The Most Interesting Person in the World

Archive for April 2010

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful jewel in a beautiful Ontario museum. This jewel was unlike any other jewel in the world. (Then again, isn’t every jewel?) When light moved across its surface, it danced in the light. When darkness fell on the jewel, it looked even more beautiful in its dark and dramatic state. From every angle, it looked beautiful in a different way. (I acknowledge this is getting thin here; but how else am I supposed to say good things about an inanimate object? Besides, jewels really aren’t my forte.)

Every day, this museum had hundreds of visitors, and they all stopped when they came to this jewel. They were mesmerized. They had never seen anything like it. Kids in school groups would lag behind in this room. Tourists would return to Toronto just to see the jewel again. Newspapers would cover the story of the jewel over and over, only because each journalist wanted to see it again. After a few more examples, you will get the point, and I will move on with the story now.

As it turns out, this beautiful jewel had been violently mined in a far-away land where bad things happened because of inanimate objects. (I won’t get into details here, since this topic also isn’t my forte.) One man in particular worked very hard and sweated many sweats to get this jewel from the person who mined it. On this particular day for this particular story, he entered this particular museum and saw this particular jewel. And sure enough, he recognized it.

“That is my jewel,” he said to himself, “and I will have it!”

This man was determined. (In case the bold text didn’t give it away.) He took the museum to court. He used all the money and influence he had. He proved that it was his jewel, and he won the right to take it home.

It was all his. It sat in his living room. Nobody else got to see the jewel, except on his terms, and only when he felt like having visitors.

Soon, however, he noticed that the jewel didn’t look as beautiful as it had in the museum. It needed a certain lighting. Unfortunately, lighting wasn’t his forte, so he had to hire lighting people to set up a special ambiance for lighting the jewel. “We will set up the best lighting system that you can imagine,” they promised, “but on one condition: we should be allowed to come and look at this jewel whenever we want.”

It wasn’t too much to ask, so he acquiesced. And soon the jewel was well-lit once again. It was his well-lit jewel.

But now he noticed that dust kept falling on it. Also, it kept rolling off his desk. He needed a special case, to protect it, and a special cushion to cushion it. And not just any case and cushion. After all, this jewel deserved only the best. So he found the best case-and-cushion dealer in town, and ordered a special set-up for this jewel that let you know how important was this jewel sitting on this desk, from the moment you walked into this room. And the dealer said to him, “I will make you a case and cushion fit for this jewel;” and he added, “but, you must let me and my family come and visit this jewel whenever we want.” Desperate, the man acquiesced, and soon he had a magnificent case fit for the magnificent jewel, and a cushion so comfortable you would wish your butt sat on such a lovely cushion. And many frequent visitors. After all, this was his well-lit, well-cased, well-cushioned jewel.

One day, when reading an issue of “Beautiful Jewel Quarterly,” the man found out that it is important to keep a jewel at the right temperature to preserve it. “Oh, come on,” he said in exasperation.

One heating-and-cooling system later, one insurance policy later, one room-makeover later… after many cases of interior-design surgery, the room was soon flooded with people, day in, day out, who wanted, and had been granted, permission to stare at this beautiful jewel. This amazing jewel that belonged to our protagonist, and only to our protagonist. This jewel that was all his, that lived in his living room, that he could view whenever he wanted.

At the end of the day, however, he realized that he had the jewel, but he didn’t have his privacy. He didn’t have his life.

In fact, he didn’t own the jewel. The jewel owned him.

“I… I guess I’ll go first,” pipes in the average-height guy wearing a blue shirt in a nondescript segment of the circle. “Hi, my name is… I forget, and I’m an amnesiac.”

“Hi, amnesiac,” murmurs the crowd.

“I guess I should start at the beginning. I mean, how I got to be this way. Only I can’t tell you that story, because, unfortunately, I can’t remember it.”

“It’s okay,” says the woman positing herself as the leader. “This is a safe space. If it comes back to you, you can share it with us.”

“I guess the scariest part for me,” says a stubbled man caressing a stress ball, “is the possibility that I can be someone I don’t want to be. Like I could have a seemingly boring life, but really I’m a serial killer, and I kept it so well-hidden that I’ll never know.

“Or even worse,” he continues, “I can just have a boring life.”

“That is pretty bad,” mumbles an obese woman in a dress, more to herself than anyone else.

6x + 5y = 8

5x + 6y = 14

What happens when you bring together 6 of your closest friends and 5 of your most casual acquaintances for a chip ‘n dip party? 8 of them come out alive!

But if you put 5 friends and 6 acquaintances in a blender, you will end up with more than the sum of their worth. How is that possible?

“Hello. You have reached my voicemail. Which is odd… because I always have my phone on me, and it’s not like I’m doing anything. Most likely, I’m just avoiding your call. Anyway, leave a message with plenty of information, and I’m sure I’ll get back to you soon.”

“Hi, and welcome to the first official meeting of The Society for Not Hanging Up on Lauren’s Voicemail. First item of business… the club handshake! (pause) Now, on to the crux of your membership: leaving a message.”

“Hi. You have reached my voicemail, so if that’s what you were trying to do, congratulations. You’ve accomplished at least one thing today. Make a wish, and if you leave a message after the beep, it will come true in exactly 72 hours. However… if you hang up without leaving a message, terrible things will happen to you and your loved ones, including your goldfish, and 72 baby snails, and every e-mail you ever send me. Are you ready with your wish? Enter it… Now.”

