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Maxed Out

Who knew we had all this scum?

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I have drawn a big red rectangle around this week on my calendar. It denotes a confluence of almost cosmic proportions, an occurrence as rare and as gratifying as the unexpected Democratic victories last week in my country of birth.

Not only is a very small but very welcome part of Whistler mountain going to open this week and save me the lung-burning necessity of skinning up Peak to Creek, but I find myself wholeheartedly, unabashedly, and most definitely unexpectedly in nearly-complete agreement with a bold initiative proposed by Councillor Ralph. The former happens once a year; the latter… I’ll have to check my records but this may be a first.

Ralph wants to run scum landlords out of Dodge. I’m not generally a joiner but, Ralph, I’ll bring the tar if you bring the feathers. I’m sure we can filch what’ll pass for a rail from one of the building sites around town, maybe the one I hope to move into one day if it ever gets completed… which is seeming iffier every day.

Tarring and feathering and running out of town on a rail used to represent local justice at work in towns along the expanding western frontier south of the border. I’m not certain Canada has much of a glorious history in the tar and feather department. I suspect the Canadian equivalent was to politely ask miscreants to move on down the road to the next town or at least another neighbourhood. But what the heck, we’ve managed to adopt the best of other cultures. Why not tar and feathers?

Undesirable elements were generally bushwhacked by the local committeemen who’d been prodded to clean up the town of whatever despicable activity the taree was engaged in — generally something the locals viewed as somehow immoral — generously doused with warm tar or pitch, covered with chicken feathers, tied with the very tender male parts straddling the uncomfortable corner of a wooden beam, the rail, and carried none too gently on the celebrating townspeople’s shoulders to the edge of town. It was generally unnecessary to warn them not to return.

If you’ve ever had gum stuck in your hair — and who hasn’t — you can begin to glimpse just how tedious and painful removing tar and feathers from more or less your entire head, not to mention the rest of your body, might be once the tar has hardened. The acute soreness radiating from your groin added injury to insult and disproved the old saw about not being able to feel pain in two places at once.

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