TORONTO — After the Hamilton Tiger-Cats rolled into downtown Toronto and dispatched the hometown Argonauts on Sunday, a group of Ticats fans, distinct in their yellow-and-black jerseys, headed toward a cluster of bars down the street from the Rogers Centre. A cab, caught in the afternoon traffic, slowed beside them. The window rolled down. The Ticats fans looked over. A man in the back seat, presumably an Argonauts fan, leaned forward, pointed two fingers up, put them across his lips, and flicked his tongue.
This being Toronto, in the year 2013 — otherwise known as the year our mayor, Rob Ford, got his own syndicated reality TV show (it’s called “the news”) — one of the Ticats fans reached for the nearest heavy weapon. “You look like Mayor Ford,” he said.
Insulting a citizen by comparing him to his own mayor is not a common taunt. But these days in Toronto, WTF is the new normal. Here’s what Ford told a scrum of reporters last week: “The next thing, I want to call [Mayor Bob Bratina] in Hamilton and tell him we’re going to have to spank their little Tiger-Cats. Oh, and the last thing was, Olivia Gondek [a former adviser], who says I wanted to eat her pussy. I’ve never said that to my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home. Thank you very much.” Then he turned around and walked back into his office, where he works, at City Hall, in the fourth-largest city in North America, showing the world the back of his No. 12 “MAYOR FORD” Toronto Argonauts jersey.
Ford’s regard for football outstrips his sense of decorum by a country kilometer. That’s why I thought there’d be no better place to survey the people of his city than at the playoff game he’d been discussing shortly before remembering to address his access to cunnilingus. So I bought a ticket, headed to the upper deck, and asked fans to write down a message they’d like to deliver to the mayor. Here are their responses.
Trevor Lahey and Cory Bowles, Sunnyvale, Ontario. Unapologetic Ford supporters excited to be included in any article related the Argos or Ford. The Gravy Train comment is a Fordism — the mayor talks a lot about needing to cut spending to get government employees off said train.
Jacen Irvine, Richmond Hill, Ontario. Also a Ford supporter. Marveled aloud that the city’s “most-money-saving mayor in the past 20 years also smokes crack.” Ford’s Gravy Train-related claim that he’s saved money for regular-Joe taxpayers during his tenure is debatable, but seems to have been effective.
Interlude: Tim and Pete, friendly Tiger-Cats fans from Hamilton, Ontario. Allusion is to Ford’s astonishing explanation for having smoked crack: “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But no, do I, am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”
Mike Lofquist, Toronto. Another sincere Ford fan. But in true Canadian fashion, he apologized to me under the assumption that support for Ford wouldn’t be what an American audience wanted to see.
Dan Walker, Toronto. Yes, the voice of reason was a guy wearing a blue handlebar mustache over his regular facial hair.
Scott, Mississauga, Ontario and Joe, Hamilton. Scott was pro-Ford. Both were pro-beer. If you can’t read the handwriting, it says, sort of coherently, “I eat more p—-y, my wife or not.”
Scott and Joe thought the Toronto cheerleaders should see their work.
Let’s all get a picture!
Then there were Jason and Katie, among the despondent Argos fans outside the Rogers Centre. They thought about what to write for several minutes.
“It’s not funny anymore,” Katie said. “It’s just sad now.” She’s right, of course — but then again, the people who appear to be most amused by Ford’s behavior are the mayor and his supporters themselves, and it looks like he’ll cling to office as long as he clings to the notion of himself as the life of the party.
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