I love Abby Cadabby – a wide-eyed pink fairy-in-training in a shimmery blue dress, with electrified hair in shades of…pink and purple. She hasn’t yet got the hang of this magic thing, but if this lovely little make-believe person were to grow up and graduate from fairy school, she’d make one rocking fairy godmother. Now that’s something we all need. Someone who watches over us, and not always from afar like a guardian angel, lofty, ethereal, beautiful, perfect. No, someone who makes the occasional mistake (like turning her friends into pumpkins) but has the courage and fortitude to persevere and eventually get it right. I could appreciate a fairy godmother who has a few choice expletives in her vocabulary by the time she hits adulthood.
The reason I mention fairy godmothers is that I think the mayor of Toronto could really use one. I did not cast a culpable vote in the last election, and I’m not blaming anyone who did, although…I think Mr Rob Ford needs someone, perhaps in flashy shocking pink, to pop out of thin air and cast a little magic his way. A friend who’s not afraid to say to him “Robby, you gotta stop, right now!” Stop the lies, especially the giant, raw, oozing and infectious ones he seems to be telling himself; the ones that only his hardcore fans seem to lack immunity from. Stop the self-flagellation at the alter of ‘publicity’, in print, on radio and television, and no doubt through social media. Stop forgetting that you have kids at home, young kids! who need a mentally, physically and spiritually healthy father. And what about their mom, your partner….?
We all have skeletons that rattle and wheeze when we pass the closet and the floorboards squeak. Some we hold with compassion, tend, comfort and hopefully send on their way into our personal history, the repository of past mistakes and regrets. Some we keep hidden but close until we can lift our gaze and look them straight in the eye-socket. But most of us don’t take our skeletons out on the town, dancing them around the city, dipping and twirling for all to see, smiling for the cameras, spitting out nasty sound bytes that echo long after we’ve left the room. We hold our skeletons with respect and give a passing nod of kindness and understanding when we glimpse those clinging to family, friends, neighbours….
I’m as queer as they come and I left my most oppressive closet behind me so I’m not advocating that anyone spend time in one, but closets can serve a purpose. Picture it, Toronto 2013, the mayor has just uttered the ‘p’ word in a crowded room with cameras flashing, microphones jostling, sweat raining down on all present and — poof! — a charming pink fairy godmother appears in a dress so shimmery blue that reporters are driven back while the mayor falls to the ground covering his eyes. With much ceremony, Abby pronounces, ‘Robbie, I’m going to fly around your head and make time go backwards just like Superman! (giggles) Abrakadoodle!’ and before you know it time is rewinding, undoing, unsaying all the nasty bits of the last few months – the bits we-the-public have witnessed that is. Even a fairy godmother with kick-ass pink/purple hair and freckles, and streamers on the end of her magic wand, can’t undo all that is wrong in the world according to Rob Ford.
With a swish of her magic wand, Abby scoops up the lies, the boasting, the exaggerations, the outrageous insults, the finger jabbing accusations and plops them into a big pumpkin she keeps with her for just such an occasion. She can’t fix Rob Ford but maybe she could give him a little insight into his bad behaviour, the truth of his addiction(s), the familial debt he owes his kids and wife, his obligation as mayor to this city – perhaps she could convince him to take a step back, to gently take the hands of his skeletons and lead them back to their closets where he could tend them, comfort them, and with a great deal of professional treatment, perhaps send them on their way into his personal history. This entire city would be better for it.
And then Abby, with a cheery smile, a giggle, a curtsey, would take that bloated pumpkin, wave her magic wand and say as she blinked out of sight, ‘gotta poof!’