Thank goodness! It’s about time. When I grew up in Toronto, it was known far and wide as ‘Toronto the Good’…as in conservative, religious (mostly Christian) population, strict liquor laws, everything closed on Sunday, women dressed up in hats and gloves to go ‘downtown’, the city neat and clean…pride in itself and its appearance. B-O-R-I-N-G. It was getting to be a burden, being the ‘Miss Goody Two-Shoes’ of North America. But we no longer need to stress and lose sleep over our reputation.
We have Rob Ford.
We are finally free of the shackles of purity. Rob has proven we can drink, do drugs, swear, bully, and shame with the best of them. He has exceeded all expectations — even for a politician. We should be proud that we have finally outdone the likes of Anthony Weiner, Bob Finer(disgraced mayor of San Diego), Eliot Spitzer, Marion Barry, etc. and we have ARRIVED!
I suspected something monumental was afoot when Gill emailed me: “What’s happening in Toronto? You made the front page of The Guardian.” That esteemed paper is her measuring gage for what is important in the world. Gill fumed: “That will never do! Canada has always flown way under the world’s radar. We were invisible and it worked for us. Now everyone knows about us and is taking pot shots.”
“Oh, it’s not so bad,” I countered. “The way I see it, it’s all a scheme by the Tourist Board. Visitor numbers were way down and they probably got together with Rob and decided to spice up the city’s image. And those bobblehead Ford dolls…pure genius marketing for Toronto! It’s just like the frenzied crowds scratching and clawing their way to Cabbage Patch dolls years ago. People are flocking to Toronto. We have celebrity status! What’s not to love?”
“I’m beginning to think you and Rob Ford have been smoking the same funny drugs, Ma! We’re the world’s laughing stocks. That’s not good.”
“Haven’t you heard the old saw, ‘There’s no such thing as BAD publicity’? Think the Kardashians. Train wrecks, all of them. And they are rich, famous, and admired by millions…surely Ford has as much talent as they do. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeing television ads from the Buffalo stations claiming: ‘Now you don’t have to go to Toronto or New York to buy fashionable clothes’. Clothes? Really? That’s all you can say about us, that we have good fashions? Nobody pays attention to that. NOW everyone is paying attention!”
“Ma, I never thought I’d say this, but you have a warped sense of values. I worry about your sanity.”
“I’m fine. But at least you could have a little sympathy for Ford and his family. He obviously has problems — whether it’s addiction, denial, or resentment at not being chosen to be on The Biggest Loser. And his poor wife — imagine having to have your full makeup on and hair perfect every time you set foot on your front lawn in case the crush of photographers snaps your picture. That has got to be stressful! I hope that, at least, Rob is paying for a live-in hair stylist and fashion consultant for her. I suspect even the good citizens of Toronto would foot the bill if asked. She deserves to have a shred of dignity left…and we all know a bad picture lives forever on the Internet. How will she explain her haggard appearance to her children in the future? …Oops, I have to go, dear. There’s BREAKING NEWS on t.v. Rob just mowed down some poor female council member. Wow! Talk about a bull in a china shop! I must make myself a bowl of popcorn and watch this latest installment. Talk to you later…”