God bless ya, Cape Breton.
Asset sources: Shutterstock | Art by Noel Ransome
Man has made a prison for himself out of language, and the entire history of human civilization is nothing but the elaborate renovation of our dungeon walls. But every now and again an arrangement of words appears that is so beautiful and perfect that it punches open a vista onto something so sublime and grand that we become, for a fleeting moment, free.
Friends: by the grace of God and the (closed group) Cape Breton Rant Room, Ronnie Talbot has given us one of those moments.
This post is pure and perfect and justifies my online life. It is the human condition rinsed clean in Maritime saltspray. The drama; the pathos; the raw fire of it all.
Every sentence is perfectly constructed. "Terry from the Pier" is like the protagonist in a Springsteen B-side or a minor character from The Wire who's going to die three episodes after you meet him. "He's got a stupid fucking haircut if that helps" is spit with all the righteous fury of the deindustrialized east.
When Talbot writes "him and another young fella stole a 24 out of the bed of my truck while I was taking a piss in tims," you can hear the dialect ring so clear in your mind it's like you're hearing the story over a smoke in between a marathon session of darts down to the bar. "Green Pontiac bonneville" is the standard-issue car of the exact type of greasebag you'd expect to rob beer in a Tim Horton's parking lot. "The lady at Tims" is a perfect Greek chorus, and when she reveals that "[Terry] may tint car windows for cash," the whole scene is solidified as indistinguishable from a Trailer Park Boys bit circa season 2.
"So help my Jesus Terry if a find you you're fucked" is not a threat; it is a prayer and a promise. The wrath of God and Ronnie Talbot is going to strike you down. Yer fucked, bud—you and your stupid fucking haircut.
This post is why Facebook was invented; this is why we have the gift of speech. The digital archive exists to carve Ronnie Talbot's struggle into it forever. It's a microcosm of the human condition, and it's so powerful that someone can set up a gofundme to get Talbot a new 24 of Keith's. It blasted past its goal as furiously as Ronnie blasted that piss in the Tim's bathroom and as furiously as Terry from the Pier is definitely going to get a thorough shit-knocking once they track him down. (Ronnie Talbot is even going to give the cash to the youth centre down at the Pier to give the kids better life opportunities than tinting car windows for cash, because Ronnie Talbot is a goddamn humanitarian.)
It's a work of goddamn art. Give this man his beer and then give him the Giller prize because no one in the history of CanLit has ever deserved either one more.
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