I have lived in Toronto for seven years now. I consider myself fairly urban at this point. I live downtown. I step over drunk bums. I never hear English being spoken on the streets. I take the subway four times a day, whereas I might have been in a car four times in the entire last year. I’ve watched cops arrest crazies screaming about Jesus, while flute players tootled on in the background, desperate for my spare change. I’m familiar with stepping around horse poop in the downtown area since the cops are on horses to try and stop people shooting each other in the club district. I’ve been to the CN tower, I know what ‘in the U’ means. When I meet celebrities (which I TOTALLY did this weekend), I pretend like I don’t care, cuz hey, I’m a Torontonian, you don’t impress me. I refer to Barrie as ‘the far north’. I laugh in the face of smog. Ha. Smog. Pffft, you don’t scare me. I refer to areas by subway stations. I go to Jays games. I’m terrified of anything above Finch. I’m generally self centred, rude, pushy and obnoxious. I love street meat. I can ignore almost anybody. You can see why I would think I was a true Torontonian.
However, if you really ARE a true Torontonian, there is something missing from that list which is glaringly obvious. Last night, I was taken to the mecca of Toronto kitsch. I’ve walked by it, streetcarred by it, seen it’s hypnotizing flashing lights and thought ‘pfffft, no way’. I’ve heard the stories of the free Christmas turkeys. I’ve seen the cheesy slogans. But folks. Ohhhhh, folks. I’ve never gone. And I can’t believe it. I dont know how I lived before last night.
For as of last night, I am no longer an Honest Ed’s virgin. Oh no. I am an Honest Ed’s whore. Observe:
Look at its sparkling beauty. It’s mesmerizing lights. It’s over the top over-the-topness. It’s too much. You can’t resist it. And that’s just the outside!
When you walk in, as SOON as you enter this house of insanely cheap junk you never thought you’d need, but you now MUST own cuz oh my god, it’s only 33 cents, you are greeted by a funhouse mirror. A midget mirror. I love it! You look at yourself, all stumpy and chubby and it washes away your inhibitions. You are now free to wander and get lost (cuz you will get lost, holy shit this place is a maze) in aisles and aisles of useless garbage, mixed with perfectly useful stuff, brand name stuff, at prices you simply are agog at. It is truly unbelievable. Adrenaline is still coursing through my veins.
Do you need a hammer, plumber’s putty, a porcelain ballerina with a clock embedded in her stomach, some mugs, a hamper, a new swimsuit, a kite, a vat of mayonnaise and a meat grinder? Well, surely you’ll have to hit at least four stores to get all of that. BUT NO! No, you can buy it ALL at Honest Ed’s!! I shit you not! Who the hell sells meat grinders??? Now, you can make your own fucking salami my friends. And you can time yourself with your new ballerina clock. You can buy latex gloves so you dont’ get your hands all meaty and you can serve your fresh salami on a totally brand new set of plates that cost you less than a dollar. Unbelievable.
Honest Ed’s teaches you about justice. Because there, you can buy a huge jug of brand name laundry detergent for half price. It caused me to jump up and down with joy. And then you realize……”I’ve been getting screwed for YEARS! Well! No more! I will not pay their insane prices, when I can buy things for half price here AND view myself in funhouse mirrors along the say!” You feel like you’ve beaten the system. You’ve actually outsmarted capitalism. You feel on top of the world. Nothing can stop you. You will forever have clean clothes now, because you can actually afford the detergent.
And there’s no shame when you’re in there. Oh no. You see others equally as crazed as you. Grabbing cans and cans of spaghetti sauce and tuna. Bags and bags of polished rocks to throw in bowls and label ‘home decor’. Shamelessly buying Jesus touch lamps as gag gifts. You get into it. You find yourself buying litter boxes with lids and door flaps, cuz they’re so damned cheap! You’re giddy with savings! Who CARES if you don’t have a cat! You might one day! And in the meantime, you can store stuff in the box. You can make a day out of this place. The kitsch is just priceless.
I’m in love. I’m in love with Honest Ed’s.