The following is purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laugh while reading this, while framing this, or while burning this. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Pity the Edmonton Oilers. Even in the revamped climate of the new NHL symphony they're still stuck playing second fiddle to the bigger markets of North America. Being within one measly win of another Stanley Cup still isn't proof enough for the elite players in the league to want to play their hockey in Edmonton? Perhaps an overhaul of the city is in order. What will take to convince the hockey world that the city is big time and should be treated as such?
First off, boost that sparse population base. On your best day you still can't crack a million residents. Find a way to attract more immigrants. Not a couple, a whole mess of them. Make up a rumor about another gold rush. Offer free methadone at clinics. Tell people you've built a tunnel from Mexico to Los Angeles via St. Albert. Do anything to add that seventh digit to your road signs.
And while you're at, lose those road signs. And close down some lanes on those ample highways on a regular basis. Come on, you claim to be big league yet you have less congestion than a Sinutab addict. People, we need ten car pileups and burned out vehicles and overturned lumber wagons. We need traffic delays of epic proportions. Why do you think Escalades have such big gas tanks?
And where's your smog? You have oil refineries up the wazoo, yet you can still see the stars at night? What kind of city are you? If you don't generate enough of your own smog, import some. Name one Stanley Cup champion in recent years that isn't an asthmatic's nightmare? If God didn't want us to be indoors he wouldn't have given us air conditioning. It's in the Bible.
Would it also kill you to have the occasional crime spree as well? I don't mean the old drunk and disorderlies or the petty criminal. I'm talking full-fledged crimes of passion, stuff with automatic weapons and unexplained explosions. If you can't use the phrase Â“ticking time bombÂ” when describing your town, you need to work harder. Make it on Osama's list and you'll have a Cup within three years.
And finally, the shopping. You talk ad nauseum about the West Edmonton Mall. Big Deal. Malls are so Eddie Belfour. You need shopping districts. You need store fronts with armed guards. You need retailers that are discriminating, and selective. People who aren't afraid to send the great unwashed back to Wal-Mart and who truly know the awesome power and intrinsic value of those who flash a Gold Card. Think about it: You were one PayLess Shoe Store from keeping Chris Pronger an Oiler for life.
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Thursday, only on thehockeynews.com.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org