My Grandfather

By the Menzoid

I have two theories when it comes to Heather Mallick’s bizarre, poison-penned attack on the male gender. One is that Heather Mallick is simply being sensational for the sake of sensationalism. If so, this is truly the cheapest form of journalism. It’s just way too easy. Any hack can pull that off. Pick a subject, any subject. How about, say, intergenerational marriage? Ergo, if a nine-year-old and a mature adult love one and other, who are we to get in the way of their consensual relationship?

See? Writing preposterous copy and passing it off as serious commentary just to generate “buzz” is strictly amateur hour.

I won’t bother dwelling on the odious double-standard inherent to Mallick’s rant. After all, replace the word “men” in her column with any other identifiable group – say, “blacks” or “Muslims” – and there’d be hell to pay. Exhibit A: Juan Williams.

Actually, what am I suggesting? A Heather Mallick temper tantrum painting any other identifiable group with the same brush due to the actions of a single person would never see the light of day in a bastion of contrived political correctness such as the Toronto Star

So, I defer to Theory #2: Maybe – just maybe – Heather Mallick honestly believes she’s writing the truth. And maybe, like all good authors, Mallick is drawing upon personal experience. 

If this is indeed the case, oh, how my heart goes out to Heather. Was her father truly that horrid during her formative years? Did she suffer from the unwanted advances of a creepy uncle? Was every male teacher a pompous chauvinist? Was every eligible bachelor a two-timing weasel? Is her current husband that detestable?

If so, what rotten, lousy luck. To continually meet one horrid, misogynistic man after another… it simply defies the odds. I mean, to constantly hook up with that tiny percentile of men who really do despise women is nothing short of awe-inducing bad karma.

As most rational people know full well, women tend to have fathers and brothers and uncles and husbands and teachers and mentors and sons and friends and colleagues who are, pardon the phrase, “nice guys.” They are not misogynists. They do not harbour rape fantasies. They don’t despise females.

On the contrary. They love women. They admire the nurturing, kind spirit that is inherent to motherhood. If such weren’t the case, I fear our species would be on the brink of extinction.

I never had a father in my life. But I did have a grandfather, at least until I was 13. My grandfather had immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1946. Prior to that, he was on an extended five-year excursion, otherwise known as fighting the Nazis. It took a toll: I was told that when he left Glasgow at the start of World War Two, he had a full head of red hair. And when he returned, every single follicle on his scalp was whiter than ivory.

Although a qualified engineer, he was on the short end of the stick in terms of finding a job in Canada when he emigrated here thanks to his age and the influx of men returning home from overseas. The best he could manage was a foreman’s position at a garbage dump in Toronto’s west end. Ever the optimist, his continual refrain was, “The work’s dirty, but the money’s clean.”

Thanks to my grandfather, I remain burdened with a debt that can never be repaid. He instilled in me values ranging from loyalty and devotion to honour and civility. And he did so by example.

Indeed, one day, he gave me a life lesson that will forever remain etched in my cranium. I can’t remember the exact details, but as a know-nothing nine-year-old, I made a disparaging remark about a janitor.

My grandfather’s face went redder than tomatoes at harvest time. His eyes narrowed as he gently pulled me aside and told me in no uncertain terms that I was to never – as in NEVER – mock anyone for the job they were doing. Any legitimate job amounts to honest work, he stressed. And if anyone deserves to be mocked, it is the criminals and cheats who simply can’t be bothered working for a living.

There were many other lessons that he gave me in my 13 formative years. And, when necessary, there was discipline, too. He was a hybrid friend and benevolent dictator. And he was precisely what I needed at that time.

I think of other male role models I have encountered in my life – teachers, coaches, Boy Scout leaders. Like my grandfather, they, too, were guiding lights who inspired and motivated and taught me right from wrong. I guess I must be the luckiest guy on earth that I wasn’t continually coming into contact all those male monsters Heather Mallick says are lurking everywhere.

In Mallick’s world, I suppose my grandfather’s death at the age of 65 – barely four months into his retirement – is something to celebrate. One less male in the world, after all; one less “potential rapist” or “serial killer” for Mallick and her ilk to worry about.

But I can assure you that everyone who knew my grandfather mourned his passing, male and female alike. In this respect, he was no different from millions of men around the world: he was a hard-working breadwinner who, despite being dealt a lousy hand in the game of life, nevertheless “manned up” (pardon the language.) He didn’t complain; he didn’t whine; and he certainly didn’t harbour urges of violent rage toward women or anyone else.

* * * * * *

The other day, I was having dinner with my two young sons. We talked about what time period we’d visit if there really was such a thing as a time machine. Sean said he’d want to go back several centuries to the days of knights in shining armour, basically to see if there really were dragons on the planet.

