Over My Dead Body


Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?       ...George W. Bush



While not a great fan of George W., I have always admired his folksy charm and his ability to mangle the English language. I always forgave his faults and his 'wits and wisdoms' because at the very least he hated exorbitant taxes. For that one reason we became soulmates. "Not over my dead body, will they raise your taxes," he once said. I was reminded of that puzzling statement today.

     Unless you've been sleeping, it's been another one of those weeks of inspiring commentary from Dear Leader, Duh-wite, and the forsaken posse at Confederation Building:

     The Minister of Spawny Capelin, Steve Crocker, outlined his vision for turning the pine-clad hills of Newfoundland and Labrador into an endless expanse of rolling farmland--a vision replete with idyllic green fields of watermelon, vast orchards of mango trees, and meadows filled with contented cows. Agriculture dominates the soilless expanse all the way from Cape Chidley in northern Labrador to Cape Spear in the frigid north Atlantic, with nary a rock or a bog in between. The smell of pig manure is so strong that the House of Assembly can only sit when strong northeasters blow the stench out to sea.

     Later in the week, Dear Leader, himself, denied once again having any knowledge of the Muskrat Falls boondoogle and the state of the economy before his election. In an act of self-pardon, he also denied any responsibility for costing the taxpayers an additional six million for Ed Martin's severance package. Alternative facts indeed.

     But the award for absurdity this week must go to Dr. (He's not a real doctor) Dale Kirby, Minister of Illiteracy, who emerged from underneath the boulders that prop up Confederation Building to make an appearance at a Kindergarten class in St. John's. A press photo has him showing the disinterested girls and boys some pages from his favorite coloring book. His earnest demeanor, for me, was a paradox.

     The photo absolutely intrigued me.

     I stayed awake all night, studying the picture intently. With the help of some bog rosemary tea laced with liberal splashes of raspberry screech, I tried to divine the hidden intent behind the inscrutable face.

     He looked not at the children but at the door as if readying an escape route should an irate librarian waving a slimy sculpin suddenly appears out of nowhere. His beady eyes betrayed that far-away look of someone contemplating a glorious future--replacing Dear Leader, perhaps, or maybe morphing into the Donald Trump of Newfoundland. Believe me.

     Then again, it might just have been a flicker of conscience awakened by nostalgia for his tranquil days as an obscure member of the NDP, labouring in the drowsy afternoon haze of the House of Assembly listening to the dreary dronings of Lorraine Michael.

     Then it occurs to me that he is thinking about how fortunate he is to be hauling in a cool half million from the taxpayers every four years. How many bottles of 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon is that? He wonders.


     Such were my thoughts, until Better-half found me slumped over the coffee table in the morning, with the rich vapours of raspberry screech wafting through the living room.


     The melodic voice of Dr. Dale fills the airwaves as she shakes me awake. Anthony Germain, the CBC host, is asking the Minister of Illiteracy about the massacre of public servants announced by Dear Leader the previous day.


     Dr. Dale announces that he will not stand for any more teacher cuts. "Over my dead body," he shouts into the microphone, and then the caveat: "but I will not resign."


     What does it mean? I rush for my copy of the Urban Dictionary.


     Definition: Over my dead body: A verbal objection to a proposed action, claiming that the speaker is willing to fight with every ounce of his life to prevent the action.


     I shout with glee and dance on top of the coffee table. At long last, we have a working-class hero who is willing to die for his beliefs. Now, there will be blood on the cabinet room floor. The whole Liberal gang will go at each other with pitchforks and broken Black Horse beer bottles. they'll all be found stone dead by the constabulary in the morning. There will have to be a coalition of the Tories and the NDP.


     My reverie was rudely interrupted.


     Better-half reminds me that Dr. dale, as an afterthought, said that he would not be resigning. I am plunged once again into the dark depths of despair. There will be no cadavers in Confederation Building, after all.


     And then, later in the afternoon after Dear leader has a heart to heart with Dr. Dale, there is a clarification. It seems Dr. Dale has misspoke. He didn't mean to say what they said he said. His comments were misunderstood by the entire English-speaking world and the fake-news press who are the enemies of the people. He believes in the little children. He believes in Dear Leader. He believes the Liberal Government is on a mission from God.


     I remain in my sea of gloom.


     George W. Bush found himself in Dr. Dale's position in a 2001 meeting with the press in Rome. "I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe--I believe what I believe is right."


     "I don't have the slightest idea what I was saying," George said later.




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