Friday 30 September 2011

Can You Stand Out In A Crowd

I believe that each and every child born is perfectly in tune with the world and universe around them. It is indeed unfortunate that none of us are born with the ability to decipher that world or universe.

We just don’t have the tools that we need. It would be like asking someone to paint a picture of a horse when they don’t have the paints, paintbrushes or even know what you mean when you say horse. I had an English teacher in high school that gave us a challenge. We were not to ask any questions or talk to each other under penalty of detention. She then wrote on the board “Describe a tree in as much detail as possible”. We couldn’t ask for clarification, and I for one had spent more than my fair share of time in detention, so I just knuckled down and set to work.

The tree that I described was a perfectly shaped maple tree. It was the tree at my grandmother’s cottage and I spent many hours climbing, swinging and even lying on its branches. It must have been ten feet in diameter and about a hundred feet high. I’m guessing there, but if I had paid attention in trigonometry class I would have been able to figure out the height using the Pythagorean Theorem. I think that’s right. It had big beautiful leaves and it was the home to birds, chipmunks, assorted bugs and several young boys. In a word, it was paradise with roots.

When everyone had finished, she collected the papers and started reading them at random. One person described their tree as a large pine tree. Someone else felt that the tree was a beautiful sun dappled birch tree, the kind that our indigenous peoples would make their canoes of. One idiot described a shoe tree. He got a detention for being an idiot I suppose. A good friend of mine described a fully decorated Christmas tree. One fellow went into great detail about an oak tree dressed in fall colours. Well, you get the idea. There were as many descriptions of trees as there were students in the class. The point of the lesson is that even our basic understandings of the world are at odds with each other. It is important to be as clear as possible in our interpersonal relationships.

Now, by the time we think we have the correct tools to understand the world we are so far apart it is a miracle that we can even communicate. I think that in the last century or so with our technological developments we are getting closer to understanding each other. We learn what a tree looks like from Sesame Street. We are all shown what blue, red and yellow look like. We are shown pictures of lakes, rivers, streams, fields and mountains so that we all have the same basic understanding. I don’t think this is a good thing, but in order for the billions to live in what passes as peaceful co-existence, it is probably a necessary thing.

Will we ever have another Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Newton, Einstein or Confucius? I hope so, but if we all have the same definitions it will be much more difficult. Hell, it will be pretty hard to stand out in a crowd that is this large.  


Thursday 29 September 2011

Good Times...Good Times

Well, there have been a couple of sure signs today that summer is definitely over. First, there has been a constant cool wind all day that is strong enough to strip the stain off of the fence. Maybe I should stain the fence before winter. I would, but I don’t think that I will have enough time before the snow flies. It can wait until next spring then. Second, I took the air conditioner out of the window. Now, that isn’t a very accurate indicator, because I am inherently lazy and often it will come out just before the US Thanksgiving. It is out and now I am ready for the leaves, frost, snow tires, large heating bills and small monsters banging on the door demanding candy.

This morning during our walk I was thinking about the changing seasons. I had a fair amount of time to think as I was trying to find Buster’s droppings which somehow he hides under leaves. I try to give him his privacy, but with all of the leaves I kind of have to watch where he goes. It is easy in the summer, and the steam is a good indicator during the winter.

The kids are back in school and the roads are positively packed with moms and dads dropping their little darlings off at the high school. I really can’t believe how many kids get rides now. I know what my old man would have said if I had asked him for a ride, but those were kinder and gentler times, and the fears that parents have now do have their impact. I personally don’t think a ten or twenty minute walk the first thing in the morning is a bad thing. Times change I suppose.

Our leaves are changing and they are quite beautiful. We don’t get the rainbow of colours that the eastern part of the country does, but to see a hillside or forest in different shades of yellow, dotted here and there with the bright green of evergreen trees is truly something to behold. The bushes give a splash of red every now and then. If you saw a painting of this, framed by the pale blue sky, you would be sure the artist only had three or four colours. Just stunning!

I miss the smell of leaves burning in the fall. I guess that being responsible stewards of the planet we shouldn’t have thousands and thousands of fires burning in every city and town across the country. It was great though! I can remember my brother and myself spending a couple of hours raking leaves into a pile and then jumping into the pile and having a leaf fight. By the time we were finished, we had to rake the leaves up all over again. Once they were in a large pile, dad would set them alight and we would stand by with rakes to keep feeding the flame. These weren’t fires in the traditional sense; as there was very little flame but tons of bright white smoke. I can remember we once got to use an old blanket to send smoke signals just like the Indians did. The Indians must have been the original doctors, their writing was indecipherable! It was fun though. I think I will see if Google can tell me if there was a code or if just setting a hillside on fire meant “Here comes Whitey!”

My grandmother was of the belief that if you burnt off the dead grass in the fall, the following spring it would come in thicker and more luxuriant. I don’t know about that, but what it did cause two of the neighbour cottagers not to talk to us for a season or so and I had my first up close look at a fire truck while my uncle Bill swore at my grandmother as the Flesherton volunteer fire department was saving his barn. I can still see my uncles bright red face when gram told him “Just think how nice that field will look next year Bill! That old barn is an eyesore anyways. You should stop the firemen!”

Good times...good times.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

I Just Survived A Stroke

I’ve been retired for a while now, and it is far better than working for a living. Mind you, you do need to have some reason to get up in the morning, but fortunately I have never had a problem finding reasons.

I have my projects that I work at, and there are numerous reasons to meet people for coffee. I putter a lot. During the winter it is sufficient to just get up, look outside and say to myself “Those poor letter carriers that have to spend the day out in this crap!” I then treat myself to another cup of tea and sometimes turn the heat up just a degree or two. Most people think they know what it is like to be outside during the winter. They generally don’t have a clue! There is a big difference between working all day outside and getting into a car without heated seats. Even when they spend the day skiing or sledding, there is hidden somewhere inside them the knowledge that they can get inside and warm whenever they choose. Good luck to those that work outside this winter. I’ll drink a tea for you.

