Great People in Canadian History: Ben Jo(h)nson

February 8, 2008 at 10:45 pm 6 comments

Ben Jonson was born June 11, 1572, in London, England.

A contemporary of Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, poetry and acting in the nude. Most of his works are still around and read by people who enjoy feeling superior through the reading of plays and poetry from the 1600’s. Some people even quote his work.

Ben Jonson died August 6, 1637. Historians aren’t sure what happened to him at this point, although some people speculate that he spent most of his time sunbathing in purgatory, or training to become a world-class sprinter. After disappearing from public view for over three-centuries he finally resurfaced in Falmouth, Jamaica in1961 as Ben Johnson.

Ben Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1976 and settled in my hometown, Scarborough, Ontario.

All the training during the centuries away from the public eye paid off and Ben was able to transform himself from a ‘man of letters’ to a ‘man of speed’. He managed to win the bronze medal for the 100 meter dash at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and then, in brilliant fashion, he won the gold medal in the 1988 games in Seoul, Korea.

The entire nation of Canada celebrated this amazing victory for two days, until it was discovered that Ben Johnson was actually a black man from Jamaica, and not a witty writer from the 1600’s England. He was also on drugs. Performance enhancing drugs. Banned drugs.

The gold medal was stripped from him and Canada mourned.

Later that year Ben Johnson was spotted getting his car washed at a gas station in Scarborough, Ontario. I know this because I was there. Because I worked there. And I washed Ben Johnson’s car. I did a great job. The bastard didn’t even tip me.

And now you know. Knowledge is power. Use it wisely.


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. paulmct  |  February 9, 2008 at 3:02 am

    Cool, I spoke to Bernie Ebbers, another fallen Canadian, on the phone about ten or eleven years ago. I was living in London (UK), working for a contract publisher at the time.

    I don’t think he bought from me. Can’t say for sure.

  • 2. Amelie  |  February 9, 2008 at 3:17 am

    You are my hero. After Ben Johnson, naturally.

    “Most of his works are still around and read by people who enjoy feeling superior through the reading of plays and poetry from the 1600’s.” …also known as “english majors.” I know this because I am one, but I’m one of the sassy assholes who infiltrated their pretentious click to laugh and point and tell them i’m going to name my dog after William Shakespeare.

    Then they almost stabbed me with a quill-pen. And now here I am. Writing like I talk and defying the laws of proper english. (i.e. not capitalizing the “E” in english and starting sentences with AND)

    Nonetheless, favorite is still f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e.

  • 3. Amelie  |  February 9, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    You underestimate myspace! There are 58 pages of Odysseus. baccello

    …message me. I’ll add you.

  • 4. daranee  |  February 10, 2008 at 12:48 am

    A professor of mine once pointed out that Dickens was an author that didn’t need a university to support him meaning that people would still read Dickens if there weren’t a bunch of university professors pushing him. I think it’s a good way of looking at stuff.

    I would put Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen, Orwell, and — going out on a limb here — Dostoevsky in that group.

    Needs university: Alexander Pope, Milton, Joyce (with the exception of Dubliners), Faulkner (but he has Oprah, so I guess he’s okay.)

  • 5. C. Fraser  |  February 10, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Daranee, I think those are good lists! Except I do like Faulkner and I’ve never set a foot in an English/Lit class. I also agree with Dickens, one of my favourite authours.

  • 6. KeeskSuet  |  May 30, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Hi bro. Katherine Heigl how to you?


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