SQUEEGEE WARS: Toronto Sun Gets Weird (Or Weider, Anyway)

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Sun, 26 Jul 1998 09:42:04 -0700

 The Toronto Sun July 26, 1998


   By GARY DUNFORD -- Toronto Sun
   SQUISH SQUADS: Holy baloney! How can no more than
  300 tanned kids with hip haircuts bring our city to its knees?
   We are under siege. The mayor's declared war. Lexus owners
  are having their cars TOUCHED. The horrific opening moments
  of Saving Private Ryan can't compare with the wet assaults
  waged at every primary traffic light. We have seen the enemy and
  it's not crack dealers, gridlock or greed beyond imagination. It's
  ... Squeegee Kids.
   No suit is safe. Adults are terrified. Lady columnists change their
  route to the milk store. Letters to newspapers bristle with anger.
  The province's Squeegee Hotline -- where but in Mr. Mike's
  Ontario would there be money to maintain such a thing? -- is
  swamped. A woman claims that young strangers Licked Her Car
  Window. Licked it! Oh, the horror! The tongue!
   While Toronto normally gobbles "world-class" opportunities as if
  they were Skittles -- "Number One in Growth!" boasted a
  headline this week -- it cringes before these youthful, summer
  squish squads. Squeegee Capital of the World? Ye gods, not
  that! It's the only trophy, title or claim Toronto has ever dodged.
  Hallelujah! At least there was one. And here I thought our Gotta
  Be World Class AutoPilot was stuck.
   For these are not just armies of unsolicited windshield wipers,
  bro. Haven't you heard the rumors? Squeegee kids breed under
  the bridge. They tattoo and pierce each other after dark. They'll
  snap off your wipers if you look at 'em sideways. That's not really
  water in the pail, it's urine. They steal their squeegees from
  helpless gas stations run by pitiable international oil cartels.
  Squeegees come from all over Canada to wipe in Hogtown
  because we're such wimps. They attack cars in packs, like
  wolves. They steal dog food from back porch bowls in
  Riverdale. They killed a biker, just to watch him die. They swarm
  cars and sting drivers, like bees. They roost in the trees at night
  and fall on the unwary at bus stops. These are the unholy children
  of Satan. What? You've heard worse?
   Toronto council crumbles under this Squeegee Apocalypse. "It's
  war on Squeegee Thugs!" declares mayor Mel Lastman, adding
  another front page clip to his substantial scrapbook. "There will
  not be any squeegee kids!" Provincial yahoos promise legislation:
  Surely it must be a crime to enter an intersection with a pail.
  (Smiling at a stranger is already a felony in Toronto: Don't say
  you weren't warned.) The police chief begs for anti-squish laws.
  Damn, I wish the cops had helicopters. Couldn't we force all the
  squeegees into just three or four blocks of the Lakeshore, as we
  do the Caribana parade? Isn't that how we deal with anybody
  who bothers us?
   One 27-year-old squeegee kid challenges the mayor to come
  spend a day on the street before he wipes them out. (Isn't 27 a
  little long in the tooth to be a kid? But then, Lastman is much too
  interested in cameras to be a mayor.) If Mel's instant conversion
  from confused futz to Gay Pride Marcher is any indication, he's
  already tatt'd, T-shirted and harassing Bimmers at Queen and
  Spadina for a TV photo op. Mel's at his best when crisis,
  costumes and cameras collide. That's why the mugshot always
  shows him smiling.
   Squeegee Kids may be a bigger threat to Life As We Know It
  than Gummos Throwing Chairs on Jerry Springer or what
  happens to The Financial Post. Squeegees may be more
  important than whether your computer burps or not in the year
  2000. Be very afraid.
   At least the continuing Squeegee Crisis does keep Ontario minds
  off topless women. I haven't thought about one in, oh, at least 10
   Stranger by far than the Squeegee War, Toronto last week
  happily voted itself five years to pay the actual value property
  taxes the rest of Ontario's slobs have been paying for years. Did
  anybody worry about widows who might lose their re-assessed
  farms in Hastings County? Did anybody "ease the burden" for
  businesses in Parry Sound? Nope. Only in Toronto is such tax
  "mercy" possible. Go figure.
   How does Toronto get away with it? Maybe we're just, plain
  nuts. Or hysterical, selfish nits. Those would be your two choices.
  Wipe 'em, Dano. Scare 'em bad. Give 'em tongue.