Thank you, thank you so much. Oh my… I need to catch my breath. Let me… let me… let me just slip this oxygen mask on for a second and… ooo, goodness!… And maybe a quick vitamin B12 injection here… nnnnngggg!… Wow!
Sweetheart, you owe me a pie!
That’s a private joke that I’ll now explain. My wife promised me pie if I won this award tonight. She hardly ever bakes, so the fact that she promised me pie if I won says a lot about her faith in me. “I’ll bet you a whole pie you won’t win,” she said. Make it blueberry, baby! And no store-bought crusts!
Wow. I am truly, truly humbled to win this award. Truly. Touched and humbled. And touched a little bit more. Then tickled, naturally. And finally, positively quivering to be in such company with my fellow nominees whose own contributions to this crazy thing we do are so ama-a-a-azing, only not quite as amazing as mine, since I stand here before you, humbled, and again with the touching and the tickling.
When I first heard about this project in a text I accidentally read on Harvey Stinestein’s Blackberry when he left the room to adjust his Swedish rototiller and I accidentally picked up said Blackberry and scrolled through his messages, I thought it was an impossible dream that I might be part of such a profound and important project. And yet, together with so many beautiful, talented people, and doing my utmost to ensure that Harvey knew my snooping was meant to be, we were. And now we are. And it was. And I am. And you are too.
Of course, I can’t help but think tonight about that momentous meeting between Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Mohandas Gandhi. It was the one time the two great men met, and there, on that famous barcalounger now on display in the British Museum lower-level parking, the two sat in stony silence until Gandhi, his eyes twinkling in that way he had, turned to Churchill and said, very quietly, “You have ketchup on your tie.”
And Churchill, never at a loss for words, replied, “That sari you’re wearing looks stupid.”
Gandhi then explained patiently and non-violently to the great man that what he was wearing was not a sari but was in fact called a dhoti.
Churchill scoffed and said, “Sari’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
And as I look out at you, my peers, most of whom have never experienced how humbling it is to win such an award as this, I feel we are – all of us – very, very sari. And I am reminded that what we do is important. What we do matters – especially in a world that allows whatever currently trending political or social outrage that makes us feel righteous and good about ourselves in a liberal but not actively involved way.
But back to me. I have so many people to thank for this award, such a long list of names that don’t mean anything to anyone, with the odd celebrity name thrown in to demonstrate the social stratosphere I exist in, i.e. Gwyneth, thank you for your wisdom and your bongos. Elton, thank you for the crates of glitter. Barrack, you still owe me 50 bucks.
And to all the people out there, who still suffer and will never know the joys of wearing a tuxedo, I say, with all my heart: “Tu madre es el diablo.”
Jasmine-Amber, Dylan-Yoko, go to bed! Daddy’s coming home!
An audio version of this post, in all its emotive glory, first aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.”