Thursday, August 9


NORTE: Dispatch. This desk. I’m wearing a pink shirt.

1988 was a leap year. It was also the same year that the Soviet Union began its program of economic restructuring, Perestroika, with legistration initiated by Premier Gorbachev. Also that year we were struck by the tragedy in Taiwan when President Chiang Ching-kuo suddenly died in Taipei. But secretly and guiltily happy for ingoing Vice-President Lee Teng-hui. That year even God was shocked when on his television show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart confessed to an unspecified sin. It was later revealed to be an affair with a prostitute named Debra Murphee. Said liaison making Swaggart leave the pulpit. Temporarily.

And of course who could forget that at the same time The Great Seto Bridge was opening to traffic in Japan, the Oscars were being swept by Bernardo Bertolucci and his Last Emperor.

On a sadder note: Amazing Spiderman #300 was released that year. It featured Spiderman’s first fight with his arch-nemesis Venom or Eddie Brock.

But the most memorable. Certainly the most tragic, much much sadder them the death of thousands of protestors in Burma, now known as Myanmar during anti-government demonstrations. Was the news that broke the morning of August 9 1988.

I was in a Shoppers Drug Mart shoplifting a bottle of Paco Rabanne cologne when I caught the front page of the paper. The crumpled tissue, bloodshot eyes, Slavic nose, wardrobe by Alexander Julian. I promised Mess I wouldn’t do this: Wayne Gretzky, fancy dresser, hometown boy, corporate shill, greatest hockey player ever. That’s ever, bitches. Ever. Traded to the LA KINGS. I felt like I got kicked in the nuts. And I knew, even then, that I would never forget that moment.

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