BY PETER PICKERGILL
Readers of this column may remember a plot I have mentioned in the past. A plot aimed at me personally.
I have written about it several times, particularly on occasions when the news of the day made its existence undeniable.
I should clarify a little.
Though I take it personally, it must be said this plot is not aimed at me alone, but at all cartoonists. In fact, it is aimed at all people in the ‘goofiness trade’.
All of us start by harvesting the raw material of human folly. We then mix it with a dash of wit, a pinch of skepticism, several litres of exaggeration and a healthy dollop or two of sauciness, pop it into the oven bake it at 440 degrees F. for twenty minutes and voila, our daily bread.
The plot works like this: public figures worldwide share information and tips on how to behave in a manner so preposterously exaggerated no cartoonist can top it. What they get up to is so loony no cartoon can possibly be more outrageous!
Once a newspaper editor becomes aware readers are laughing or screaming hysterically at factual news reports, and staring stone-faced at cartoons, the cartoonist’s days on the job are numbered.
I admire the idea world leaders can find something on which they can co-operate. I just wish it wasn’t putting me out of work.
Let’s take a look at some news items. You can decide for yourself if they seem like part of the plot I’m describing. A warning: Some readers may find the following too foolish to talk about.
In Marystown, the CEO of Ocean Choice International Martin Sullivan clearly identified himself as one of the plotters. You will remember OCI was born out of what remained after the rape and pillage of Fishery Products International by John Risley.
When FPI folded in 2007 and OCI assumed the processing part of their empire, Mr. Sullivan saw only blue sky.
“We are in this for the long haul,” he insisted to those who wondered about OCI’s large debt to an Icelandic bank.
No problem, said Mr. Sullivan, we have a good relationship with our bank. Shortly afterwards all the banks in Iceland crashed. No worries, said Mr. Sullivan.
That was then.
Last week Mr. Sullivan claimed their Marystown operation was on thin ice. As things stand the plant is losing millions. If the provincial government would only permit OCI to ship 100 per cent of the tiny yellowtail flounder to China for processing, Mr. Sullivan pleaded, Marystown would be able to eke out $100,000 profit annually and be able to continue operation.
If the government says no, the plant will close and thousands will lose their jobs.
The short version: Sullivan can save the jobs in Marystown by sending them to China.
The man should quit the fishery entirely and go straight into stand-up comedy.
I was beginning to think it might be a good idea to drop by the EI office to familiarize myself with the layout, so I’d know my way around when the time came to file my claim. I noticed a sign at one of the wickets.
‘In view of the large number of claims from laid-off cartoonists, please take a number. Your claim will shortly be processed by our Inuvik branch. You may be required to appear there for a personal interview’.
Last week a huge number of voters turned out for the first legitimate Egyptian election in many years. With tears in her eyes, a woman leaving the polling station exclaimed, “I am so happy to be able to participate at last as a citizen in our democracy.”
Immediately after winning her first election as the leader of her party last October, Premier Dunderdale announced the House of Assembly would not sit again until the spring.
“I don't find it a place for a very healthy, open, constructive debate to start with,” she said.
Back home from the EI office with a claim form in hand, I sat down at my drawing table. I really didn’t want to look at the form.
What I needed to do was think up a way to foil the worldwide plot to put me out of business. I pushed the form over to the side of the table.
Suddenly it came to me.
I have spent my whole professional life following the lead of various political figures, trying to make fun of the things they do. I am always reacting. Reacting to things I don’t like.
Instead of doing that, why not be proactive and take the lead? Maybe if I drew cartoons of politicians doing things I agree with, they would become confused. Confused enough to follow my lead. Hmmm.
I picked up my pencil. Now what do you suppose would happen if I drew Stephen Harper cutting the ribbon to officially open a brand new enlarged and improved Search and Rescue Maritime Sub-Centre in Gander?