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

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

More Parksville pop-up water parks planned

Fire department says Sunday, Aug. 18 next one on the agenda

Hi Neighbour Day celebrates 50th year in Errington

Pancake breakfast, parade, zucchini race and more planned for this years’ festivities

Semi-truck crashes on Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Drivers heading in or out of Tofino-Ucluelet Friday afternoon should expect delays

Errington scrap wood fire still under investigation

Three fire departments deployed to battle highly visible blaze

Fashion Fridays: How to dress and feel powerful

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Portland, Oregon, awaits right-wing rally, counter protests

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for felony rioting

Most Read