Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 03.09.09
Stanstead, Quebec


Three short snappers

I failed in business and I know why: it's because I don't follow sports.

If I followed sports, I'd know the jargon, the lingo, the secret handshakes of sport-speak, the sole purpose of which is to give the impression you know what you're talking about.

"What the Raiders need to do is play up their short-game and double-dutch their defence. If they don't punt-size their offside strategies, they're going to be losing six ways to Sunday on the popcorn grid. Unfortunately, their tight end is still out with an injured tickle trunk."

It doesn't matter that you think the Heisman is a maneuver for saving a choking victim. If you can manage the lingo, you can impress and, more importantly, bamboozle your co-workers.

If I'd been able to fake sport-speak, I'd have had no problem convincing people that I was corporately competent, since business-speak works the same way:

"The market is fumalgating in cashmere stocks right now. It's time to sell and make a quick turnover. Unfortunately, my cash flow is tied up in tickle trunk bonds."

But I don't follow sports, and consequently I can't fake business-speak, therefore I failed in business.

It didn't help that I'm lazy.

* * *

"Number 4, right?" asks my barber.

This refers to the razor attachment he uses to shear my hair into a style that's best described as "conservative but clinging to youth."

After a few minutes of trimming and discreet age-related questions ("Would you like me to shave those hairs off your ears?), he's done. And then the question:

"Would you like something in it?"

He means something to make my hair stand up and say "Howdy!" Left on its own, my hair generally lies down and moans.

Of course I say yes. It's good to try new things. Except a rat tail. Never a rat tail.

I've had gels, I've used creams, tried mousse back in the eighties. But this is something new:

"It's called clay," says my barber.


"Like gel only it doesn't get hard."

"Sure," I say.

He squeezes out what looks like drywall compound and rubs it into my hair.

You know when you've been sanding plaster and you get dust in your hair and then you walk out into a light rain and your hair gets all thick and clotted? That's what clay feels like. But, damn! I look good.

I can't wait to try caulking.

* * *

A recent issue of Canadian Living featured a cover story on the "10 Health Warning Signs You Should Not Ignore." I immediately turned to the article to see if I was dying. This is what you do after you turn 40.

It turns out one of the warning signs is asparagus crepes with a cream-pepper sauce, which goes to show you should never take health advice from a homemaker magazine.

But you should take health advice from me:

If you find yourself flailing your arms and grimacing involuntarily, you may be suffering from CAGS - chronic air-guitar syndrome. This ailment tends to afflict only men. There is no cure.

If you suffer from ringing in the ears, you may be infected by pixies. Lucky bastard.

If you find yourself disoriented, dizzy, flying through the air and then crashing to the ground with a sickening thud, you may be using a trampoline. To avoid trampolines, abstain from having children.

Zombie infestation? No need to have your fleshed gnawed upon. The undead can be easily placated using wind chimes and hand puppets. Avoid making eye contact.

Don't run with that!

Don't insert that there!

Warning: elephants may contain peanuts.