Every time I hear the System Voice of the TTC  announce a delay at St. George or that women riding alone at night can get off wherever they want, I half-expect it to end with, “…and thank you for riding Paramount Canada’s Wonderland.” Did I mention, especially when the Spadina streetcar is leaving the station, that I like to pretend I’m riding a roller coaster? Sometimes it really does feel like the slow climb up to the top of the hill, and my blood pumps with anticipation of the free fall about to happen. Instead, the vehicle comes to a complete stop, but I’m excited nonetheless.

The TTC should really throw in some fun announcements, just to shake things up. Here are a few of my suggestions:

“Hello, and welcome aboard the Toronto Transit Commission. Please keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. Women who are pregnant and men with a pacemaker ride at your own risk. If you feel the need to hurl, please ask the vehicle driver for a vomit bag. We hope you enjoy your day at Theme Park Toronto, and thank you for choosing the TTC.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no need for alarm. This announcement is just to let you know that due to a limited power outage last night, there have been some escapes from a mental institution, jail, and zoo located around the corner. Just be aware as you ride today, that if you feel the need to report an insane and dangerous zebra sitting across from you… we already know. Thank you, and have a nice day.”

“Hello TTC rider. Do not be alarmed if you see passengers with blue flashing ears, or who are talking to themselves, reading their palm, emitting music from their ears, or picking their nose and eating it. Also be aware that anything you say or do may end up on the Internet within the time that it takes you to say or do it. Thank you. This is a recording.”

“Ladies and gentlemen… Are you with a loved one? Is there a confession you have always wanted to make? Do you have any last thing you have always wanted to hear from another person before you die? Please engage now. Life is short.”

“Hello, Toronto citizens! The weather may be snowy or forecast above ground… but down here, it’s a Caribbean paradise! Please enjoy this calypso music!”

It was so awkward watching these movers across the street trying to preserve my neighbour’s hotel. I’ve seen a house moved brick by brick, but they had to pack it up ice cube by ice cube.

At one point, I felt like going outside and telling them that when they try to restore the building in the new location… it just won’t be the same. But then a rerun of Arrested Development came on tv, and I forgot all about it.

Lady: I’m too tired and full of dead fish to walk home. Can’t my house just  stilt-walk over to me?

Fish: Lady, this is a place where fish gotta fly, dead fish gotta swim, and clouds like to sing. But everyone knows that houses do not move. That’s just crazy.

Lady: Oh, house, stop staring at me with those big, glaring windows. Why do you taunt me so???

You ever have one of those days where you wake up in the morning to find that your hair has been replaced by an explosion of toothpaste, and fish are trying to eat it, but you don’t care cause you smell Wintergreen Fresh, and even though you don’t have eyes you can see psychedelic bubbles all around you, and you’ve lost your clothes but it’s okay because you’re wearing nail polish and your cheeks blush in perfect circles?

Yeah, me neither.

Thanks to Marta Ryczko for her hallucinatory contribution to this art blog.

  • my second favourite guitar chord (favourite is eMinor)
  • stands for “eat” on a compass rose (full acronym: Never Eat Shredded Wheat)
  • can be used as either a monopthong or dipthong, depending on the wordEgyptian hieroglyph, according to Wikipedia (and if an r is involved)
  • can pre-empt a word to make it electronical. For instance: e-mail, e-telegram, e-just-call-your-friend.
  • vitamin better known as tocopherols. In some circles.
  • the square of C multiplied by M
  • a fundamental subatomic particle, of the negative variety
  • orbital eccentricity. This use made the list only because it has “eccentricity” in its synonym.
  • 14 in hexadecimal. This use made the list because it has “Hexadecimal” in its explanation.
  • plays some good eels music. I recommend Daisies of the Galaxy.
  • for when you want to perform differential and integral calculus with exponential functions and logarithms. (aka 2.718)
  • means that everyone can play this video game!
  • first letter of a postal code, to signify New Brunswick
  • a coat hanger. Just look at it: e is begging for you to hang something off that tail.
  • drug to cure your brain from not-looking-like-Swiss-cheese-itis (Yes, but can it make your brain taste like Swiss cheese?)
  • a gender-neutral way to say “he” or “she” without being annoyingly grammatically incorrect and referring to an individual in the plural. Not that I’m opinionated when it comes to people abusing grammar, or anything.
  • as the title of a piece of Flash Fiction. For instance:

Janet wanted to see a good throw-down. She threw the uses of e into a cage and waited for them to fight for supremacy. Much to her chagrin, the definitions wanted to play nice and comb each other’s hair. She was having none of it. She had a Brass Trophy and a sponsorship deal for the winner already set up. She tried to provoke a fight, punching the musical note and pointing at East, even smashing the heads of the vitamin and drug together, but nothing was happening. When the e’s started holding hands and singing kumbaya, she finally gave up. Bought herself a box of o’s.

(Bad luck there, too. All she got was subliminal messages in her cereal and hugs without kisses. And a Big Fat Nothing.)

If you don’t have a job, do you not have an identity? If you break up with your partner, does that change who you are?

Too often we identify our sense of self with our job, the letters after our name, our lifestyle, or what kind of a car we drive. And no place brings that out more than when we meet new people.

Quick: What’s the first question you ask someone at a cocktail party?


Here I propose some new questions to launch an interesting conversation with someone you’ve just met. Not to mention, some good questions to ask yourself.

  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What’s the biggest change in your world that you’re currently working on?
  • What artistic medium would you be most unable to live without?
  • If your life mission is to change the way people think about some aspect of living, what would that be?
  • What are your super powers?
  • What tiny quirky things do you do that bring you the most pleasure/amusement?
  • What do you like to think about?
  • What childhood issues are strong enough in your memory that you would fight to prevent for the next generation?
  • What topic do you know much too much about, that you don’t often admit to people?
  • Which part of yourself/your personality do you most want to be known for?
  • What are your last thoughts before you fall asleep at night?