SAINTS PRESERVE US
Days Like These
Last week roots rocker John Mellencamp released a single, “Wasted Days,” an earthy and reflective collaboration with Bruce Springsteen. The low-key video shows two grizzled hipsters, soul survivors from the days when rock ruled popular culture. The song echoes the sentiments I hear throughout Springsteen’s latest album, Letter to You, his collection of warm and sometimes bittersweet rearview mirror images of growing up on stage in seaside bars. I admire Mellencamp because he kicked back against the star maker machinery and willed his transformation from a groomed, manufactured teen idol into a vital American artist.
Flyer Guy made his weekly drop at the Crooked 9 too. His advertising bundle delivery is benignly erratic: lunchtime, happy hour, after midnight – and pick a day. He resembles an Allman brothers hybrid, Capricorn Records long blonde hair, Duane and Gregg the holy duo. He always wear a rock band t-shirt. His mellow is beyond Cheech & Chong bongs. From time to time he wishes to converse a lot more than I’d prefer. This gentle soul’s wasted days must be epic and that’s a legitimate response to days like these.
A pharmacy circular announced that Saturday was National Brow Day, Up to 50% off* on selected Annabelle Kohl, Rimmel London, L’Oreal and Maybelline New York products. No surprise. Friday was the International Day of Older Persons. September was the host month of National Coffee Day and some sort of Siblings Day. Dog knows every breed has its day. Does Caitlyn Jenner celebrate Mother’s Day or does she leave that Hallmark holiday to Norman Bates?
Lost in this daze of days was Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a sombre end to September. The plight of this country’s First Nations is not particularly pleasant. A disproportionate number of Indigenous citizens populate Canada’s prisons. A disproportionate number of Indigenous women have been murdered and those missing are presumed dead. Many reserves are without potable water. These and other issues under the shadow of the horrific legacy of Canada’s residential school system, a government policy of assimilation predicated upon, to be brutally frank, beating the “Indian” out of Indians.
Our National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is nothing to be celebrated. It is rather like Remembrance Day, a grim day necessarily marked, and intended to prompt all Canadians to pause and reflect on this country’s past, present and future. This special day debuted on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s watch. Naturally he went on vacation, took a holiday flyer. He wouldn’t dare do that on November 11 no matter what deep family sunshine discount the Aga Khan offered him for a sojourn on that private island paradise.
I will not deny our prime minister’s natural charisma. He made the cover of Rolling Stone after all – granted, the magazine isn’t what it was. I understand realpolitik. I understand that the needs of a party and its leader will always trump any ethical considerations. What I don’t understand is Trudeau’s propensity for botching the small stuff, the ceremonial and symbolic duties of his office. Is a public appearance or two in a First Nations community on our first-ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation such a big ask? Is there a single grain of common sense in that man’s head? Maybe not, because that snap election call two years into his term as head of a carte blanche minority government didn’t quite work out either. Engaged and enraged Canadians are now obligated to question his judgment about everything, from the economy to foreign policy.
In the great fund-raising and marketing scheme of things, diseases are graced with an entire week or even a month of national awareness, psycho-symptomatic credit card donation channels for hypochondriacs. Canada’s First Nations got a day and the prime minister flew through it, over it. No surprise then that eyebrows and pugs get more notice, more ink. What a wasted day for the rest of us.
meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of prosaic tangents since 2013. My novella Of Course You Did is out now. Visit www.megeoff.com to find your preferred format and retailer.