January 21, 2020

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Opinion

Who hates attack ads? I do

Roses are red, violets are blue...

Blow up some balloons and pop the champagne, kids, because today is a special day.

As most of you who are taking your prescription medications are aware, today, Oct. 21, is (drumroll, please) National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day.

PAT McGRATH / OTTAWA CITIZEN</p><p>If you don’t vote, don’t complain about the outcome of the election.</p></p>

PAT McGRATH / OTTAWA CITIZEN

If you don’t vote, don’t complain about the outcome of the election.

I personally will not be taking part in the cheesecake celebration on the grounds that I recently wrote a groundbreaking column condemning the fact that, whenever fall arrives, everything is made to smell like, taste like or look like (bad word) pumpkin spice.

Fortunately, based on several minutes of research, there are other important reasons to celebrate today. For example, this is also the International Day of the Nacho, National Check Your Meds Day and (wait for it) National Reptile Awareness Day.

Speaking of being aware of reptiles, we should also take a moment to acknowledge that, throughout this great country of ours, today is also federal election day, the day on which we mark an X beside the names of the politicians we found least annoying throughout the year.

My wife and I will be celebrating election day in the traditional manner — by hooking our dogs to their leashes, marching them to the school down the block, then taking turns standing outside with the hounds while the other person strides confidently into the gymnasium to mark their ballot.

What with being a professional humour columnist, I take voting extremely seriously. In my mind, I don’t have the right to sit around and make cheesy jokes about politicians unless I have first exercised my democratic right to put at least one of them into office.

While we are on the topic, I strongly recommend you put down this newspaper and/or stop staring at your computer screen, then head over to your assigned voting station to pick the people you want to lead us toward a brighter future, or directly into the abyss, whichever you prefer.

Why should you go to the trouble of voting? The way I look at it is that it’s like going into a restaurant, sitting down and then staring blankly at the waitress when she comes to take your order.

"What would you like?" the server asks, politely.

"Um, just bring me anything," you grunt, discarding the menu.

And so she does. A few minutes later she returns and plops a greasy cheeseburger in front of you.

You make a frowny face. "But I don’t want a cheeseburger," you sniff in a whiny voice that would be the envy of any kindergartner.

Which is when the waitress looks at you the way I look at one of my dogs when their gastrointestinal system explodes on the living-room carpet.

The point — and I do have one — is that unless you make a decision, you don’t get to complain about what kind of government or food item you end up with. I never took civics in high school, but I’m pretty sure that concept is the foundation of modern democracy.

Like I think I said earlier, the day on which we do our democratic duty is definitely a day to celebrate. And I thought the perfect way to celebrate today would be by writing poems to pay tribute to the four leaders of our main political parties.

Here is the first poem I came up with: "Roses are red/Violets are blue/Justin Trudeau prefers red/While Andrew Scheer is a different hue."

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: "Wow, Doug! That really is a (bad word) awful poem. As a poet, you would make an excellent landscape gardener."

Sadly, I have to agree. Which is why I decided to turn over the whole poem-writing thing to an online generator, wherein you simply plug in several words to describe a person, hit a button, and out pops a random computer-generated bit of verse.

I decided to start with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, whom I described with the following key words: blue suit, conservative and dual citizen.

Prepare to be deeply moved on a literary level, because here is a taste of the poem the generator spat out:

"Whose blue suit is that? I think I know.

Its owner is quite happy though.

Full of joy like a vivid rainbow.

I watch him laugh. I cry hello.

"He rises from his gentle bed.

With thoughts of kittens in his head.

He eats his jam with lots of bread.

Ready for the day ahead."

Not that I am opposed to political leaders having "thoughts of kittens" in their heads, but I think it is safe to say that computers are even less skilled than I am at whipping up inspirational poetry.

Poems aside, the other vital reason to celebrate on election day is because we can all be grateful that, when we turn on our TVs after today, we will not be forced to sit through any more of those viciously stupid political attack ads until the next election.

If you have been trying to enjoy the 28th season of Dancing with the Stars, you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those creepy commercials wherein a voice-of-doom narrator informs you that, if elected, some candidate or other will: a) Cause global warming to increase to the point where birds are spontaneously bursting into flames mid-flight; b) Kick the maximum number of puppies and kittens during budget debates; and c) Provide convicted killers with day passes to the zoo and memberships in the Cheese of the Month Club.

There is a special place in purgatory reserved for the people who make these (bad word) commercials, but that is not today’s political point. No, today’s point is you really need to stop procrastinating, head to the nearest voting station and do your democratic duty.

While you’re at it, you might want to think about ordering a large slice of pumpkin cheesecake.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs
Columnist

Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.

Read full biography

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