Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 01.07.13
Stanstead, Quebec


Vapid New Year, eh?

By now, plays on the film title The Year of Living Dangerously have easily surpassed the number of people who actually saw the film. This is likely because years tend to come around with regularity, the act of living is pretty much a constant and there is an endless variety of adverbs to describe the living of said year. Plus, writers are lazy.

So what's one more? Welcome to 2013, my Year of Living Frivolously. And don't expect me to expend much more effort than that when it comes to column topics. For the next twelve months, it's superficial all the way. Look for my "Whither Pinterest?" column in April, followed in June by "What's the deal with untrustworthy toaster settings?"

Having no value and purpose-free: that's the life for me. I stumbled into this mind-set in mid-December when the family purchased a new wide-screen TV and, for the first time in over twenty years, subscribed to cable. Yes, we signed on for an expensive home entertainment service just as it's becoming outmoded and irrelevant. But we don't care; we're frivolous!

While it's true that I have read about pop culture for years and knew about Honey Boo Boo whether I wanted to or not, I've generally been sheltered from full-on exposure. I've never stared directly into the Kardashian eclipse or been sucked into the black hole of Snooki. The only Real Housewives I've known have been, well, real housewives.

It wasn't until this past month, a full decade behind the times, that I delved into the vast vapidness of the thousand-channel universe and came to realize that we are truly living in an immaterial world, that we revolve around the 24-hour "Two and a Half Men" day, that our subsistence on lack of substance is resulting in cultural and intellectual anemia.

Whew! That sentence exhausted me! You too? Short sentences. From now on. Grammar? Punctuation? Not important.

In keeping with the times, in 2013 I plan to embrace the insubstantial and the mindless. Even when the Harper government's next omnibus bill ("Now With Even More Omnibusiness!") includes legislation to relinquish all snow-producing rights to China and to change pronunciation of "Z" from "zed" to "zee" in order to "streamline language resources with our American neighbors" (without the "U"!), I won't call the Prime Minister a "culture-hemorrhaging prairie oyster." Instead, expect a column wondering just how wide does a wide-screen have to be to get rid of those stupid black bars?

When the PQ introduces a bill to make French mandatory in households of all new immigrants, my commentary will be restricted to a single tweet: "Oui, oui, oui all the way home."

Don't think frivolity will be limited to my writing. In 2013, I plan to read only the trendiest of books. No, not even; instead if reading, say, the Fifty Shades of Gravy books, I'm going to read the copycat versions. Any smut-lit with handcuffs on the cover will do as long as it's artistically photographed. And I'll give nary a thought to how on earth porn, of all things, got to be so girly.

Next, I'm gonna buy me an all-terrain vehicle and speed noisily through the woods and neighbourhood streets, even though the only legitimate reason to do so is if you're running from the law. I'll thoughtlessly mangle ski trails with my tire tracks while watching nature whiz past: Woosh! There goes a tree. Woosh! There goes another tree. Woosh! There goes a "No Trespassing" sign. In 2013, ATV will mean "all thoughts vacant."

Lottery tickets every day!

Cheetos for lunch!

I'll be so frivolous, I'll lose sight of what "frivolous" actually means!

And, of course, there's television. With all those channels to scan through and absorb, I can sum up 2013 in two words: "Hoarders" marathon.

Yes, dear reader, in the year ahead, look to this space for the slight, the mindless, the inconsequential and silly. In other words, 2013 will be business as usual.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at