“The world has always been awash with ignorant, belligerent, narcissist leaders and heads of state. Today we have Kim Jong-un, Maduro, Mugabe, Asad, Putin and now our latest Dear Leader: Trump. Did you see how his cabinet appointees fawned over him like he was the second coming.” I ranted, much to Camp’s amusement who had just sat down, seemingly in a bit of a state or maybe it was just his wild hair, sticking out like grey spring ferns. Campbell or Camp as we all call him is the owner of Gibsons’ one and only bookstore – a non profit venture as he refers to it – and he is also one of five elected town counsellors.
“I don’t have a TV. Probably a good thing, ” he said while holding up two fingers for Vicky the waitress. Two beers at once. This looked serious.
“I forgot, you’re not in the media loop Camp. It’s harder every day to separate fact from fiction. I think we should coin a new word: Faction for the masses,” I continued my tirade.
“You should try to not take all that stuff you see on TV so personal. It could affect your digestion or cause anything from a minor headache to a full blown migraine. Best to avoid stress, especially the kind induced by world news flashes.”
“But Camp, what happens in Washington or Damascus affects us all. Remember the butterfly effect.”
“I think the outcomes are more linear. When they got rid Saddam and Gadhafi they paved the road for the rise of the jihadist, the latest death cult. Totally predictable. And the recent election of Dear Leader in Washington is a direct response from those who feel most left out and marginalized. Elect a crazy guy who promises the impossible. That’s the American way. The rise of the ignorant.”
“It’s a crazy world Camp. “
“Yep, drives me to drink.”
Just on cue Vicky arrived with two full pints, which she set down square in front of Camp. He instantly proceeded to quench his mighty thirst.
“Two pints at once ?” What’s the trouble Camp? Something to do with Muriel? She reversed her vote on the break water expansion or she stood you up for tea?”
Camp gave me a lopsided grin. “If it was only as simple as that. No, I turned 60 last week.”
It was my turn to be surprised. “Congratulations Camp. I didn’t know. I didn’t think you counted the years.”
“I don’t really but the government does. They sent me letter telling me how much CCP I’m entitled too if I collect now. Rather depressing I have to tell you. Since I’ve been self employed most of my life I’ve never paid myself enough wages and usually neglected to send anything to the taxman.”
I didn’t know how to console him. “The taxman can be a mean spirited, unsympathetic bugger.”
Camp gave me wry smile. “Too little to live on and too much to die for.”
“Well look at the bright said. You’re still in business, you’re active in civic politics, you’re healthy and if I trust my senses, you’re newly in love.”
For a moment I thought Camp was going to choke on his mug.. He sputtered and snorted as if poked by a sharp stick.
“In love ! Are you crazy ! I may be old but I’m not a fool.”
I let that one go. To me the signs were clear. Lately he wore nicer clothes. Sometimes he even combed his wild, wiry head of hair and he now shaved at least ever second day and had his nose and ear hairs trimmed recently. A clear case of newfound vigour and it didn’t come from the government.
“Happy belated birthday Camp. I think you’re entitled to a free pint.”
“I know, that’s why I ordered two. Sort of like happy hour.“
“I think I’ll join you. Cheers.”