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Essay

You Got Soul, Brother!

Monday, Monday. Greeting me across the breakfast table is the headline from an old–probably too old–“Wheels” section of the local paper. “Can a motorcycle designed by a focus group actually have soul?” A coffee-slobberer if ever there was one.

The brainworm planted by this most extraordinary header will take some time to expel. Even turning to the full story, on a back page, and discovering that by “soul” the author means “sales success” doesn’t help. It is too late. The header’s unholy union of business jargon and religion has already created a long succession of bizarre images, each more disturbing than the last. Trust me. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Has the sleepy old Herald suddenly morphed into a secret sci-fi journal? Either I’ve lived too long, or this was an exceptionally slow news day for the “Wheels” editors! The latter hypothesis, I must say, takes on a certain salience from the fact that the review of the motorcycle in question is given a full page. Another coffee-slobberer–if only there were any coffee left to slobber. I mean, really. Two thousand words and a three-column, full-colour photo about one motorcycle, when stories about the major events of the day are lucky to be given 700 words. It’s hard to know where to begin in analyzing this particular concatenation of facts.

One thing is clear. Whether I’ve lived too long or not, the newspaper is staying too long on my dining table. I simply can’t afford any more nightmares of the sort this header is sure to inspire. From now on, the maximum allowable stay on my table is 72 hours. After that, it is straight to the recycle bag, whether I’ve read the section in question or not. If this means I never see any more headers of the type under discussion here, so much the better!

In closing, I pray that I never meet up with one of these “motorcycles with soul” on the open highway. If I do, it will likely go hard with one or both of us. The thought of one of these machines negotiating a hairpin curve out near Peggy’s Cove is really more than I can bear–even with a full quota of coffee in tow.

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