Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Night of Magic

Bowie: I don't like the looks of this place.

Nimoy: Relax... Embrace the spirit of exploration!

Bowie: Are you about to tell me to go boldly?

Nimoy: Uh... no.

Bowie: Because that would be terribly cliché of you Leonard.

Nimoy: I am not one for cliches. I don't know why you're so nervous. In your life, did you not frequent dives dingier than these?

Bowie: Oh certainly, in my early days. But at the end there, I had become a little too accustomed to tweed and warm sweaters. I'm just out of practice. So tell me, why did you bring me here?

Nimoy: I have felt for some time that you were losing touch with your roots. That creative spark that drove you to explore brave, new worlds, to seek out new ideas in your art.

Bowie: Oh Leonard... ever the slave to your own memes.

Nimoy: Hush. I'm doing you a favour.

Bowie: It's so dark, dimly lit. I was starting to think there was no place to hide from the deafening light up here. It's refreshing, calming. Wait... is that... is that Marlboro I smell?

Cohen: Hello friends. May I join you?

Nimoy: Of course Leonard. David, this is...

Bowie: Mr. Cohen. It’s a honour to meet you sir.

Cohen: Please, call me Leonard. No need to stand on ceremony here.

Nimoy: Wait, wait… If you call him Leonard, how will I know if you’re talking to me?

Bowie: Trust me. In this moment, I won’t be talking to you at all.

Nimoy: Why is it I am being constantly upstaged by hams from Montreal?

Cohen: If there is one thing this old Jewish gentleman has not been called, it’s being a ham.

Bowie: (aghast) I apologize for my friend. Surely, he meant no disrespect--

Cohen: Relax friends. We are quite literally above and beyond such concerns. (raising a glass) Hallelujah to that, I say.

Nimoy/Bowie: (laughing, raising glasses) Hallelujah!

Bowie: So Leonard…

Cohen/Nimoy: Yes?

Bowie: Still not talking to you Nimoy.

Nimoy: (grumbling) Fine. I’m getting another drink. Fidel’s already got my favorite rum poured out at the bar. Oh wait… *sigh* If I have to listen to Ron’s space cowboy stories one more time… 

Bowie: What’s happening here tonight? What is this place?

Cohen: I’m surprised that a man of your considerable musical history doesn’t recognize a Karaoke bar when he sees one.

Bowie: Pardon me... this is a what?

Cohen: It was René’s idea. He tapped me quite literally the second I arrived. That man has an eye for musical talent, there’s no denying it.

Bowie: So we’re having a show tonight?

Cohen: Indeed. There’s a spot for you too, if you’re interested. I’ve always wanted to sing some Starman with you, and now it seems strangely appropriate.

Bowie: Of course, the honor would be mine. But what are we waiting for?

Cohen: Our host, the MC of the evening. And ah… there he is, making a grand, yet modest entrance, as always.

Thicke: Good evening everyone. It's time to get into the Thicke of things. (crowd groans) Hey! As it turns out, a little silliness beyond the finite end still helps when facing it.

Cohen: We’ve entered the Tower of Song, friends. Let’s make some magic.

Copyright © John David Hickey, December 2016To mark the passing of Leonard Cohen, Ron Glass, and Alan Thicke.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Naps with the Buddha

A Chinese Folktale

Once upon a time, there was a teacher who was a Buddhist monk. His great joy in this life was to have a snack and a nap afterwards. Before every lesson, he ate so much that he could barely move.

Soon after the beginning of the lessons, he always took a nap and slept until the bell for the end of the lessons sounded.

Lee was the son of a poor villager and was a student in the same school. One daty, Lee asked the monk:

"Teacher, may I ask you why do you sleep in all our lessons?"

"My friend," replied the monk without any embarrassment, "It just seems that way. During these minutes, I meet with Buddha and listen to His wise words. That's why I try to sleep as much as I can."

