The Dynasty Broken Up

After a stellar 5-0 start, the league-leading Advantage Wealth Planning team was broken up after complaints from the rest of the league that the team was just too strong. Advantage responded by going out and winning the next game 5-3, including keeping their former top scorer — who’d been summarily transferred to the other team — off the score sheet.

Hope the NHL stays off the ice forever.

Hockey, hockey, hockey…..first place on the line tonight!

With the NHL still on ice — and I hope they stay off the ice for several years; a pox on both their houses — first place is on the line tonight in the best remaining hockey league active, the Limestone Leftovers. Two 4-0 teams meet tonight; only one can win. Who will it be, Advantange Wealth Management or Acme Sports and Promotions? And the winner is…..

 

Advantage Wealth Management!!! in a hard-fought 4-2 game. Well-played by both sides.

PIG: A Thriller now available on Amazon

Here’s the opening scene from my new thriller PIG, which is now available on Amazon. The story takes place in both Siberia and the Southern Alberta foothills. I’ll send a free copy to the first 50 people who send me an email asking for one. In the email, state whether you’d like a mobi or an epub version. All I ask in return is that you go on Amazon and write up a review after you’ve read it.

Thanks,

D

——————————————————————
Snowden Nastiuk needed work. By work, I don’t mean a job. He had one of those. Never been without one in his life. Right now, Snowden Nastiuk — Snow, to those who liked him; Nasty to those who didn’t — had a job just trying to stay alive. Problem was, he wasn’t sure he wanted it.
Back to the work. Which Snow needed. Work on his being, his self, his existence. Which he’d never done. Not until now. Until he had time. Until the woman: Magda; Magda was probably the only reason Death wasn’t sure it was interested in Snow.

Freezing to death is surprisingly peaceful. Snow steps outside his porta-cabin just outside Noyabrsk, Western Siberia in the middle of the night for a quick piss, his breath feathering out in wisps of steam. The water in his commode has frozen over again. There isn’t a Canadian man alive who hasn’t whipped out his dick and spelled his name in steaming piss in the snow. With the wind howling, he doesn’t hear the click of the lock behind him. He is dressed only in underwear. After he pisses, he turns to go back inside. The door is locked. At the time, his core body temperature is 98.6 degrees. His first thought is how embarrassing it is going to be when someone finds him. Cold slaps his naked face, squeezes tears from his eyes. He checks his watch: 0313 hours. His breath leaks from him in short, billowing steam puffs, creating a sharp catch deep in his chest as the cold air reaches his lungs. He hops up and down to try and keep warm as he thinks about what he’s supposed to do in situations like this. He spends precious time rushing from porta-cabin to porta-cabin, knocking on doors and trying to wake someone up. No luck. Either they’re asleep or passed out drunk. Already, his extremities are cold, the web of surface capillaries on his skin constricting, sending blood coursing inwards and deeper into his torso in order to keep vital organs warm. His temperature has now dropped below 97 degrees, his body covered in goose bumps.
Snow’s second thought is that he doesn’t remember locking the door. He never locks it, in fact. The door jamb is so damaged, it can’t be shut completely and there’s nothing inside worth stealing anyway. His watch reads 0348. At least he thinks it does. He’s shivering too hard to read it correctly, a vain attempt to get muscles to generate additional body heat. He has trouble controlling his hands. His motor skills are seizing up. If there were a mirror nearby, he would see his lips turning blue. His body temperature is now less than 90 degrees. Soon, he has stopped shivering. Metabolic processes are shutting down. Amnesia is setting in. He will have a hard time remembering any of this later.
Snow’s third thought is that it is not outside the realm of possibility that he is about to freeze to death.
His fourth thought is that he doesn’t much care.

Can I Have Your Kidney?

In 2006, I wrote the following as an editorial in an Ontario  newspaper. It got a lot of comment, mostly negative. What do you think?

