Hello Canadians, and Harper fans in the U.S. Many leaders write their memoirs to set the record straight after they leave public office. This is illogical because by then nobody cares. I have determined that I will write my memoir now, in the middle of my service as Prime Minister. The value-added of this strategy is that there will no longer be any point at all to the biased reporters on the hill. Anyone who wants to know what I'm up to can just read this straight from the guff repor' - that is to say "report", only with the 't' left unpronounced like Stephen Colbert when he says "it's the Colbert Report!". Just a little humourous pop culture reference there.
I recently read Brain Mulroney's 'Memoir' and noticed that he spends a great deal of time on his childhood - spinning fond warm-sweater memories of what it was like to be a boy from Baie-Comeau living in a company town with a hardworking dad and close-knit family. In that vein, I would like to frankly admit that I have had a childhood. Certainly, I seem to have residual memories of some kind of idyllic small person existence and I presume that this is what "childhoods" are for - although I do remain open to correction on that point. I try not to let this stange, kind-of bubbly, emotional residue affect my judgement but I do appreciate the memories and I feel that my principles and character have been much informed by my childhood experience.
My first clear memory revolves around the unfair tariff Mom placed on paper airplanes. Perhaps my favorite joy as a small person was to launch paper planes into the autumn sky and watch them make ways through swirling leaves flitting and falling to the ground. I was not a proficient plane maker, but my sister Kellie was excellent - sometimes spending hours in a day crafting her buoyant creations - and I would often spend my entire allowance buying her planes for 15 cents each. One day little Jimmy Cratchit was hobbling through the park with his walking stick and stopped to watch my sister's planes carve their scientifically determinable yet delightful earthbound paths. "Wow! Did you make all these Stephen?" Jimmy asked. I engaged him in conversation: "Oh no Jimmy, the planes I make are generally deficient. I bought all these from my sister with my allowance." Jimmy's eyes opened wide and he squeaked, "You get an allowance?". I never saw anyone hobble as fast as little Jimmy did on his way back to his house. Three days later I was at the park with Kellie trying out some new plane designs and Jimmy showed up with a cardboard box. "Stephen!", he cried from the tree lined edge of the park. Little Jimmy started hobbling towards us carrying his box, faster and faster. There was something exciting about the moment and I found myself yelling "Run Jimmy Run!" The next thing we knew he had both hands on his box and his walking stick lay settling in the leaves as he streaked towards us. Little white things began to pop out as he came near and I realized they were paper planes. "I learned how to make good planes too!" Jimmy said breathlessly through rosy puffing cheeks. My sister and I were amazed by Jimmy's run and we hugged him and bought the whole box for 5 cents a plane. And they were good! That box lasted me all week and although I still bought a few planes from Kellie she had stopped making very many by next Tuesday and she didn't really know what to do with her time anymore. Well, Mom noticed this and asked her why. Kellie explained to Mom that I was buying Jimmy's planes now for three times as cheap. When I came in for supper that night Mom told me that if I didn't buy Kellie's planes anymore I would only get one cookie every week instead of two. The colour drained from my face (where it remains to this day) as my world crashed down around me. I searched my soul for a way to make my mom understand little Jimmy's plight. "But Mom!", I said, "Ricardo's Theory of Comparative Advantage suggests that if Jimmy can make paper planes three times as cheap as Kellie and if she can make something he wants more efficiently than he can, then if we trade him those things for his paper airplanes we will both have more of what we want than if we try to make both things for ourselves!" Mom, who often looked worried for me, furrowed her brow and replied, "Eat your food Stephen". To this day, I am convinced that Mom's Cookie Tariff was sub-optimal for the general welfare of our neighborhood. When as Industry Minsiter Maxime Bernier lifted the tariff on Chinese bicycles - although there is bicycle manufacturing in his constituency - I considered it one of the greatest vindications of my childhood in office... or, no, yeah, dammit yes - vindications of my childhood! Justice! Harper Justice baby!