At one time, Lee took care of his sick father during the night and fell asleep at school in the morning. He slept so deeply that he didn't even hear the bell, which woke the monk.

When the monk saw the sleeping boy, he angrily took Lee by the ear and started screaming:

"Ah, you, little weasel! How dare you fall asleep in my class?"

"Teacher," said Lee, "It just seemed that I slept. I was with Buddha and listened to His wise words."

"And what did the all-powerful Buddha say to you?" snarled the monk.

Lee replied, "The all-powerful Buddha told me: 'Never in my life have I seen your teacher.' "

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The See-Saw

I was walking to work this morning when I crossed a post that had a sign attached to it with one of those thick plastic quick-ties. The pointy end of the quick-tie was sticking out straight, right at eye level. I took a moment to slide the pointy end into the plastic strap so that the end wasn't sticking out.

"Hey, hey you!" came a voice. I turned around and noticed a guy sitting in his car. He had rolled down the passenger window and was leaning over. "Why are you doing that?"

Surprised, I replied, "Because I don't want someone to get their eye taken out by this pointy end."

He gave me a thumbs up, rolled his window back up, and said "Good man! Good man!"

This little exchanged suddenly reminded me of pivotal moment with my Dad. I was probably around 7 years old and my Dad had taken me to play in a public park. He pushed me on the swings, watch me come down on the slide, made sure I didn't fall off the monkey bars. We came to a see-saw and I sat at one end and said "Get on the other end Dad!"

Dad got that inquisitive look on his face, examined the see-saw carefully at the pivot point, and then placed himself at the other end. I stood up so that he could sit on it, but he said "No, no. Sit down and don't move."

He then placed his shoulder and hands under the wooden see-saw and with a sudden upward movement, snapped the plank in half with an unholy crack. I thought my Dad had gone crazy. I sat there with my mouth hanging open as he pulled the plank all the way over until it broke off, and then placed it on the pivot bar. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" I cried out.

"The see-saw was cracked in the middle," he explained, perfectly calm. "The next person who would have sat on it would have broken it and they might have hurt themselves. C'mon... let's go for ice cream."

That memory came flooding back to me this morning. I know Father's Day was just this past weekend, but... thanks Dad. I'm sure you had no idea how much that singular moment changed me and has influenced my life in so many ways ever since.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Colour of Reign

Lemmy: David?

Bowie: No, you can't borrow one of mine. I don't know why you bother with those things now. You cannot get any higher than we are this very minute.

Lemmy: No, no... That's not what I'm talking about, but fuck you anyways. With a spoon.

Rickman: I heard that! Fer Christ's sake... am I doomed to hear that infernal joke for all eternity?

Lemmy: *chuckling* Seriously, it's just too easy.

Bowie: What's on your mind?

Lemmy: Have you noticed there's not much color up here? You've got a cream colored suit with an off-white shirt, but I had to fight tooth and nine-inch nail to get this badassed black vest, but now I look like Han Solo with a white confederate cowboy hat. It looks fucking stupid.

Bowie: Hey, I'm not crazy about these creamy pastels either, but what can we do? We're dead until the next incarnation. I hope I come back as a woman.

Lemmy: No matter what I come back as, I still won't date ya. Stop changing the subject!

Bowie: Speak your mind, man.

Lemmy: I spotted this guy the other day. New guy, fresh off the boat.

Bowie: Oh? I hadn't checked the roster. Who is it?

Rickman: Guys? Have you seen this? I have never seen it rain here, much less in color!

Lemmy: *ignoring* Not sure, but I can tell he's going to be trouble.

Bowie: Trouble? Up here? Lemmy, my friend, if the gates opened for the likes of you, how much trouble could this new guy be? Who is he?

Lemmy: You'll know him when you see him. For all your star power, this guy somehow snuck in with a reddish beret and a purple-sequined jacket. How did he get away with that?

Bowie: Oh.

Lemmy: Oh? Oh what?

