Thursday, February 18, 2010

The answer is time. And an absence of back fat.

It was standing room only for Terry O'Reilly's speaking engagement in Havenot last night. I dragged the little bastard off of the sofa to spend and hour and a half in a library, surrounded by CBC types with nose hairs and sensible, crepe-soled footwear from 1972. I believe the evening – a jolly marketing and branding ballyhoo – was sponsored by Clark's Wallabees. Or Coronation Street.

O'Reilly rolled into town on the apron strings of one mother of a snowstorm, so I was surprised and disappointed to see such an amazing turnout. I selfishly wanted him, and his genius, all to myself so I could beg for a job and roll words like Baldwin Street Chinese buns and "when I worked at Publicis in San Francisco" off of my tongue, like one does when infatuated and clamouring to make a connection.

The post-talk lineup for book purchase and signing was lengthy and very L.L. Bean outlet, so as much as I wanted a copy of The Age of Persuasion, How Marketing Ate Our Culture, I opted for an early exit, much to the delight of the little bastard. As it turned out, we stood in line anyway, behind some dipshit with a Ph.D driving a K-Car that couldn't make it up the 3º slope out of the library parking lot – despite the efforts of his wife pushing and sweating all over her cat-emblazoned Tabi sweater – because his Canadian Tire all-season radials ran out of tread during the last season of Magnum P.I.

I was just about to send the little bastard out to help, when the K-car hit a dry patch and off they went to their sidesplit in Upper Stewiacke for a mug of Postum and some intellectual banter before bed. Pushing a K-car would have been better than listening to me wax on about how much I used to love sound studios and directing voice talent and writing scripts and having nice clothes and a life that didn't include wearing my pyjamas under my sweat pants like I am right now, because upon arrival home last night the motor on our furnace went the way of the Ford Pinto.

Sparks, accompanied by dangerous smelling blue smoke had me throwing extra blankets on our beds, and wishing I lived in an urban high rise, or knew of a manly electrician I could sleep with to get a deal on a furnace that wasn't like ours – the first model that didn't require shoveling coal to get the mercury above freezing your balls off.

The little bastard sensed the evening had fallen off of the rails from my first glimpse of a well-tailored Toronto blazer to the sparks and ensuing fishwife monologue emerging from the basement – so he wisely retreated to the sanctity of his bed – and I flopped on the sofa with the mail and a mug of Postum because I am one fucking nose hair away from subscribing to WGBH Boston.

And that's when I saw it.

Glossy, and packed with youthful advertising, 20-year old stomachs, and pull-out flaps for men's cologne that would have the scent-free fanatics of Havenot gasping for breath – was the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. Wedged between the Nova Scotia Power bill and my Baby Bonus cheque from Stephen Harper – both #10 envelopes larger than the bikini bottom staring at me in a room quickly dropping to below frigid bitch – the 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue sat there like the last slice of pizza in a room full of Weight Watchers.

I resisted temptation for a nano second then snatched up the magazine and flipped from Brooklyn Decker rolling in the surf – to gold medalist Lindsay Vonn rolling in the snow – marveling at how much younger and more beautiful these women get every year. With ice cold hands I went from bikini to bikini thinking about the unusual tan lines I get attempting to read in the sun. Horizontal white stripes across a burnt belly, and sometimes a strip of pale under my chin if I don't set the book down and lie back for a moment or two.

I thought of the great deal Maritime Travel have to the 5-star Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya in Mexico leaving March 17th, and how lucky Brooklyn Decker was to be married to Andy Roddick and really, what does she have that I don't have?

I glanced at the vodka, auto, electronics, and beer ads wedged between the bikini models and their target audience of men aged 14 to Larry King. I smelled the cologne samples and thought of the XXL golf shirt laced with sweat and Ralph Lauren Sport that lived under my pillow for nearly three years.

I took one last whiff of Armani's Acqua Di Gio and closed the magazine. Pulling up the covers under the little bastard's chin, I took a long drink of his smell – a combination of hockey helmet, Old Spice Red Zone, chocolate milk, Crest, and love – then headed to my bed.

Scent, according to O'Reilly, triggers a response in humans that savvy marketers have been banking on for decades. The smell of my baby's hair trumps the smell of regular paycheques, success, freshly dry-cleaned power clothes, and Future Bakery pastries at an all-night brainstorming session – every time.

I wonder what a new furnace smells like.

Bookmark Book Sellers at 5686 Spring Garden Road have Terry O'Reilly's book. If you're lucky, you may even get a signed copy.

To book your place in the warm sun, click on the beach photo to the right or call Maritime Travel at 1-800-593-3334.