean to lose.

Note: You may be asking yourself, Why, Kathleen? Why hate Dean so much? To which I am reminded of Hannibal Lector’s feeling on rude people. They are no good. They also, apparently need to be eaten. I am, of course, not prepared to escalate this conflict to such a point. I’ll probably just keep passive-aggressively using his name in puns (Thanks, Community). Honestly, I would have let it go, but as the meeting was winding down yesterday, the Property Manager came around to collect the contact information for the new board members. She sat briefly next to me and was visibly shaken, close to tears. Because that’s what happens when you publicly humiliate another person repeatedly. It actually bothers them. Go figure. I can’t abide that. It was neither the time nor the place, yet “Punch me in the kidney” Dean seemed to think he had the right to act then and there. Basic compassion goes a long way, and I aim to teach him about it, one way or another.

Dean you later!

Surviving the 2015 Calgary Stampede

Here in Calgary it is Stampede season, which means we are about to be inundated by approximately 3.7 billion people who come visit the city for ten days in an effort to relive what they presume to be an accurate rendition of the Old Timey West. Two things happen when the Calgary Stampede goes on: 1) Citizens native to Calgary evacuate the city to the nearby mountains (this is also part of our zombie preparation plan); 2) Those not native to the city arrive. And they all wear cowboy hats, boots, and jeans. And we will resent them and all that they bring to us.

Now, I’ve only lived in Calgary for just over three years. But I understand it. I understand the intense fury, the violent anger that erupts deep within one’s soul every time they get stuck in a traffic jam on Deerfoot because some wildly inappropriately dressed tourists have crashed their car and are attempting to extract their mangled cowboy boots from the wreckage of their vehicle while simultaneously screaming Woo! Stampede, bitches!

I hate it as much as the next person, which is why I think I is time we all sit down and come up with a list of must-do’s and musn’t-even-attempts for both the locals and the tourists who have decided to eat as many scorpion pizzas as possible before riding the Zipper on the midway.

Taking Part in the 2015 Calgary Stampede: Tourists

  1. Okay, you’re here. We will all do our very best to accept that.
  2. Just because you can start drinking early and later than normal doesn’t mean that you should. Practice some self-restraint, if only for your health. We’ve had a heatwave recently, and no one, least of all any of us locals, wants to read about you keeling over in a pool of your own filth due to alcohol poisoning.
  3. If you have to drink excessively, please drink water too.
  4. Please don’t harass Calgary Police Services for doing their job. I get it, your buddy was just goofing around when he was tossing empty beer cans over the bridge, but it still isn’t right nor is it legal. If the police are arresting him, it’s because he was acting like a mighty morphin’ power douche. He could use a few hours in the drunk tank.
  5. Be nice to those volunteering at the Stampede. Yes, it is hot. Yes, it is crowded, and yes, maybe you totally can’t even right now, but neither can we, so just take a deep breath and relax.
  6. Yes, there is crappy beer on for cheap. Drink up that Kokanee and that Bud Light Lime if you want! But while you’re here, I recommend trying out some of our local flavors! Big Rock Brewery is become renowned across the world, and Village Brewing is a fantastic craft brewery! Trust me, you’ll enjoy the overall experience a lot more if you spend a couple extra bucks on a quality brew.
  7. Please don’t make cowboy or Ol West jokes. We’re heard them all, and none of them are funny.
  8. If you have to dress up, don’t go overboard. A hat just makes sense; it protects you from the sun. You don’t need the boots and the cowboy hat and the plaid shirt tied in such a way to emphasize your boobs (ladies, this goes for you too), and you don’t need to speak like you are from Texas. We sure as shit don’t.
  9. If we look unimpressed with you, it is only because we are. You are the twentieth person to comment about something ‘Western’ related today, and we are slowly dying inside. It’s best just to move on and forget about us.
  10. Please don’t comment on how we are dressed up in western clothes in our place of work. We don’t need to be reminded of this humiliating experience. True story. My husband works at a bank, and even he has to dress up.
  11. Did I mention not over doing it on the drinking? I feel like this is a really important point. I can‘t emphasize it enough. Don’t get alcohol poisoning.
  12. If you are here from PETA: Okay, we understand. A lot of people have issues with the rodeo aspects. Please don’t take it out on everyone going to the Stampede. Some of us are just there for the soft serve in the phallic cone.
  13. Be prepared to wait on hot, sweaty C-Trains with the rest of us. It is annoying as hell, and we all know it. There’s no need to complain loudly about it. And while we’re at it, follow basic transit rules. Make room, don’t hog seats with bags, make sure the elderly, pregnant, and disabled all have places to sit.
  14. Look out for each other. People usually go to Stampede in groups, but it is easy to get lost, either because of crowds or because you are completely smashed. Strangers looking after strangers is both heartwarming and an important part of ensuring everyone has a fun time. If you see someone who looks like they are about to keel over, help them get medical attention.
  15. Don’t be a dumb-dumb. Common sense hasn’t ceased to exist just because you are wearing spurs and a rhinestone belt buckle.
  16. Yes, it has been busy at our place of work recently, and yes, we can’t wait until Stampede is over. No, we’re not sure if we’re going to take part in the activities.
  17. Your short-shorts are inappropriate cowboy wear. You can either take this seriously or you can just fanny about, but don’t pretend you’ve found some happy in-between place. You haven’t. And those shorts would kill if you actually rode a horse. I’m talking full on chapped thighs.
  18. Finally, and I really can’t stress this enough. Don’t drink so damn much, unless it is water.