I like to get up in the morning to wish my wife a good day at work. Since she is still working, it is really the least that I can do. I really do hope that she has a fun day. Unfortunately, the mind is willing but the body is often weak. Often I just can’t drag myself out of bed. It is possibly due to the fact that I write this blog into the wee hours of the night. A while back I had a bad case of “Ican’tgetoutofbeditus” and I am pretty sure that Buster was holding the sheets down. Louise was gone from the bed and there wasn’t a sound in the house.

I could smell toast! SHIT! Now, I am not sure if you are aware of it or not, but sometimes just before you have a stroke you smell burnt toast. I was lying there not knowing if I had had a stroke or if Louise had toast for breakfast. I didn’t want to move, because it might bring on the stroke. I decided to start testing myself.

My head feels itchy. I wonder if your head would feel itchy during a stroke. I guess the first thing to do is to see if I can move my tongue. Would I know if my tongue moved if I had had a stroke? It is too late to do research now.  Next, I suppose I should bite the inside of my left cheek and then my right cheek. That really hurts! So far so good! I tried to move my right hand. YES! Now, for my left hand. Nothing! SHIT! No, wait, it is just pinned under my head. That’s lucky. I can’t move my legs! “Buster, get the fuck off of my legs!” Well, I have to move sometime, so I rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed. Okay, everything seems good. I am a little groggy though. Not more than any other morning however. I have to start going to bed earlier!

I walk out to the kitchen and sure enough, there are crumbs on a plate. Disaster averted! I look outside and say to myself “Poor bastards!” on my way back to the bedroom. On the way I just crank up the heat just a little. I wonder if I should tell Louise about this. I’ll give her a call, she will get a hoot out of it and she will have a fun day. You know, I will call her later. I can spend another few hours in bed today; after all I just survived a stroke!

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Next Week It Just Might Be Me

I have always liked to collect things. It doesn’t really matter what, well, that isn’t true because I really have to have an interest in what I am collecting or it just won’t be fun.

I probably started like my grandson who collects rocks and small sticks. He will find an interesting rock (don’t ask me why one is more interesting than the other) and he will put it in his pocket or backpack. Sometimes, he will look at you and hold his hand out and offer the rock to you. I have always liked to encourage generosity and sharing in children, so of course I take it. One of them sits beside the bobble “Buddy Jesus” that I have on my dashboard. I guess that I am starting a collection of gifts from my grandson. You never know, in twenty years or so he might be rich and decide to give his Poppa a private room in the old folk’s home.

I used to love collecting bottle caps. It didn’t matter if they were rare or anything, I just liked the feel of running my hands through hundreds of bottle caps in a cardboard box. Back in the day, all pop came in bottles and they had caps which you would open on a built in opener the machine had. The caps would drop into a bin and the vendor was usually more than happy to have you empty it for them. Thinking back, I remember pouring them in my t-shirt to carry them home because I wouldn’t have a bag with me. I guess my mom got to collect dirty, stained and stretched t-shirts. On a side note, when I cleaned out my mom’s house, I found a Velveeta cheese box filled with the cork liners from pop bottles. I guess mom was a collector too.

I kind of collect bikes. I have pared it down to about six or seven now that the kids have left home and I don’t need bikes for parts. Understand that there isn’t really anything very special about these bikes, other than the fact I like them. I will ride three on a semi regular basis, a couple of them I liked the look of and the one in the rafters waiting to be repaired is just like the one that Charles Dunkle had when I was about five years old. Charles must have had the patience of Job, because he would load five or six of us kids on his bike and ride us around the neighbourhood. What a great time! Now I suppose, the mothers would be suspicious of a teenage boy spending time with little kids and make sure that their kids stayed away from Charles.

I also like stoves. Not kitchen stoves, although some of them are really neat, but where would I keep them? No, I like camping stoves, backpacking stoves in particular. I guess I have about fifteen or twenty stoves and a few lanterns as well. Some of them don’t work very well, but most of them are functional. I have a couple of MSR Whisperlites, three Optimus stoves, two XGK’s which will burn anything from aviation fuel to perfume to brandy. So, if I crash in the mountains of Switzerland on a plane filled with Swedish models I can burn their perfume, the airplanes fuel or wait till the Saint Bernard comes along with the brandy. I have this really cool stove from the Second World War that would be used for a small group of soldiers. The case is also the pot. I have this cute little stove that comes in a can. It is called “Stove in a Can”. I also have an alcohol stove which is pretty useless.

My current fixation is planes. Not the kind you fly in, but the kind that will smooth out a plank for you. There are quite literally thousands of varieties, so I have only scratched the surface with a measly eight. Planes were the original routers, so there are all of these beautiful odd shaped, well crafted wooden planes. I am not going to bore you with a description of the planes, but you should look into these wonderful tools. Or not.

I can’t wait to see what I will collect next. Did I mention my collection of losing lottery tickets from the eighties? Yeah, it is pretty depressing to look at, but the idea is to someday make a glass topped table with all of these as a reminder that someone won and next week it just might be me.

Monday 26 September 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

I saw an odd thing while I was driving home the other day. Now, bear in mind that I wasn’t driving home from the bar, and I hadn’t been out in the sun for too long. To the best of my knowledge, I have never had one of those re-occurrences that the police, politicians and our local drug dealers promised us all of those years ago.

Has anyone ever had one? I wonder if there is a law firm somewhere in California that is representing thousands of former drug users in a class action suit. Who would they sue? What would they ask for? I guess they could ask for a yet to be determined number of highs. If they won the suit, got the drugs for all of the thousands of old druggies and then mailed everyone their fair share of the settlement, would the lawyers then be arrested for trafficking and transporting illegal goods across state lines. It might be worth signing up, I am not very fond of lawyers and to have a whole law firm doing “hard” time (if you know what I mean) would certainly bring a tear to this old hippie’s eye.

So, anyways, I am driving along this empty street in the middle of the suburbs and the only person I am sharing it with was walking along the sidewalk coming towards me. It turns out that the person was a late teens or early twenties girl that was carrying just a few too many pounds. I thought at first that she was wearing a pair of those large studio head phones, but it turns out she was wearing a set of furry, white ears. Needless to say, nothing on the road was half as interesting as this young girl, so I gave her all of my attention. She also was wearing a big, white fluffy tail that nearly touched the pavement. The ears and tail were obviously home made and judging from the frown on her face, they gave her no joy.

