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Maxed Out

The perils of the Canadian game

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An exhaustive list of my shortcomings is beyond the scope of a single column. While generally not wading too deeply into the seven deadly sins, I would certainly have to include sloth on the list. If it weren’t for deadlines – rarely self-imposed – I’d quite likely never get anything done.

Mañana, as both lifestyle and philosophy, has held me in a tight embrace since long before I knew there was a word in any language to describe it. I used to think my indolence was the result of an inherited procrastination gene but now I realize even that evaluation is overly hopeful; procrastinators eventually stop procrastinating and get whatever they’re avoiding done.

And I’m not what you’d call a snappy dresser. This may just be a variant of sloth, I’m not sure. I enjoy clothes shopping about as much as I enjoy digging deeply-lodged slivers of wood out from under a fingernail. Given a choice, I’d undoubtedly take the slivers – the pain doesn’t last as long and the result is generally successful.

I once thought I’d outgrow this particular failing but there’s no sign of hope and the horizon is rapidly receding. I’ve now adopted a strategy of smearing grease or soil on my hands and using the excuse of either fixing the car or gardening as justification for whatever I’m wearing. It’s a promising ploy though not foolproof and embarrassingly hard to explain in the middle of January.

Of course, it’s built on a lie and lying is not one of my strong suits. There was a time in my youth – most of it – when I showed promise of becoming a pretty good liar. I could spin a spontaneous tale to explain just about anything, absolve myself of any responsibility or wrongdoing, deflect criticism, garner sympathy, or keep from getting the snot beat out of me by someone I’d just insulted.

But to be a real player at the lying game, you need a near-perfect memory and whatever memory brain cells I was born with were pretty well squandered between 1968 and 1978. I don’t remember exactly how. I do know by the time I moved to Canada in 1979, I’d adopted a doctrine of strict truth. Unless the truth was going to get me in trouble or beaten up. It wasn’t any easier to remember the truth but getting caught telling the truth was less embarrassing than getting caught telling a lie.

This propensity for telling the truth compels me to come clean about a shortcoming that is particularly noticeable this time of year. I’m a hockey weenie. I know virtually nothing about hockey. Worse, I care even less.

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