09:24:15 am on
Monday 15 Jul 2024

Sjef Frenken

We were putting away our trays, having finished our lunch. I dumped my leftovers into a bin and put the tray on top. Jack, in a hurry to get away, simply put his tray -- still laden with plastic implements, paper cup and napkins -- on top of the bin.

At that moment, a man behind us couldn’t refrain from commenting on Jack’s faux pas.

“Hey,” he said, “you’re supposed to dump the garbage in the garbage bin, and put your empty tray on the other empty trays.”

“Is that so!” said Jack.

“Yeah, that’s so,” answered the man, a little taken aback at Jack’s rather snarky, not typically Canadian response.

“Alright,” said Jack, “do you always follow the rules?”

“Yeah,” said the man.

“You always report all your income to the Canadian Revenue Agency?”

“Yeah,” said the man, “and it’s the Canada Revenue Agency, not the Canadian Revenue Agency!”

“You always come to a full stop at a stop sign?”

“Yeah,” said the man.

“You always look both ways, when you cross the street?”

“Yeah,” said the man.

I thought I detected Jack’s car salesman technique: get the customer in a yes-saying frame of mind.

“You always put the stamps on your envelope right side up?”

“Yeah,” said the man.

“You always go to church on Sundays?”

“Yeah,” said the man, although with less certainty than before.

Jack must have picked up on that, so he went back to safer ground.

“So you always follow the rules?”

“Yeah, I do,” said the man.

“And you always do what people tell you to do?”

“Well, yeah,” said the man.

“Well then, FUCK OFF!? said Jack.

Sjef Frenken is a renaissance man: thinker, writer, translator and composer of much music. A main interest, he has many, is setting to music the poetry, written for children, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Nimble of mind, Sjef is a youthful retiree and a great-grandfather. Mostly he's a content man, which facilitates his relentless multi-media creativity.

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