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Lessons from a Train Wreck (Rob Ford)

Sailun Tires

What Can We Learn from Toronto’s Surreal Mayor?


(Image courtesy of CBC News)

I’m from Toronto Ontario, a beautiful city by any measure, but if you’ve been paying attention to our news lately, you’ll know we have a mayor with a list of problems that puts Jay-Z’s right to shame. He’s been lampooned on Jimmy Kimmel, he’s embarrassed hockey legend Johnny Bower and he’s even been caught with a paw in the crack cocaine cookie jar. Half the metropolis is still willing to prop up his personality cult, but anyway you slice it Mayor Rob Ford is all kinds of hot mess. But even as we watch this epic gong show play itself out, there’s lessons to be learned, and in the interest of making lemonade, we’re bringing you a list of things Canada’s most notorious mayor can teach us.

Keep ‘em Separated: The number one thing my mayor does wrong is mixing his work with his play. If you’re reading this we can safely assume you’re not saddled with his mammoth vices, but if getting blotto is your thing, make damn sure you’re not doing it during working hours, or representing your place of work at the same time. To a much lesser extent, it’s the same with hobbies.  Say you like coaching football, that’s great, but you shouldn’t be spending your employer’s time and resources to further your hobby, even if it’s a benevolent one.

Lie with Dogs, Get Fleas: John Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, so if you’re chumming around with drug dealers and ex-cons most of your waking hours, that probably doesn’t bode well. If you surround yourself with equal parts yes men and enablers, you’re never going to get a straight answer, you’re never going to get challenged, and you’re never going to get better.  And if none of those things matter to you anyway, always remember that if you’ve got shady friends (and who doesn’t?) don’t bring them to your place of work.

Be A Man of Your Word: If there’s one thing you can say about Mayor Ford, it’s that he’s got people in his corner through thick and thin. Why is that? Because there are so few people in this world who keep their word, that you can literally be one of the worst people around and you’ll still inspire loyalty so long as you stick to your guns.  Rob Ford fixes potholes, answers phone calls, and breaks unions just like he said he would.  At this point you don’t have to admire him, but you have to give him that much.

There’s One Born Every Minute: Here’s the thing: There’s a video some Somali drug dealers took of the Mayor smoking crack last spring that three different objectively solid sources reported having watched.  After the movie was reported, the Mayor’s office went bananas trying to get a hold of it by dispatching drug dealers to beat up the people who might have it. Then after a weekend of silence, the mayor told the city that it was all bullshit, and they bought it! They buy it now even after the chief of police has reported that it’s legit. The sad lesson here is that you can fool enough people enough of the time so long as they want to believe you, what you do with that understanding depends on your character.

It’s a bizarre and oddly entertaining time to be a Torontonian, but we’re teetering at the point where it isn’t funny anymore. I mean, we’re really a cool city, honest…


Written by: Jeremy Beal


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