Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 06.16.15
Stanstead, Quebec


Sometimes I answer questions

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | What is Shania Twain up to these days?

Sad to say, Shania and I have drifted apart ever since I wrote that tell-all article in Vogue ("Shania Twain Promised Me a Back Rub but So Far Bupkiss!"). We still get together for barbecues and the occasional exfoliating, of course, but things can never be the same between friends when one of you describes the other as having "garbanzo for brains." Anyway, the last time I got a Christmas card from her, Shania said she was planning to open a new carpet store in Mississauga called "Man, I Feel Like A Broadloom."

What advice do you have for the Class of 2015?

Walk through life like you're carrying two cups of hot coffee.

There's this fellow I like. The other day I ran into him at the checkout line of our local supermarket. I had a jumbo pack of toilet paper in my arms. Is all hope lost?

There's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody shops. Although most of us don't like to picture other people acquiring food and consumer goods, remember that the entire economic system is perfectly natural, even if it does kind of stink. So you shop. As long as you practice good hygiene and use the flyers, regular shopping is healthy and necessary. And guess what? This fellow you like shops too! Unless he's a communist.

What did you look like as a child?

I was fairly average until I was about five when I underwent a major growth spurt, but only on the left side. I lost my first tooth when I was seven, but before the rest could fall out they were all stolen, an unsolved crime to this day. I blame the Czechs. I think one time my mother took me to get my hair done in tight, tight curls, but I have problems with my short perm memory.

What's the next big project you're working on?

It's a screenplay for a horror film about middle age. It's called The Stiffening.

Getting older seems to bother you. Are you worried about letting yourself go?

I can't say I've let myself go when I was never really hanging on in the first place?

What's a headline you would like to read in The Sherbrooke Record?

For a story about extensive embezzling of municipal monies in Knowlton over the course of several years: "Brome Wasn't Bilked in a Day."

Can we get back to some questions that aren't about you?


What's the next big thing in real estate signs?

It's true that there hasn't been much in the way of innovation in real estate signs since the addition of the "ID Photo" – head shots of stylish agents smiling confidently from lawns. There have been mild variations such as the "Crossed-Arm Tough Negotiator," the "I'm Off to the Nightclub Right After This Sale" and the "Is There Something In My Teeth?" It's really disappointing, though, when you close the deal and realize too late that the attractive agent on the sign doesn't actually come with the house. And then when the agent gets a restraining order on you, sheesh, talk about awkward. Anyway, the next big thing in real estate signs? Scratch-and-sniff.

What does "hazmat" stand for, as in "hazmat suit"?

"Hazmat" stands for "Hazel Matthews," who devised the protective wear because she lived in dread fear that pollen in the air would force her to recite lines from "Three's Company". And the rest, as they say, is HERstory.

What's the best food to eat alone?

When I've been locked in my room for bad behaviour or unpaid library fines, I'm happy to stay there if I've got some Moroccan chicken to keep me company. Savoury spices, olives, citrus – if the chicken's Moroccan, don't come knockin'!

Are there any more puns you would like to get off your chest?

Well, I did purchase the wrong butter-substitute the other day; it was a significant margarine of error.

There wasn't much point to this, was there? Not really.