The thing about trying to do everything is that time will quickly catch up to show you that you can’t.
Once upon a time, I was looking to enter Geist’s sixth annual postcard story contest, a constant with a $20 entry fee and a $250 prize where you write a short story based on the image on a postcard. It’s a contest I wanted to enter—I was trying to raise an extra $20,000 in 2010, after all—but I couldn’t quite bring all the pieces together in time, and missed my chance by a hair.
Let me tell you all about it.
January 14, 2010
To enter the contest, I bought a postcard of C. M. Coolidge’s The Reunion at one of my favourite art stores, Midoco:
And in typical Casey Palmer fashion, I didn’t pick this card with a plan in mind—I just made the most of the options available at the time and went with it.
With the due date to mail it in coming up quickly the next day, it would’ve been good to sit down and get to it, but things didn’t work out that way, so I’d just fit it after waking up.
January 15, 2010
“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
— adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns
So while I planned to work on my story sometime in the day, my day instead looked a little like this:
- 9:30 am – 6:15 pm: Work away at my job as a procurement specialist for the Government of Ontario, making sure all the contracts get everything they need.
- 6:15 – 6:55 pm: Travel to Sarah’s, taking twenty minutes longer than it should because of delays on our ever-reliable subway system, the TTC. [/sarcasm]
- 6:55 – 8:15 pm: Develop “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” from scratch (I only had the concept before…)
- 8:15 pm: Head out in search of the nearest post office since the one around the corner closed a few weeks before. Off to the Shoppers Drug Mart by Pape subway station!
- 8:35 pm: Arrive at Shoppers only to find that they no longer have a post office. So I search for the next location on my BlackBerry…
- 8:45 pm: Arrive at Postables, only to discover it closed at 7.
- 8:46 pm: Call Sarah to let her know that I’d be visiting the Shoppers by Spadina station because I distinctly remembered it closing at 10 back when she lived by there. She offers to look it up to make sure.
- 8:47 pm: Realise that my BlackBerry no longer holds a charge like it used to, and the phone dies mid-conversation, so I make the only choice I could and continue on to the Shoppers.
- 9:02 pm: Hurriedly arrive at the Shoppers, only to realise that it closed at 9 and this submission just wasn’t going to happen.
All that work and all I got from it was a LESSON 😂
So in the end, the story was never sent and I never had my shot at the $250 prize. Looking back on the story now a decade later, there are definitely some things I would’ve done differently, too young to fully understand the impact of words and the magic you can create when you use them correctly. But it was the story I wanted to share at the time, and so I kept it exactly as it was for posterity’s sake.
The entire situation seems a little ridiculous now, but back then when I was trying my best to find extra cash outside of my day job, this was a genuine disappointment. That said, maybe I learned a little from the experience, working hard to not leave things like this to the last minute again—proper preparation prevents poor performance.
But that said, this story shouldn’t go to waste, and so I’m posting it here for your pleasure. Do let me know what you think, and we’ll see you on the next post!
Until then, I remain,
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Few know this – and many who have discovered this dark secret of the work we think we know have found themselves swiftly silenced.
The secret is this: dog is not man’s best friend. Sure, dog makes a good companion, and furthermore, they appear to be quite skilled and catching flying objects with their mouths, but do not confuse this with friendship.
In fact, they have biweekly meeting with the sole purpose of discussing the eventual elimination of all their enemies. The list isn’t very long:
- Anything that walks on four legs that’s smaller than them
- The people who come to their homes daily, audibly dropping things into the shiny boxes at the front of their masters’ homes
- Eventually, the masters themselves – free treats and playtime is all fine and dandy, but even the mutts aren’t stupid enough to believe that they’ll last forever
They are quite the dangerous lot to be associated with – they grow wiser at seven times the rate of the average human; they seem to run without ever showing signs of fatigue; and they smell. Oh how they smell. (I hope you appreciate the double entendre I’ve included here, as it is solely for your benefit.)
We have tried to include many warnings in the general populace as to the dangers of canine activity, but as per usual, humanity has twisted them into phrases far less meaningful than their original intent. Examples include:
- Let sleeping dogs lie: for a dog that appears to be sleeping is not—they are actually performing surveillance for their alpha superiors, seeking the key advantage in their quest for dominance.
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks: indeed, a dog will appear to take not seven, but 77 times to learn something new, but this is nothing more than an elaborate ruse. Their murderous nature is hardwired in their DNA and cannot be changed, despite all of your foolish attempts.
- A barking dog never bites: dogs aren’t stupid, loath as we are to admit it. However, they can be quite the narcissists. Madly in love with the sound of their own voices, they will often yap away to such an extent that they’ll often forget to complete whatever task it is that they have been assigned—including the dispatching of a target! IF EVER FACED WITH A BARKING DOG, USE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ESCAPE! YOU MAY NOT GET ANOTHER!
We hope that you have found this status update upon the true nature of the canine race both informative and educational. We intend to continue our renaissance work wholeheartedly, striving to make the earth a safer place for you, us and everyone on it by eventually exterminating the scourge called dog.
Felix T. Katt
President, National Association of Anti-Canine Propaganda (NAACP)