“I hear bagpipes!” Those three words are guaranteed to convulse my friends and me with laughter.
Yes, there’s a rational explanation. (Or at least as rational as I ever get.) It’s a reference to a little-known Canadian movie, “Men With Brooms”, starring and directed by Canadian actor Paul Gross, and I was reminded of it when I got a bagpipe-related joke in my email this week.
The movie is spiced with oddball glimpses of waddling beavers, and a lone bagpiper is frequently seen and heard for no apparent reason. It also contains one of my favourite lines of dialog ever: “How could you forget about three hundred pounds of defecating menace?!?” The whole movie is like that: Funny, irreverent, and well to the left of weird. It never fails to make me laugh.
I was a child when I heard bagpipes for the first time. We were attending a funeral in our little country church, and the bereaved family had engaged two pipers who marched down the aisle in full cry. (Or should that be ‘full tortured-cat-screaming hell-shriek’?)
Good Lord. If anybody didn’t have religion before the pipers started, they’d have been praying by the time they were done. Bagpipes should be deployed from a safe distance, not used as a close-quarters weapons. The sound was so deafening in the small space, I thought my poor pulverized brain was going to leak out my ears.
But ever since “Men With Brooms”, whenever one of our group hears bagpipes, we take it as a sign that it’s time to get together and watch the movie again. Sadly, we’re now spread across four provinces so the get-together is out; but one of these days I’ll pour myself a nice cold quintessentially-Canadian beer, dust off the DVD, and laugh over some bagpipes and beavers.
To quote another line from the show, “We’re talkin’ the kind with teeth, right?”
Book 16 update: I took a much-needed two-week vacation after Book 15 was released, but now Book 16 is knocking at my mental doors. Plotting begins this week!