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It’s August. I’m in Toronto. Even the pavement sweats. I spot an ice cream truck. I’m too old to order ice cream alone. You have to be with friends. But a milkshake on the other hand…

I stand in line. I am happy. I don’t think you can be unhappy when you’re about to get a milkshake. A homeless man approaches me. He is angry. He asks me for money. I heard its better to give homeless people a bus ticket or some food.  I ask him if he’d like a milkshake. That seems to make him angrier. He grunts in the affirmative and we stand in line together. I suppose this means I can order ice cream now…

I try to make small talk but he won’t even look at me. You can be angry even when you’re about to get a milkshake. I ask the ice cream truck guy for two shakes. I hand my angry friend the first one. He storms off without saying a word. I am a little taken aback and think to myself, I shouldn’t have given him anything in the first place. Why should I give to someone so rude and unthankful? I feel a nudge in my heart. Because that’s the way God gives. I drink my milkshake alone and hope my angry friend is enjoying his.

The Mexican Whisperer

I lost my voice. Laryngitis. I have spent the last two days whispering to people when I absolutely had to speak. Last night I went out for Mexican food. The shop keeper asked me what I wanted. I motioned to my throat and whispered, “I lost my voice.” He looked at me with empathy and whispered back to me for the duration of our conversation.

Now stop and think… Why is this man whispering? Does he think it makes me feel better? I’ll have you know, he hasn’t been the only whisperer. There are more of you out there. You are the same people who speak in broken english when talking to someone with an accent. You aren’t helping anyone.

“Do you know what you want?” the shop keeper whispered. I pointed to the picture of the fajitas. He asked me if I wanted chicken, pork or beef and then proceeded to act out a pantomime of each animal. For ‘chicken’ he clucked his arms like he was doing the chicken dance. For ‘beef’, he pointed his fingers above his head indicating little cow horns.

I wish I was making this up.

If you are one of these whisperers, then on behalf of laryngitis victims and new immigrants, might I beg you, please, please… stop. You are a stain on the fabric of intelligent society. And you are funny to look at.