Eternalization | Illustration by Asher J. Klassen

Just returned from Canada’s North, where people are buried in permafrost, while the rest of us must look around for something less cold that would denote our presence on this earth. Something that will make us linger on — hopefully unaccompanied by any unpleasant odors.

Having a street named after us would be pretty neat. An international airport might be even better, but to qualify, one would have to be a movie star or at least a president of the United States. Park benches are too small and you have to squint to read the dedication; but streets are just the right size – in short a much more realistic expectation.

And not just any street; it has to be a serious one. Tell you what’s not serious: Alvin Narod Mews isn’t. First of all, it looks like a back alley and then it has only two buildings on it. I know. I live in one of them. On top of everything, it’s called a mews — a word which is familiar only to third generation purebred Anglo-Saxons like my wife.

Poor Alvin Narod. I hear he was a nice enough chap: Ukrainian by origin and a successful developer – made heaps of money. And as a moving force behind Vancouver’s Expo ’86, he certainly should have been honored with a street. But a mews? For Chrissake, the guy was a Slav! And being one myself, I know for a fact that in Eastern Europe we don’t live in stables.

In short, mews is mean. No mews is good mews. Add an “o” and leave it to the cats.


Introduction to Drabek’s Glossas

According to one wag the two signs of old age are:

a. the inability to stay with a thought.

b. the inability to leave that thought.

As a well-established octogenarian, I have been warned of the dangers. In this collection, I have tried to avoid them by limiting myself to one-page essays, which I call glossas. I feel that brevity has become a lost art in this age when so many people live in constant fear of being misunderstood. We tend to explain and explain — God, how we explain! And since our emails often abbreviate only words, not thoughts, I consider this to be a pioneering effort.

My glossas deal with some of the things I feel qualified to comment upon and quite a few I don’t. That too is downright revolutionary, because until now it has been largely assumed that such things as conflict avoidance and pathology should be left to the experts. But let’s be honest about it: that kind of approach has left us with two world wars and something called 9/11. And we’re still without a cure for the common cold.

This volume then breaks entirely new ground in that it explores home remedies. And since the paper’s getting short, let’s begin.

Jan Drabek

Jan Drabek


The octogenarian Jan Drabek has been an ambassador in Africa, Chief of Protocol, author, Vancouver High School teacher, a graduate student in southern India, a radio announcer in Germany, a sailor aboard a US aircraft carrier, and a failed naval aviator trainee.