 

I’ll decide what I want to do with my organs, thank you

Darvin Babiuk
For: 

organs whig aug 17 2006

Opinion Columns – Thursday, August 17, 2006 @ 09:00

First off, I want to be perfectly clear that I don’t need your kidney. A heart, maybe. A brain, absolutely. As far as I know, courage can’t be transplanted. What I definitely don’t need is anyone, in or outside government, making decisions about my body parts for me.

The last I heard, there were four separate bills before the provincial legislature that have the purpose of increasing the likelihood people will donate their organs for transplant after their passing. The one that bothers me is the one that would legislate “presumed consent;” that is, every single organ in every single body would be available for harvest unless the corpse in question has explicitly stated otherwise – on the correct government form, no doubt. Probably in triplicate.

Let me get this straight: Billing that presumed consent for cable TV payments created such an uproar a decade ago that the practice was made illegal, yet we’re going to allow presumed consent for something as personal and important as organtransplants? Then we’re going to ask the same kind of body – government – that gave us the sponsorship scandal and the gun registry to oversee it?

Combine the sterling government oversight record with modern-day body-snatchers and the scene in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life might not be so fictional: You know, the scene in which two doctors arrive at a man’s apartment, hold him down and extract his liver, since he’s signed his donor card. Before they’re done, having also convinced his wife of the importance of organ donation and her own insignificance, she happily agrees to donate hers, too. In the modern-day version, we’d just have to make the doctors Communist Chinese and the “donors” adherents of the Falun Gong group.

I haven’t always felt this way. When younger, I would have been happy to have someone have my brain if I passed away. God knows, I didn’t use it much. Spleen, corneas? Take them too. What did I need them for where I was going? (My kidney was another matter; it was working overtime). To this day, I tell my wife to stand my corpse up beside the garbage when I go. I just hope she waits until I’m dead. What I don’t do is sign off on organ donation when I renew my driver’s licence.

What changed? Well, to begin with, marriage. I married into a culture that does not look kindly on such a thing. In fact, it is forbidden. So, first of all, there was the realization that other people, religions and philosophies have other ideas about the topic: strong ones. Then came medical evidence that suggests memory, cognition and personality (the soul?) don’t just reside in the higher organs of the nervous system but also at the cellular level in all tissue. There are case studies documenting such eye-opening reactions as a male patient who got a woman’s heart and soon was bothered by his new preference for the colour pink and a desire to wear perfume, and a health-conscious dancer and choreographer who suddenly became aggressive and impetuous, with uncontrollable urges for fast-food chicken nuggets; these traits were uncharacteristic of her but turned out to be eerily similar to traits of her male organ donor. What happened to these patients was not just personality change but change that closely matched the organ donor’s personality. If this were just the result of drugs or stress or coincidence or new vitality achieved through the transplant, as some would have us believe, the change wouldn’t specifically match the donor.

A wise philosopher (OK, comedian George Carlin) once riffed about how, as an Irish Catholic, he’d been told all his life that the single most important task he had was to save his soul. “Save your soul” came from the pulpit. “Save your soul” came from Sunday school. “Save your soul,” the nuns repeated as they whacked him across the knuckles with a yardstick. “That’s all we want, your immortal soul,” the good Father in the confessional would say.

“Uh-uh,” Carlin replied. “No way. You can’t have it. I’m saving my soul.” And the Catholics were after it.

Here in Kingston, we already have people having to retire against their will and health workers having to take flu shots against theirs. Some would say we even have a mayor who is going to give us an entertainment centre whether we want it or not. Are we now going to have Queen’s Park telling us it will take our body parts and decide what to do with them?

Sheesh! Where I’m going, even the devil has to have permission to take your soul. Apparently Big Brother doesn’t want to, which makes one wonder which is more evil. I’ll decide what to do with my kidney, liver and spleen, thank you very much. Because I’m “saving” them.

I will take that brain, though, if anyone has a spare one.