Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

A call to arms



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This is not the same as being cheap. I’m not exactly sure how it’s different but I know it is. Sort of a defining pornography thing, if you will. And it’s certainly not the same as living legitimately poor. It’s the difference between buying a piece of chicken, a bosom say, and grilling and eating it at one meal, versus boiling the essence out of it and using it and the resulting stock to make a pot of chicken and noodles you’ll eat for as long as you can keep facing it, about a week being the current record.

I like to think it’s what explains the Dell computer box I’ve been using as a temporary coffee table in my living room… since the end of February. I suspect there are people out there who can get excited about the idea of shopping for a coffee table, I’m just certain I’m not one of them. And I’m pretty sure I’ve never met any.

But I’m finally ready to heed President Bush’s — after four years of the father and seven of the son I still can’t shake the feeling that some day I’ll write that and wake up to find out it was all a bad dream — call to arms. I’ve field stripped and cleaned my credit cards, after finding where I’d mislaid them, and I’m ready to hit the front lines.

Ironically, my newfound patriotism for the land of my birth has nothing to do with lending aid and comfort to the brave soldiers doing the actual fighting in Iraq. I still believe the most patriotic act one could perform on their behalf would be to bring them home, apologize to the people of Iraq — might as well apologize to the rest of the world for good measure — and impeach the entire executive branch of government, which is how the dream referred to earlier often ends, thus keeping it from being technically a nightmare.

My willingness to do the patriotic thing for the U.S. is borne of a weariness at being played for a sucker by Canadian retailers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers, as well as manufacturers from other lands who know a good thing when they see one. As a Canadian consumer — albeit a lightweight one — I feel as though I have a big “SUCKER!” stamp on my forehead. It’s the only thing that truly explains the reason each and every one of us pays the kind of premium we pay when we buy something on this side of the border.