Now first off today, readers eagerly in search of highbrow edification, I present a snippet of little-known history to illustrate the fact that Danny Williams’ penis is not the first birdie owned by a Newfoundland premier to make the rounds of public discussion.
Granted, a story about a premier and his sexual plumbing doesn’t break every week. (Only in Newfoundland, you say? Pity!)
And, for sure, it’s mighty rare, unprecedented, one would think, that a yarn about any Canadian political leader and his johnson — Williams’ willie in this case — gains exposure within scant days of a debate about other parts of that politician’s anatomy. (Danny’s frontal lobe, in this notable case, or whatever part of the brain influences the temperament and blood pressure of its owner.)
The archival footnotes I dredge from my warped memory bank surround the winky owned by our second premier, Frank Moores, whose sexual prowess provoked a great many private laughs (and envy in some male circles), and at least a couple of public references — one direct, one indirect — long forgotten by most:
• Joey Smallwood, frustrated by the fact that this womanizing, hard-partying but earthy and popular man of the people was gaining momentum in his efforts to topple JRS’s long-time regime, used locker room vernacular in an interview with Evening Telegram reporter Bill Kelly to try and dismiss his chief nemesis: “He, that fella from Harbour Grace, Frankie baby, the man who desires my job,” cried Joe, “is nothing but a six-foot penis.”
• And there was the headline writer for The Evening Telegram who, either purposely or accidentally, gave humorous perspective to a story of a move by Moores to increase the number of people working in his office. The headline — a copy of which was Scotch-taped for years above Ray Guy’s desk in his office/closet — announced simply: “Premier’s staff grows and grows.”
(An aside here: I’m anxiously awaiting the kind of headline Mr. or Ms. Editor will supply for this column. Many deadlines ago, I wrote a story in the before-mentioned Evening Telegram about the marketing of seal penises, a story that included a quote from a Chinese businessman in San Francisco on the prowl for seal peckers to the effect that, “in my country of China, Mr. Wakeham, it, ah, the seal penis, make the, ah, old men feel young again,” and a declaration from a sealing company boss in Halifax that his men “don’t have time to go cuttin’ those little penises off all day long.” The word penis was mentioned throughout the story, but a delicate and restrained desk editor of the day decided that “seal product” was about all our reading public could handle in the headline.)
But back to present day: it’s obviously impossible to get into any trouble jesting about Moores’ joystick, the colourful, likeable but work-challenged premier having gone to his penthouse in the sky.
But what’s the result of the fact that I’ve had some fun at the expense of Williams (or his wilson, more to the point), what, in the name of all that is good and wholesome in this Christian, God-fearing province of ours, is to become of me, and in this time of retirement, no less, when most of my reprehensible deeds are behind me?
I can’t be hove out as a volunteer with a provincial advisory group as Pam Pardy Ghent was this week when she joked on her Facebook entry about the premier’s penis size. (An incredibly dumb move on her part, and a warning to computer cement-heads like me that fear of Facebook is not without merit; a punishment for Ms. Pardy Ghent, nevertheless, that seemed to not fit the “crime.”)
But could the premier send Shawn Skinner after me?
No, no, please say it ain’t so.
A fate worse than a week covering the legislature, I would think, to be placed at the mercy of Salivatin’ Shawn, that hard-hitting, charismatic cabinet minister, anxious beyond words to maintain his comfy status by following orders and taking up for his infallible and deeply sensitive leader, delighted to have a rare shot at getting his mug in The Telegram and a 15-second clip on “Here and Now,” the same counter-attacking crackie who barked at Petulant Pam and sent her packing. I won’t sleep a wink.
And it’ll be my last column about the premier’s penis, I’ll guarantee you that.
Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.