Valley People feature tells a great deal about a person

Valley people: Jay Siska

Occupation: I work at a paintball field.

Age: 44

If you get a chance go see: NARC. It’s Joe Carnahan’s undisputed masterpiece of a cop film. The three scenes before the opening credits will crush you.

Right now I am reading: The first collected volume of Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Yes, we’re talking comic books.

I’m listening to: The Tom Leykis Show, The Gary and Dino Show, New Normal Rock, and a bunch of different pop-punk and screamo/emo channels via the TuneIn app on my phone.

At least once everyone should: Play paintball.

Most people don’t know I: Am highly educated in a number of fields.

Proudest or happiest moment: Is not suitable for print in this paper.

Biggest fear: Fear is the mind killer.

If I was appointed king of the valley I would: Outlaw the dumping of any contaminated soil in Shawnigan’s watershed, begin construction of a South End Eco Depot on the double, and ban the RCMP and/or IRSU setting up speed traps on the Malahat’s passing lane approaching Tunnel Hill (because that effort — despite their claims — has nothing to do with safety, and is a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel cash-grab.)

Words I live by: Always be closing (look it up on YouTube.)

I literally (despite writing for the paper) have no idea how the Leader selects those who appear in its Valley People feature. Not sure if it’s a random selection when photographer extraordinaire, Andrew Leong, is out and about, or it’s pre-determined somehow. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

I always thought, “Hey, let me answer those questions. It’ll be unlike any responses you’ve ever got in the past.”

Maybe that’s why I’m employed here as a columnist — I’m not like most everyone else.

But that’s dumb to say. I am like everyone else in a lot of ways. I just like different things and don’t fall into the married with 2.5 children archetype. My proudest or happiest moment isn’t “the birth of my kids.”

When I read someone is listening to CBC radio and classical music, I think, “Dude, that’s crap.” That same person probably reads my listening-to responses and recognizes as much as they would if they were penned in Mandarin Chinese.

I’ve got to admit I like the “king of the valley” question the best, because — for me — it provides the biggest glimpse into the heart of the featured person. Answers are sometimes completely practical or altruistic, other times playful and whimsical, and then there’s the odd drunk-on-power, madcap response that’s hilarious.

And, yes. I still react with the excitement of an eight-year-old if the featured person is someone I know. Then I examine whether the responses fit with the mental picture I have constructed for that person — as if it’d be the paper’s fault if they don’t.

Valley People is the epitome of the KISS concept (keep it simple stupid) in action, which is why it’s so consistently entertaining.

We are the valley. Welcome to it.


Jay Siska writes monthly in the News Leader Pictorial. Reach him at jaysiska@hotmail.com.

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