“The only good thing I can say about bad weather and lots of rain is it allows me to sit at home and think thoughts here.”—Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on Ottawa’s dreary summer.
I warned Stephen Harper. I warned him. I said to the Prime Minister, “Damn the cost in public money and human lives—you need to construct a sinister weather machine capable of fending off the rain, and you need to do it now! As God is my witness, sir: you give Michael Ignatieff one wet summer and that man is going to sit at home and think thoughts—THOUGHTS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!!”
Did the PM heed my advice? He did not. Sure, Harper dropped out of sight for so long that it seemed entirely plausible he was secretly manufacturing a mighty cloud-repelling leviathan (or, failing that, forcing Mike Duffy to blow into the sky really hard)—but no. The rains came and Harper did nothing.
Soon the Prime Minister will pay the price for his unwillingness to pervert the will of Mother Nature. Next month, Michael Ignatieff will return to Parliament Hill. He will return with vigour. He will return with purpose.
He will return, my fellow Canadians, with thoughts.
Even before the endless downpours, Michael Ignatieff was a pretty sharp fellow. Harvard professor. Respected intellectual. Author of several great books and also his latest book. You let a guy like that just sit around the house and try to think thoughts and let’s face it—he’s going to succeed. He’s going to think some thoughts, and he’s going to think them hard. Add in some moisture and, boom, thought storm!
Now don’t get the wrong idea: to think thoughts, Michael Ignatieff does not need for it to be rainy. He wouldn’t be much of a thinker if his synapses were slaves to precipitation. Take my word for it—Ignatieff is fully capable of thinking in the sunshine, too. It just takes a little longer, and more of the thoughts end up involving pineapple.
But there are limits. A warm, dry spring inflicted upon the Liberal leader one of the worst “thought droughts” since the one endured by the writing staff of Heroes from the second episode of the series until whichever episode they’re on when you’re reading this.
To his credit, Ignatieff hid this well for a while. He formed his face into pensive expressions that gave the illusion of deep thinking. (This put tremendous stress on his eyebrows, one of which—while arching at twice the usual angle—became dislocated, resulting in Ignatieff briefly sporting a moustache.) But evidence of the Liberal leader’s thought famine could ultimately not be concealed.
First, Ignatieff abruptly began sounding like his predecessor: This government is terrible, it is horrible, it is an abomination unto God Himself—and we are totally going to do something about it, eventually, somewhere down the road, maybe next year-ish. But for now we’re good.
Then in June, Ignatieff’s thinking shortage led him to push Canada to the brink of an election. He demanded that the Harper government take real action on four key issues. The Harper government took fake action on one key issue. Disoriented, his neurons parched, the landscape of his brain resembling Ethiopia circa 1985 or Madonna’s arms circa those recent photos of her coming out of the gym, Ignatieff proclaimed victory.
The intelligentsia turned away. What had become of their Ignatieff—he who was such a peerless ruminator in the fog! He who was so mentally dexterous in sleet! What had become of the man who had once succeeded in thinking a thought while underwater? (They’re still talking about that one down at Mensa.)
When all seemed lost, at last came the rains of July and August—and what was scorched and barren became lush and fertile. Time to go a-thinkin’!
I invite you to picture the scene. Stornoway. A fashionably distressed leather armchair. A pipe—unlit, but part of the feng shui of deep thinking. Monocle affixed, a serene Michael Ignatieff settles in with a cup of chamomile tea, a calligraphy pen and his Thought Journal. His valet draws the shades. And all is silent, save for the steady pit-pat of rain on the rooftop.
Michael Ignatieff starts thinking. More often than not, this thinking leads to thoughts. Small thoughts at first—obvious thoughts, such as “Eggs = Delicious!” Steadily, half-baked thoughts gave way to thoughts half-formed, small thoughts to big thoughts, big thoughts to Big Thoughts. As of press time, sources say four of Michael Ignatieff’s summer thoughts have been confirmed to be “outside the box.” Two more are pushing an envelope around the room.
Exhausted, the Liberal leader closes his eyes. He has thought some thoughts, thoughts that cannot be unthinkified. A final thought before sleep: now I’ll show them—now I’ll show them all.