From the Vault

Historical Reporter (image)

Mother Knows Best (image)

Sports Reporter (image)

Surfing is Surfing:
an essay on Grant Shilling

by Clayton Webb

We Don't Care What You Say

Growth Rings

Babes in the Woods

Exile off Main Street

Kids & Play & Adults

Squeegee People, Vulture Culture & Cars

Survival of the Fittest

True Crimes

Copper Ann

Bodysurfing, Travel & the Dead

Haunted Houses

Rock & Roll Road Kill, Kill, Kill!

Storage Locker


Survival of the Fittest
by Grant Shilling

No regrets coyote,
We just come from two different
Sets of circumstance
Joni Mitchell

I’m in the gym working out beside a soft, money-dink with his money-dink wannabe personal fitness instructor. We share an unacknowledged mutual contempt-based on…? One of those things we humans seem to silently save for special occasions.

Dink-a-Dink they talk about the Canucks. Exchanging the ‘he sucks’ for the ‘he’s great’ wisdom of the fan. It occurs to me that we are willing to admit that there is such a thing as a great hockey player and a bad hockey player, but we cannot admit there is such a thing as a really smart person, and a person who is clued.

Avoiding the distinctions is done in the name of a classless society. A non-judgemental society. Which, of course, we don’t live in – but don’t like to admit.

The dinks stop working out, continue to talk hockey and I gotta leave – quickly. A combination of mirrors, music ( ‘inspirational’ work out cheese ) and the vanity of the room. It feels like the Bread Garden in here – one big salad with diet dressing.

I don’t want to talk to anybody. (Sometimes the weights and working out are the place to rid myself of anger and negativity- sometimes the work out fuels it.) Do these guys ‘hate me ‘ cuz I’m fit and do I ‘hate them’ cuz they’re rich? Sure, why not. We like to group people so we can easily dismiss them. But how do we make distinctions? Its not as if we live in a classless society. Some sort of survival of the fittest is at work here.”

I head out of the gym (West End Community Centre) for a run in Stanley Park. On my return I notice a couch, a loveseat in the alley. It looks like the one I need. And I wonder how I am going to get it back to my studio near Granville. I’ve got 10 bucks, so I decide I’ll cab it back. It should fit in the trunk of the cab – but it doesn’t and I pay the driver $4 for the time it takes to figure this out.

Just as we are taking the couch out of the trunk some jerk honks at us. It is the money-dink from the gym in a Corvette. I give him the finger – and badly, irrationally, satisfyingly want a confrontation. A money-for-muscle exchange.

Would this asshole ever think or put himself in the position where he had to carry a couch home? (Which is what I eventually did.)

But let us pause... Do you know coyotes have been seen in this alleyway? After all the coyote roamed these parts long before us monkeys made our Corvette appearances in them.

Anyway, I got the couch home and the few days later I’m making love on it with a fellow dumpster diver of love. We talk about the gym incident and my philosophical/confrontational notions about it. Should I present such an irrational face to a swell columnist such as myself?

My swell companion mentions a story her father once told her. You know B., he said, if you had the choice between the same guy except one was dressed in a suit and the other had long hair and was all scruffy – you’d go for the scruffy guy.

Well, my yummy companion replied to her father, they wouldn’t be the same guy.

How about this: If all persons were created equal, you wouldn’t need any form of government, and the last form of government you would need would be democracy. Since all humans are not created equal, you need to have a society that allows for the notion of superiority. What do you mean we’ve done that already?

What do you think? What are the criteria? Muscle, money, food, sex, what?

The funny thing is when I see the money-dink at the gym now – I say hello to him. We still hate each other other’s guts – but now we say hello. And another thing, the other day, jogging around Lost Lagoon, I noticed a sign warning about coyotes and I thought,’How will the coyote survive?’

Terminal City February 7 – 13 1997