Posted on January 20th, 2010 10 great comments. Room for one more!

Lately I’ve managed to walk home from work roughly every other day. I should stress roughly. You know, it’s cold outside, and once the sun drops and the wind-friendly intersections get going, plunking down three bucks to get there in warmth actually seems worth it to avoid all that. So not every day is walking day.

But, just as I start to think how hard we have it, an unconscious decision is made (if it was conscious I’d tell you who made it), to once again flip through the Toronto Archives, to remind me that I’m just being a whiny little bitch.

Maybe it’s because life was simple then that the frosty elements didn’t bother people so much. Maybe the people were simple.

Note the position of the SHUTTLECOCK behind the net where it has just been introduced by Flaily O’Flappy on the right there. So, you know, considering that SHUTTLECOCKS are actually designed to slow down as they fly, you’d think he’d have enough time to follow this one – savour his victory. But instead he’s gazing straight up and to the left like he’s just spotted a masturbating squirrel in a nearby tree. His jaw is dropping, that’s how stupefied he is.

Then there’s the issue of his opponent, the guy who, at a very casual glance seems to have just missed the shot. But if you look at the picture for more than half a second you see that the guy is way too far back to ever hope for getting that return, seems not to be in too much of a hurry anyways (casual hand on hip), and is swatting at a very wrong spot. That’s if he’s swatting at all because his posture, that look, the whole package, they say gleeful resignation to me.

The skates are really more of a sidebar at this point.

I wonder, was every winter costume so penisy? I may have to wear a bulky parka, coif-destroying toque, and highly overrated gloves, but I think I prefer those to looking like an early twentieth century dick.

I guess protecting oneself from the elements wasn’t a priority in 1911. At the top of a Riverdale Park hill there, that’s Charles Houghtington the Third of “Where’s Waldo” fame (odd about the name really) — before the fame. At this point he was just sporting his trademark striped socks and a coat that said “I just don’t care”. I guess that’s pretty cool. Sadly, this would be among Charles’ last trips down the hill; the whole group was involved in a fatal high-speed collision with a cow. In the carnage that followed, apparently, it was impossible to tell where one body began and another ended. No one could find Waldo. And that’s pretty much how the whole sad book project got started.

Here’s anther example of how rough people had it back in the early nineteen hundreds; this whole community had to share a single toboggan at High Park. Note the lady at the left of this photo, so cold that she’s willing to abandon sensible dress for parading around as a warm winter cabbage. Dreadful.

Okay, and here are a bunch of people hanging around in an ice boat, ready to head out onto Lake Ontario. Notice something unusual? That’s right, they’re all donning impractical head gear. Once again this is at the turn of the century and obviously health and safety regulations don’t yet exist. So, people had to make due with puffy hats. Note the lady at the back is playing it extra safe.

And here we have Stan and Yosh Shmenge, obviously sharing a single pair of skis between them at some Toronto park. The poles were a symbol of prestige in the thirties, but with skis … wow, the perceived power emanating  from that guy’s groinal area would be unbelievable. Skis were the shit. That’s why anyone on them could afford to dress like a total dork.

Lest we forget the conjoined Quinzy quintuplets, seen here at the Old Orchard skating club. Most people in the twenties were horribly deformed, they were just able to conceal it well through snappy banter, flapper jigs, and sounding exactly like Edward G. Robinson; nyah, seee?


I rest my case.

10 Comments on “ SHUTTLECOCK ”

  • Angel
    January 21st, 2010 1:55 am

    LOL! So penisy.. Imagine a hot babe passing in front of him.. :D I'm so thankful I'm living in the 21st century..

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  • Patrick
    January 21st, 2010 8:53 am

    Absolutely, Angel :) It's nothing short of a miracle that anyone reproduced in those days!

  • Renee
    January 21st, 2010 7:04 am

    LOL!!!! I love the archival photos. always a good laugh! It almost appears as though the winters weren't so cold back then….with how they dressed….seemingly inappropriate for winter. I'm with you Patrick….dress for warmth, not fashion. :)

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  • Patrick
    January 21st, 2010 8:55 am

    That's my motto, Renee. It fully explains my wardrobe.

  • turnip
    January 21st, 2010 9:47 am

    So that's what life in Canada was like before you guys invented hockey. That "coif-destroying toque" you refer to look a lot like the things we Americans call "hats". Once the Winter olympics starts I'll keep a close watch on what the crowd is wearing.

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  • Patrick
    January 21st, 2010 10:31 am

    You're absolutely correct, Turnip, toques are a form of dorkified winter cap. I'm sure you'll see plenty of examples at the Olympics :)

  • JLancaster
    January 21st, 2010 2:19 pm

    Wow, you actually made me feel very nostalgic for all kinds of things I have never experienced in the first place :)

    You've got skills up there in Canada :)

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  • Patrick
    January 22nd, 2010 12:31 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan. That nostalgia is probably due to the age of the buildings … I take absolutely no responsibility for that one!

  • The Mind of a Mom
    January 22nd, 2010 5:33 pm

    Hey Patrick you so need to read my post about being cold.

    I'm like you usually it doesn't bother me but today for no good reason it got to me.

    Stay Warm

    have a great weekend

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  • Patrick
    January 24th, 2010 6:09 am

    Wow, Mom, those facts are genuinely mind-numbing. I'll pull that out whenever I'm whining about it being chilly; Toronto's got nothing on Vostok!

What's on your mind?