The Important Question Is At The End

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I have been reading a very interesting book entititled What If? (‘Entititled’ is a word from the Mickey Lester radio show; God knows when it was on the air, maybe the 40s or early 50s)’. A number of learned historians and professors have written about what they think might have happened had a number of world events ended differently. I know you can’t go back but it is fascinating to think about even in our own lives.

Would you, dear lady, have said ‘Yes’ to the bozo lying on the couch in his underwear had you know Antonio Balderas lived two doors down the street? And would you, sir, when that girl you met in a bar a month before told you she was going to have a little one, have climbed aboard the next bus to Alberta leaving no forwarding address?

But back to the book and the events that changed the world:

For instance what if Pizzaro had not found potatoes in Peru? (That’s a column on its own. It may have been one of the greatest discoveries of all time.)

What if the allies had not cracked the Enigma code machine, would the war ended differently and would we be speaking German, Japanese or even Russian today?

What if William of Orange had not defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings? (For one thing King Billy wouldn’t be riding his white stallion every year at the head of the 12th of July parade – other than in Belfast do they still have the parades?)

There are several essays, mostly about politics, wars, and some religious such as what if Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus and a real biggie, what if Pope Pius XII had protested the Holocaust? As late as July 7, 2019 in the Toronto Star the sages are still discussing that one.

However all these are fine but I wonder more about those important world events none of these scholars even mentioned such as ‘What if Eve had left the apple alone and went for the banana. Perhaps that is a bad example, okay, how about taking a chomp out of a pear or a nectarine; there were trees all over the place? Instead she picks a flippin’ apple off the Tree of Knowledge and gets the two of them kicked out of their rent-free digs in the Garden of Eden. What a bonehead move that was, followed closely by Noah bringing two mosquitoes aboard.

Yes, I know I shouldn’t be questioning the Bible (I wonder if there was a Tree of Stupid) but I do have a bit of a problem with a few things. Folks lived a long time in Biblical days. Reaching seven or eight hundred years, and then some, wasn’t unusual. If their old age pensions kicked in at 65, government payroll deductions must have been a bit steep. Methuselah could bankrupt a nation all by himself. He was 969 years old when the Grim Reaper harvested him. The heat from his birthday cake may have been the first documented cause of global warming. Blowing out the candles would have required gale force winds and the icing would be found as far away as Baghdad. I hope there wasn’t a surprise party for the old duffer. Once a person reaches 950, a crowd jumping out from behind the couch yelling, Happy Birthday is usually fatal.

I wonder how old Methuselah really was. One couldn’t send away to Ottawa for a birth certificate in those days. So there may have been a fair amount of guesswork about just how old some of the ancients really were. If we could somehow go back and interview a few members of his family, we might find that Methuselah was actually a month or two over 36.

In more modern times, what if Stevie Leacock had built his summer home in some other dumb place – like Lindsay. Tourists from the big city today would be wandering around the Leacock Home property on Brewery Bay saying, “Why are we here again?”

What if someone on council realised the MURF didn’t have a rink before the walls went up. Chances are someday we might watch OHL games in a heated arena instead of looking for volunteers to shovel off a rink at the bottom of West Street when the thermometer hits 30 below.

Now the real biggie – what if Mary Trump had had a headache on that fateful night in the fall of 1945 and told Fred to roll over and go back to sleep? Then we wouldn’t have to listen to The Donald run on and on and on and on and . . . .

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