The year 2013, according to this magazine, belonged to Rob Ford. Maclean’s named Toronto’s rubescent man about town Newsmaker of the Year, a title many of our readers think he’s forever besmirched (in addition, of course, to the one he currently holds). Impossible as it may be to believe, Ford outdid himself in 2013, prompting the entire world to unite in a collective “what next?” I decided to explore that question in a series of least-likely to most-likely scenarios I have dubbed “Fordventures.” Will the notorious mayor reinvent himself? Will he win next year’s mayoral election, as he predicts? What does 2014 have in store for Mayor Rob Ford?
Fordventure 1: The Makeover (odds: 100 to 1 against)
In the throes of yet another crack-laced drunken stupor, brought on by an epic failure to meet his 2014 New Year’s resolutions, Ford has a second “come to Jesus moment.” This time, it occurs to him that drug use and consorting with gang members is behaviour unbefitting the office of Toronto’s chief magistrate. In a bombshell announcement at Toronto city hall, Ford—wearing a suit and tie with no football paraphernalia whatsoever—resigns and vows to seek help for substance abuse. He apologizes for not eating his shirt, as promised, when he failed to lose weight and clean up his act. He declares 2014 the dawn of a new era in which all promises made are promises kept. He removes his shirt and eats it on live television. The recovering mayor enters rehab, bonds with other patients, gets clean and launches a re-election campaign on a platform of fighting drug abuse and drug-related crime. Ford hires a personal trainer who, remarkably, is not a convicted steroid dealer, loses 200 pounds, and builds Toronto’s Scarborough extension subway line and the fabled Downtown Relief Line—with his own bare hands. Ford wins re-election by a landslide. In a show of good faith (and to show off his svelte new figure), the mayor attends Toronto’s gay Pride parade in a rainbow-coloured Argos uniform. He waves at beaming onlookers from atop his lovably homophobic “Ford Nation” float, adorned with a banner that reads: “Mayor Ford supports you. No Homo.” Things are good again in Toronto the Good.
Fordventure 2: All the World’s a Stage (odds: 50 to 1 against)
Ford loses the Toronto mayoral election in 2014—which he claims “was probably rigged anyway”—and discovers his true calling as an entertainer. He sells the rights of his life story to Miramax for several million dollars and the studio promptly makes a three-hour biopic about the ex-mayor in the style of Todd Haynes’s critically acclaimed Bob Dylan biography film, I’m Not There. The groundbreaking picture, titled I Have No Idea Where the F–k I Am, is nominated for several Academy Awards, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Josh Brolin and Tilda Swinton taking a collective Best Actor Oscar for their stunning and tragic depictions of R.F. Meanwhile, riffing on his own formidable performance as a bellicose cannon doll in the National Ballet’s The Nutcracker in 2011, Ford hunkers down with Manhattan’s elites and stars in a hit Broadway production based on his political career called Nobody’s Perfect. He co-hosts a soul-food-themed cooking show—“More than enough to eat at home”—with disgraced southern chef Paula Deen, and briefly hosts NBC’s To Catch a Predator, a hidden camera show about entrapping pedophiles. (The network is forced to drop him after one episode, when he insists on charging anyone who looks into his backyard—or the yard adjacent.)
Fordventure 3: Leader of a small (Ford) nation (odds: 25 to 1 against)
To the dismay of Canadians, and the delight of late-night talk-show hosts everywhere, Ford wins re-election in 2014, having made zero changes to his lifestyle. In a last-ditch effort to get the mayor eternal off the mainland, Prime Minister Stephen Harper annexes the Turks and Caicos Islands and offers it to Rob Ford free of cost. Ford gladly accepts, rechristens the tropical islands “Ford Nation,” names his brother Doug minister of defence, and Alexander “Sandro” Lisi minister of dugga and occasional driver. Forty-two per cent of Toronto’s population emigrates to Ford Nation (making it the world’s most popular new tax haven). Notable residents include Don Cherry, Ezra Levant and Gérard Depardieu. With a historic and sweeping piece of legislation, Ford outlaws elitism in general on the islands: Prohibited items include bikes, salad spinners, Lesley Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps, lattes, Arcade Fire and journalism. Ford implements athletic conscription (all boys must enrol in the nationwide football program by age 4) and an annual national competition called the Hunger Games, a non-lethal hot-dog-eating contest.
Fordventure 4: The Dark Truth (odds: 100 to 1 for)
Ford continues to lie to the public about his shady dealings. He does not step down, stop drinking, or lose 30 pounds. He does not eat his shirt as promised. Instead, he eats everything else.
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