Bowie: Oh. My. *sigh* Unlike life, this will be a party that is meant to last. A strong spirit does indeed transcend the rules.

Original piece written by JD Hickey to mark the passing of Prince.
April 2016 (first piece written in January 2016)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Quantum Nature of Linguine

Right now, in the city of Montreal, there's a guy who thinks there is some kind of loony who breaks into cars, drops off doggie bags of food, rearranges the contents of the car, steals nothing, and walks away. Let me explain.

To celebrate the end of my ASL class, we went out for a meal at Pizzadelic. It was too much food for me to eat, so I took some of it to go. I got to my car, placed my food on the passenger seat, and noticed a bag with shoes. "Ah! Jessica must've forgotten her bag!" I picked it up, locked the door, and ran down the street. Jessica was long gone.

So I returned to the car, but I couldn't open the door. That's when I realized that this Matrix was not my car. The owner of this car must've left the driver door unlocked, which is why I was able to get into it in the first place. But now the door was locked, my food was stuck inside, and I had a bag of shoes in my hand. I was stymied.

I tried the other doors, but they were all locked. Fortunately, the trunk was open, so I slid the bag of shoes into the back seat. Then I stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do next. I could've climbed into the car to unlock the other doors and get to my food, but what if the guy showed up? He would never believe me. So I went to my actual car and started writing a note, but when I got back to his spot, his Matrix was gone.

I'm sure that guy is at home, staring at the ceiling, and wondering who broke into his car, left a container of linguine with a bruschetta on top of it, re-locked all the doors, and walked away.

It must be driving him bonkers.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Republican Speech 2016

Right off the bat, let me say that I am not an American: I am definitely Canadian. However, the results of the American Presidential race would definitely affect me, so I do have a vested interest in what happens, even though I get no say in the matter.

Being a witness to the degradation of the American political climate over the last 8 years, I have formed opinions on what has gone wrong. Now faced with the very real possibility that Mr. Trump may lead the Republican party, I think the GOP must face the fact that they created this monster that is now rampaging across their constituents.

The only way they could regain the faith of the people now would be to come completely clean and own their mistakes in a public way. They would need the high-profile Republicans to make and stand by a very public statement of what they did and how we got here, someone like John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, or Chris Christie.

This representative would need to get in front of a camera, deliver the following speech, broadcast it far and wide, and live with the consequences.

