Words - at least, words not cobbled together by the master himself - cannot embrace the totality of Ray Guy's work.
His death Tuesday at the age of 74 elicited a swarm of imperfect accolades and reminiscences from all corners.
Guy held one tenet sacred, that is, that nothing was sacred. He angered and embarrassed anyone who dared stick his or her neck above the cover of anonymity. At the same time, he shone a light on the manifold qualities and quirks that make Newfoundland unique.
But enough of our words. We give the floor to Mr. Guy, from the last string of columns he wrote for The Telegram:
"Kissing John Crosbie's arse may not be everyone's idea of rest and recreation.
"But once again, Mr. Crosbie has issued that broad invitation across 500 pages in the story of his life, 'No Holds Barred,' which is about to be published.
"That particular glutal target, presented once too often, will eventually set more boots to twitching than lips to puckering."
- Oct. 19, 1997
"For some of today's politicians, polls are their Holy Bible. They wouldn't even wear a sealskin jacket without consulting one. ...
"The Sacred Office of the Pollster soared in status on the day that Premier (Brian) Tobin moved into Confederation Building.
"All week long, the little pink snouts of the truffle-hound pollsters quiver and poke. About 500 'scientifically selected' citizens pick up the phone to find themselves brazenly quizzed by strangers."
- March 15, 1998
"I am a Newfie. I've got Newfie arms and Newfie legs and a small Newfie wart on my left Newfie cheek. I sleep in a Newfie bed which I roll out of most Newfie mornings.
"I shuffle to the Newfie window, pull back the Newfie curtains and blink out at the usual Newfie muck.
"I reflect briefly, in a Newfie way, that the Newfie glass is neither half empty nor half full. 'What shagging Newfie glass?' is my habitual Newfie question.
"I wasn't always a Newfie. Not even a Newf. I was a Newfoundlander and that of the most profound and popinjay kind.
"A quarter of a century ago I wrote a column on the joys of profound and popinjay Newfoundlandism that caused the managing editor of The Evening Telegram, Bob Ennis, to furiously scratch his backside.
"That's what he always did in time of great agitation or elation. Mr. Ennis ran with this wonderful piece up to Telegram management. It made the publisher's lip quiver with true-blue Newfoundland emotion.
"I'd struck the nail on the hand. They took that column and they stuck it fair and square on the front page. That was almost an unheard of thing at the time.
"How dare they call us seal-hunting barbarians! How dare they tell those Newfie jokes! How dare they call us Newfies! Yada, yada, yada.
"When you get older you get wiser. But only in the sense that you can crank out excuses faster. Excuses for not having been as smart then as you are now.
"That's how life works, even for Newfies."
- Nov 2, 1997