A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
It is rare that a person is honoured in their own lifetime. It has happened once in a while but usually for insignificant awards like the Nobel Prize for Literature, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and – what was the other one? – Peace. There are of course many fields wherein someone is honoured for actually doing something. Sadly many of the accolades being handed out are cheapened by the presentation of some sort of trinket presumably for a keepsake that can be sold for cab fare home, like a trophy, a plaque or a coffee cup with Champlain Seniors written on the side.
In the case of some of the more prestigious honours, the winners have received a considerable sum of money. An example would be the Nobel prizes where someone with a lot of drag with the committee, like being of Scandinavian heritage, sleeping with someone on the panel of judges, or knowing someone who has. I don’t know if you remember that our own Prime Minister Lester Pearson was presented with the Nobel Prize for Peace and he had a handicap; he had a lisp. No one noticed this flaw since it was presented to him in Sweden and they can hardly speak English let alone check on his pronunciation so he got it anyway. His award was never mentioned here in Orillia (Conservative town).
You may not have noticed but I have been overlooked for many of these awards in spite of sending countless letters to these organisations outlining why I should be honoured for my work in their area of interest. Actually my correspondence, which some say was nothing short of shameful begging, was ignored, if not ridiculed. Granted I did go a little overboard in 1979 when a considerable number of salty tears literally soaked the paper and most of my penmanship dripped off the page, but still nothing. If I didn’t know better I might even suspect many of my letters were shredded and put out in the host community’s blue box program.
However I did receive an honour that dwarfs (I’m sorry, little persons) all the others, I was presented with an honorary membership to the Stephen Leacock Mausoleum Club. Unfortunately, Stephen himself was unable to attend due to other commitments and the fact that he died several years before. To be honest I cannot remember who else was a recipient of this cherished award that evening since towards the end of the ceremony, we all fell down, but I’m sure there were several who went on to become famous in their chosen field.
It was an impressive ceremony what I can remember of it. I know the organisation’s President, Mr. John Remington Size made an impressive speech, followed by several slurred words of welcome from Mr. Randy Richmond, the Sergeant of Arm’s Length. If you will remember Mr. Size and Mr. Richmond were esteemed editors at the Orillia Packet and Times before it became necessary for them to leave town leaving no forwarding address.
My certificate hangs on the wall of my office and cat’s bedroom and is the highlight of the guided tour, or will be if our home is designated an historic site and we can charge for it.
I understand Randy keeps his certificate prominently displayed in a box in his basement and John can’t find his, but thinks it may be in the attic.