It is kind of sad to see someone wearing a white cat’s ears and tail and not be at least happy about it. She reminded me of that Blind Melon video from a few years back called “No Rain”.

 She wasn’t wearing any other part of a costume, just a t-shirt and jeans. I kind of wanted to stop and ask her “What’s with the ears and tail?” That was one of those moments that are few and far between in my life where the filter between my brain and mouth was working. It is entirely possible that this girl was nuts! She probably wasn’t, but why should I take the chance?

I watched her continue walking down the road, with her head hanging down and I suppose that frown remained on her face. She was walking by a vacant lot that was filled with ground squirrels, but she didn’t once try to pounce on one. I was kind of thinking at this point that she might be my version of Harvey the six foot rabbit. She didn’t seem to be very interested in me,however, so I just kept driving. I kind of wonder where she was headed, and if it was possible she would get there without any police interference.

I guess that sometimes you just feel like a cat and sometimes you feel like a nut!

Sunday 25 September 2011

When I bigger

We were over at our daughters for dinner today. We arrived a little early which is always something of a pain in the ass. It is a pain for the hosts and for the early guests. The hosts have nothing planned for early arrivals and the early arrivals have nothing to do while the hosts get everything ready.

I don’t mind, because I am inherently lazy and I had brought my Kobo with me to while away the time. I can’t remember why we got there early, oh yeah, Louise was going to help Arwen with some dish or something like that. When we walked in Arwen was busy in the kitchen, Chris was in the basement working on the computer, Tornado was sleeping and Hurricane was “helping” his dad.

Chris said to his son, “Thanks, but this is pretty dangerous stuff in here. You might get a shock if you aren’t careful and if you break something with the screw driver then the computer won’t work.” He rubbed his head and said “Sorry buddy, but you can help me when you are older.”

Hurricane looked his dad in the eye and said “When I bigger!”

“That’s right, why don’t you go and see if your mom needs some help?” Chris said.

Hurricane put down his plastic screwdriver and ran up the stairs to the kitchen. His mom was bustling between the counter and the stove and there was steam coming from several places at once. Hurricane went to reach for a pot and his mom said “Whoa! Be careful! That is really hot! You can really get hurt in the kitchen.”

“Can I help mommy?”

“No, I don’t think so. Grandma and I have gotten almost everything done for now. Maybe you can help with the salad when it is time. When you are older you can help me with supper.” Arwen told him.

“When I bigger.” he said looking up to his mom.

“That’s right. Why don’t you go and play with Poppa?” His mom told him.

He came over to me and we played with blocks and forts and did something with some weird looking sponge character. My son and his wife came over and Chris came up the stairs with a handful of beers, and asked Brendan if he could help him in the garage while he handed them out. I got up and asked if I could help in any way. Chris gave me a smile and said” No, it is pretty heavy and I think Brendan and I can handle it between us. Why don’t you play with the boys?”

I smiled and said “Okay”, as they walked out the door with dog running between their legs. The smile left my face when the door closed. I went to the kitchen and asked if there was anything that I could do. “I am pretty good with dishes!” I said. Arwen smiled at me and said that the three ladies had it pretty much under control.

I went over to the couch and sat down. I looked at my old wrinkled hands, not too wrinkled you understand, and wondered if getting old is something that you do or something that you are told you are. I was well on my way to melancholy when I felt a little hand on my knee. I looked up and saw these beautiful young eyes looking intently into mine. He patted my knee and said, “When you bigger.”

All thought of melancholy disappeared and I picked him up and said that I thought there was something the two of us were big enough to do. We went outside and I bought two of the biggest Popsicle rocket ships that the Dickee Dee truck had. We sat on the stairs talking, telling stories, getting sticky, laughing and we ruined our supper.   

Saturday 24 September 2011

Hi. Today is my birthday.

Hi. Today is my birthday.

Now, as far as birthdays go this was a great one. I have to tell you though that any day that people are nice to me, the food is great and I get presents, is a good day. I guess that is why I like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving so much. Birthdays are better however, because it is all about you.

Some people don’t like birthdays! Yeah, I don’t get it either. I suppose it is because of the inevitable march of time. Like the song says “The sword of time will pierce our skins
it doesn't hurt when it begins. But as it works its way on in the pain grows it grin.”

Time is something that we can’t avoid and personally I kind of like the whole idea of getting older. Over the years you develop a following of friends, family, acquaintances and hangers on that make your life if not great, then it certainly becomes interesting. Some of these people even love you, just for the person that you are. Yeah, they are nuts.

Some birthdays you look forward to with great anticipation. The one where I could legally drink and vote was one of them. The legal age back then was 21 and for me it was about two and a half years away, so it wasn’t something that I gave much thought to. I still drank of course, but like more than a few things in my life, then and now, I decided what was right and wrong, whether it coincided with the law or not. I don’t pay much attention to the news now, because most of it is geared towards selling papers or air time, and I cared even less when I was in high school. So, it came as something of a surprise when the government changed the age of legality to eighteen.

I completely missed arguably one of the major milestones of a person’s life. WTF??? Sure I could now drink and vote, but I could do so without any anticipation. I missed the night when my friends took me out and got me so drunk that I would wind up in a flower pot in a different city. That happened to my dad by the way when he was in England during the war. On the plus side, I could now write my own notes excusing me from class or for being late to school. I can remember one such note when I wrote “Please excuse me for missing class on Tuesday because I sensed an evil presence on the west side of the Pharmacy Avenue.” The vice principal just hated that note for some reason. I think he just hated losing control.

Like I said, I had a great birthday. I received best wishes throughout the day from a number of my facebook friends, calls from loved ones near and far away, as well as the immediate family that could make it over for dinner. I got to cuddle and play with my grandsons, changed a tire with the men and sat comfortably with the women and they didn’t tease me very much at all. I am still reeling from the generosity of their gift. An ipad!! I have no real use for one, but not only is it appreciated, but I am in tears just thinking about it. I do so love shinny things. Not shinny, sweaty things, just shinny things. I will have endless hours of enjoyment trying to figure out how to turn it on and off.

