Friday, March 11, 2005

Ministry Requests 10% Increase in Grief

EDMONTON: In conjunction with CanWest Global and Bell Media, the Ministry is requesting that Albertans exhibit an immediate 10 percent increase in misplaced and gratuitous displays of grief. This is considered the only acceptable response to the murders of four RCMP officers last week.

“Albertans have certainly performed satisfactorily according to the latest emotional ratings,” said Ministry spokesman, Iva Handkerchief. “However, there is still so much more hand-wringing that can be done.”

Handkerchief, in today’s hastily-scheduled media conference at the Alberta Legislature, unexpectedly pulled out a copy of today’s Edmonton Journal.

“See those officers on the front cover and how hopeless they look?” she said. “That’s how all Albertans should aim to look right now.”

Ministry pamphlets will be distributed today with helpful hints on how to emote appropriately and, more importantly, how to free up time in our otherwise busy lives in order to have more hours for inconsolable sadness. The Ministry’s “How to Grieve” pamphlet includes the following useful pointers:

1. Try not to put things in perspective. It is important to deliberately overlook that police work is dangerous work, much like joining the military.

2. Try only to think of yourself and how you feel. Even Albertans who have no connection to the officers or their families can nevertheless “take ownership” of this tragedy and make it their own.

3. Make an effort seek to understand, in vain, how such a thing could happen. Convince yourself that this is the first senseless, violent and tragic act to ever occur in history.

4. Divert your attention from the reality of your own life. If you feel that for the most part, your life is uninteresting and headed nowhere, misplaced emotions will empower you to forget these grim facts.

5. Remember that the news stories that are most useful to an informed citizenry don’t dwell on policy decisions such as smoking bans, education funding, health care, or pocketbook issues such as taxation structure or auto insurance rates. Citizens are best served by stories that indulge people’s need to emote. Looking to make a real difference? Overlook entirely so-called “hard” news stories. This will allow government officials and their corporate cohorts to continue re-writing legislation that will improve the profits of electrical companies, for example, at the expense of the public.

Iva Handkerchief reiterated that, “all Albertans have the potential to reduce themselves to a quivering bundle of nerves, unable to accomplish anything except consoling themselves with random acts of material consumption. Just unleash that inner cry-baby!”