HORNER: That other road

Columnist Neil Horner explains his approach to writing this weekly column in the Parksville Qualicum Beach News

People sometimes ask why I don’t use this space to slam the government, hammer on the bad guys or expound upon my views on the issue de jour.

They’re right. I can be pretty silly. I have a hard time summoning the bile to be angry every week.

Oh, sometimes I can harp on an issue: (Can you believe they’re going to spend over $50 billion to put on the Sochi Olympics? $50 BILLION! That’s insane!) But most of the time I figure there’s far too much outrage already in this world.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s usually a pretty sharp point in amongst the cotton candy coating of humour, but I don’t generally like to hammer people over the head with my opinion.

How did you feel when I started ranting about the Olympics just now? Angry? Did it make you want to stop reading? Push back? It wouldn’t surprise me. There are better ways to get my point across.

This came into focus the other day when I took my scooter in to the shop to get a flat tire fixed.

I had added a layer of fibreglass to the cowling and I was so proud of my work I couldn’t help mentioning it.

“Pretty skookum job on the fibreglass, eh?”

My mechanic looked at it critically for a moment and then smiled through his moustache.

“Little rough around the headlight,” he said. “You could have sanded that.”

“Yeah,” I admitted. “I was thinking about that…”

He reached around the side of the cowling. “What’s this?”

I looked at where he was pointing: tag ends of fibreglass extended from one edge.

“Yeah, I could have got that.”

“Look, you got it all over the fender too …”


It didn’t make me angry, because he’s a great guy — and he was right — but it did make me push back a bit. I wasn’t very open to hearing his critique of my sins.

When I came back to pick up my ride later on, the owner met me in the shop.

“I fibreglassed the cowling,” I moped as I loaded up the Piglet. “I thought I did an OK job…”

“Oh it’s beautiful Neil,” he said, grinning. “A fibreglassing job like that only a writer could do.”

Did I push back? No. When I stopped laughing I had to agree that, yeah, it’s pretty rough.

Humour really does work, so while there will be times when I will rant along with the rest of them, (Do you have any idea how much $50 billion could do towards ending hunger, cleaning up the environment or repairing the ravages of natural disasters and war?) generally I will take the road less traveled and offer up my cotton candy.

That sharp pain in your tummy? Don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine.

Here, have some more…

Just Posted

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Map of the site of a proposed 60-unit building project in French Creek. (RDN map)
Legal counsel wants board to award development permit for French Creek project

Issue is on agenda for RDN board meeting on June 22

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read