Surviving the 2015 Calgary Stampede: Locals

  1. Can you get out of the city? Then do it. Jasper, Banff, Golden, Radium. Anywhere but here. Go, go, go. You are wasting time reading this. Just go.
  2. You can’t leave? You have to work? Okay, don’t panic. We’ll get you through this. First off, assume that wherever you work is going to make you play along with this nonsense. It’s best to just embrace the gingham skirts, the cowboy hats, and the boots now, before it’s too late.
  3. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. There are plenty of free pancake breakfasts for you to attend. You might as well get all you can out of the next ten days of terror.
  4. Yes, there will be country-western music playing everywhere. I find the best solution to this is to hum the Sailor Moon Theme Song. It’s easily accessible to the other poor sods who are trapped in the same scenario as you.
  5. Suicide pact with your coworkers.
  6. Are you absolutely certain you can’t leave the city? Can you fake an illness or an accident? Your employer would understand.
  7. Personally, I find wildly mocking people below my breath really takes the strain off of the whole experience.
  8. Extra visits to your psychiatrist. Remember: they will be filling up fast!
  9. Consider earplugs and/or horse blinders, just in case.
  10. If you do find yourself trapped in a crowd, proceed to windmill your arms and making a whooping noise. If they don’t get out of your way because you’ve hit them, they will at least avoid you do to possible insanity.

Of course, that might not be enough. That’s why I recommend The Treasure Hunt of Stereotypes. This is a game my husband and I play whenever we have to go to the mall. We came up with a list of stereotypical mall goers and began to tick off them as we saw them. This included: child on leash, teenage girl who can’t even, and depressed husband or father waiting for wife or daughter by change rooms. I have prepared the following preliminary list for your enjoyment, either at the Stampede, at your local mall, or just downtown around 17th Ave or Stephen Ave mall:

  1. Woman with cut off jean shorts that would offend anyone over the age of 70;
  2. Small child clearly forced into wearing cowboy gear, looking unimpressed. Bonus points if crying;
  3. A group of women wearing plaid shirts that have been tied above their belly-button, Daisy Duke-style;
  4. A drunk and sunburned frat boy. Double the points if he is carrying a can of beer;
  5. Someone wearing a pink, bejeweled cowboy hat;
  6. Someone wearing gaudy, bejeweled cowboy boots;
  7. Anyone using the terms ‘y’all’ or really, dropping their ‘g’s’;
  8. Anyone who announces, probably drunkenly, that they are absolutely getting a horse after their experience at the Stampede, because of course they are;
  9. Spontaneous line dancing. Extra points if it is on Stephen Ave;
  10. Someone arrested for chewing tobacco and spitting it everywhere without a care for those around them;
  11. White cowboy hats (you take a shot for each one of these you see. Staff members of the Stampede and/or Calgary do not count.);
  12. Any bar that changes its title to ‘Saloon’;
  13. Inappropriate racial stereotypes;
  14. PETA protesters;
  15. Piles of vomit at the midway;
  16. Country-Western music playing inside a mall or store that does not regularly play it;
  17. Random buskers with guitars or banjos;
  18. An idiot wearing spurs attached to their cowboy boots which you know they bought because they once saw Fieval Goes West and figured it was important to complete their outfit;
  19. Bigoted comments being spouted by drunks, probably at the ‘saloons’;
  20. A Stampede Princess (you lose a point if she isn’t wearing a bejeweled hat or belt buckle);
  21. A small infant, dressed in cowboy gear;
  22. Bolo ties. Bonus points added if the person wearing it is under the age of 45;

There you have it folks. This is, of course, only a basic survival guide. I would still recommend leaving the city or, worst case scenario, going full hermit until this is over and done with. I, for one, will be hiding under my bed until it is safe to come out again.