When my mind wanders it brings back souvenirs

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As a collection of hilarious newspaper columns by Canadian journalist, Gordon Kirkland, I expected When my mind wanders it brings back souvenirs to be a perfect pick up, put down kind of book suitable for, say, keeping in the bathroom or close at hand for an idle moment over a cup of decent coffee.

Alas no. It’s an unexpectedly perfect pick-you-up, unputdownable joyride that will steal your time right from under your nose.

With an astute eye for the ridiculous and a sharp talent for rendering the old maxim ‘I guess you had to be there’ entirely redundant, Kirkland pilots us through life’s daily strifes and pitfalls with quirky charm and clarity, covering a wide range of subjects from brushes with the traffic cops to recovering from a heart attack to madcap childhood memories and an non-negotiable dislike of broccoli.

But be warned: don’t read this book anywhere you shouldn’t be laughing out loud. I made the utter blunder of reading it in bed and waking my long-suffering husband by rolling around in giggling hysteria as I desperately endeavoured – and failed – to stifle my mirth. He definitely thought ‘I guess you had to read it’ when I tried to explain the funny. His sense of humour was still fast asleep.

Passages from When My Mind Wanders it Brings Back Souvenirs:

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve written about the ever-increasing problem of distractions facing the drives on our roads.
In my father’s day the most noticeable distraction was the truck drivers who seemed to insist on blaring their horns at him for no apparent reason. What wasn’t all that noticeable was that I was looking out of the back window and pumping my arm every time a trucker got behind us. More often than not, the truckers would oblige me and give a good hard yank on the lanyard that operated their air horns. …
… I gave up the practice after we nearly hit the ditch one hot summer day. That was the day I reached the pinnacle of scaring the crap out of my father behind the wheel. When the trucker blew his horn, Dad was just raising an ice cream cone to his lips. Its route could later be tracked by the path of ice cream up Dad’s right cheek ending where he inserted it into his ear.

Try spelling McMyn for an eighty-something mother-in-law who has trouble hearing.
“M – C – M…”
“N – C – N…”
“No, M, like in Michael…”
“Oh, OK, M – C – N…”
“No, M…”
“There is no M? But you said there was an M like in Michael.”
“Yes, it starts with M, and is has another M too.”
“MM – C – N…”
“No, just one M, then C…”
“But you said there were two Ms…”
That’s when I would consider having a long rest in the home for the incurably insane, not for my mother-in-law, but for myself.
It all reminds me of… when I was working for a multinational company. I needed to call someone in one of our South American offices, but ended up attempting to leave a message with his secretary. I started to spell my name for her.
“K…” I said.
Apparently it sounded like I was saying ‘what’ in Spanish.
“Que..?” she said.
I thought saying ‘what’ in Spanish sounded like she knew I meant the letter K.
“Yes,” I said, “K…I…”
“Que…Aye…” she repeated, with a strong note of confusion in her voice.
After many attempts I managed to get her through the first three letters of my name. Unfortunately that’s when you get to another K, or “Que”…

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