Yep, I have been blessed by the Gods!

Friday 23 September 2011

Sally Struthers Phone Number

My, what a strange, strange, strange world it is that we live in. I have heard it said that the more improbable a story is, there is a better than average chance it is true. In fact, of the stories that I tell, the ones that are most believable are more than likely fiction and the really off the wall stuff is the God’s honest truth.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that obesity is now killing more people annually than starvation. Huh? How is this even possible? Why should we care? I am pretty sure that obesity is self inflicted. Sure, there are people that are suing McDonalds, Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-Box, A & W and all of the too numerous to mention fast food joints because they make cheap and good tasting food. They don’t force it down your throat! Well, they don’t have to usually because there is enough grease in it so that it will just slide on down.

I have this vision of a Sally Struthers commercial where she is holding a fat baby with cake on its face in some mall food court asking us to PLEASE send money so that this darling baby can go to fat camp. I wonder if they can get the flies to walk on the kids face. Sally will just have to go to the local mall instead of that long and uncomfortable flight to Africa or India. The churches should have a better chance of fund raising too, because the afflicted will be their parishioner’s children and wives. Not only will they be able to send their kids to camp, but they will be able to get a tax deduction for it. Who doesn’t like that?

I have always been a little uncomfortable watching those commercials of the starving kids. It will be far easier to turn the channel when it is just some fat kid in Houston or Iowa. I don’t know about you, but to me, the fat kids on TV are generally obnoxious. I don’t trust them either. You know if your lunch goes missing at work or school it will be some fat adult or his kid that needed a “fix”.

When I was in grade school, the entertainment at recess was chasing the one and only fat kid in the school. He wasn’t really that fat and for some reason, he was never caught. Odd! Well, be that as it may, I have a recurring nightmare about being back at recess and having a schoolyard full of fat kids chasing me. Of course I would never get caught either, but it was irritating. Perhaps they want my lunch money. The jokes on them, dad never gave me money for lunch and there wasn’t anywhere to buy anything anyways.

How could we as a society get in this predicament? We have too much food and too little will power. I am guilty of this myself, but I am at least aware of my problem. It reminds me of when I was a smoker, I would grasp at any excuse in order to justify my addiction. Now, I see that I have replaced one addiction with another. My excuse for over eating is that not too very long ago the affluent would become fat in order to signify their heightened place in society. Maybe, in some dark and twisted area of my brain I think that because I am over weight I am successful.

I guess I am about done with this for tonight; does anyone have Sally Struthers phone number?

Thursday 22 September 2011

FUCK YOU to Gary Templeton

I just passed 4000 page views! Thanks to everyone that somehow stumbled on to the blog and stayed long enough to read it. I hope that you get as much enjoyment reading this as I do writing it. Thanks again...

The blog started as a way of letting people know how our Hawaiian vacation was going. I think that it was pretty successful and accomplished what I had set out to do. While I was writing it, I found that I enjoyed the whole process and that the hour or so it takes to write every day is not only beneficial, but therapeutic. It helps me to focus my thoughts and in some cases to rewrite my history. My memory isn’t perfect, and sometimes reality needs a little kick to make it more palatable.
There was this guy at my grade school that would terrorize all of the younger kids. His name was Gary Templeton. This is the kind of dick that the stop bullying campaigns were meant to take care of. You know, as far as I am concerned, a wooden cross and four nails would be the best way to rehabilitate this guy. He and his little gang of thugs would terrorize the kids at recess and I am sure that if anyone had anything worth stealing back then, he would have taken it.
I can remember vividly one beautiful spring day after school; I was leaving the playground and going down the stairs when I saw Gary! I walked to the far side of the stairs, but it wasn’t far enough to avoid it when he hocked a loogie in my face. I was in grade three and he was probably grade eight, what was I to do? I started to run and cry at the same time and heard his laughter following me.

You know, I did run into Gary years later when I was a strapping young man. On that tearful walk home back then, I had vowed to beat the living daylights out of him if the opportunity ever came up. Like I say, I ran into this guy with his name embroidered on his coveralls, pumping gas. I asked him if he went to Maryvale public school, and he said. “yeah, why?” I just said that he looked like a guy that I knew once. It turns out that while I was busy growing up, Gary was pretty much the same size that he was in grade eight. It turns out that God had a much better punishment in store for Gary than a beating, a lifetime of being a tiny jerk. Good one God!

I am sure that in some ways that incident has affected the person that I am now, and I should possibly thank the little prick. Well, I am not that kind of person. Here is a big FUCK YOU to Gary Templeton.

Thanks again for reading and I hope that I can keep it entertaining or at the very least, establish a basis for an insanity defence.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Cruel To The Lions

I was just listening to “Life is a Carnival” by the Band. I have always liked the Band and as far as I know they don’t dislike me. The first time that I heard “Life is a Carnival” I thought that it was “Life is a Carnivore”. Now, when it was released in 1971, the Kent state shooting had happened the year before. The Vietnam War was in full swing, India and Pakistan were at war, there was a riot at Attica prison, a tsunami in India that killed 10,000 and General Idi Amin took control of Uganda.

It really seemed that life was a carnivore back in 1971. I suppose that we humans, being at the top of the food chain, don’t pay much attention to the whole dog eat dog thing. I was talking to a friend the other day about lions and just how deadly they are. They are quick and lethal killers with no conscience or remorse. Kind of warms the heart that we are above them on the food chain eh? What kind of vile, disgusting, scum does that make us? Oh well, can’t change who we are.

When I was writing the first paragraph, I was getting some facts from this web site.  Looking at the events of 1971, I came to realize that not too much has changed in the past forty years. Hell, I am still listening to the same music and watching some of the same TV shows! There are still tsunamis, wars, starvation in Africa, India and Pakistan still have yet to settle their differences, and the Israelis and Arabs continue to hate each other.

