Spouse was still softly snoring in her peculiar northeast coast accent, a cross between West Country English and the ancient Saxon language, a sort of cultural lag from the time her family was resettled from Ringwood, County Hampshire, UK, way back in 46, 1846 that is. The accent has become more pronounced lately. What with the debate about the bottomless pit of government debt and shutting down whole communities, she has begun pining for the outports.
As is my custom, I arose from fitful slumber at 7 am just as the sun was peeking over Mt. Scio, eager to catch up on all the stirring events that must have happened overnight. I had no sooner fired up my old 2006 steam-powered Toshiba laptop when the relentless nightmares from the last 12 hours came at me like thunderbolts.
CNN, NBC, The BBC, and CBC are my usual targets as I surf through cyberspace in an effort to confirm my continued existence in this dangerous world.
It's the usual fare: "Short and fat' Kim Jong-un, Dear Leader of North Korea trades personal insults with the 'old lunatic' Donald Trump, Dear Leader of the USA. It would be a joke except they have their fingers on the nuclear trigger.
"We'll all be blown to hell someday," Father used to say whenever he tuned into the CBC Radio news during the Cold War, "so it's best not to worry about it."
That kind of down-to-earth advice was what led Marsha Linehan, the noted American psychologist, to state that accepting reality is the only way out of hell. But Marsha also warned that the path out of hell was through misery--not much to look forward to in the next few years of Dear Leader Duh-wite and his Brighter Tomorrow.
The BBC has a story about the disappearing South Pole ice sheet. (For some reason it reminds me of the former minister of finance and a few Liberal hacks who have vanished into thin air in the past six months.)
A catastrophic rise in sea levels will wipe out our coastal cities, warns the reporter.
The melting glaciers in Greenland will worsen the calamity. The thought occurs to me that pretty soon the only evidence that the city of St. John's existed will be that little beacon at the very top of Confederation Building sticking out of the ocean. (Like the glow of good brandy, a warm feeling of intense pleasure rushes through my body.)
Goodbye and good riddance to that ugly bronze statue of John Cabot covered in sea lice and green crabs 35 fathoms down on the lawn. I mean, here's this guy who crossed the ocean in 1497 with that no-good son of his, Sebastian. They bumped into a foggy, dreary New-Founde-Land and went back to tell a whopper of a story to King Henry that it was an ideal place to resettle all of us peasants who were cluttering up the countryside. Couldn't those two silly buggers have discovered a tropical island instead?
Memo to self: Have to plan my escape to the Annieopsquotch Mountains. Wondering if spouse will go along with it. Too many Nalcor towers, she'll probably say.
The threats to my general well-being, of course, are not limited to rises in ocean levels nor to foreign leaders engaging in juvenile personal insults.
CBC is carrying a special rebroadcast of last night's newscast. The lead story is about an alarming rise in levels of 'food insecurity' amongst a large proportion of the Newfoundland and Labrador population. Someone from the government talks about ameliorating deprivation and pursuing mutually constructive conversations with low-income earners.
I assume it all means that a lot of people are starving to death and I think of Winnie the Pooh. "It's more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short easy words like "what about lunch?" said Pooh.
Then the second big story: Dear Leader, Duh-wite, with fake outrage and faux sincerity dripping down his chin, is announcing a special multi-million dollar inquiry on Muskrat Falls to tell everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador what they already know, that he voted for it, that it was a right cock-up, an incredible boondoggle, a colossal clanger of massive magnitude.
All of this he announces at a Liberal fund-raising dinner at the Convention Centre in St. John's as the guests tuck into $500 plates of farmed smoked salmon from Placentia Bay, duck confit from Paris, and Tiramisu from Italy, all washed down with copious amounts of Beaujolais Nouveau. The dinner has been hurriedly arranged to suckle the drooling business and legal elite of the province who stand to gain lucrative contracts from the whole charade. They are now lining up to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense as in the reign of He-Who-Is-Without-Sin.
I engage in a blasphemous conversation with my computer.
"Liberal hacks are lining up to loot the treasury," I shout. "The rural library study will be peanuts compared to this. I bet EY has been in touch with Dr. Dale (He's not a real doctor) Kirby already."
I can't take it anymore so I switch to a rerun of NTV news. Not a smart move.
I catch their lead story which features a formula to calculate my power bill in 2019--when Dear Leader pulls the switch for Muskrat Falls. I grab my calculator: A 208% increase over my 2017 electrical bill. Shocking.
I am being sucked into a whirlpool of deepening dark despair before the day has even dawned.
"Don't let it get to you," said spouse. She'd just returned from The Land of Nod as I was well into my early morning rant about the poor quality of Tim's leftover coffee grounds and the sorry state of the universe.
Her advice is all well and good, of course, except that whenever I make a new resolution to practice positive thinking, more dreadful demons/politicians materialize and smash down my doors. Then Pooh and Eeyore begin a wrestling match inside my brain.
But there is hope. Gwyneth Paltrow is offering a negatively charged copper ionized stress ball on her website for $200, guaranteed to stimulate anger detox and suck all that negative energy out of my system.
"I have an idea," said spouse. "We could make a tidy sum from that inquiry if we dressed ourselves up as consultants for those plunged into poverty by Muskrat Falls."
"You just might have something there," I said. "I'll get in touch with them right away. We're going to be raking in the dough on this one."
"While you're at it," she said, "order that St. Laurent Satin-Trimmed Wool-Pique Tuxedo Blazer for me for Christmas along with your stress ball. It's only $3500 and I want to feel like somebody for a change when you take me out to Mary Browns to celebrate.