06:39:36 am on
Thursday 13 Jun 2024

Exile on Main Street
David Simmonds

When you read this column and unless the result is a cliffhanger, in the tradition of George W. Bush and Al Gore, we’ll all know by now who won the American presidential election and who lost. After such a bitter battle, the loser will be especially downbeat and will take intense criticism from all quarters. Thus, I wonder if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, whichever one is the loser, might give some serious thought to getting out of Dodge and making a fresh start.

Might Canada she or he that doesn't win, exile?

Why doesn’t Canada take some initiative and consider offering the loser political asylum? If we welcomed Syrian refugees by the thousands, what’s the big deal about offering a place to one failed candidate and spouse for the most powerful job in the world? While we’re at it, why doesn’t Prince Edward County muscle its way to the front of the line and offer to be the place in which the exile takes place? After all, we’re one of the ten places in the world you must visit and you can see the lights of New York from the County, on a clear night, if the right optic prevails. Napoleon went to Elba, for goodness sake, so there is lots of precedent to toddle off to an island.

Is the County bold enough to step forward? Surely, after securing the Roots holiday advertising campaign, the sky is our oyster. Yet, an we offer either Trump or Clinton enough to occupy his or her time? Of course, we can!

Let's consider Trump, first, then Clinton.

Trump is first. In a prior column, I talked of possible participation, by Trump, in the Pumpkinfest parade next year; living here would allow him to get deeply involved. It’s a big thing now, but he could make it really “yuge.” He might also be interested in joining the Prince Edward County Quilters Guild: quilting might be just the thing to calm his excitable temperament. He may, instead, stick to his knitting, so to speak, and bring his skills in real estate development to the table. He could buy the Picton Legion building, at a fire sale price, and turn it into a comedy club, becoming the house comedian who subjects rowdy audiences to a nightly stream of insults. Then again, he might be satisfied to buy a condominium in our new Twelve Trees development and barbeque Trump steaks for himself and his wife, Melania, to his heart’s content. Let’s just say the man will not be groping for things to do.

As for Clinton, she could join the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and work on her birdwatching life list, which I understand is not yet very extensive. She could use her considerable fundraising prowess to help the group pay its legal fees arising from the successful challenge to the proposed wind turbines around Ostrander Point. She might also enjoy the Quarter Moon coffee house evenings on alternative Thursdays in the spring, summer and fall, so long as she was prepared to adhere to the house limit of two songs per performer. Clinton might prefer to keep her hand in at politics and run for a position on the Wellington Recreation Committee, provided she was prepared to start with a junior portfolio. She could even fulfill her long unacted-upon option to stay home and bake cookies, which I am sure her husband Bill would enjoy.

It is true that each would have to scale down expectations as to the financial rewards garnered from living in the County. I doubt either could expect to get $175,000 a pop for giving a 45-minute speech to the Wellington Rotary Club. While either could each no doubt find a job here, I’d wager they would soon find that the salary earned by waiting on tables barely covers the weekly food bill.

Clinton or Trump would have to become, to coin an already shopworn phrase, creative rural entrepreneurs. For instance, Trump could team up with a natural foods purveyor and lend his name to a line of “Trump the County” kale burgers and tofu cheeses. Clinton could team up with a local decorator to offer a line of customized glass ceilings.

Although I hate to sound the slightest bit negative, I hear now is not a good time to be a real estate purchaser in the County. Thus, our candidate might want to consider leasing a vacant summer rental property for the winter and re-evaluating the scene come spring. If the market doesn’t come back into balance by then, maybe the prospect of facing harassment complaints or FBI probes won’t seem quite as bad as it does now.

Exile on main street.

Oh well: even if the exile on Main Street is brief, we will have done our bit to help and we’ll go down in history for it.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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