There are other bastards running our country and the US, England, Germany, Japan, India, Korea, China and anywhere else that the bastards can get in, which is everywhere. We still pay far too much to live and for the things that make living worthwhile. The world pretty much SUCKS!!!

That being said, a babies laugh is contagious, we fall in love, we are capable of great kindness and thoughtfulness and sometimes we are willing to sacrifice ourselves in order for others to survive. There is a book by Richard Bach in which mankind takes an alternate path and bases our economy on medicine, education and clean energy. We look after each other and strive to make the world a better place by our contributions. The book is called “The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story”. It is kind of airy fairy, but then so am I.

You know, there are far more good people than bad people in the world, but for some reason (laziness) we allow the bastards to make policy. I would like to think that this is slowly turning around, and pretty soon we may live in a world to be proud of. I have no real basis for this belief, but the alternative of status quo kind of sucks. Maybe we can open up the coliseum again and put the lions and the bastards in together.

No, that would be cruel to the lions.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

A Clean-ish Bill Of Health

I guess like every living thing I am getting older. I have always pictured myself at my present age, well, a little thinner, less grey and with fewer wrinkles. I suppose that my basic personality is that of a man in middle age. That is assuming that I will live to 118. Could happen.

I heard on the radio today that Delores Hope passed away at 102 while I was on my way to see an internist. To see someone live to such a ripe old age gives me hope that I might somehow give the rest of my life some meaning, instead of it being a total loss. Yeah, yeah,’s been a full rich life! So, back to the internist, I have had a history of some pretty stupid incidents and my doctor and Louise would like to know what the hell is going on. I can understand Louise’s concern, because she is the one that has to deal with me, but I think my doctor is just being nosy.

In order to stem the flow of tears, everything is if not normal, then, it is acceptable. I have had some tests set up that will make me look like a marionette that has had unspeakable things done to it. This is exactly the sort of shit I would prescribe to someone just for fun. I had hoped that this guy would be more professional. I am going for these test because once you get to be my age it is just good preventative maintenance. Shit, I can’t remember the last time I checked the levels and changed the fluids. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose, but really, I feel just fine doc!

So, two of the best minds in internal medicine reviewed my case and asked me countless questions about my past twenty five years on the planet. They listened to my heart and lungs, took the old blood pressure, listened to my heart and lungs while I was standing and took my blood pressure while I was vertical. They asked the same questions again in a different way, all the while nodding sagely. The head internist then proceeded to draw cartoons and graphs to explain things to me. He must think I am stupid. To be fair though, probably everyone is dumber than this guy. So, I got the cartoons and graphs and he spoke using monosyllabic words very slowly. I am sure if he thought that poking my chest with his finger would have helped to get the information through to me, he would have done that too.

The upshot is that in the middle of the night when the need to pee is upon me, I should sit on the edge of the bed and stretch my arms and legs, and come fully awake before I go to the bathroom. Once there, I should sit down to pee. Really! No, really! You know, when the urge to pee wakes me up in the middle of the night, I have to pee...NOW! Not in five minutes when I am fully awake. Besides, I kind of want to get back to sleep. The sitting down part kind of makes sense to me, if only because I have to clean the bathroom. Oh yeah, don’t drink so much before bed. Well, that is the result of perhaps twenty-five years of combined medical education. Sometimes good sense is good sense.

Basically a clean-ish bill of health.

Monday 19 September 2011

I Can Really Move

I can understand if people don’t believe me when I am being somewhat creative with the truth, but it really bothers me when no one believes me if I am telling the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Kids are awful for asking difficult questions and I guess I was awful for answering them. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had known the correct answers I suppose, but I still contend that most of my answers were far more interesting that the right ones. For instance, one of the kids (I think it was the smart one) asked why leaves are green. I actually knew this one. It has something to do with the plants creating chlorophyll during the process of photosynthesis...blah, blah, blah.

What I said was that a long time ago before people and before animals there were only plants on the earth, and they had all of the colours in the rainbow. It was really very beautiful, much more so than now. Back then the sky was much bigger than it is now and once, it actually touched the sun! You remember from art class that when you mix blue and yellow you get green, and that is exactly what happened when the sun and sky met. The green from the sky fell to the earth and was absorbed by the dirt, and ever since then plants have been green. Every fall you can see some of the true colours of the plants, because most of the green has been used up. I wouldn’t be surprised if this year or next all of the plants once again became rainbow coloured.

Nice story, but the funny thing about kids is that they tell other people things that they “know”. Shortly after this, they stopped asking me questions, and turned to their mother for answers. I still have the grandkids!

Once, I went on a date and I was driving my dad’s car. It was one of those magical winter nights, with beautiful big snowflakes. You know the kind, if you catch one on your tongue you don’t have to eat for a week. Unfortunately for me these flakes turned to ice as soon as they hit pavement and on the way home from my girlfriends (doing 10 MPH) I turned the steering wheel and although the wheels turned, the car didn’t turn! To my surprise, slamming into a curb can really damage a car, and driving home with a bent “whatever” isn’t good for the car either. The mechanic told dad that I had to be doing about 50 to do that kind of damage. I guess the axle and frame were bent. Fuckin’ mechanic! I didn’t drive for months. As God is my witness, I was doing 10 MPH and dad thought that I was a liar till the day he died. I hope he is reading this now. Nah, he still wouldn’t believe me.

I was hanging out on the boardwalk in Florida with a buddy and for some reason he screamed very loud and shrilly. Strangely enough, at that precise moment a car with some hoods that were looking for trouble were driving by and I saw the brake lights go on and they reversed back to where we were. Not having done anything wrong we just stood there talking. The hoods got out of the car and said “Who yelled?” My buddy said that he had yelled, and the hood that was standing in front of him, knocked him to the ground. It was kind of like watching one of those inflatable punching clowns; he hit the ground and bounced right back up. His feet were moving like a cartoon characters and he took off. The hoods looked at me and I think my legs started to run before my brain told them to. Got to love that adrenaline!