The good news is little Jimmy's walking stick still lies unused in that park. He has always understood that it was Mom's fault I couldn't buy his planes anymore and he and Kellie and I remained pretty good freinds. The three of us would often play on the same team for neighborhood street hockey games - Jimmy always playing center no matter where he started because he could not help but rush straight for the net on offence and race all the way back to play defense on his grateful legs, Kellie a sometimes spectacular goalie, and myself playing something although nobody seems to remember that. I remember how the nets we used were of differing proportions - one was bigger than the other one. Before each game the teams would vote on who got the small net. The other team usually included the James's - a family of four girls and three boys who played on the same team by subbing off. They won the vote for the small net every time! After the third time this happened I told everyone that we shouldn't just have a majority vote about the nets. I suggested we create a special group that would decide fairly on who got the small net. So we had a vote about who would be in that group and the James's team voted for themselves! All seven James's were in the special group, and Kellie - because the James boys liked her. It was at this point that I realized that an equal and effective senate is crucial to a federal democracy.
After those early happy days of moving in what were probably definable fractal patterns on the streets of my youth I went to school. There wasn't much there for me to learn but there was one thing that was definately new to me - it was at an early age that the stirrings of mutual attraction awoke in my rib cage vicinity. One day most of the kids were out in the field playing soccer while I was near the school building skipping rocks on the pavement. Suddenly a girl named Ginnie came up beside me - grabbing my sleeve - and pulled me towards the building. Ginnie Young was the cutest girl in Grade Four, I thought, although she wasn't quite one of the cool kids. Perhaps this was part of her attraction to me and I guess she had noticed. My physiological reaction approximated that which is commonly expressed by the saying: "My heart skipped a beat". Closing her eyes and pulling me close, Ginnie leaned back into the brick corner and coyly pursed her lips. In that moment of presumbable emotion I leaned closer still, so close that I could sense her warmth and inhale the taste of salt from her peach freckle skin so that I still remember her in visceral flashes of memory on beautiful days at the beach - and I took her hand and shook it. The shock of the moment blew her eyes open. Not many people witness the instant in which another human being understands the sheer irony of life but I am one of them. Later that day we were all working on math sheets (I was done and was reading a book inside my desk) and Ginnie raised her hand. Our teacher looked up and nodded to her. Plaintively, Ginnie said: "Teacher, Stephen is an alien." I was caught off guard and I looked sharply over at her with a finger at my lips and began to emanate Shush waves. The other students all looked at me strangely and I realized that overreacting would only create problems so I quickly emulated a relaxed format, smiled, and blew her a handshake. Mr. Childers, a balding and confirmed bachelor who wore ineffective spenders and whose two inch long nose hairs mingled with a walrus salt and pepper mustache that somehow ran into a goatee said, "Yes Ginnie, it is probable that Stephen is an alien but he is still part of the class. So ignore him, Ok?". It was always a wonder when Mr. Childers spoke - his stout nose hairs seemingly stirring the flowing masses of his facial hair - and the issue was forgotten. As you can see, my understanding that a country can comprise more than one nation has deep, bristly, roots.
Of course, except for beautiful days at the beach, Ginnie is a forgotten memory as the true love of my life Laureen has taken that place. You may have heard of how I would go around oblivious to missing buttons on my shirt before I met her and obviously she has really filled me in on a lot besides having that sexiest of things - keen intelligence. Frankly, our life since we met has, of course, obviously included its share of missing buttons - resulting in our two precious children Ben and Rachel. Obviously, you - of course - don't want to think frankly about that. Obviously, of course - frankly. Frankly of course. Obviously. I will mention though, that our personal life has certainly gained an edge now that I occasionally make the joke that - now that I'm Prime Minister - I'm finally good enough for Laureen for her to take my last name, lol .
Anyhow that's enough for now. I need to get back to governing this country so I can finish that and return to my passion - that book I'm writing about hockey statistics.