It’s been a really good winter. I can’t deny it.” Brady Jackson set his beer down on the arm of the chair in his parents’ sunroom as he spoke. His father Andrew raised his eyebrows from across the room.
“Not a lot of people gonna agree with you on that,” said Andrew. “The consensus is it’s been long and cold and awful.”
“I’m not arguing that,” said Brady. “But I’m not a farmer. I run a body shop. So just add the word slippery to that list of miseries, and it’s a recipe for my success. When I hear the phrase ‘freezing rain’ in the forecast my brain just hears it as ‘ka-ching’!” He took a sip of his drink. “I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person,” he added.
Andrew pondered that for a moment. “Well frankly,” he said, “I think running a body shop does kind of make you a bad person, but I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. It’s not like you’re a chartered accountant or a tax lawyer or something horrible like that.”
“Good point,” said Brady. “Body shops are a necessary evil, right? Somebody’s got to do it.”
“That’s right,” said Andrew. “If it wasn’t you it would be someone else. Probably someone whose ethics and integrity are even more questionable than yours.”
“Wait a minute,” said Brady. “Are you saying my ethics and integrity are questionable?”
“You run a body shop,” said Andrew. “Duh.”
“Another good point,” said Brady. “But in my defence, and in defence of body shop owners everywhere, when you’re dealing with MPI on a daily basis and trying to make a living you kind of have to fine-tune your morals a bit to make it work.”
“Fine-tune your morals!” Andrew laughed out loud. “Good one! Probably in 10 years you’ll have your morals fine-tuned to the point where you could get into politics.”
Brady frowned. “OK now,” he said, “that’s just offensive.”
“Sorry,” said Andrew. “My apologies. I was way over the line there.” He turned his head to the doorway as his wife Rose appeared with Brady’s wife Amanda and little Michaela. “Hello ladies,” he said. He extended his arms and Amanda walked over and handed his granddaughter to him. Andrew propped the child up on his lap. “How’s my little Miki?” he asked. Miki responded by grabbing the pen from Andrew’s shirt pocket and waving it wildly around. “Careful there girl,” said Andrew. He took the pen back and placed it out of reach. “It’s all fun and games till somebody loses an eye.”
Rose settled herself into the chair next to Andrew. “What exciting topics are we discussing today?” she wanted to know. “Curling? Hockey? The weather?”
“Ethics and morality,” said Brady.
“Oh,” said Rose. “Good. I thought you might be talking politics but obviously you’re not.”
“Obviously,” said Brady.
“Next we’re going to talk about dinner,” said Andrew. “Because that’s coming up shortly and I’m getting hungry.”
“I vote for pizza,” said Brady.
“We’re not voting yet,” said Andrew. “We haven’t even discussed options. Anybody have other suggestions besides pizza?”
“Pizza sounds good to me,” said Rose.
“I like pizza,” said Amanda. “As long as it’s not ham and pineapple.”
“Well of course it’s not going to be ham and pineapple,” said Andrew. “That would be horrible.”
“I like ham and pineapple pizza,” said Brady. “Especially from Niakwa Pizza.”
“There isn’t a Niakwa Pizza within 50 miles of us,” said Andrew, “so never mind.”
“Niakwa Pizza’s ham and pineapple is so thin they can deliver it by fax,” said Amanda.
“Well anyway,” said Andrew, “we’re not getting pizza delivered by fax. We’re getting it delivered by Devin, because he’s the delivery guy for Guy’s Pizza on main street which is the only pizza restaurant in town so we don’t have a lot of choice.”
“Guy should deliver his own pizzas,” said Brady. “Then he’d be Guy, the pizza guy from Guy’s.”
“Guy makes the pizzas and Devin delivers them,” said Rose. “If Guy started delivering them, then Devin would have to make them and that would not be a good idea. Not if you know Devin.”
“Everybody knows Devin,” said Amanda. “I mean, he’s the pizza guy.”
“Devin owes me,” said Brady. “I fixed the bumper on his Mazda 323 for next to nothing after he ran into Mrs. Brown’s garage door while delivering a meat lover’s special, because he couldn’t afford to make an MPI claim because he already has like a zillion demerits. He’ll probably give us free delivery if I make the order.”
“Is that ethical?” said Andrew.
“It’s fine tuning, said Brady. ”And it’s five bucks off.”
“That’s ethical enough for me,” said Andrew. “Pizza it is then. All in favour?”
“No ham and pineapple,” said Amanda.
“Amen,” said Rose.