Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bill, The Toaster Repairman

Several years ago I had the opportunity to take some art classes with a well-known local artist. I had always admired her work, and I jumped at the chance to study with her. We had to "audition" and show her some of our work before we were accepted. Her class consisted of 15 people and it was an interesting group, all with very different artistic styles and levels of talent. We were instructed at the beginning of the classes to introduce ourselves by first names only, and we were not to discuss anything about our private lives. The teacher wanted everyone in the class to be on a level playing field, as it were, and to bring to it only our interest in learning art.

I made a couple of friends in the class, one was a woman named Kathy and the other was an older gentleman named Bill. The three of us sat together at the same table each week and we critiqued each other's "homework". Bill grew roses and he loved doing paintings of his roses.

Over the course of several weeks we got to know each other very well, but on a first name basis only. The three of us had a lot of fun at our little table, and occasionally our paintings would cause gales of laughter. One day as we were walking home, I said to Kathy, "What do you think Bill does for a living?" She said, "Well, he wears the same beige Lacoste golf shirt every week, and he's very quiet and unassuming. I think he's a toaster repairman." "Yup," I agreed. Bill was definitely a toaster repairman, quietly sitting in the back of his shop every day, screwdriver in hand, fixing toasters. It suited him perfectly.

At the end of the sessions, the entire class had a party. The teacher brought a few bottles of wine and we had a pot-luck dinner and kicked back. We were all given permission to state our last names and to describe a bit about ourselves. There were the usual suspects, a physiotherapist, a school teacher, a nurse, me ... a few other folks. Kathy and I winked at each other. We were finally going to find out if Bill was really a toaster repairman. If I recall, we had a $5.00 bet on it.

When it came to Bill's turn, he quietly talked about his rose garden and his interest in painting, but he was hesitant to talk about what he did for a living. We felt bad that he was embarrassed to admit he was a toaster repairman, but we finally pried it out of him.

Bill, it turned out, was The Honourable Mr. Justice William Joseph Trainer, a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Our friend Bill had presided over the Supreme Court trial deciding the disposition of the “cash for bodies” in the Clifford Olson case, Canada's most infamous mass murderer, and serial killer of children.

Never judge a man by his quiet manner or his beige Lacoste golf shirt.

56 comments:

tangas usadas said...

visita mi blog de tangas y bragas usadas besosssss carla http://usadastangas.blogspot.com/

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

A good Sunday chuckle. :-)

Jen

Lorna said...

Hey Jo, I love your blog and your writing style and content but that might be a bad rap on toaster repairmen.

Never judge a toaster repairman by what he is holding in his hand.

-Lorna the moderate, emotional Republican

Tyler said...

interesting blog.
check out my blog,
www.tylerstunna.blogspot.com

Country Girl said...

Loved this, Jo! A very good moral and a very good story.

It's nice to see you've had so many visitors, too. Are you feeling overwhelmed by the fame yet? (tee hee)

Carl said...

Here is one I have to remind myself of often!

Thanks for the great post.

CS

nomore said...

Let's never judge the height of the mountain until it climbed down.....

Anna M Blanch said...

Jo, You are a writer whether you think so or not. This is a great "Blog of Note" and I am glad i came to visit. Thanks for sharing the story - this is obviously the kind of man we want making difficult decisions about dishing out judicial punishment. Thanks and have a great day. A.

Dr.John said...

Doesn't hurt to have a Justice as a friend. Even if you guessed wrong.

drollgirl said...

i love this story! so great!

Alby Sure said...

Hey!

Check out my blog: www.mmhighlights.com

[:

meggie said...

I am sure I remember this story...?

makatitech said...

i love this!

Terrance Collins said...

I'd (would) love to visit your site again in a few weeks. DE-lighted with you (meeting you) and the companionship of your writing. (...just getting my feet wet, so to speak, for the first time and excited and entranced on how wonderful and plenty are some thoughtful productions.
-Terrance Collins
collinst@live.ca

Michelle said...

I love it when you have the opportunity to get to know someone before the label of what they do for a living takes over!!
That's one thing I don't miss about living 'back east' - usually the first question someone asks upon meeting you is "What do you do?" bleh.
It's not that I'm ashamed of my career in finance, but I just hate to be categorized based upon my job. I've always felt that my career path is somewhat of a mismatch anyway, so why does it matter? :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Oh, wow! What a great story!!

How wonderful that you had an opportunity to make friends with someone famous on an equal footing w/o the caste system that usually separates them from others.

I have no doubt he enjoyed spending time with you, too.

Triana said...

I am not familiar with the Clifford Olsen case, but am most definitely going to check it out! I love this story; it's absolutely amazing who we will run into throughout our lives, both for their past accomplishments & their fututre works.

*LIS said...

Was I ever glad to find a blog!
I came up randomly, and this post caught me and it made me so happy the fact that it's a canadian blog!

I'm a brazilian and it's been 6 months since I got back from a exchange year in Canada and I miss it deeply.
Probably I'll be back to check out your postings!

lakeviewer said...

This is a terrific little story, almost as good as the one on your previous post. You do have a gift sometimes to see the future?

sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com

Mary Ellen said...

Did you and your friend ever tell Bill that you thought he was a toaster repairman? I'll bet he would have gotten a big laugh out of that!

