Courier columns; Rollin’ on the River with Mark Taylor

“The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.” – Demetri Martin

Last week this country and the sport of hockey lost a true legend; Guy Lafleur. I never had the good fortune to meet him, but from all accounts, he was one of the “good guys.” I have watched the tributes, the interviews, and the clips from yesteryear that show his tremendous skills on the ice but also a side that shows he had tremendous character off the ice. He was given a send-off that was given to two of his predecessors Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Jean Béliveau. According to my crack research team, they are the only three athletes who have had this honour bestowed upon them; a national funeral.

Nobody will dispute that perhaps Lafleur wasn’t perfect, but sure knew how to get people out of their seats and how to show respect and compassion to the people who helped put him where he was. Signing autographs for adoring fans until everybody got one is something not all that common it seems, but it is something that perhaps celebrities should realize is important. After all, if there ain’t audience, there ain’t no show, and Lafleur sure knew how to put on a show.

I am not going to sit or stand here and tell you that by making Will Smith sit out the Oscars for a few years is the right punishment or not for slapping Chris Rock at this year’s ceremony. I know it hasn’t stopped me in the past, but I’m not about to say something that I haven’t got a clue about. After game 4 in the Raptors/76ers basketball game, Philly player Joel Embiid criticized the officials and was fined $15,000 U.S. which is substantial to most of us. To put this in perspective, for a guy who will make $31,800,000 in salary alone in 2022, it’s not that substantial. Heck, it’s like one of us who is making $50,000 a year slinging grub around or cutting bushes and getting fined $24 Canadian which is basically a box of beer. If Embiid is really like one of us, he probably has $15,000 in his piggy bank or 300,000 beer cans in his shed.

Here’s a real headline I saw on CBC.ca; “Crimes on the moon could soon be added to Canada’s Criminal Code.” My immediate reaction was, “Good, we finally got all the laws and injustices fixed on earth so now we can start focusing on the moon.” The reasoning seems to be that if Canadian astronauts commit crimes on the moon, they’re gonna face charges here when they get back. I’ve been listening for the next trip to the moon because I want to put my name in the hat. I realize that the first person to walk on has already happened but I want to go down in history as “that Canadian nut that got charged with doing donuts with a space buggy on the moon’s main drag.” I can just see the cops waiting at the landing pad waiting for me to climb out of the spacecraft. I’m so thankful our politicians have finally found something to do that is really needed by us taxpayers.

This one is from the “I’m not making this up” category. An unidentified California woman fell head-first into a national park outhouse in Washington State while trying to retrieve her phone. The story seems to be missing a lot of details like was she all boozed-up? She tried to lower herself down into the toilet using a dog leash and it snapped and she went in headfirst into the container of human waste. She did manage to her hands on the phone and called 911. A couple firefighters came and helped her get out of the mess. I remember a story about a couple guys using a two-seater outdoor toilet. One guy dropped a toonie down the hole. The other quick thinker threw a $20 bill down the same hole and picked up both of them. The toonie owner said, “Why did you do that?” The Good Samaritan replied, “You didn’t think I was gonna stick my hand down there for a toonie, did ya?”

Mark Taylor is a long time Courier columnist whose views on life and living are usually unconventional and definitely outside of the box. He’s a true Charlotte County boy who has the right to remain silent, but not the ability.