Sunday, February 14, 2010

Five Guys: The community speaks out

In his ongoing series on the Five Guys, Phalguni Fanibhusan of Toronto Now sought the community's response to the recent cultural flaps that occurred in their collective backyard.

Neighbor, Lawrence Howell, 69, had this to say: "Well, those Five Guys are sure a sight in those in those masks. I's taking my dog for a walk one evening, the first time I ever met the Five Guys. They were all gathered around the neighborhood mailboxes, like they were having a prayer service, or something. I said hello to them, but nearly jumped out of my socks when they all turned around and I got a load of them masks!"

Dora, 33, declined to give her last name. "I don't understand why or how the Five Guys got Hallowe'en banned at our public school. I mean, they don't even have any kids who go to the school. What do they care what goes on there? But, no, Hallowe'en this year is now called 'Black and Orange Day.' Who ever heard of such a thing? What really gets me, is that the Five Guys make it so kids can't wear Hallowe'en costumes to school, and yet they walk around wearing ski masks all year round. What's up with that?"

At Dalgowski Warehousing, Ron Dalgowski, 45, commented, "I don't care where the Five Guys come from. Everybody in the community is either an immigrant or the children or grandchildren of immigrants. I do know that when my people came over from Poland, they didn't try and turn Canada into Poland. And the Armenian family down the street from me -- they didn't come here trying to turn Toronto into New Armenia. But to say that the name of this country is too western, and should be changed? Honestly, the Five Guys don't need citizenship classes, they need a few basic lessons in manners."

Then Phalguni Fanibhusan ventured into the Sunnyside Tavern seeking some homespun wisdom. He found it in Frank Nuberhardt, 71, a retired autoworker. When asked how he thought the saga of the Five Guys would play out, Nuberhardt sipped his beer and shook his head. "Don't know," he said.

Did he have any insight into the recent cultural flaps?

"Indeed, I do," Nuberhardt said. "Canada has a weird dynamic. Here, minority rules. The smaller, more obscure your group is, the more power it wields. Because Canada doesn't want to seem like it's Mama, Britain, which created an empire by brutalizing the weak. We've swung way, way, way in the other direction, to where the smaller, weaker, more obscure you are, the more lofty and pedestal-ready you are.

"No offense, but these Five Guys aren't used to living in civilized society. If what I've read about them is correct, the theocracy they come from is extreme and run by madmen. It's the Canadian officials who should have their pants pulled down and tossed out of their jobs.

"Canada is run by people who are so privileged, elite and arrogant, they view themselves almost as gods. They imagine themselves so all-powerful, all-knowing, that they can do nothing except take pity on the poor, small wife beater, child abuser, bank robber, murderer, or ignorant, demanding, angry, theocratic immigrant. They look upon their constituents like St. Francis looked upon a caterpillar.

"Our comatose, apathetic, hockey-obsessed, tax-numbed populace has paved the way for such a country. So, when one of our demigod bureaucrats, administrators, politicians hear that someone within the borders of Canada might be offended by something, they take action! Particularly if a very small number of marginal people are offended. Then the federal troops are called out. I guess it comes from being established by nations of butchers -- England and France -- that to this day we bend over backwards not to be like that.

"To rational adults who live and work in the world, it's a ridiculous state of affairs. But our politicians, judges, administrators, etc., exist in such a rarefied air, so utterly divorced from reality, that they give us ethereal, otherworldly solutions to very worldly issues.

"I once had a neighbor who was a principal at a Catholic grade school. A few of his parents were born again Christians. They complained about Hallowe'en, and about depictions of Santa Claus at Christmas time. They wanted Christmas to be called 'Jesus' Birthday,' no kidding. They even tried getting some of those Harry Potter books taken out of the library. And every time, my neighbor told those born again Christians 'No.' He told 'em 'no' and some of them took their kids out of his school and enrolled them in a born again Christian school. Fine. That's their right. And when it comes to these Five Guys and their demands, I think our duly elected officials owe it to the community to say what my neighbor said to the born agains -- 'No.'"

At which point, Nuberhardt took out a cigarette. He reached for his lighter and stopped. And smiled. "Ha, there you go," he said. "Old habits. Was a time, a person could smoke in here. I understand there are those who don't like the smell of smoke. But there also was a time when people were viewed as being adult to be capable of choosing where they wanted to spend their time."

He put his cigarette away and looked into his beer.

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