I mention this story to establish my credentials regarding hoods in cars and running. It was a few months later that something similar happened on a hot night in Scarborough. My friends and I were sitting on the curb talking and laughing when a car went by and someone in the car yelled something incoherent.  I yelled back “Fuck you!” and said to my friends “Get ready to run.”...”RUN”. I didn’t look back, I didn’t think of anything but running down the cut through. I did warn them. The next thing I remember was laying facedown in long grass by the railroad tracks.

Now, as I lay there I wasn’t feeling all that brave. Against my better judgement I got up and retraced my steps, knowing that I was headed to a certain beating. When I got there, my friends were all unhurt and telling the story of how the thugs didn’t believe that anyone could have run fast enough to be out of sight by the time they got out of the car. Rob told the girls to go up to the house and when one of the thugs said “We don’t hit girls.” Rob took off like a gazelle. I guess they started to believe when Don was doubled over in laughter instead of pain and fear. The thugs swore at them, got back in the car and left.

To this day they insist that I didn’t say “Get ready to run.”...”RUN”. How can they all be so wrong? Well, at least I know that in a pinch, I can really move.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Where Did I Put Those Drugs?

Today I had a very hard time getting up. I slept much later than normal, and when I finally did get up, I was like a ground hog that saw its shadow and burrowed back under the covers for a power nap.

I suppose that it is possible that I over medicated last night. You see I have this cold that seems to think that I am a good place to set up house keeping. I am an hourly hotel for strictly transient viruses and twenty four hour flu’s. I’m cheap and tawdry, but that is just the way I like it. You can understand that I wanted this visitor to take a hint. I doubled up on the extra strength acetaminophen, triple ibuprofen. A couple of novo-pheniram and washed it all down with neo-citron.

I was buzzing pretty good last night and I may have had some symptoms, but they didn’t bother me and I didn’t bother them. There was a feeling that I was floating about two inches above the ground. It was sort of like being in a bouncy castle, without the bouncy castle. Interesting enough, I had an crazy dream last night which began with someone losing his head.

I was pretty sure that I would remember it, so there was no reason to write it down. How could you forget a dream that begins with a head flying from someone’s body? I am here to tell you that not only was it possible, but it has happened. Sorry, because I was looking forward to writing about it. I will try to revisit it tonight, but without the excess medication I am not going to hold my breath. It is interesting to note, that as my head was touching the pillow last night I thought to myself that I must remember to breathe for the entire night. I thought of asking Louise to nudge me if I seemed to not be breathing, but I am pretty sure she would have made a big deal about it.

It must have taken a good three hours this morning to get to the point that I felt comfortable bringing anything sharper than a spoon near me face. I was a little concerned when Arwen asked if we could look after Hurricane and Tornado for a couple of hours and Louise said yes. I can be normal! If I have to. Just so that you don’t worry, everything went well and we returned them in much the same condition that we received them. Well, a few scratches and a couple of mouthfuls of sugar on the plus side, but that is normal for a visit with Poppa.

No drugs tonight, I am working on a construction site tomorrow. No heavy machinery for me! Mind you, I don’t need to be at my sharpest for the mindless work that I will be doing.

Where did I put those drugs?

Saturday 17 September 2011

Let me know

I’m reading a book called “Vinyl Tap Stories” by Randy Bachman. I am really just beginning the book, but so far it is really quite interesting. Randy has a CBC radio show on...well...right now, Saturday night from 7:00PM to 9:00 PM. While I was writing, I realized that it is on right now. Cool! In the show (and the book), Randy talks about his time in the business and his take on what is happening, has happened and will happen in the music industry. I find it very interesting just how bands developed and how songs came into being. It isn’t at all magical, but seems to be a fair amount of work. Is it working if you love it?

You should make a point of getting this book if you love music. If you happen to have grown up in Winnipeg or Canada during the sixties it will have even more impact on you. It would be great to go back in time and watch all of these great musicians in small intimate venues, instead of the large stadiums and halls that they are in now. Can you imagine seeing these geeky guys and girls when they first played in their high schools and community centers? I wonder if you would even recognize the beginnings of their talent.

That isn’t possible, but every now and then you get lucky and can get a real close experience. A friend of mine was travelling in Europe many years ago and was sitting in a bar in Greece when a guy came in and told him that Cat Stevens was on the beach with his guitar. Jim went out of course and was treated to about two hours of music and singing for as long as there was beer. Cat would talk about how the songs came to be written and what he loved and hated about the business. God I wish I had been there!

When I was about fifteen, we were down in Florida and met a guy at an arcade that told us that he had gone to an Alice Cooper concert the night before and how great it was. We were pissed that we missed it, but he said there was another concert tonight and he thought that there might be tickets left. What the Hell, we decided to give it a go. We arrived at the hall, and after getting our tickets we couldn’t help but notice that there were maybe thirty people there. We asked one of the ushers just how early we were and he said the show would start in about ten minutes. Huh? Sure enough, ten minutes later Alice and the band did the “Dead Babies“, concert. I can’t tell you how cool it was; and it would have been even better if I really liked Alice Cooper instead of just thinking he was OK.

The next time I had a similar experience was at Ontario Place. I remember there were a few large outdoor bars with different themes, all of them very loud. I guess when you drink beer your ears lose the ability to hear quiet sounds, or that is what the bar owners think. Maybe, if you can’t talk then all you can do is drink. Hmmmm... I was in the “just give me a drink” stage, but I couldn’t find a barmaid. I decided to take care of myself and went to where the bar tenders were. It turns out that they were in a lovely enclosed, quiet space and the only sound was the clinking of ice cubes in glasses and the mellow sounds of this blind, black bluesman and his piano. I sat listening to him play in a very comfortable arm chair, drinking several boxcars and wondering if this night could go on forever. You know, it just may go on forever or as long as my memories keep it alive.

The last empty entertainment experience that I remember was when Louise and I took the kids to see “The Peanut Butter Solution”. We bought our tickets and when we went in to the theatre, we were the only ones there. No one else came in at all! The kids got up and wandered around the theatre sitting up front for a while then moving to the very back. I think they eventually sat in every seat in the house. We didn’t have to shhhhh them once. Very cool time, the movie was okay, but I am not sure it would stand the test of time. The memories have though.

