Friday, 16 November 2018

Neanderthal

Let’s just agree from the get-go that I am a cranky old fart with opinions on pretty much everything. Those opinions don’t always make sense to anyone other than me and have been coloured by six decades of life. I should also tell you that I am invariably correct with my opinions and if you don’t agree then you my friend are wrong!

I am in the process of doing some small wood turnings for a young man I have known since he and my son were in Cubs together. Nice guy. I am more than happy to do this for him and we have been in contact more than a few times trying to get the design, size and shape just right. We have been doing this using text messages. There is a generational problem with this way of communicating.

He is very comfortable using the cell phone for all aspects of his life and I am like that room full of monkeys trying to write the great Canadian novel. I like face to face and he likes facebook to facebook. It will work out just fine when he realizes that I am a Neanderthal.

The human race has spent one or two hundred thousand years communicating with each other face to face. You could literally smell the guy that you were talking to. Yes, that was a down side. We have learned to listen to subtle inflections in the voice and the way select words were pronounced. We would watch the hand and body movements that accompanied the conversation. The eyes, eyebrows, forehead, mouth and the way the head would move helped us to understand exactly what our friend was trying to say.

It has just been in the past 120 years or so that we learned to communicate from a distance. For a good part of that time dots and dashes replaced words. ..-. --- .-. / .- / --. --- --- -.. / .--. .- .-. - / --- ..-. / - .... .- - / - .. -- . / -.. --- - ... / .- -. -.. / -.. .- ... .... . ... / .-. . .--. .-.. .- -.-. . -.. / .-- --- .-. -.. ... Yeah, I don’t understand it either. We humans learned how to use the telephones, but I think that was just an extension of face to face communicating.

I have yet to learn the way of texting. I know of no subtle indicators of emotion and I am completely lost when short forms and emojies (?) are used. The shit emoji I get and the happy face one is easy.


I am pretty sure that I am just ignorant and with luck and time I will be able to understand this new way of communicating. Perhaps people will just stop trying to talk to me and just smile and put a spoonful of pudding in my mouth.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

June Caulfield


There is not much that we humans can do about the inevitable march of time other than be washed along with it. Sometimes time seems to slow down when there is something particularly onerous that needs to be done and when you are having the time of your life it seems to come and go in an instant. I remember a few years back when we had tickets to see Paul McCartney the months leading up to the concert took so very long and the three and a half hours of the concert itself just passed in an instant. Such is life.

I like to think of the people I surround myself with as living, breathing smile makers. Some people make me smile whenever I think of them and certainly when we are together. Some people only make me smile when they leave. Thankfully those are few and far between.

I guess that smiles are about memories. The first smile is the making of the memory and the smiles in the years that follow are physical manifestations of those wonderful memories. Of course some memories are the opposite, but sad memories don’t stay with me. Mostly my memories that start out sad are generally replaced by thoughts and smiles of the good times.

Perhaps I am different than others, perhaps my mind is too weak to retain those sad memories, perhaps on some instinctive level I know that I could not keep the sadness within me without doing irreparable harm. Who knows?

I do know that because of this I seldom keep sadness for very long. Well, unless the radio station I am listening to has a playlist that targets my misery. I’m that guy who is smiling at the funeral. It is the memories I am thinking of, not the loss. My belief system relegates the sadness and loss to those left behind, not the one who has passed. There is a very good chance that the dear departed will soon be back on the planet making another stab at reaching perfection. I am sure that I have much more learning to do and with any luck you will have entered my life and given me reasons to smile.

One such person has just recently passed on. I first met June in high school and from the first moment we met she gave nothing but smiles. We were friends or is that friends of friends. I was pretty shy and June was far too attractive inside and outside for the likes of me. I was happy to be able to say hello as we passed in the halls. I always wished her well and hoped for her to have much happiness in life.

High school ended and life came between us. I was busy trying to sort out the direction my life was to take, falling in love, moving two thousand miles away, raising three wonderful kids and trying to make my corner of the world a place I wanted to live in. June did the same and I am confident that she made her corner of the world a happier place just by being in it.

A few years back we got back in touch thanks to Facebook. We quickly caught up on forty plus years and then fell back into our own lives. I would have liked to talk more, but the opportunity just never came up. My other friends from high school lived closer and managed to get together with June to make music and I suppose smiles.

Well, June was attacked by cancer and like too many, the fight was pretty much one sided. I’m sure she battled like the fierce redhead she was and I am also sure that she still spread smiles until the very end. There will be a memorial for her coming up and I won’t be there, but I will make sure to enjoy a few smiles that day.


Thanks for a lifetime of smiles June and I hope that in the last couple of years you thought of our time together and smiled.