Our blandness is the best defence

Allan Fotheringham November 26 1984

Our blandness is the best defence

Allan Fotheringham November 26 1984

Our blandness is the best defence


Allan Fotheringham

Zowee, Dr. Foth, am I ever glad to bump into you after all this while!

Delineate precisely the specificities of your ineluctable ignorance.

Well, gee, is the rumor true that you have become a Yank?

Never. The moon will turn into blue cheese and Erik Nielsen will develop charm before that ever happens.

Well, like, why have you moved to Washington?

Simple. The inequality of nations. One must spread one’s talents around. Now that the main task of later life, the eradication and removal of the detested Liberals has taken place, one must move on and save another country.

It’s only fair to the Americans. They need salvation too.

Do they realize how lucky they are?

Considering the fact the Good Doctor can’t get White House security clearance or a parking spot, apparently they do.

Could you tell us, in a few words, how you plan to save America?

The same formula. Constructive advice. Moral guidance. Supportive praise. Selected niggling. In general, anything that will lead to the uplifting of society’s finest dreams and aspirations. I think they’ll appreciate it. After all, they are a generous people.

Do you plan to have any help in this project?

Indubitably. My friend Paul Robinson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, who as they say is the only bull who carries his own china shop around with him, is my guiding force. I will pattern my activities after his.

Is it true that Nancy Reagan is the secret power behind her husband?

Behind those adoring eyes, cast upward at his podium pose, is Edgar Bergen. At the podium is Charlie McCarthy. What we have here is something more powerful than Geraldine Ferraro. The feminists don’t know this, but this lady is in the closet. A card-carrying member. Some day the truth will be told.

Do you find any difference between Washington and Ottawa, one of your favorite cities?

Yes. In Washington the men’s trousers end around their ankles, and all parties end abruptly at 10 p.m., namely because the heavy hitters have to get up early for an 8 a.m. business breakfast that opens with a prayer.

Do you mean Ottawa parties last past 10 p.m.?

No. No one in Ennui-on-the-Rideau goes out after dark, because they’re sitting indoors, watching old reruns of Gunsmoke. Besides, the gas stations

close at dusk.

Why do Ottawa gas stations close at dusk?

It is a mystery that has always escaped me. Otherwise, I suppose, they’d go broke. Whatever Ottawa people do when the sun goes down, they do it behind their curtains. Ask Mackenzie King.

Get serious. What do you find to be the significant differences between Americans and Canadians?

Americans really believe that anyone can make a million. Those who do have a lot of fun. Those who don’t, they go on green stamps. In Canada people have the modest belief that one should not try too hard. Both having fun and green stamps, among Canadians, are considered not a good idea.

Is this a metaphysical insight into Brian Mulroney’s soul?

Mulroney is a freak, if you really want to know, in that he thinks politics can be fun. At the moment, he’s like a cocker

spaniel pup chewing on a slipper. He believes all things are possible.

Are all things possible?

It depends on whether Ronnie Reagan’s hearing aid throws a piston in the next few years. Mulroney has an Irish friend in the White House and a valuable bullpen with Allan and Sondra Gotlieb at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

Are the G otliebs’ cocktail parties really as glittering as the social pages claim?

All I know is that whenever Reagan finds someone missing from a cabinet meeting, he phones Gotlieb’s chef to

check the table setting. It’s rumored the invasion of Nicaragua was cancelled in the Gotliebs’ men’s room.

But, really, what ’s it like being so close to the red button that could blow us all up?

That’s not the real problem that consumes the town, not the crucial matter.

Pray tell, what’s that? Well, Art Buchwald and Henry Kissinger and their pushy friends commandeer all the tennis courts. The second most important thing in Washington, next to the business breakfasts that open with a prayer, is the fight for ten-

nis courts. Nicaragua comes rather down the list.

You’re saying, then, that Washington is rather obsessed with itself?

Was Athens? Was Rome? The chaps know that this is where it is happening and, after the power breakfast and tennis is disposed of, we’ll blow up Central America. Everything in its proper perspective.

How do you then see, sir, the future relationship between the Great White North and the Excited States of America?

Hopefully, nebulous. Ignorance is our best hope. Invisibility is our best guide. The more they forget we exist, the less chance they will send in the marines. Our blandness is the best defence we will ever have. Smother them with boredom. Let’s keep that ennui flying.

Gee, thanks, Dr. Foth, your fuzzification of the situation certainly muddifies things for me.

No probs.

Allan Fotheringham is a columnist for Southam News.