A Misty Isle of Rapier Wit

  • Feb. 2, 2011 3:00 p.m.

by Jane Wilson-I learned this past summer that the Lonely Planet BC/Yukon (page 376) had written a brief section on this newspaper which referred to me as the “rapier-witted columnist, Jane Wilson”. It probably seems like I kept this information to myself longer than you might have expected, given my tendency towards shameless self-aggrandisement, and I won’t deny that I enjoy it and the buttery taste it leaves in my mouth, but something held me back in this case. I think the shock kept me quiet at first, as my reviews in the past have tended more towards the “Oh, you’re the one who writes that weird column, you don’t look like your photo at all”, and the “Look what you did to my car! Where did you learn to drive?” and the “You’re not as attractive as you think you are”. (I respond to those reviews as follows: “Yes, that’s me and I was having a bad nose day, thank you for mentioning it”, “Nintendo Highway Star, since you’re asking”, and “No, I’m not as attractive as you think I am, and that headache you feel is the cognitive dissonance kicking in. Who’s laughing now, Monkey Boy?”). The shock is not the only thing that kept me quiet, of course, and let me give a little history before I explain further. On January 29, 2009 the owner/editor of this paper, Jeff King, sent me an email where he indicated that he would happily replace me with “a robotic column writer” and that their dog would have better taste than to eat my writing, following it up with the information that the dog has been dead for 10 years. I could add some context here, like another email where he said my column “often is great, and normally is excellent” but I won’t because I don’t want you to start feeling sympathetic towards him. Remember instead the number of years he awarded “Employee of the Year” to himself. He also cut my column from bi-weekly to monthly, as apparently there’s some kind of problem with the economy (likely story), wherein I retaliated by writing columns that are twice as long. This left us in a stalemate like that of Karpov and Korchnoi in ’78 (I’m Karpov, of course). And did you know that sometimes editors change the words that writers send to them? I find it, frankly, horrifying and think that there should be something in the Geneva Convention to prevent it, but am left only with finding ways to tease my boss. Given that, I felt The Lonely Planet mention could only be destiny giving me, if not a weapon, at least a stick to bait the lion. Now, it’s not that I believed Mr. King would choke on the information, more that I thought that having to swallow it might make him gag a little bit, and that I wanted to watch when that happened. I don’t think that’s abnormal, or in anyway indicating a serious psychological problem on my part, nor does the fact that I bought a copy from Amazon for $22.99 (plus shipping), highlighted the appropriate section, and then wrapped it and gave it to Mr. King as a Christmas present at the staff Christmas party. Clearly, perfectly normal behaviour, as was the delight I felt when someone suggested he read it out loud. In terms of the all time great pauses in my life, the one he paused before the words “rapier-witted” will probably remain a favourite. So does that feel like the best use of $ 22.99 (plus shipping), including the money I spend on food for my children, and the sale rack at Jacob? -Almost certainly. Will it turn out to be $ 45.98 (plus shipping), so I can have my own copy before they update the book again with a regrettable absence of me? -Absolutely. Will you email me at jane.wilson@hgqci.org to tell me that you’re going to buy your own copy? -Probably not, but that’s okay because I’ll enjoy it enough for both of us.

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