In these troubled times when simply walking out the front door can bring you into contact with a soul-crushing deep freeze or a lethal virus, we need all the heroes we can find.
Fortunately, todays column is dedicated to a true Canadian hero, a young man whose brutal honesty and dedication to his community is melting hearts not to mention the Internet throughout this frozen nation.
I am referring here to nine-year-old Carter Trozzolo, a Grade 3 student in Toronto who skyrocketed to fame this week after he was interviewed by CTV News while shovelling the never-ending piles of snow from the driveways and sidewalks of his and surrounding homes after Mondays blizzard.
It wasnt so much that Carter was out there doing battle with his shovel that touched the hearts of Canadians. No, it was the fact that, in a brief interview that has been viewed millions of times, the forlorn little guy made absolutely zero effort to hide his total exhaustion and complete lack of enthusiasm for being tasked with digging out the neighbourhood.
The fact that Carter is the spitting image of Ralphie, the bespectacled kid who dreams of getting an air rifle under the tree in the classic 1983 holiday film A Christmas Story Youll shoot your eye out! only adds to his heart-tugging, sad-sack charm.
In the news clip that quickly went viral around the world, the unenthusiastic young shoveller was introduced with the following video caption: Carter Trozzolo: Exhausted.
What won viewers over was this kids totally relatable grown-up expressions and deadpan delivery ,punctuated with loud, world-weary, theatrical sighs as he plugged away at mountains of snow.
Whats it like shovelling that much snow? Tiring (extremely heavy sigh). Really wish I was in school right now. (Another heavy sigh and a tragic eye roll.)
Asked who he was shovelling for, Carter didnt hide his martyrdom: My neighbours, friends and probably people I dont even know. (Yet another heavy sigh) Im tired!
Inspired by this new Twitter icons comical lack of enthusiasm, one social media user commented: I wonder how much Carter would charge to come to B.C. and just sigh loudly about things on my behalf because that is PRO level.
Watching the interview that night, I said to my wife: I can totally relate to that kid. Hes my new hero.
Which prompted her to reply: Thats no surprise. Hes like a nine-year-old version of you.
The truth is that, like Carter, I would rather be sitting in a schoolroom staring blankly out a window than shovelling show. The only thing I find less appealing than shovelling snow is the prospect of being stung in the eyeballs by murder hornets, and the likelihood of that happening in the middle of a brutal Winnipeg winter is reasonably low.
My wife, on the other hand is the sort of can-do person who, the very second snow begins to fall, jumps into her boots and tuque, grabs a shovel, and races out to the driveway, leaving me and the dogs to stare out the window with moony looks on our pathetic little faces.
I can identify with Jon Reyes, the Manitoba cabinet minister who was recently buried by unfair criticism after he tweeted a photo of his wife shovelling in extremely cold temperatures after an overnight shift as a health-care worker.
Even after a 12 hour night shift at the hospital last night, my wife still has the energy to shovel the driveway, Reyes wrote in the caption. God bless her and all our frontliners. Time to make her some breakfast.
When that news broke, my wife instantly commented: Ill bet she just wanted to shovel to unwind after a long shift. And YOU wouldnt have even made me (bad word) breakfast.
Indeed, Reyes wife, Cynthia, quickly shut down online critics by posting: All I wanted to do was shovel … its my time to decompress … It allowed me to unwind. Its refreshing after having worn an N95 mask almost the entire night.
So yes, I hate shovelling snow but I do it begrudgingly when the situation demands. Technically, I dont shovel so much as just push the snow around with a huge plow-like plastic shovel my wife bought for me.
After this weeks dump, I have literally run out of places to put the excess snow. It just sort of slides down the towering snowbanks lining our driveway, and piles up in front of the garage door.
Shortly before I sat down to write todays column, my wife sent me this heart-warming email: I shovelled the foot of snow that had blown up to the garage door and cleaned up most of the blown-in bits and the front stairs. You will not need to go out and shovel.
Chances are, however, I will have to suck it up and head outside to tackle the little wall of snow blocking the driveway entrance. But I will complain loudly the entire time, because thats just what real heroes do in Canada.
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.