The same week I traded the instant party for Michel Barrette's snowmobile, I was interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos on The Hour – a national TV program in Canada. George asked me, quite succinctly, if there was anywhere in the world I wouldn't go to make the trade. I responded. “I will go anywhere in the world except for Yahk, British Columbia.”
Then I went home to bed. It was a Monday, after all.
The next morning the phone rang and tore me from a deep sleep. I answered. “Hello.” “Hello is Kyle there?” I cleared my throat, swallowed and answered. “Yup. That's me.” “Hey Kyle, how's it going?” “Good. You?” “Great. My name is Jeff Cooper and I work for a magazine in Cranbrook British Columbia called SnoRiders West. We're conveniently located forty-five minutes from Yahk.” “Nice! I guess you saw the show last night then?” “Well, I didn't, but a co-worker of mine, Kerry, told me all about it.” “Cool.” “Well, we've been throwing some ideas around, and well, we want to make you an offer for your snowmobile.” “Really! That's awesome. What's your offer?” “We want to offer you a trip to Yahk.” “Really?”
And he meant it. Return airfare for two people from anywhere in North America to Cranbrook, a day of skiing, meals, and of course, a snowmobile trip to Yahk. Jeff wanted me to come along on the trip as well, so that the official trade could be made in Yahk. This was big news: A trip to Yahk. I agreed with Jeff that this was an amazing offer. Jeff took a deep breath and then gave me one more piece of vital information,”But there's a catch.” “What's that?” “The catch is, you must make the trade in Yahk.”
Ouch. Here Jeff was offering me the perfect offer for the snowmobile, but I'd gone and said I wouldn't go to Yahk. How could I go to Yahk? I might be a lot of things, but a liar is not one of those things. If I went to Yahk, my credibility would be shot. People might think I wasn't serious that I'd go anywhere on earth to make a trade except Yahk. I was totally serious - Yahk was not an option. It's just that, well, I never really expected to actually get a trade offer from anyone in Yahk, it being a small remote community on the other side of the country and all. It wasn't like I had anything against Yahk or the citizens of Yahk, it's just a lot more fun to say you won't go somewhere really obscure, than just go around saying you'll go anywhere. Anywhere is boring. Anywhere is cliché. Anywhere is not Yahk. I had to do some crafty maneuvering to get out of this one unscathed. My reputation was at stake here. I thought long and hard, went for a run, did a little soul-searching, and realized there was only one way to accept the offer without being a liar: I had to tell a lie. I accepted the trip to Yahk in exchange for the snowmobile, then went over to the computer and wrote a message to the citizens of Yahk:
Dear Citizens of Yahk,
On Dec 5th 2005, CBC anchorman and body piercing fanatic, George Stroumboulopoulos put me on the spot on live TV and asked if there was any place I would not go to make a trade. For some strange reason, I told him that I would go anywhere on Earth to make a trade, except Yahk B.C. Don't get mad at me for this, get mad at George Stroumboulopoulos. Why? I'll let you in on a little secret - I think he hypnotized me. Yes, I think George Stroumboulopoulos hypnotized me on live TV with a double whammy of his extremely long, impossible-to-remember-how-to-spell last name and abundant body-piercings. He forced me to say that I would not go to Yahk to make a trade. I've been to Yahk before. Yahk seems like a very nice place. I'm sure you're a nice person too, it's just that George Stroumboulopoulos forced me to announce an official trade embargo with your town. I hope you can live with the stigma of being the only place on Earth I can not go to make a trade. We can still be friends, just not trading partners. Maybe the citizens of Yahk should boycott George Stroumboulopoulos in retaliation for his heavy-handed hypnotic prowess - seems like the most logical thing to me. Actually, I think somebody should start a petition to get George Stroumboulopoulos to do a live broadcast of The Hour on CBC from Yahk to apologize for his evil ways. Yes, if there's anybody out there who knows how to organize an on-line petition, can you set it up and forward me the link? Thanks in advance - this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Thank you for your understanding - Kyle
Twenty minutes later, I got an email from a fellow named Brent who set up an on-line petition. It read:
To: George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) We citizens of Yahk, British Columbia Canada and by association, all residents of planet earth who do not live in Yahk -- hereby challenge George Stroumboulopoulos to do a remote broadcast of The Hour on CBC live from Yahk when Kyle MacDonald of www.oneredpaperclip.com will be present to "not to make a trade." If George Stroumboulopoulos makes the broadcast from Yahk, the hypnotic spell he placed on Kyle MacDonald on live TV will be reversed and future trades for the one red paperclip project will finally be allowed to take place in Yahk. Sincerely, The Undersigned
I posted a link to the petition on the website. By the time I went to bed there were already a few signatures, some even from people I'd never met. By the next day even more people had put their name on the petition. I started thinking to myself, maybe this might actually work. Anything is possible, right?