I hope that I can have another experience like those in the future, but if not me then I hope you can have one.

Let me know...

Friday 16 September 2011


I was having coffee with a friend and his wife on their back deck this afternoon, just enjoying the warmish weather and feeling just the tiniest bit sorry for myself since I have a late summer cold. The coffee was hot, the wind was cool, the sun was bright and the companionship was warm. It was pretty much the perfect early fall day.

I guess the fact that I was supposed to be working and wasn’t; made it that much more enjoyable. I don’t mind work, but it does get tiresome after a while. Yep, playing hooky in the fall sunshine is a slice of heaven.

We sat on the back deck and discussed the world and how odd it was that people have different opinions than we do. We floated from politics to work, then on to children and in-laws, the city and their projects, reminisced about years gone by and watched their dog Zooey chase a plastic Frisbee. There is a larger than normal amount of ladybugs this year, because there is a larger than normal amount of aphids. I suppose that there is a larger than normal amount of whatever it is that aphids eat and so on down the food chain.

The leaves on the trees and bushes are just now starting to turn from a vibrant green, and taking on a more yellow or reddish tinge. The clouds were just wisps on an robins egg. The apples on their tree are ripe and starting to fall on the ground which if not picked up regularly will give Zooey gastric difficulties. Like I said, pretty much the perfect early fall day.

There was what I call “Floating Fairies” dancing all over the sky. There seemed to be hundreds of them which I have always believed to be exceedingly good luck. You see if you can catch these floating fairies then you will have good luck. You can’t be ham fisted and squash them between your large sausage like fingers, but you must have a very delicate touch. It should be as if the fairies deigned to land lightly in your palm, give it a kiss and then fly off on whatever business it is that floating fairies have.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t good luck like catching a Leprechaun or finding the Genie of the lamp, but rather more like winning a sunny disposition. I saw that a fairy had become entangled on one of Pat’s plants and I got up and set it free. That isn’t good luck, it is just good karma. I guess it can’t hurt to have helped a fairy whether at work or at play.

They looked at me and wondered what I was doing and when I sat back down I explained about the floating Fairies. I don’t think they are converts to the whole idea, but I bet I can convince my grandsons.

I thanked Ken and Patricia for the coffee and conversation and decided to go home and rest my weary, sick bones. When I got to my car, I opened my hand and wished the fairy a good day and watched as it flew off with the wind.

Ken asked me “If everything was alright?”

I smiled, waved and told him “Everything is just perfect!”

Thursday 15 September 2011

I Wonder If I Can Find My Sanity

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that my family is trying to drive me crazy!

The plan is diabolical in its simplicity. Today it was Maegan’s turn. She sent an email asking if we remember a certain recipe. We first made it at scout camp and it had frozen strawberries, cool whip and jello. We scaled down the recipe and had it at home a few times, and let me tell you that it was a slice of heaven on a plate. I am sure that when angels sleep, this is what they dream about.

I have been looking for that recipe since about three o’clock this afternoon. I first searched all of our handwritten recipes. Then I went through all of the many desert cookbooks that we own. I found the briefcase with my old scouting notes. There were plenty of fine memories, but no recipe. I am sick so I am pretty much done for tonight, but the search will resume tomorrow. I think a friend who was the scouter might remember this recipe, and failing that there are only about 43,674,849 links for jello and cool whip recipes on the internet. You can see what this kind of thing does to me.

It usually starts off quite simply with Louise looking in jacket pockets and under the papers on the table. I will ask “What you looking for Hon?”

She will say “Oh, I can’t find my keys/keycard/coupon/1945 victory nickel. It doesn’t matter, it will turn up.”

Thus begins a search that will begin rather haphazardly just lifting a few papers on the table to eventually become a full blown grid search starting systematically at the top of the house and moving methodically to the deepest recesses of the basement. The search and rescue people would do well to document my methods. I will have spent the day looking for said keys/keycard/coupon/1945 victory nickel, when Louise will come home and tell me that it was in her purse the whole time. What can I say but “Wow, that’s good to know?”

I can’t tell you how often I have spent an hour or two looking for a particular tool that I have misplaced. I have two work areas and my tools will migrate from one to the other with alarming frequency. I will search both areas, give up and return to the search the next day. This can go on for what seems like weeks, and I will casually mention it to Brendan and he will tell me that he borrowed it a while back. Remember?

No, I don’t remember, that is the problem!

I have spent hours looking for a book that I am reading, only to remember that I read that particular book, years before. I will take books out of the library only to discover that not only have I read them, but that I have read them rather recently.

Hats were once made using mercury which would cause neurological damage, leading to the phrase “mad as a hatter”. I am beginning to think that I have mercury poisoning. I wouldn’t mind being forgetful if I could grow wings on my feet and fly.

Well, I best get to bed as I have a busy day ahead of me. Sometimes, things that are lost will be revealed in our dreams. I wonder if I can find my sanity.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

I Am Sick Enough Already

Well, here I sit, sucking on a Halls, with a Neo-Citron and extra strength ASA buzz on.

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before I got sick again, but it would have been nice if it were later as opposed to sooner. I feel like crap, and since I was looking after Tornado a couple of weeks ago, I do know what crap feels like. I was fine on Monday and for the better part of Tuesday, but Tuesday night broke the seal on the mucus reservoir.

I blame the Post Office! If they hadn’t hired me to work for a couple of weeks, then I wouldn’t have sat in a cold draft all day yesterday. Since I am a temporary worker, there is no sick time. No work = No pay. I retired with about three hundred sick days built up; you would think that they would cut me some slack. Bastards!

Hopefully, after a good night’s sleep and copious amounts of over the counter drugs I will be around 63% to 67% come tomorrow morning. Keep your fingers crossed. I didn’t even have the strength to go up and buy a lotto ticket. Tonight was my night! Oh well, these things have a habit of coming around again.