Great story, Jo. I just love the pic of the pretty colored toasters to go with the story. Precious!

Its ME said...

You are right in never judge a man in what he wears, but rather judge by what he choose not to wear though he can afford them. Right? Nice drawings inspired from a peaceful and beautiful imagination. healthy mind, produce healthy thoughts procues healthy wealth for all to enjoy too, see you at http://theinnozablog.blogspot, someday or today?

Aubrey L.(Noek) vanBiljon said...

You are listed as a Blog of Note by Google. Reading your post on "Bill,The Toaster Repairman", I can understand why.

SRG said...

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers"

Philip Brightmore said...

If I were a judge, and I'm not saying I am, but if I were a judge and I had to judge a serial killer who killed children, it would be hard for me to judge because my judgment would be made up of my past judgments against children combined with my past judgments against serial killers. Do you know what I'm saying boss?

Dhaval Mehta said...

hey that reminded me of a similar incident... funny the way things turn out isn't it..??!!!

Firefly said...

It is wonderfull to get to know somebody without knowing too much about that person or what they do. To me that is the beauty of blogging and participating in online forums. I have had the opportunity to get to know many people online and will probably never get to meet them in real life. But I count them as my friends, even if they are what I call cyberfriends. Doesn't matter what they do or what their surnames are. And when you do get to know more of them (even if it is via Facebook), I am always amazed at who they are, what their surnames are and what they do. One could never have imagined. Don't know any toaster repairmen though, or judges for that matter.
Ps, I see a couple of SPAM comments that are begging to be deleted.

Lover of Life said...

That was a great story!!

vicki archer said...

Oh so true Jo. Love your story and very glad to have found you, xv.

JOSEPH GELB said...

very cool picture

Laurentius said...

Cool writting...good message.

http://fortunate-living.blogspot.com

Canarybird said...

Good to meet you and your blog Jo! And happy to see you're from Vancouver too, as I am an ex-Vancouver Islander and have been living in Spain the past 40 years so reading your blog is like news from home. I'm also wondering if you later told the gentleman that you'd thought he was a toaster man!

Sharon

Russell said...

I remember a case one time where the judge pulled me to the side and said he could not participate in it (he had only read the pleadings and not met the parties yet). He said the woman lived next door to him in an apartment house.

The judge said that all his neighbors only knew he worked for the state but no one actually knew what he did - and he never told them. I am guessing your acquaintance, Bill, was in the same situation where he preferred not to let people know he was a judge for obvious reasons!

I agree with Mary Ellen, though, that Bill would have really enjoyed knowing he had been pegged as a toaster repairman! In fact, he would have found it to be a wonderful story!

It's not too late to let him know...!

5322104243 said...

try up

nomore said...

So I could named the Power is the Toaster m/c.....a=b=c..a=c...right?

dutchbaby said...

This is a fantastic story - you have a very wise teacher. I bet the judge repairs toasters too and you were right after all :-)

I arrived via Blogger of Note.

FERRY said...

Sorry to be late here to give away my comment.. I have to admit that you are one of best blogger i am following thru....
Economic News Online

Mo said...

How different the classes would have been had you known about each other at the start. A great art teacher. Such wisdom could be used in a wider world. Great laugh as well.

desertmonsoon said...

Hello from the UAE. I just found your blog, and I want to say I like your writing style

"JeZzyLixXxiOuZz" said...

After reading your postings, magically, I feel so peaceful.. haha...
thx for sharing, Jo.. I really love your blog^^

don't forget to visit mine, ok?^^

Peggy said...

Wonderful post! I love stories like this. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

neat story! I'll have to spend some time parusing your blog. congrats on being listed on blogs of note!

DogsDeserveFreedom

surferT said...

I guess you can't JUDGE anyone until you know them! A lesson for us all.

surferT said...

It just goes to show that you can't JUDGE anybody by what they do - until you know them!

dithunya Seitsang lekoa said...

heia again.nice blog and that classmate of yours is truly a man of substance.catch me at http://wwwkwata.blogspot.com

Raymonty said...

Interesting story and well written; It looks like I have found a place on the Internet to spend some extra time. Interesting people have a way of presenting themselves when it comes to writing a story; if you have a good story to begin with, the writing becomes easy. . . . . Never judge a man until you have slept with him - Seedplanter.

Lotus said...

I really like your blog. And as for not being a writer, I'd say your doing pretty darn good.

Heather T said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post...I had a nice, much needed laugh

Anneke said...

I "discovered" your blog because you were featured. I love this story!

Anonymous said...

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Joss Albért said...

He may well be a judge, but perhaps he also knows his way around a toaster...!

You may have been shrewder than you think! :)

Angel Helen said...

Jo, this is the second blog I have evr read. And olnly because it is a blog of note. How lovely! I'm loving it.

I could have written this post myself. In fact I touched on this subject today. People have always been amazed at what I do in both incarnations of my life. But be assured, other people's jobs are never what you think them to be.

Inside, Bill IS a toaster repairman.

nylaw2law said...

Well done.....this one got me following your blog.

Barry

www.nylaw2law.blogspot.com

Rachella said...

That is so funny! I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who does that type of thing.

Katie said...

Wow! Loved the story.

dekiehicks said...

I love this story, and your blog in general. Nice job. I'll be back.

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