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Last week my friend Lynda called to tell me that a friend of her family had just moved to Sydney from Canada and despite the fact that she had never actually met said family friend, her mother had volunteered her to make friends with him and show him around. Naturally, because I’m a very friendly person who loves meeting strangers, she thought of me, and asked if she could bring him over to my house. Because I’m lovely, I agreed – and then promptly began to freak out about having to not only meet this strange Canadian, but also play hostess to him at my own house. I struggle through parties with my own friends, let alone strangers.

So I did what any normal person would do, and tried to convince other people to come over as well, to dilute the percentage of strange people in my house, and also so that they could play friendly while I hid in the kitchen. But – I don’t know – either I’m not a good salesperson, or everyone’s afraid of Canadians, because no one was interested. Apparently saying “Come to my house so you can entertain The Canadian who scares me because I’ve never even met him and I don’t even know his name and chances are I’m going to make an idiot of myself if I don’t have your help” isn’t the most enticing invitation ever heard. Who knew. 

Then I tried not mentioning The Canadian, and just sent an email to my famous friend from work , inviting him to come over “for a drink and to play pool” but he wasn’t falling for it. 

AW: No way. I’m busy. Good luck with the Canadian.

Gen: (getting nervous) Do you really think I’ll need luck?

AW: No.  I’m pretty reasonably certain that he won’t be an axe murderer, statistically speaking.

Gen: (alarmed) Now you’ve put the idea of axe murderers in my head! Thanks a lot!

(Like I needed him to add to my anxiety.)

Awesome, now I’m going to have nightmares

But he kindly sent me this picture, with the assurance that I should fear not, as The Canadian would almost certainly not look anything like this:

Which, actually? Was kind of presumptuous of him, since he’d never met the guy either.  

Gen: What will I do if he looks exactly like that?

AW: Probably think of me, laugh, and get minced.

He’s always very soothing, as you can tell. Anyway, with the new concern that this strange Canadian could be an axe murderer in mind, I decided to ask Lynda a little more about him. Unfortunately, she didn’t actually know anything about him because she’d never met him, so all she could give me was a name, and I kid you not, his surname was Ironmonger.

Seriously. I invited a supervillain into my home. Who does that?

I went back to AW for further advice.

AW: So he shares a name with Marvel Comics’ supervillain?

This was news to me.

Gen: I don’t know how to respond to that.

AW: Also, axes can be made from iron.

Gen: There’s no way I’m going to be able to meet this guy without a) fearing for my life, and b) looking like a paranoid crazy person. See what you’ve done??

He wasn’t even the tiniest bit remorseful. But he did promise to keep a keen eye on the news over the weekend, although in hindsight, he didn’t actually say whether he was hoping there would or would not be any articles about my death by axe murder. Obviously I had made a grave mistake in turning to this man to allay my fears.

So I decided to get a second opinion. I mentioned The Canadian to Kasey, who, although he agreed to come over for the night, did quite helpfully tell me that many Canadians are lumberjacks, so it’s likely the guy was very good with an axe. He also said that Ironmonger was without doubt an axe murderer name.

Kasey trying to prepare me for the inevitable axe attack

Because I never learn, I sought a third opinion. Bad idea.

Brad: (after I mentioned the possibility of the Supervillain Canadian being an axe murderer) I’ve got a lot of weapons. Even if he didn’t bring his own axe, he could probably borrow one of mine. There’s a log splitter on the back porch.

Gen: That’s … not nearly as comforting as you think.

Huh. He really did have a log splitter

All the boys just laughed at me. A lot. Which, to be honest, was kind of comforting, because in all the hilarity of accusing The Canadian of being a supervillian and an axe murderer, suddenly it was time for him to arrive and I realised that I’d managed to get through the whole week without being sick with worry about what I was going to say to him, and what if he hated my cooking, and what if he thought I was an idiot – and, actually, we had a fun night.

Apologies for the shoddy camera work. We were drunk. Don’t worry: the axe is only plastic. No one would ever trust me with a real axe even when sober.

Incidentally, when The Canadian arrived, the first words I heard him say were

“… So you just cut off the body parts … ”

True story.

The Iron Monger, aka the supervillain axe murderer from Canada.