Friday, April 20, 2007



Recap: Paul, a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, is on the rebound after breaking up with his girlfriend, a beautiful Korean-Canadian named Sarah. Both Paul and Sarah work at the same high-stress, low-paying private school, and now -- performing the post-relationship dance (assiduously avoiding each other in the hallway while stealing glances) -- Paul is trying to take his mind off his troubles by having some beer with several other co-workers.

He sits with a gang of workplace friends who are in the habit of gathering every week at the same pub: Leslie, Andrew, and Marty. As Paul has begun the process of consuming increasingly copious amounts of alcohol, the conversation has taken several turns, including discussing the strange and/or rude behaviour of several students. But now it has settled down, and the teachers are back to one of their favourite topics: how little they get paid.

It's an issue that has some unexpected implications, a few of which the liberal-minded Paul and the
aggressively conservative Marty don't exactly see eye to eye on. But this is to be expected: Marty simply doesn't know what Paul is going through in his own life, as he tries to deal both with post-break-up heartache and worries about his conspiracy-obsessed, mentally unstable father.


PAUL: [to a server] A large pitcher, please.

LESLIE: You’re knocking them back.

PAUL: We’re all drinking together.

LESLIE: Yeah. But you’re drinking. We’re just keeping up.

Paul simply takes a long sip from his glass of draft.

SFX: The constant aural rattle of the patron-filled pub: people at all the tables engaged in loud conversations; rock music over the sound system; waiters walking quickly back and forth,

Paul takes another sip of beer and regards the wait staff. The expression on his face is simultaneously one of fascination and stupefaction. He's not holding his liquor well. Even the way he is slouched on his seat suggests his level of drunkenness.

PAUL: [looking at a waiter as he takes an order at the next table] Maybe I should get a job like that.

LESLIE: [amused] Thinking of a career change?

PAUL: Why not? They probably get more money than we do.

LESLIE: No. Not more money. Just more tips.

PAUL: Same diff.

MARTY: Yeah, being a waiter would rock. I had a roommate who did it. He had so much shit. A really nice motorcyle. A spankin’ stereo. And he could fuck off and take vacations whenever he wanted.

PAUL: Yeah, I had a roommate like that once too. As for me, I was just painting houses all summer. I felt like such a sucker. Shoulda either got a job at some yuppie pub or gone on welfare.

MARTY: Nahhhhh!

PAUL: I’m serious. All fuckin’ summer I worked like a dog. And all I ended up with was a $1000 bucks in the bank.

MARTY: That’s something.

PAUL: Barely. I was still in school. It barely dented tuition. In fact, I would’ve got a better deal on tuition if I’d been on welfare. At that time, anyway.

MARTY: That’s bullshit, man! You can’t do stuff like that!

PAUL: Why not?

MARTY: That’s taxpayer money.

PAUL: I’m just saying. And anyway, what if I did? I was poor. And I was paying taxes. And I could barely cover my rent. And then Studly my roommate was bringing home cash every night. And he wasn’t paying tax on it. He used to boast about it. Throw it in my face.

MARTY: Anybody on welfare should get it for a maximum of six months. Period. It’s a hand up, not a hand out.

LESLIE: What about people with disabilities?

MARTY: Same. Six months. After that they can get a job in some protected factory or something.

LESLIE: What protected factories? Like the ones in China?

Marty shrugs obstinately.

MARTY: Six months. That’s my max as a tax payer. And half of people with “disabilities” are faking it anyway.

ANDREW: Oh, come on. How do you know that?

MARTY: It’s true! Like those guys you see begging for money on Yonge Street. I talked to one one day, and I said why don’t you get a job, and he told me he had a friggin’ “mental disability”. Bullshit, man! He had an attitude disability.

ANDREW: If he’s been assessed by a doctor, you've gotta accept it.

Marty snorts.

Paul, who’s very drunk by this point, looks at Marty.

PAUL: [blurting] That’s sick. That’s Nazi. That’s just millimeters away from killing retarded people.

MARTY: No one’s gonna kill them.

PAUL: Yes. It’s killing them. By degrees. How else are they gonna survive? Whadda you know about mental health issues?

MARTY: Enough to know a faker when I see one.

PAUL: Bullshit, man!

MARTY: Well, bullshit to you, too!


PAUL: You know what your problem is, Marty?

Andrew and Leslie look at this exchange with don’t-say-it expressions.

MARTY: [with smoldering hostility] What?

[End of excerpt. To see more of TRUTH MARATHON, click here]

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