Fry-gulls and the truth

Campbell Webster
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

The truth, like the beating wings of a Brackley Beach seagull in a strong wind, is always shifting.

Take the weather, a daily obsession of many of us. It used to be, only a few years ago, that the temperature was simply the temperature. We were told a number, the actual number of the forecast, - 8 Celsius, for example, and that was it.

But for some time now, we have been delivered two numbers, the -8 Celsius number, and the "feels like" number. So -8 Celsius is not really the truth, because, with the wind chill, it "feels like" -14 Celsius, or -18 Celsius, etc.

"So why bother with the first number?" you might ask. For if it "feels like" something other than -8 Celsius, who gives a tinker's cuss about -8 Celsius? For isn't the point of the temperature forecast, in the first place, about how you might actually feel when (or if) you venture outside?

Presumably the "feels like" forecast is all about trying to suggest what we all might feel like if we stood in an isolation chamber with no wind and no sun, and no-nothing other than just a thermometer. Or put another way, what we want from the temperature forecast is simply the truth, i.e, what we will truthfully feel, and no shifting sands, please.

Seagulls, a familiar joy and confirmation of our island-in-the-sea status, may also be a new proof of the shifting sands of truth. Why new? Because seagulls, and their beating wings, are suddenly as omnipresent in our urban areas as they are on our beaches and farms.

Or more to the point, squawking-desperate-hordes-of-seagulls are now more prevalent around the University Avenue Burger King than they are at Brackley Beach. It is why one of our finest Island sketch comedians, Rob MacDonald, has observed that it is possible that these overly-enthusiastic parking-lot-flappers will one day be known as fry-gulls (and no doubt will have their tiny arteries severely clogged with their hearts' delight/destruction).

These shifting sands of truth are evident everywhere in our lives. The recent fascination with the NHL lockout, and what it could possibly mean to our nation, was brought home when CBC Radio's ‘World News' led with the state of the hockey labour negotiations. The third item on that same newscast detailed how many people, and children, had been killed in Syria on the very same day. Emphasis, we learned on that 6 p.m. newscast, was another way we can shift the sands of truth.

Yet this admittedly inappropriate shifting of reality may be how we all simply try to achieve, and climb the somewhat challenging obstacles in life. Take a stroll through the Charlottetown Driving Park, Red Shores, and witness the signs that proclaim, "The Kentucky of Canada." Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Yet we still respect the effort to shift the sands of truth to increase the status of harness racing on the Island.

And oddly we are probably often OK with such pussyfooting when it comes to what is real. For as the future fry-gulls circle over the appealing horse-poop at the CDP on -8 Celsius days (feels-like whatever, much colder), the fans are quite content, and even enthusiastic about the whole thing.

Or put another way, this is our choice. There is no truth, only truths. Many of them. Whatever the temperature.

Campbell Webster is a writer and producer of entertainment events. He can be reached at

Organizations: NHL, CBC Radio, World News

Geographic location: Charlottetown Driving Park, Syria, Kentucky Canada

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page