I love Toronto, and there are a lot of things that make this city a great place to work. However, Rob Ford and his recent antics have really kicked things up a notch. I work in downtown Toronto, about two blocks away from City Hall. I’ve had a front row seat to perhaps the most bizarrely spectacular political story of our generation, and being this close to the action has certainly had its perks.
1. The Daily Distraction From The Monotony Of My Job
Our beloved Mayor has made international headlines numerous times over the last few months. However, these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill headlines. A crack scandal, a crude remark about performing cunnilingus on his wife, and numerous videos of “drunken stupors” aren’t things that you see every day from the Mayor of a major international city. These stories are simply jaw-dropping. It’s no wonder that a poll conducted last November found that 64% of Toronto workers felt that the daily breaking news stories were having an impact on workplace productivity. To be honest, that figure was actually a bit lower than I expected. It doesn’t take long for the office to descend into a frenzy whenever a coworker breaks the latest Rob Ford story. The distraction is certainly welcomed. For a few minutes, I am able to forget about the mind-numbing monotony of my day and gawk at headlines that are stranger than fiction. Another added bonus for those working in Toronto is that we are treated to the Rob Ford stories that, despite being ridiculous, slip through the cracks of the international media. We can count on him to do say and do outlandish things on a consistent basis. For example, you probably didn’t know that just this past week Rob Ford was sued for orchestrating a jailhouse assault AND went out of his was to defend Justin Bieber’s recent behavior. Though to be fair, by Rob Ford standards, these stories are relatively docile.
2. He Makes The Rest Of Us Look Good
You know that awkward feeling you get when you stroll into the office with a massive hangover and you think that everyone is watching you? This is no longer a problem for those lucky enough to be working in Toronto. Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage of a crack smoking, murder-threatening, Mayor that shows up to his own office drunk and physically intimidates his colleagues, most if not all of my misdeeds are overshadowed. No one is interested in gossiping about the dark circles under my eyes or the hickey that is protruding from my collar when they have scandals like these to dine out on. At this point, my own transgressions are small potatoes, and no one is interested in talking about them anymore. I’m not complaining.
3. We Are A Part Of The Action
You never know where or when Rob Ford is going to show up and become the life of the party. Many of his incidents have taken place at relatively well-known Toronto establishments that I am familiar with. One of his earlier drunken stupors took place at The Bier Market, which is one of my favorite places to grab a drink after work or a game. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there on the night that he was allegedly escorted from the bar for doing cocaine while accompanied by a woman rumored to be a prostitute, but I could have been, and that’s what makes things so much fun. Rob Ford is a man of the people. He’s not one to shy away from street festivals, sporting events and local hotspots. You really never know when you might bump into the World’s Most Famous Mayor and get a front row seat to tomorrow’s headlines.
4. Toronto Is Still Functioning
I would probably be sick of the Rob Ford saga by now if the shitshow at City Hall was actually disrupting local services and causing garbage to pile up on the streets. However, this hasn’t been the case. In fact, in between drunken stupors (or perhaps during), Rob Ford actually managed to improve Toronto’s waste management system. In doing so, he has showed the world what a functioning alcoholic/crackhead is capable of, and I commend him for that. Actually, aside from the bizarre events occurring in and around City Hall, everything is running smoothly here. This may be due, in large part, to the fact that the Mayor of Toronto isn’t really given that much power to begin with. The Mayor is basically a mascot that has prime seating at council meetings and gets to wear a fancy medallion. Perhaps this is why Toronto’s Mayors haven’t exactly been the cream of the crop. Although they never rose to to Rob Ford levels of absurdity, the job has attracted mostly D-list politicians with nothing better to do. These are not great men; these are men that go back to appearing in commercials for their family’s discount furniture chain at the end of their term. Rob Ford might be a classless, substance-abusing slob, but he is no more useless than many of his predecessors.
What can I say? It’s been quite the wild ride. What’s really exciting is that we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Rob Ford has already announced that he will be running for re-election later this year. Not only will he be running, but he actually has a chance to win. Despite everything that has gone on, his public approval rating is still hovering well above 40 percent. I can’t wait to sit back, buckle up, and enjoy what could be the most entertaining election in history.