Yes, I love attention.
Anyone who knows me could tell you that. I always love to tell a good story, or make wisecracks and try hard to land the perfect joke. So with that comes a certain amount of spotlight loving, I’ll admit.
I used to blame all that stage hogging on my crazy family.
You try growing up being the fourth of five siblings. Think about it….what the hell does Number FOUR get you? You’re not first or second. You’re not the baby of the family so you miss out on all of those perks. I mean, you can’t even lay claim to be being the problem middle child! And let’s not forget that it wouldn’t be Cape Breton without raising a few wacky cousins! So with all that crowd and all that noise, and no place in the pecking order, what’s a guy to do but come up with unique and wonderful ways to find that misplaced attention sometimes?
This past week, I got a whole lot of unnecessary attention for something that just seemed kind of…well, obvious and decent to do. But the next thing I know, I am on the front page of the local newspaper and being asked to do radio interviews, all the while being pursued by a rabid “fan” base of alt right supporters from the good ol’ U S of A, who come equipped with ugly threats, questionable wardrobe choices, bad selfies because they can’t find anyone else to hold a camera, and shockingly bad spelling and grammar.
It all started innocently enough. It was Halloween eve and after overdosing on coffee and mini chocolate bars all day long, I thought it high time I introduce a vegetable or two to my system, so I decided to wander over to the local grocery store before it closed. As I stepped outside, I came across four figures approximately 20 feet away, standing on the sidewalk. They were dressed head to toe in dark clothes with black hoodies, and had anonymous white masks covering their faces. To be honest, I couldn’t tell their age or race or gender…they were covered in a way that made them pretty much unidentifiable…but I knew they were vaguely masculine shaped and all of them at least a half-foot taller and a few inches broader than me.
For a moment I froze, and they froze, and my first thought was “aren’t you a lil’ old for trick or treating?” This was quickly followed by my second thought, which was: “DAMN but you’re all spectacularly creepy looking, just standing there and not moving or talking, so I’m just going to get the hell out of your way!” And so, giving them a pretty wide berth, I lowered my head, glanced at the sidewalk and quickly walked past. As I look back, I notice they still haven’t moved on, and I watch as the one in front, staring towards me through those empty black eye holes, motion towards a street pole with his hand. Then I heard the familiar click of what I thought was a staple gun – now, you try living with a reupholstering maniac and you’ll hear that sound in your sleep, too – and that’s when curiousity got the best of me. Yes, it is true that in that moment I thought to myself they are probably a posse of serial killers out advertising for their next victim, and all I have to protect myself is my charming wit, my boyish good looks, and my puny little fists, but I turned around and slowly followed them back up the street anyway. Before I’d reached the pole they had been standing in front of, they had already rounded the corner, and I could hear a horn blaring at them as their hard to see selves must have dodged traffic crossing the busy street.
So I got to the pole and I glanced up high and…I felt my heart sink and my blood pressure start to rise. There, in bold black letters on the stark white sheet were the words “It’s OK to be white”. Instinctively, I reached for it, ripped it down, and crumpled it into a ball, as I glanced around to see if anyone was watching. Then I ran up the street to where I saw the foursome headed before they had disappeared. I looked frantically around, unsure what I would do if I found them, but knowing I was angry and that I had to confront them and wave this stupid crumpled paper in my hand in their stupid blank, hidden faces and say “THIS? This right here? It’s WRONG”.