“That’s the stupidest idea I ever heard,” the old crone cackled, when I’d finished explaining the vampire hunt concept. I smiled.
She looked to be in her 60s. I was only 41 at the time. I’d heard millions of stupid ideas. No, seriously, millions of them. Three million, to be exact. Yes, I’ve been keeping track since I was born.
I had heard an average of 198.28155 stupid ideas per day in the 15,130 rotations of the planet that I’d experienced, when the hag said my ingenious idea was the stupidest thing she’d ever heard.
That’s why I like living in Yugoslavia – I don’t understand a word anyone is saying, so my mind is not assaulted with the non-stop barrage of banalities one suffers through in any location where they share a common language with the majority and lack the good sense to wander the streets their fingers jammed into their ears.
I lived in Montreal for a couple years and I love the city. But, try as I did, I still managed to pick up a few words of French when I was there.
Those few words, combined with what was left in my cranium from remedial French classes in grades 6 – 8, made it possible for me to unwillingly translate what should have been pure gibberish into maddening nonsense. The longer I lingered in la belle province the more French my mind absorbed, so I packed my bag and moved to Yugoslavia. Fortunately for me, no one ever tried to jam Yugoslavian into my sponge of a mind when I was a child.
In my first two years in Yugoslavia I only heard 27 stupid ideas. Twenty of them came out of the mouth of the insane Latino drug lawyer turned newspaper publisher who’d hired me to edit his two start-ups. The other seven beauties came from, surprise surprise, Mairkans.
Then I got a Facebook account. Fortuitously, my recently-diagnosed diabetes has made a mess of my eyes, and I have developed the ability to detect stupid ideas, subconsciously, before my eyes can focus enough to read them. Now, if I could just stop listening to news talk radio I’d… ah, but no. I suppose I should simply admit that human stupidity is a drug I need in my life. It’s a filthy habit, but news oriented radio does provide me with an infinite number of people to feel superior to.
But I digress.
There’s simply no way that my crafty concept was the stupidest idea the one-eyed, enthusiastic practitioner of zoophilia had ever heard. She was at least 20 years my senior and I had heard far stupider ideas, despite the fact that I try to surround myself with intelligent people (or at least I did until giving up and moving to Yugoslavia). Conversely, being one herself, she must have spent her entire life awash in morons. Hell, I’ve even come up with a few stupid ideas,
so, surely, she must have, as well.
It took a good deal of self restraint to not turn to her and say
but I’ve never been able to figure out what the fuck that means, not even when I was doing a lot of drugs, so I smiled and said, “I doubt that.”
I’d made a strategic blunder during my vampire song and dance: I’d faced the town’s administrator and its oversight committee, and turned my back to THE PEOPLE. It was an amateurish mistake, completely below me. I moved to the side of the room, where all could see my face and I could see all of them, before uttering another word.
“I imagine a lot of people said the same thing when someone in the Spanish town of Bunol first claimed that tens of thousands of tourists would show up every year to throw tomatoes at each other.
“Today, the festival, known as La Tomatina, is one of the greatest in the world, and it pumps millions of euros into the town every summer. People like weird stuff.”
“Where are all these weirdos gonna come from,” asked the crone, who was, of a sudden, a little less cynical and snide.
“I imagine a lot of them will come from Whitehorse,” I answered, Another mistake. Dawsonites hate Whitehorsies. Dawsonites are openly and passionately contemptuous of the bureaucrats
A few people grumbled, setting off a ripple of guffaws. I chuckled and said, “Okay, no one from Whitehorse is allowed to come.” I won a few smiles.
“There are three quarters of a million people living next door, in Alaska, and ain’t none of ’em scared of the cold or the dark.” They were warming up to this, but I was disappointed that I was gonna have to explain everything to them.
“Air North has regularly scheduled flights to Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton every day. Total population of those three cities? Close to four million Are you gonna sit there and tel me that we won’t be able to find a thousand weirdos looking for a genuinely strange Christmas vacation?” Silence.
“Where we gonna put ’em all? We ain’t got enough hotel rooms for a thousand people?”
“Half the town is empty, everyone’s away on vacation through the winter. Rent those rooms out. Build igloos.” I said.
“No one’s gonna sleep in igloos if it’s 50 below.”
“They will if they’re drunk,” I laughed. “And if they have lots of fur blankets to sleep on top of and beneath.
“When they go home, they buy all those furs at a much higher price than you’ll get for them anywhere else.”
They were listening. “Once they’ve come this far, they’re gonna stay a week, ten days, two weeks.”
“What are the y gonna do?”
On the river
“The world’s best pond hockey tournament
“Thirty two teams. Sixteen men’s teams, sixteen women’s teams.” I was tempted to say, ‘With that much fresh meat in town, some of you ugly fucks might even be able to get laid,without resorting to rape,” but I resisted (the Yukon’s rate of sexual assault is 3 to 4 times higher than Canada’s national average – go on, deny it).
“So, 32 teams of, say 15 players each. Now, let’s say they all bring one other with them – husband, wife, friend, whatever. That’s almost a thousand people right there.”
“It’s too damned cold to play hockey out on the river,” someone objected.
“That’s what makes it the toughest hockey tournament in the world. Win this tournament and you can brag for the rest of your life. Plus, we give the winners the best prize offerd anywhere in the world for pond hockey.” I looked around. They were waiting. “A hundred cases of Yukon beer… and a pound of Yukon gold.”
“A pound of gold?” screeched the witch. “Do you know how much that’s worth?”
“About a million bucks,” I said.
“He’s crazy,” the hag crowed. “He thinks a pound of gold is worth a million dollars.”
“More, actually,” I said. They were all waiting for an explanation of my dubious math. “It’s worth a million bucks, at least, and 400 pounds of garlic.” No one had a clue what the fuck I was on about.
“You travel to Anchorage, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. You get an audience with their city councils. You tell them the vampires are coming and ask them to give you 100 pounds of garlic to ward them off. That’s a million bucks worth of publicity in media coverage. Much more, actually. While your talking to them, you mention the hockey tournament with the pound of gold and hundred cases of beer for the winners
“I guarantee you that you’ll be flooded with teams applying. Within two years, this will be the Stanley Cup of pond hockey. Travel to Sweden, Russia, Finland, everywhere hockey is played, and pull the same stunt. Ask them all for a hundred pounds of garlice and you’ll gte millions of dollars worth of publicity.
“Within a couple years demand will be so high that you’ll be able to rent rooms for $500 a night and charge Dubai prices for everything else. Diamond Tooth Gerties
will be packed 24/7
“Take them dog sledding.
“Take them snowmobiling
“Cut some slopes into the hill out there
install a couple rope-tows, and let them ski.
“Get Fentie (the Premier of the Yukon) up here
and sell them heroin! What the fuck? Do I have to explain everything to you?
“But without the vampire hunt, none of this happens. No one comes.”