My other son, Adam, said he’d set the coordinates for 120 million years ago, so that he could explore the Jurassic Era and witness firsthand the enormous dinosaurs that exist today only as fossils in museums.

I’m afraid my choice of time period was far less flamboyant. You see, I told my sons that if I could alter the time/space continuum, I’d want to go back to June, 1975, just days before my grandfather died of a massive heart attack. And I’d want to go back to this point in time in order to carry out one simple task: to tell my grandfather how much I loved him.

11 thoughts on “My Grandfather

  1. Thank-you David,and Charles.This was such a lovely,moving tribute,that I could have written about my own Dad.I have one deep regret that because my Dad dropped dead when I was a teen,I didn’t tell him often enough how much I loved much I admired and respected him.
    I need to go have a good cry now..and just spend a bit of time remembering.

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    Jennifer Jones Zapach on

    I am sorry that we will never see this brilliant piece of writing in The Toronto Star, or any other liberal newspaper for that matter.
    -Signed a 37 year old woman who has a large list of brave and wonderful men to thank for where she is in life.

  2. Say it like it is Menzoid.
    Uncle Chuck is lucky to have you as a friend, and were lucky to have you as someone who is not afraid to “man” up and do what needs to be done, and say what needs to be heard.
    Blake Purdy-London,Ontario

    • With Kris Simms signing a sworn afifadvit, this story has now moved into a new realm. Moore will either have to call Simms a liar or he will have to resign his seat since he will no longer be fit to serve in the capacity of Heritage Minister. There’s no third option for him. Worse for the media, if Moore does resign, how are they going to report his resignation to Canadians without telling them of the story that led to his resignation? Are they going to report half the news in that instance too? Are they going to only report the exchange between Moore and Simms but stop short of reporting the CBC porno story which got the ball rolling? Are they going to risk getting caught keeping Canadians in the dark for the second times on the very same story? You see, that’s the danger for the Selective Reporting Media and why they’re playing with fire: once this story branches out there forced to play catch up and risk being seen by Canadians as trying to bury the truth. I think there arrogance over the years of thinking they still have exclusive control over the news is finally catching up to them. They all need refresher courses on risk management or risk a continued erosion of their credibility what little they have left.

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    Stephen Smith on

    What a pile of crap. A qualified engineer would have absolutely no trouble landing a position in Canada after the war. My wife’s uncles came back from the war, one from Italy and the other as a pilot trainer for the RCAF in England, both qualified engineers and both easily, I repeat easily found positions upon return.
    Really no positions in the forestry sector, mining, town planning, steel or frabrication sectors, really.
    If you’re going to make up this elder statesman life lesson imparting nonsense then the least you can do is make it believible.
    Qualified engineer, then he was an officer, yet another ticket to a post war position. Give it up man.

  3. What a beautiful portrait of your grandfather. My grandfather was also a hard-working man, although by the time I was old enough to remember he was already retired but was always busy in his garden and yard. He shared the bounty from his large garden with his children and grandchildren. He was a good man, even if he seemed a little gruff to a shy little girl like me. I missed seeing him in his garden or working in the yard after he passed away. I was also sad that my shyness prevented me from getting to know him better especially since my grandparents lived next door. To have men like my grandfather, father, husband, brother, etc. painted with the same brush as scum like Williams makes me really angry!

  4. A lovely piece of prose remembering your Grand Dad CA. However with respect to Mallick’s presumed poor luck with never encountering a “nice guy” – I think the more probable explanation is pathological Misandry.
    Perhaps she holds Valerie Solanas as a mentor and the SCUM(Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto as a guide book for social relations.

  5. Great article. Made me think of and appreciate my grandfather! he passed away 13 years and only a few days before the posting of this article!
    thank you!
    God bless you Grandpa John. Thank you for the role you had in my life; teaching me the values of hard work. honesty. and good communication.

  6. Damn.. Now I got some good stories of my Dad and mentors.. but.. that.. right there.. is a damn good lesson in what is important.
    As my Dad would say.. Heather can come kiss my shiny … nevermind.. thanks for the inspiration.

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    Pat Pengalli on

    Perhaps someone should actually read the Mallick piece. Here are a few excerpts:
    “The world doesn’t work unless men and women are united, working together for a common good. It happened at this trial. The trial was not about men and women, but about humanity.”
    “It was strange watching the two men together, one decent and one evil.” Clearly, she doesn’t believe ALL men are evil as Menzies suggests.
    “Yet you knew that Comeau and Lloyd had a good man fighting for them, a man with morals and a more agile brain.” Mallick applauding the police officer who eventually got Williams to confess. This hardly comes across as a man-hating ‘feminist’ indicting all males.
    I have no real dog in this fight, and don’t particularly agree with everything Mallick writes, but having read her article makes plain that Menzies, not Mallick, can be accused of being a hack.

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