Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Horrible Heffalump

"Help, help!" cried Piglet, "a Heffalump, a Horrible
Heffalump!" and he scampered off as hard as he could, still
crying out, "Help, help, a Herrible Hoffalump! Hoff, Hoff, a
Hellible Horralump! Holl, Holl, a Hoffable Hellerump!" And he
didn't stop crying and scampering until he got to Christopher
Robin's house.

"Whatever's the matter, Piglet?" said Christopher
Robin, who was just getting up.

"Heff," said Piglet, breathing so hard that he could
hardly speak, "a Heff -- a Heff -- a Heffalump."


"Up there," said Piglet, waving his paw.

"What did it look like?"

"Like -- like -- It had the biggest head you ever saw,
Christopher Robin. A great enormous thing, like -- like
nothing. A huge big -- well, like a -- I don't know -- like an
enormous big nothing. Like a jar."

Today, I was backing out of my friend's parking spot into the alley behind her triplex. I checked all around before moving the car and was looking directly out my back window as I eased out. My friend Alice was in the passenger seat and happened to notice a kid of about 9 on his bike turning right into my path, totally oblivious to the fact my car was now moving. Alice yelled at me to stop and I did, just in time. The kid kept going without batting an eye, just about a foot away from the back of the vehicle. Close call. I easily could've hit him.

But I didn't. And here's why I bring it up. There are close calls every day. The fact is, nothing happened with any three tonnes of bomb-making material someone was trying to get their twisted little hands on. They didn't even come close to pulling it off (whatever the intention was, and who's to say at this point anyway?)

In the four days since the arrests, I have spoken to dozens of people. I went to a family birthday party for my father in law. I visited my own parents. I have spoken to plenty of friends and colleagues at work. None of us ever thought to even bring it up in casual conversation. I take public transit to work and have not even encountered anyone else discussing it.

But the mass media (and blogworld, of course) is perfectly - and relentlessly - breathless, poring over the details like giddy teenagers recounting the juicier bits from the prom. Over and over again. It's almost as if you're a nobody in Toronto if you weren't some assholes' potential target.

As the Wonderdog concluded, it's time to grow up, people. Nothing happened. No CN towers came crashing down; no CSIS headquarters got huge chunks blown out of them; unlike forty years ago, our mailboxes are intact. Nobody even so much as got a hangnail.

So relax. Have a cream soda.

- 30 -


wonderdog said...

Well, I got a hangnail.

It was terrifying.

Gazetteer said...

Cream soda?


I'd rather rub my eyes raw with 30 grit sandpaper soaked in double-distilled Dr. Pepper.


Scott in Montreal said...

It's a line in that Robert DeNiro/Charles Grodin buddy movie, Midnight Run. It's spoken by Jimmy Serrano (played by Dennis Farina) to his lawyer, trying to calm him down. It totally comes out of left field and it really underlines the inherent silliness of panicking.

John Murney said...

Good column, Steve.

ivan said...