A Monopoly on Stupidity

by Nic Olson

I was walking downtown today feeling pretty good about myself: carrying a dictionary and thesaurus that I got for free, looking at my mitts that I patched up myself, walking towards the bus stop. I was surprised seeing the hoards of people in downtown Regina as if it were pretending to be a real city, slowly forgetting its roots as a hub of agriculture and becoming a home of oil-fueled development. Mid thought, a man in a blue jacket with a large video camera on his shoulder approached me.
“Do you support Prime Minister Harper’s proposal to end the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly?”  he asked.
I instinctively said no. (I mean, it is Harper.)
“Why?” he asked.
I had no idea. I sat there trying to come up with an answer for a minute, stuttering like an ass, staring into the void of Scarth Street with the large cyclops on the shoulder of the man with the blue jacket, shooting a beam of heat directly into my mind. My brain an old lawnmower, I kept pulling the cord and the motor kept coughing and sputtering with no results. He then asked what I thought about MPs changing parties while in office. I gave half of an answer, still reeling from my complete lack of knowledge on the Wheat Board. It was shameful.

I walked away and two minutes later came up with a semi-decent response that would’ve at least given the impression that I was able to speak, although perhaps not eloquently or well-informed. And as much as my inability to answer was due to my lack of knowledge of the topic, I feel that part of it was due to my lack of social ability. I did not even have the capacity to suggest or admit that I didn’t know enough about the topic to properly answer the question, instead I got stuck in my stubbornness and general distrust of sinister Prime Minister Harper. It wasn’t the first time this week, or even today, where I was unable to express myself in even the simplest banter or conversation. Most people improve upon their social ineptitudes but I recently have only been deteriorating. Maybe it is from living alone for the past three days.

I have since come home, had a two-hour nap to stifle my embarrassment, and began to read about some of the many things that I don’t know. The Canadian Wheat Board and Harper’s intentions with it. I have learned that I don’t know as much as I think I do, and I see this as something important to realize on a regular basis. It keeps you humble. I also learned that I would rather form an opinion on the Wheat Board from talking to people that it affects directly, instead of from reading articles written by people living in Ottawa. I learned that the Canadian Wheat Board was created by Parliament and Harper’s attempt to end the ‘monopoly’ seems more like an attempt to privatize the industry.

Afterwards, walking down 11th Ave, the brisk wind of humility slapped me in the face. I wished the man with the camera would have gone to an actual rural community to petition people that knew things about the Wheat Board, like it was his fault that I was uninformed on a current event of this country. I wished he would ask me a question on the provincial election, or Regina’s housing crisis, or the political situation in Burma, or about the Keystone pipeline, or Vonnegut short stories, or a good sandwich place, or where to buy Levi’s in Regina, or about something that I knew anything about, but I still likely would’ve froze like an unwrapped pound of ground beef in the deep-freeze. I wished that I had answered the phone last week when there was a recording calling every number in Saskatchewan telling why I should support the Canadian Wheat Board. I wish I hadn’t had a monopoly on stupidity and awkwardness today, and now, I almost wish that I hadn’t told you about it.

Good thing no one watches CPAC.

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