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Devion's Views #219

BEWARE, THE FICKLE FINGER OF FATE (posted October 13, 2020)

In case you're still trying to figure out how our southern neighbours determine who will be their next president, monsieur Ronald offers this 'timely' civic's primer; as we witness momentous history in the making.

                                                     How does the U.S. 'electoral college' work?

The number of electors from each state is roughly in line with the size of its population. There are 538 electors in total. California has the most electors - 55 - while a handful of sparsely populated states like Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota have the minimum of three. Each elector represents one electoral vote, and a candidate needs to gain a majority of votes - 270 or more - to win the presidency.

Generally, states award all their electoral college votes to whoever won the poll of ordinary voters in the state. For example, if the Republican candidate won 50.1% of the vote in Texas, they would be awarded all of the state's 38 electoral college votes.

This is why presidential candidates target specific "swing states" - states where the vote could go either way - rather than trying to win over as many voters as possible across the country.

Thanks for the elucidation monsieur, but what, if anything, does your civic's primer have to do with 'The Fickle Finger of Fate'?

Point taken; unless you consider the eventual outcome is beyond any "reasonable" predictability (think 2016).

For example..."Shit happens" and its less-vulgar cousin "Stuff happens", are simple existential observations that life is full of unpredictable events. In other words, bad things happen to people seemingly for no particular reason.

Some believe it's the result of an unseen and unforeseeable force that controls the direction of all living things.

Others contend attempting to find a plausible rationale is a "mug's game"; a futile and frustrating exercise and we should just accept that sometimes, it's just "The Fickle Finger of Fate".

Ironically, monsieur Ronald (very recently) experienced an event that prompted writing this article. 

                                 To properly understand this story, a bit of 'relevant trivia' about bedsheets is necessary...

Most of us will spend a third of our lives in bed, if we are lucky.

And thanks to the genius of one sharp lady, Bertha Berman, most of us will never awaken with the bottom sheet in a tangle, coiled around our legs like a linen python.

And pray tell, who is Bertha Berman?

Mrs. Berman, an African-American from Forest Hills, New York, invented the fitted bedsheet that was patented on October 6, 1959.

Her design featured a detachable band that encircled the sides of the mattress, keeping it in place and allowing the sheet to be easily removed for washing. This eliminated the need for flat-sheeted corner tucks, the so-called hospital corners that were as hard to master as they were unreliable.

Bertha's bedsheet was an improvement, and other designs followed.

Bet you (also) didn't know it was Alberta's, Gisele Jubinville, who wanted a better one.

In 1992, our very own sharp lady, Gisele, patented the design we know today - a sheet with deep pockets on the corners that wrap under the mattress.

Her "innovative improvement" is (sadly) the cause of monsieur Ronald's trip to the emergency ward of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

                                           What follows is the story of how that happened...

Like so many 'Fickle Finger' events, this one begins innocently on a sunny Fall Sunday afternoon; October 4, 2020.

Monsieur Ronald was "busy" watching his beloved Seattle Seahawks on television.

Meanwhile, madame Ronald was "busy" removing the bedsheet for washing. Following the dryer-cycle, she called to her husband for help to place the clean fitted bedsheet back onto the mattress.

His reaction "It's the 4th quarter, can't that wait?" Her reaction "No, it will only take two minutes out of your (busy) afternoon."

The Two-minute drill: Ronald is instructed to stand at one corner of the mattress while the 'drill sergeant major' stood diagonally across while carefully explaining the tricky part of the bedsheet-manoeuvre which involves placing the deep pockets precisely and simultaneously-together, under the corner of the mattress.

Madame sergeant major suspects her 'bedsheet-novice' isn't really paying attention and may actually be listening to the audio of the football game because he has attempted the complex "bedsheet-manoeuvre" several times, without success.   

The novice suspects Bertha's 'invention' and Gisele's 'improved model' may actually be their revenge-plot against all "undomesticated" men, particularly their husbands.

In fact, Ronald's struggles had to do with arthritic fingers that made it impossible for him to master holding the "bedsheet pocket" with one hand while lifting the mattress with the other.

However, manly-pride suddenly took over, triggering one final attempt (a bad decision). A jolt of pain stimulus is transformed into a nerve impulse that travels like an electrical shock through the body. Instinctively, the right hand retracts itself from under the mattress, revealing a middle finger pointing at the ceiling, as the back of the hand hit the mattress hard, magically resetting the dislocated digit. All remnants of manly-pride collapses as a scream and several curses are momentarily stifled.

A quick search of Google Doctor determines the best course of action is to immediately go to the nearest Emergency department.

Based on his experience, monsieur Ronald offers the following advice to anyone who has the misfortune to have to visit an Emergency department during the pandemic; bring a book, your health card and anticipate the following:

Upon entering: Wear a clean mask, apply the hand sanitizer, truthfully answer the list of COVID-19 questions.

Once inside: A nurse will take your temperature, blood pressure, details of the injury and provide an estimate of how long you are likely to be in the waiting area, reading the book.

Eventually: An X-Ray technician will take pictures and send you back to the waiting area to continue reading the book. Several chapters later a doctor introduces himself as you embarrass yourself explaining how the injury occurred. You notice he's still smiling as he examines the X-Rays, compliments the hand on the excellent job of resetting itself, applies a splint and tension bandage and sends you and your throbbing digit on your way with the following advisory "It's unwise and unsafe, especially while driving, should you decide to deliver the 'Italian salutation' for the next six to eight weeks."

Just in case you are unaware: The 'Italian salute' and it's cultural cousins, 'Le Doigt d'honneur' and 'Flipping the bird', is an obscene gesture that communicates your moderate to extreme contempt; delivered by raising the "middle" finger of either hand.

Citizens of 'The Great White North' communicate all three to Crazy Uncle Donald and all of his enablers (foreign and domestic).

Vive le Canada libre.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory