Jacob Richler, that would-be writer who types recipes [don’t you mean “reviews restaurants”? –ed.] at the Nazional Past (one of those free newspapers that you see around the subway entrances) [please–that’s the National Post, an esteemed publication fourth only (within Toronto) to the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the Sun –ed.], has a hate-on for cyclists [run-on sentence. please fix before publication –ed.].
We hadn’t heard much of Jacob since the Past um, fired him a few months ago, but recently according to our colleague [good grief! –ed.] Antonia Zerbisias he’s back at the helm, logging long hours at restaurant tables all over the city. Unfortunately, the right-wing zealots at the Nazional Past have an occasional lapse of judgement and permit their dutiful scribe to stray from his appointed rounds: they let him write “opinion” pieces.
Now it’s true that Jacob Richler hates cars, but he is loath to admit it. He hates how they make him stuck in traffic, he hates how they make him vulnerable to thumps from the fists of passing cyclists who he has offended in some way, he hates how they smell, sound, feel, and how they are making his family prone to asthma and obesity. Jacob Richler has disguised his hatred of cars by turning the attack outward, striking out at the very symbol of his imprisonment: the bicycle. So when he has the chance to write an “opinion” piece, it is the bicycle that he attacks.
One such piece, written about a week ago, has been making the rounds of some of our blob-like associates: the bikerefugee and the Cycling Cob, for example. The original screed is to be found online here (at the Naz. Past itself).
Now in the past, we have called Jacob Richler a “Daddy’s coattail-riding hack,” which some have suggested is an unfair characterization.
In our efforts to document the facts as we see them, we have turned up the following dialogue, presented verbatim, from an early phase of Jacob Richler’s career. We have had to admit that this piece tells us our reference to Mordecai Richler’s coattails is indeed unfair: to Richler pere. Out of public interest, we present the following transcript in an effort to clear the air.
SETTING: The RICHLER CHILDREN are sitting around the sunny breakfast room on a relaxed weekend morning at home: there’s NOAH, putting together a balsa wood model airplane, EMMA, her finger wicking text from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, and little JACOB, sitting in a puddle of drool, a variety of wet toys and other items in a circle around him on the floor. All is calm.
The patriarch of the clan, MORDECAI, comes into the room. He has a glass of scotch whisky in his hand.
MORDECAI: All my chirren. Gather round, gather round.
EMMA: Dada! Look what I’m reading.
NOAH: (sighs, says nothing)
JACOB: Glub! Burble!
MORDECAI: Little Jacob, sometimes I wonder what will become of you when you grow up.
JACOB: Me go be write, jus lik you, dada!
MORDECAI: Heh, heh.
JACOB: Me go be besh write in whole wurl!
MORDECAI: Now, son…
JACOB: Write! Write! Write!
EMMA: It’s not fair, dada, I’m to be the writer.
MORDECAI (drinks): Oh, Jesus.
JACOB: Write! Write!
EMMA: Shut up! Make him shut up!
MORDECAI: Now, kids…
EMMA: I’m the writer! You said!
JACOB: Me go write! Me go write! Me write books pretty one day!
MORDECAI: Jacob, that’s enough.
EMMA: Waah! It’s not even original!
MORDECAI: Jacob, Emma, and you too, Noah: I’m going to tell you a little secret about writing.
JACOB: Write! Write!
MORDECAI: This is a secret known only to writers. Once I tell you, you will know it too. And you know what that will make you?
EMMA: Ew, dada, he’s chewing lead paint chips again. Make him stop!
MORDECAI: It will make you writers. Automatically.
EMMA: What is it, Dada, what’s the secret?
MORDECAI: If I tell you, you have to promise me something.
EMMA: Anything, dada! Tell us!
JACOB: Auto magic, auto magic.
MORDECAI: I need all three of you to promise. You, too, Noah.
NOAH: Fuck right off.
EMMA: I promise!
JACOB: Auto. Magic.
MORDECAI: Say you promise, Jacob. You have to promise to keep the secret.
EMMA: He promises, Dada, just tell us.
MORDECAI: Okay, here goes: it’s hard work, writing. That’s the secret. Hard work.
EMMA: Wow. Thanks, Dada.
NOAH: That’s it? That’s the big secret? What about the “auto magic?”
MORDECAI: Don’t chew on those, son.
EMMA: Hard work. Wow. Who knew?
NOAH: Fuck that shit. (Exit stage left)
EMMA: But what if you don’t work hard? What will happen then? What will happen to Noah and Jacob, Dada? Will they always be unhappy?
MORDECAI: Don’t worry about them, honeybunch. I can get them both jobs at the Nazional Past. There’s always the job of restaurant critic, if worse comes to worst—Jacob, take that OUT of your mouth! It’s not writing, exactly, but then it’s not hard work either.
EMMA: Thank you, Dada. Thank you!
JACOB: Auto, magic!