The controversy caused quite a stir in Yahk. Penny AP Anderson from the Yahk-Kingsgate historical society, and a self-described Yahktivist, posted the petition on the Yahk-Kingsgate community website and warned George Stroumboulopoulos that his hypnotic powers would have no effect on the citizens of Yahk. Penny sent me an email: "Keep watching... someone picked the right community!" I forwarded all of the goings on to Claire, a producer for The Hour. She fired an email back right away: To: "kyle macdonald"
Dom and I didn't have cable so we went over to her sister's place and commandeered the TV. I was pretty nervous about what was going to happen. George came on the show and described his situation to the nation. He explained how I'd accused him of hypnotizing me - an obvious lie, I didn't accuse him of lying, everyone knew it was true, him with his hypnotic powers and all. He said that he was caught in the middle of “some sort of bizarro love triangle” between me and the petition and the citizens of Yahk. George said that he and everyone at The Hour would watch the petition and see how it went. George also added, “Unlike Kyle, I would definitely like to spend some time in Yahk, British Columbia.”
This made me nervous. I totally expected to get shot down. If George shot down the idea, at least we'd know George had a malicious vendetta against all citizens of Yahk and I'd look like a hero. Now I had to wait and see how the petition went. I hate waiting. Like Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.
I took some time off from the project at Christmas. When I returned, the petition had more than 1000 signatures. Not too shabby for a petition based on an outrageous accusation and an unlikely-to-come-true scenario. Not bad at all. But it didn't really matter if The Hour came to Yahk or not. I was going to Yahk anyhow. I could pull it off without being a liar – there was a loophole. You see, Jeff Cooper sent me some photos of Yahk and I'd discovered a technicality. There was a sign from Yahk that read:
YAHK – UNINCORPORATED
I figured that since Yahk wasn't incorporated as a city or town or village or hamlet pretty much opened up a giant grey area as to where Yahk actually begins and ends. I could theoretically say that I’m in Yahk right now, and so can you. Yahk is everywhere and nowhere at once, so I was free to go there because it doesn't really exist. Admittedly, an easy way out, but nevertheless, a loophole. I thought about my loophole proudly. It's not everyday you discover a loophole. There was a way to go to Yahk after all. But really, I wanted to coerce George Stroumboulopoulos and The Hour to go to Yahk. Loopholes are fun, but not nearly as fun as national newscasts being forced to travel across countries as the result of petitions based on lies. Stuff like that is way more fun than a loophole, any day of the week.
The signatures continued to roll in for the petition. A few days later I got an email from Claire at The Hour. I opened it with hope in my eyes. Claire had big news, they'd followed the petition's progress and had made a decision: The trip to Yahk was on. This was huge. The Hour was going to do a show live from Yahk. They were going to cover the trades. Yahktivism worked. I was more than excited. I fired off a blog post to tell everyone to book off their calendars for the first week of February. The Hour was going to Yahk. Everything was in place – a live national broadcast to cover the trade in Yahk! There was only one problem: I still had to find a way to get the snowmobile to Yahk.
How'd I get that snowmobile
to Yahk, anyhow? Click here.
The deal stands. I will take the cube van anywhere in the world (especially Yahk BC) for the right offer.
Big thanks to George Stroumboulopoulos and everybody at The Hour on CBC Newsworld for showing up and filming the trades. You made my Mom's job way easier! Please don't throw her in jail for posting these here. I need her around to cut my hair.
Stay tuned for the video of my second trade on the show as well as those radical videos of Dan and I kissing goats.