For me, 1999 was a year of entrepreneurship, hijinks, weird dating adventures, a last-minute marathon Toronto-to-Halifax drive for a New Year’s Eve rave, joining a band that improvised music over rock-climbing dance performances under one of Toronto’s tallest bridges, going to Burning Man, Python entrepreneurship, a trip to Prague, and a whole lot more, so I never saw The Mummy. Was it that good?
In case you’re not seeing it: Read the tag on the lower left of the sign.
During the summer between high school and university, I landed a job at a warehouse where I was often required to drive a small electric forklift.
Prior to getting my 15 minutes of “training” on the use of the forklift, my manager and I sat in the break room and watched the mandatory safety video.
It was the 1980s, which was the golden age of gore–horror worker’s compensation workplace injury ads and videos in Ontario, and the one we watched took things to a red-corn-starch-syrup-soaked new level.
There’s a scene that’s forever seared into my memory. It starts with the Merry Prankster’s golden prize: an unattended forklift with the keys still in the ignition. A carefree teen decides to take it for a joyride, does a couple of donuts in the warehouse, and quickly loses control.
He plows the forks, which have been raised to the “halfway up” position (which you don’t do when the ’lift isn’t carrying anything), into an oh-so-fake wall:
As if that isn’t bad enough, the lunchroom is on the other side of that wall, and so was someone who was just having lunch — he’s now just been forked from behind:
I remember going home that evening and thinking with great disbelief: “Grown adults commissioned, wrote, and made that video. And got paid for it.”
I’d forgotten about that video, and had even begun to think that I’d misremembered it — until this compilation started making the internet rounds. And yup, it features the “forked from behind” scene!
Once again, in case you missed it the first time:
But go ahead, Tom, you’ve earned it.
The end of the calendar year is a perfectly good time to go through your kitchen cupboards and look for anything that’s seriously well past its “best before” date. Consider the jar in the photo above. That’s not peanut butter, caramel, or dulce de leche — it’s Miracle Whip from about 30 years ago!
Here’s a little more context, courtesy of the Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Findings Facebook group:
If you haven’t seen it yet, go to YouTube and watch this channel now: James Blackwood – Raccoon Whisperer.
Sometimes he serves chicken hot dogs, hard-boiled eggs, grapes, apples, bananas and unsalted peanuts.
“I cook sausages for them, I do Hamburger Helper with sauteed mushrooms, Vienna sausages, roast chicken, pigs-in-a-blanket. And Tim Hortons doughnuts.”
(For those of you unfamiliar with Canada, Tim Hortons is more than just a place to get donuts. It’s synonymous with Canadian identity.)
One of his oldest raccoon friends, Rascal, will turn 13 in the spring. He knows her birthday because it was her mother that first reached out to him from the raccoon world. She had been hurt, likely by a car, and so Blackwood and his wife Jane took her in. That was 1999. “We gave a soft release into the wild and she’s been here with us every year since,” he says.
That raccoon later returned with her cub, which Blackwood and his wife named Rascal. His wife took to raccoons with a passion and on some nights 18 turned up for the late-night eats.
Jane Blackwood died in 2003 of cancer. Jim Blackwood merged her love of raccoons with his love for her, and so became the Raccoon Whisperer. “I fell in love with the animal and would not have it any other way. I am a retired RCMP officer and this is what I do full time,” he says.
It may seem that Blackwood is training his own Raccoon Army of the night, but I get the feeling the raccoons have trained him to be a reliable source of exotic food that’s just unavailable to most wild creatures.
He should be doing reasonably well if he’s monetizing his YouTube videos. He currently has 328,000 subscribers, and a number his videos have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of views.
It’s not all raccoons and peanut butter sandwiches on his channel. Sometimes, he’ll throw in a musical performance:
Go ahead, watch this channel — it’s mesmerizing!