Canada Says “Hi Bob!”? How a Dated Game Goes with Old Ideas
It’s just hours away from being 17 March. I think we all know what that means. The Tory Party is about to kick off its policy convention in what promises to be an affair without suspense, without much interest from the public. Already having indicated the internal split between old Conservatives and former Reformers is so deep, so profound, all signs point to so little being done, save for papering over the discord by saying the Parliamentary Caucus will treat all contentious issues by allowing free votes. This means the official stance of the Party is to avoid making policy; the result, a policy convention without policy and, one may assume, devoid of substance. The effort will no doubt be made to market this as the work of a party so committed to grass-roots democracy, its mantra is “free vote.” And while tempers may flare and personal animosities surface, even this is unlikely to captivate and entertain the masses. So if you’re planning to follow every moment of this event, what to do? How to stay awake?
I suggest that, given what’s about to materialize, going this one alone is next to impossible. You’ll need to gather at least a few friends, for moral support. If that doesn’t work, you and your friends may have to resort to playing “Hi Bob,” the Canadian version. The “Hi Bob” party, an institution on American college campuses, involves a room full of shot glasses and, ideally, an equal number of frat boys. The point of the game is to watch as many episodes of Bob Newhart’s old classic TV series, downing a shot of hard liquor each time one of the characters in the show says “Hi Bob.”
The Canadian version of this classic pursuit will, I suspect, prove even more intoxicating and mirth-inducing than the original. Of course, responding with a shot to “Hi Bob” doesn’t happen, as the Tories will supply their own linguistic gems. And who says a player has to stop with just one shot? A new, more complex set of rules could be adopted. For example:
Down one shot every time either leader Stephen Harper or any elected MP says: “national unity”, “all Canadians”, “traditional values”, “Red Tory”, “freedom of choice”, “gun registry”, “lack of leadership”, “same-sex marriage”, “missile defense”, “sponsorship scandal”, “opportunity”, “Tory Youth [NB-but only in the context of ‘How come we don’t have any?’]”, “Dithers”, “social issues”, “NDP leader Jack Layton”, “American neighbours”, “Michael Ignatieff [NB-but only in the context of some Tory making, emphatically, the point that Conservative ideas are actually older than Ignatieff’s]”, “Bare Naked Ladies”, or “election”.
Down two shots anytime there’s even a hint of linkage between Belinda Stronach and Peter MacKay. Down three shots if David Frum is mentioned, and four if he’s linked in any way with Canadian foreign policy. Five shots may be called for if Harper manages to offend the people of the Maritimes via an explanation of how Atlantic Canadians are a hard-working, industrious lot. A whole bottle may have to go down if any high profile Tory manages to offend the people of Quebec by attempting to make a point in French…And so on and so on.
Watch TV or turn on the radio only if you absolutely must, and drink responsibly. 17 March 2005, the birth of a new Canadian tradition? "Hi Stephen!"
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