Fortunately, I wrote them this speech and in the interests of preserving World Peace, I offer it to them free of charge (although I would love to be invited to the White House to tell stories as Canada's Storytelling Ambassador, just sayin').
*deep breath*
Do not vote for Donald Trump. He is a fate you do not deserve. Do not vote Republican in this election. This is a fate we deserve. We did this.
Roughly 8 years ago, we were faced with a reality of which we could not conceive. For our Republican ideas to work, we came at our policies from a top-down perspective. It was Republicans over Democrats, Good over Evil, Right over Wrong, Men over Women, Whites over everyone else, and with us at the top and all the voters at the bottom.
But when Barack Hussein Obama became President, our comfortable world turned upside down. The Bottom was now the Top. This was unprecedented and we had nothing in our playbook to handle it. Obama's left-wing plans and liberal vision of equality would destroy everything we had understood to be true and right. In hindsight, our fears caused us to gravely over-react. 
We decided that we would reject this model outright. We decided that we would reject anything from this President because his very existence was a rejection of our reality. This type of man could not be President, and therefore, his word could not be law.
The only way we could make this work was if all Republicans were on-board with it. Sure, there were rebels here and there, and there were people who could not keep the edges of the plan secret, but by and large, the plan worked. The problem was that it worked too well.
To create and sustain this situation, we had to reveal the ugly underbelly of American culture and stoke its fires. We had to rile the people up, we had to amplify their fears, we had to raise the threat levels. This would encourage the people to perpetuate the message that Obama was a mistake, an insult to the natural order of the world, and that he was an abomination that needed to be stopped. Once Obama was removed, we could flip the beast back over again and get back to making the country work in the way we had become accustomed.
What we could not have known was how hot those first would burn, and not only could the beast not be flipped back over, but that the beast could be turned against us. This is where Donald Trump stepped in.
Mr. Trump has been watching this maelstrom that we created for the past 7 years. He could see the chaos we were engineering and he has the insight and the vision to see how he could step into that chaos and use it to his advantage. When the moment was right, he stepped into our playing field and took control of it. He added fuel to the fires we had stoked, he used our own rhetoric against us, and he refused to toe the Republican line. He is a wildcard that we cannot control because he owes no allegiance to anyone except himself.
Mr. Trump is not a fool. If he were a fool, he could not be the successful businessman that he is today. His strength comes from his ability to spot an opportunity, commit to pursuing that opportunity, and do everything in his power to make it work to his advantage. These are qualities that make for rich businessmen, but the collateral damage to the people around these men can be devastating, extensive, and irreversible. 
The main aspect that has made him palatable to a modern audience is that he purports to tell the truth, to "tell it like it is". In the political arena, we cannot always be 100% transparent, but we do need to balance our plans with the public's right to know. However, in this failed strategy we adopted in 2008, we lost sight of our responsibilities to the American people. Over time, these lies became more and more difficult to maintain to the point that we have lost all credibility with our voters. After so many years of double-talk, having a non-politician promise to tell you the hard truth heedless of any political consequences is intoxicating.
But now the situation has grown beyond our control. We created this Gollum and it is rampaging out of control, highlighting our failures and promising more destruction than we could have imagined. And we are the one who did this to ourselves and to you, the American people.
We took these actions from a place of patriotism. We did it because we were dedicated to the continuation of Republican American idealism and exceptionalism. Our critics may not believe this, but we also did this out of love for our families, our friends, our God, and our country. And now, we are still speaking from this place of love, even though it kills us to have to admit our wrong-doing.
For what we just did for the last 8 years, we deserve to lose this election. If you want to put another Democrat in the White House, we deserve that decision. To watch the GOP be destroyed in the next election is definitely what we deserve as justice for our actions.
But to elect Donald Trump as your Commander In Chief, this is a fate that you do not deserve. Your anger and frustration is a result of our actions and inactions over the last 8 years, but the destruction that Trump would bring to America is a fate that you do not deserve. This man is not a Republican. This man owes the American people nothing. This man is not the fate you deserve.
We did this to you. We did it. Do not destroy yourselves to punish us for what we did. Put a Democrat in the White House. Give us time to regroup and put ourselves back on the right track.
Do not vote for Donald Trump.
The American Republican Party 2016 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Week of Death in 2016

Rickman: Hey David
Bowie: Alan? You too? What took you down?
Rickman: Cancer. You?
Bowie: Me too. Fuck Cancer.
Rickman: Fuck Cancer. With a spoon.
Lemmy: Fuck Cancer!
Rickman: Who's that guy?
Lemmy: I thought this was the rock star section. They let just anyone in here?
Bowie: Apparently. I'm been searching for Crosby, but I haven't had much luck.
Lemmy: David Crosby's dead too?!?
Bowie: No, no... Bing Crosby. Before your time. Before my time, really, if truth be told.
Rickman: I can play the cello...
Lemmy: No you can't. You're an actor. You can act like you play the cello. I saw Truly, Madly, Deeply wise-ass.
Rickman: ... Asshole.
Bowie: So what do we do now?
Lemmy: We could jam. Maybe actor-boy could learn how to play the spoons.
Angelil: Salut les boys.
Rickman: Who the fuck are you?
Angelil: Calisse... I'm Rene. If there's one thing I knew how to do in the old life is spot talent early on, and I mean *early* on. Stick with me les gars and we will rock this place.

Original piece written by JD Hickey, January 2016To mark the passing of Alan Rickman, Ian Fraser Kilmister (Lemmy), Rene Angelil, and David Bowie.
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey