Thoughts for the times

Ed Smith
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Three? Four? Five? How many earth-shattering events have we had in the last two weeks or so?

I’m beginning to think the Mayans were only off by a couple of months. The deeper we get into February the more evidence there seems to be that things just ain’t natural around these parts.

I’ll know everything is gone to hell for sure when I see the CEO of Marine Atlantic standing on the wharf in sunny Port aux Basques apologizing to everyone for the failure of the stabilizers in heavy seas or the inability of their ferries to dock because of the high superstructures in any kind of wind in such a confined space or the equipment failure at any time. Cannot list any more problems because I’m out of breath.

But that’s what the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines did earlier this week when that unfortunate cruise ship finally docked in Mobile, Alabama.

He went aboard the ship and apologized to everyone. I’m sure those passengers sloshing around in urine and feces and vomit felt one heck of a lot better about everything. And they must have gone totally apoplectic when he offered everyone $500 to make up for everything they’d been through!

Five hundred bucks! They’ll be lucky to get away with $50,000 per passenger before it’s all finished.

But can you imagine someone from Marine Atlantic standing on the wharf as the cars roll off after a particularly hairy crossing of the Gulf, or having to change diapers on howling youngsters for a couple of days on a dock in North Sydney, and offering $500 to make up for cruel and unusual punishment? (That’s what I should be doing for you to make up for those marathon sentences that I can’t seem to get down to breath size.)

That would be an earth-shattering event in itself. But what do those wonderful Marine Atlantic people do? Raise the rates! Can you believe it? They are actually raising the rates for people who have to use that particular “service” in order to get across that section of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Boggles the mind. What’s next? Three times a week service? Or exchanging the Gulf ferries with the Fogo Island cruise ships, and replacing those marvelous facilities on the Fairwell side with Porta-Potties and park benches?

By the way, people, hold your breath and cross your fingers and pray. How long, do you think, before Sir Jerome Kennedy decides he can save a dollar or two by raising the price of your ticket across the deep blue sea?

But I digress. I really digress.

At the beginning, I was simply going to point out the inexplicable, potential tragedy of that cruise ship, and got caught up in the inexplicable comedy of errors that is our ferry service to the great nation of Canada of which we are supposed to be a part. You say that criticism is too strong? That it’s, as Randy Simms said one day last week in another context, “an oversimplification of the reality of the current circumstance.” Isn’t that beautiful? Writers spend decades trying to come up with stuff like that.

And there I go again.

My honest intent was simply to make note of everything that’s happening in the world that seems out of whack. For example, the fact that while an asteroid with the capability of wiping out large chunks of dear old planet Earth was whipping by a hair’s breadth from St. John’s — or worse still, Springdale — a little old meteorite the size of your dining room table was creating havoc and mayhem over Russia. More than 1,100 people were hurt. Many times more than that had the living poop frightened out of them. They say something the size of a grapefruit could irreparably damage the infrastructure of Turks Gut.

Of course, all it took to wipe out Turks Gut before this was a simple change of name. That’s another lovely Newfoundland place name gone forever — along with Gayside, Whale’s Gulch and Scratchass Pond.

We were getting some proud there for a while, b’ys. Were we afraid of being mentioned on the National News or something, and Peter Mansbridge laughing at us?

Thank God the crowd in Dildo don’t have the same inferiority complex. For a while there, I was getting worried about Eddie’s Cove.

Imagine a hero to much of the world, and especially his native South Africa, losing every ounce of common sense and emotional control, and shooting his girlfriend with malice of forethought and killing her dead. Then he cries and sobs “uncontrollably” during his court appearance. That’s not just you or me doing it, sir and ma’am. In terms of celebrity misconduct, that’s right up there with O.J. Simpson and Eddie Byrne.

North Korea sets off another nuclear explosion and crows to the rest of the world, “Fuddle duddle you!” Is that scary or what!?

Think of the vicious storms that are rolling in one after the other and clobbering much of the United States. Evidently we’ve had three “once-every-hundred-years” storms in the last two months. I wouldn’t be too concerned about it except the Americans are doing nothing to stop those things at their borders. Instead they’re marching right up into the Maritimes and on across to us.

Obviously the customs officials manning our border are federal government appointees, and probably Conservatives and probably related to Harper. They don’t care about us.

You knew, as did I, there would be no way Newfoundland and Labrador could escape the shattering events that are paralyzing much of the world, if not physically then with fear and amazement. As the good pastor keeps saying on radio, “Surely we are living in the last days.”

Wonder where he got that idea?

Geewhiz, I’ve gone and done it again — digressed.


Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.

His email address is

Organizations: Marine Atlantic, Carnival Cruise Lines, Trans-Canada Highway.Boggles National News

Geographic location: Port aux Basques, North Sydney, Fogo Island Newfoundland and Labrador Canada Russia Dildo South Africa United States Springdale.His

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Recent comments

  • JR
    February 25, 2013 - 13:23

    Ms. Lybova didn't take kindly to the treament she was given.Be wary crooked City & Port Auth...karma bites!

  • jasper john
    February 23, 2013 - 11:50

    This all reminds me of this novel I just read called THE MYOSHI EFFECT, which is about how people react when a giant asteroid heads toward earth. The discussions on how to stop it and so forth, straight from the novel - which is a humor novel but based on science - which makes it funnier to me. Fiction becomes fact. Strange times we live in.