Nearly 800 weeks ago, Bob Barnett strolled into the place I was working and nonchalantly said, "Wanna write a column for Pique ?" I never expected it to last this long - and no, I'm not quitting; don't getcher hopes up - but I did suspect it'd be a bumpy ride. It has been.
About three weeks into the experiment, Bob visited me again at work. He told me one councillor and a developer wanted to sue over what I'd written that week. They'd been touting an early Housing Authority project as not only a great place to live - it was - but as a reasonably good financial investment; it wasn't. Problem was, their arithmetic was wrong. It wasn't a matter of opinion, just faulty math.
I tried to ease Bob's concerns by revealing a part of my background he wasn't aware of, and I wasn't particularly proud of - an MBA in finance. I assured him my arithmetic was correct. I think I might have also said, "Get used to it."
Some months later, a character of questionable value made good on the earlier threat and did sue us. It was a baseless, petulant and juvenile display of pique and, of course, didn't go anywhere but it did cost unnecessary dollars at a time Pique wasn't really generating any.
There have since been irate phone calls to Bob, and Kathy when she was alive, from mayors, administrators, realtors, businessfolk, councillors, candidates and, yes, concerned citizens complaining about one outrage or another perpetrated by me. There have been meetings and audiences and vaguely threatening letters, faxes and emails. There have been eyeball-to-eyeball run-ins with red-faced, spittle-sputtering councillors I thought might end in bodily harm. And there have been friends who became less friendly over words I'd written.
C'est la vie.
If you have an opinion and you give it public voice there will be reaction. If you have an opinion and keep it to yourself you will always paddle calm waters... until your pent-up frustration stops your heart from beating.
But if you have an opinion, dress it up for public consumption and then hide behind a cloak of anonymity? Well, that's just chickenshit.
Which is one of the problems I have with Whistler's Coalition of Concerned Citizens.
I know who some of the CCCs are. I'm friends with some of them. I have respect for some of them as individuals. I patronize some of their businesses, share drinks and stories with some, and, tellingly, share most of their concerns. But they do themselves, their causes and their community - our community - a massive disservice with their we-don't-want-anyone-to know-who-we-are charade.