"Why do you hate the Heritage District?" says the wife.
"Nobody is gonna tell me what colour to paint my house."
"You have never painted the house.
"Well I painted the bathroom!"
"And I told you what colour to paint it!" She can really get on your nerves.
"So why do you love the Heritage idea? Tell me that!"
"Because I think going back in time is romantic," says Mrs. Pops.
"Yeah? Well I'm sick and tired of smarter people telling me what to do. Like in
high school when they made us study and there was this dress code, and they wouldn't
let me wear my AC/DC T-shirt! See, it's like when smart bossy people like high school
teachers retire, they gotta find something to do. So the thing they do best is boss
people around, but nobody pays any attention now. So they join some club or committee,
get on the executive and go back to bossing people around. Middle class people,
like high school teachers, just love telling working class people what to do."
"Hey, I was a high school teacher!"
"I rest my case."
"Ooh-kay, that ratty AC/DC Tee is for sure going in the garbage!"
"The seventies is where I would freeze this place in time!" I says.
"No, I think the thirties would be the most romantic. Dancing at the Stork Club,
with the moonlight on the lake!"
"What's romantic about breadlines and Adolf Hitler? The problem with the Heritage
people is that they don't go all out with the idea. First of all, they need to choose
the best time period to freeze Port in, and then commit all the way."
"What time period is that?"
"Hello? I think we are talking the most glorious time in all of Canadian history
- the War of 1812!"
"What makes 1812 the most glorious time period?" asks Mrs. Pops.
"It was when we Canadians defeated the idea of American democracy in favour of a
dictatorship by the Family Compact and the Anglican Church! They tried to fool us
with their big American ideas, like free education; but we fought and died for the
right to be stupid! Well, some of us did. A lot of us sat it out and had to be supplemented
by natives, who fought and died for the right to live on crappy reservations. Now
that is a time period worth freezing! But they gotta commit all the way."
"It's not enough to make our homes look like 1812. The Heritage Committee needs
to make us dress like 1812, and talk like 1812. Can you imagine what a tourist attraction
that would be? Even more than that sub that draws millions of awed onlookers every
year, just like they thought!"
"Are you serious?"
"You would be allowed to have a Laura Secord Chocolates franchise, Tecumseh Tire,
New Orleans Pizza, maybe Brock University, but that's it! And we would have to bring
in those Reenactor guys, and teepees and natives and fight a battle every day! That
would bring a few tourists through the chocolate factory!"
"That sounds expensive."
"Oh, you wouldn't pay these people. Most folks in those days were poor and starving.
Just adds to the realism. And the Heritage Committee should dress up as the Family
Compact! Now that's commitment. I should be so committed!"
"Yes, you should," she says.
Not sure what she meant by that.
Editor's Note: Pops McKernan is the byline of writer Patrick Harding, author of Splendiferous.