There is an old tale reminding us bad things come in threes. I am not one for suspicion but there may be some truth to the axiom. Number one. After having my vehicle serviced for regularly scheduled maintenance, much to my dismay the car wouldn’t start after doing a show. A warning light encouraged me to seek immediate aid for a `self-restraint system’ error. I called roadside assistance and spoke to a nice lady from Montreal. I informed her of the warning message and she calmly told me to step out of the vehicle. I asked her why. I was told there was the possibility that the airbag may deploy on its own. Uh? In my rush I banged my head off the frame and found myself slowly backing away from the car. I cannot imagine the terror of the airbag suddenly exploding but could imagine the authorities simply following my trail of human liquid to discover wherever I landed. It turns out the battery was run to less than 75%.

The moron who detailed the car after its service played the stereo with the engine off for a very long time. I would like to tell you how I would `detail’ the punk’s face if I ever see him but this is a family newspaper. Number Two. Back in the late 1980’s my first television gig was a program I hosted called `Eleven After Midnight’ on CH TV. My mother bought me a highly collectible pair of Laurel and Hardy figurines as a congratulatory gift as the comedians are my heroes. The statues have traveled to New York, Los Angeles, back to New York and finally Canada. I always took great care when moving or dusting my prized possessions and they are displayed atop large speakers in my living room. On one particular evening I went about my usual routine before retiring for the night. I went to lock the sliding door (yet I am eight floors up but still worry about an intrepid burglar for some deluded reason) and my cat Tuffy decided I was going to allow him on the balcony. Like a bolt of lightning he made a run for the door and I heard a loud crash. Sickened, I didn’t want to look but I did. Oliver Hardy’s form was smashed upon the carpet in many pieces.

Tuffy had bumped the speaker in his excitement and knocked it over. The feline must have sensed my rage as he raced into the bedroom and hid under the box spring. I wasn’t angry with the cat but with myself for not placing the statues in a safer spot. The next day I purchased some Krazy Glue and began the meticulous and nerve-wracking repair. Upon completion I had one piece left over- Oliver’s famous bowler hat and some of it was missing. I searched and searched but could not find the piece to complete the hat. I even checked Tuffy’s litter box just in case he decided he should eat the evidence. To further my perplexed state I could not make the hat fit upon Oliver’s head. I was flummoxed and growing increasingly agitated. And then I had an epiphany which so dumbfounded and embarrassed me I hesitate to tell you. After owning these precious gifts for over twenty years I suddenly realized the hat was not atop Oliver’s head but held with one of his hands. My sincere apologies if any of you heard the incredibly loud expletive that roared from my lips on that day. It was not a crash of thunder but yours truly. Laurel and Hardy are now safely displayed on shelves too high for Tuffy to reach and I am subscribing to that website that helps improve your memory. Number Three.

You know I walk every day to keep fit and feed the squirrels and birds. The sky was dark and foreboding and the wind was picking up. I decided I would take the risk and perform my early afternoon constitutional. Halfway through my jaunt the skies opened up and I was drenched in seconds. There was no sense hurrying as I was now thoroughly soaked and leisurely strolled back to my condominium. I dried myself and clothed again with a nagging sense of guilt that the squirrels and birds had been deprived of their daily treats. The rain had stopped and I threw caution to the wind. I went back outside, crossed the parking lot and was about to feed them when an absolute downpour began. Drenched again I sighed heavily and meandered back to the condo. It suddenly dawned upon me that even the animals have enough sense to stay out of the rain. Laurel and Hardy would have been proud.

Ben Guyatt

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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