FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Transformers

“You haven’t heard of the Transformers?” asks Sebastian.  His height in feet is six, his grade, eight, shoe size, eleven.  Like he’s not a transformer himself.

“No.  What’s the general category?  1960’s toy train hardware?  General knowledge?  Films—that’s it, isn’t it?  Modern films.”

“Who hasn’t heard of the Transformers?  You and, I don’t know, some kids in Africa.”

“What are their names?  I’d like to meet…”

“Point is,” says Sebastian, “it’s these sci-fi movies about these evil aliens that have turned themselves into cars and are destroying the world?”

“They’re trying to say that’s fiction?”  I shake my head.

“I’ve grown this much since we moved in,” Liam says, spreading his fingers from the bottom to the top of his brain cavity.  Oh-oh, I think, a nine-year-old with a brain.  Better get on that.

Later we’re paddling north on Rusholme contemplating hanging a Louie on Bloor, but the water main’s not that broken.  Bloor’s a reef.  Liam’s in the twelve-foot Old Town but I’m cheating a little by pulling him on my bike.  I see some American redwhitenblue in the distance—Canadian pigs do love their American cars—but by the time I’m off the reef and back into clear water we’re slowjaysimpsoning south on Rusholme with pigs in tepid pursuit.

“Just what exactly are you doing?”  The question at my elbow is close enough that I can smell donut breath, undertone of steroids.

What are we doing?  I’m all over that strategy, the old lure, the snappy-answers-to-stupid-questions routine.  The what’s-it-look-like-we’re-doing comeback.  Not going to get me that way.  “Ah, so you’re a skeptic in the fundamentals of ontological perception?”  I stick to explaining what a canoe is.  Suggest that maybe it’s Miller time and we’ll be coming in off the river now, eh.  “Yeah, you do that,” says Steroid.  His partner shows us how he can make the back of the car shrink according to the laws of perspective, and we go “phew.”  Few seconds later there’s just silence and a bit of car wake.

Liam records the event in his new brain for future consideration.

“Our people were canoeing this creek for five thousand years before some bozo buried it forty feet down and called it a street,” I say to Liam.

“Our people?”

“Their doing that for five thousand years—that’s how we know they’re our people.”

The water in the “street” is three inches deep.  What I’m thinking but not saying is, the water main’s not that broken—yet.  Plenty of time to have a crack at daylighting that poor creek down there.

Later I’m on the roof with my Book of Calamities.  The pro-torture senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, shrugging off photographs of the victims of Abu Ghraib, has apparently said, “you know they’re not there for traffic violations.”

But of course they are, I’m thinking.  I think it into the computer for twenty-second-century “readers”—and yeah, even now we know that word’s a bit old-fashioned, just for the record.

Of course they’re in places like that for traffic violations.  The world is ground under by American lust for violent trafficking of all sorts, including the literal kind that leads to literal traffic.  American wars are only partly for oil but they are entirely about America’s freedom of violation, its liberty to violate whomever, whenever, world without end.  Anyone trying to prosecute a case against this license will be cut down on the principle that prosecutors will be violated.

Oppress people for three generations and it starts to look natural.  By the fourth generation, it seems like destiny made manifest.  A hundred years can seem like forever.  But the worst oppressors are still just a scab that can be sloughed off.  We’ve been here for thousands of years.  There’s time.

DAVID Ker THOMSON lives in the Dufferin Grove watershed of Toronto.

 

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail