There could be two ways of telling this story. I will tell both.
1. In the year 2000, a man named Pat Fiacco was elected Mayor of Regina. I was newly twelve. We had just finished our PeeWee football season and were celebrating by going to LazerQuest—the dream of all twelve-year-olds. Getting out of the car we heard early election results from the radio: Pat Fiacco had defeated Doug Archer, who had been mayor since I was born. Mr. Thibault, driver of the car, eventual SaskParty MLA-hopeful, father of a teammate who almost broke a kid’s neck, expressed his delight with the outcome. We went inside. I shot friends with lasers. Nothing else mattered.
I was never able to vote in a civic election in which Pat Fiacco ran for mayor. I supported his I Love Regina campaign, which seemed to rouse up civic pride in a city that has little more appeal than decent folks and short commutes. I bought the shirts, I shared the shirts, I gave the shirts as gifts.
Eventually, as politics became more important and professional sports became more absurd, in the latter part of Pat’s mayoral career, I began to question his legitimacy as mayor. Sure, it’s a tough job. Never enough money, lots to do, boring council meetings to attend, a populace to actually care for. But the more I saw the failed developments in a city that Pat encouraged me to love, the less I could stand it. I love the city too much. I saw the stadium as inevitable and necessary. I saw it as a positive if done correctly, timely, and not at the cost of a part of the population that couldn’t find a place to live. But instead the stadium project became fishier by the day. Hurried, sketchy, reeking of illegitimate money, and mostly all presented just before or during an election. Handled worse than a sopping jock strap. Instead of his first vision—a statue of himself shadow-boxing shirtless to be placed at city hall—Pat instead opted for the quarter-billion-dollar stadium project for all of us to remember him by. So that he wouldn’t be remembered for the goofy smile, the phantom moustache, the over-moussed hair. He would be remembered for the glorious ride on which he took us, instilling unwarranted levels of civic pride in our hearts with t-shirts and an ill-gotten stadium.
Some might say that I was arrested because Pat Fiacco was an unfit mayor.
2. As a twenty-four-year-old who hasn’t accomplished much, the allure of political activism and vandalism drew me in like it were the aroma of a bowl of popcorn or a pretty lady’s hair. Live a little, it whispered in my ear. Don’t roll over and let them ram that stadium up your ass, it admonished. So, I somehow came up with this piece of art, tried it several times on several different materials with several different versions of moustache. Speckled. Muffled. Filtered. Full-on. The slogan came naturally (that is, poetically, with no research and based on conjecture). I came up with a route, I came up with an outfit, I didn’t wear a hat, I didn’t wear glasses, my jacket was manufactured with a hideable balaclava. The surveillance videos would lead them to anyone but myself.
But then I ran. Paranoia got the best of me, as it usually does with poser try-hards. Civilian cars started to look a lot like cop cars. Cop cars looked a lot like jail. Jail looked like something worse than a stadium up the ass. I ran, forgetting that I’m an out of shape bum and that running gave them reason to pursue. They caught me, cuffed me, realized that I wasn’t casing cars. They asked me my name when my nose was on the concrete, breathing deeply with leaves shooting out from under my head from my heavy exhale. Andrew Gurr was the only name that came to mind, following my plan to never give my real name if I ever got arrested. Then, in my first moment of clarity of the night, I realized that a fake name would only make it worse. I was cooperative. I slept in a cell. I got fingerprinted. Mugshot. Tattoo information. Left with one charge, five times. They caught the real bad guy.
Some might say I was arrested because I am a moron. Most would say this.
As a football-loving PeeWee, had I been able to see Fiacco’s vision of a ‘state-of-the-art’ stadium meant to cup the balls of an already over-celebrated professional football team, I would have been ecstatic. The Riders were my idols, of course they would deserve the greatest our money had to offer, even at the cost of the city’s lower class. I would’ve celebrated with Mr. Thibault, and entered LazerQuest with a little more victory in my heart. But alas, I grew up. I grew up with the ability to prioritize. I grew up with recklessness and a mind partial to moronic errors. I grew up into the graffiti-slinging, overly-idealistic, dissenting, once-upright child that you now see before you, fresh from his second court date where the Honourable Judge amended the curfew with an order to ‘Keep the Peace.’
Innocent no more. The stadium will be built and shortly thereafter rammed up my ass. My twelve-year-old-self congratulates you, former Mayor Fiacco. You win once again. You will forever be immortalized as the mayor that started the botched stadium project and left thousands of people out in the very real, very wintery cold. But with me, you will forever be immortalized in a stencil and five charges, under the slogan of your twelve year career: Greatest mayor ever sold.
Does this post count as an inability to ‘Keep the Peace’? If so, lock me up.
Calm down, Nic.