Tag Archives: Lowest Of The Low

Oh What a Feebling: A CanRock Short Story Collection, Part 4

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North 44 and the pooping tree as they stand today.

Previously:

Million Days

Birthday Boy

Fire in the Head

When I wasn’t writing miserable small town psycho dramas set in poor Wainfleet, Ontario, I briefly flirted with the idea of writing a loosely connected short story collection set in Toronto. This week’s story, “Eating the Rich,” inspired by the Lowest of the Low song of the same name, is one of four stories that I actually got around to writing in 1997 before I promptly abandoned the idea and returned to writing Wainfleet psycho dramas (and that’s exactly where this series will return next week).

Of all of the bands that influenced these stories, pioneering Canadian indie rock heroes the Low are probably the most universally beloved and unimpeachable. They’re also my personal favourites of the bunch. I love them as much today as I did when I tried to make them my muse and I feel absolutely no shame for it.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t exactly do their talent, vision, and legacy justice. It’s just a ridiculous almost-romp that shares little in common with its inspiration beyond a name and some vague proletarian leanings. I think it’s supposed to be funny and impassioned. It is neither.

Although this story technically inspired by “Eating the Rich,” there are some other things that clearly had a greater influence on the story and likely deserve far more of the blame for whatever the hell is going on in these 7,000+ words. Here’s a list of some of the most important and embarrassing ones:

  • I thought that the key to writing comedy was to create a bunch of weirdo characters, throw them into a weirdo situation, and then just let things fall apart. Hilariously.
  • I had developed a completely inexplicable fascination with North 44, a fancy restaurant up the street from my grandparents’ apartment in the Yonge and Eglinton area. It had, somehow, managed to become both a symbol of aspiration and burgeoning class consciousness in my life and I responded to this heady ambivalence by… trying to write songs and stories about it?
  • My mother saw a man shit on the tree in front of North 44.
  • I had developed a completely and utterly healthy fondness for a spy show from the ’60s called The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (This might come as a shock because I have never once discussed my fandom in the following two decades.)

Shockingly, the results of this unique alchemy aren’t great.

(North 44 is still open, by the way. It has not, to my knowledge, ever been the scene of an aborted class war. I still haven’t eaten there.)

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