On a totally different note, we were talking about strippers today. I was told that there is/was a woman that was deadly accurate with ping pong balls. If you weren’t paying attention to her, she would bounce one off of your head! How exactly do you get that good at something as odd as that? In the winter I try to hit telephone poles with snowballs, and although with practice I can get pretty good, I am no where near as good as this stripper. What does she put on her tax return? “I’m the ping pong ball stripper!” Weird!

Talking to people I kind of feel left out, as I have never been to a strip joint. That’s right, never in my life. I can remember my mom talking about going to the burlesque show on amateur night and how much fun it was. When I knew her she would go out to Bingo and sometimes she and dad would go to a movie. She said that it was hilarious, because the women that would get up to dance; generally had no talent at all. When I say talent I mean dance talent, just so that we are on the same page. She would break into gales of laughter when she told me of this woman that was the same age as her mom and somehow got tangled up in her dress, stumbling across the stage and eventually falling into the orchestra pit.

My kids have all been to the strippers, but for them it was mainly the cheap drinks and wild times. They would get their drunk on over here and then went to the “Rippers” in order to save a little cash. Louise has been and all of my friends as well.

You would think that I would feel a little empty for missing this particular rite of passage. Not so. The few times I have thought about strippers, I feel kind of pervy. Just sitting in a darkened bar with a bunch of serious, drooling men; watching women younger than my kids that have embarked on a career which has too many pitfalls to name. It is just wrong. For me!

If I am going to watch a woman get naked, I would like a woman that wants to watch me get naked. You can imagine how few women there are that fill that criteria. Women seem to have more fun watching men strip. They go in groups and hoot and holler, laughing and giggling all night. Well, so I am told.

Nope, I doubt that I will go to see a stripper in this lifetime, and I am good with that. I mean, really, I have internet access and I am sure that somewhere there is a site devoted to ping pong ball tossing strippers. Yep, there is...I just checked, but I don’t want to get a virus, I am sick enough already.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Just A Callous Bastard

We all like to think of ourselves as nice, caring, thoughtful people who hope to leave a positive lasting impression when we leave this world. For the most part, that is how I view myself, but sometimes I am not so sure about myself.

I have been working for the past few days in a building that is under construction. It is nearing completion, but there is quite a ways to go yet. I suspect that once they actually close all of the building in it will be quite comfortable, but for now the wind blows through at will and I believe that it is cooler inside than out.  This openness allows all sorts of undesirable things into the building. There are plumbers, electricians, welders, roofers, carpenters, drywallers, painters, a handful of retired postal workers and a Magpie.

Surprisingly, all but the magpie are not only welcome, but necessary for the timely completion of this building. The retired postal workers are employed to do mind numbingly boring, repetitive tasks to which they are eminently qualified. While working at these tasks the magpie came up as a subject of conversation. We were all of the opinion that through some navigation error it flew through one of the open doors and was having some trouble to get back out to the pale blue. Al and Ken were talking about ways to entice it to leave. They thought that perhaps putting bread crumbs near the entrance the bird would hopefully find its way out. I guess like some kind of feathered Hansel and Gretel following a tasty trail. One of them mentioned some woman that will feed the magpies near her home raw meat. That’s nice isn’t it? Train this tiny dinosaur all about eating flesh. I am made of flesh, so I wasn’t too thrilled with the way this discussion was going.

Al and Ken are obviously nice caring people, whereas I might not be. My way of thinking is that it found its way in and will more than likely find its own way out. I have little or no interest in this bird, unless of course it decides to shit on me. Then, I would hope that in a panic it flies into a window and breaks its little neck. You might wonder what would panic a magpie. I say to you that a bird shit covered, retired postal worker attempting to kill him would be cause for panic in a magpie.

I have noticed a similar attitude when it comes to birds and other animals in the past. A few years ago in Calgary, around this time of year there was a duck that had somehow managed to get a plastic six pack holder thingy around its neck. Over the period of a week or two this duck managed to get the public attention. The fire department, city bylaw officers, humane society workers, cops and any number of other volunteers tried to capture this duck to save him from the beer rings. There were estimates of around $10,000 to $20,000 that the city and different departments spent on this noble cause. In the end a Good Samaritan leapt from a bridge and managed to get hold of the bird and free it from the plastic necklace. Oh, he also broke his leg. I can’t remember if he got the key to the city or not, but he definitely had his fifteen minutes. My solution would have been to get some hunter in to blast away with wild abandon. Cost of the shells might amount to a couple of bucks. There is a very good chance that some hunter did end up with the celebrity duck on his table.

We also have a problem with geese and the prodigious amount of crap that they generate and then leave in the parks. There is so much crap, that it isn’t pleasant to walk and certainly not possible to sit anywhere at all. There have been all sorts of discussions about what we can do to make the parks less attractive to the birds. I know a way! Get a bunch of good old boys out there with their weapons of choice and let them blast away. Nothing says “We don’t want you here!” better than gunshots. It seems like a simple solution. It would also help to feed the homeless in the city, and other than the odd tooth broken from biting down on some buckshot, everyone would be happy.

Toronto has the same problem with racoons. Same solution!

Could I be the only one that sees the easy solution? Perhaps I am, but there is a very good possibility that I am just a callous bastard!

Monday 12 September 2011

I’m Changing My Name

Brian’s father is millionaire Robert McCarthy, the president of Marriot group. Unlike his father who got his money the easy way (by working for it) Brian earned his money the hardest way imaginable. He won it!

Twenty five year old Brian McCarthy recently won 107 million dollars in New York’s Mega Millions lottery. Yea Brian!!!

From what I have read, Brian is a pretty level headed young man that has already donated to charities and because of his upbringing is pretty unlikely to go nuts and buy drinks for North Dakota, South Carolina and Iowa. Some people might wonder why a guy with his wealth would even buy a lotto ticket, but not me. I can think of a few reasons for him to buy tickets.

It would probably piss his parents off that he is just throwing good money away on the governments “Stupid Tax”. They would be right of course, because I think the chances of winning one of those Mega lotteries is about one in a hundred million. There is no way you can win with odds like that. Well, unless your name is Brian McCarthy.

It is just possible that Young Brian has a severe form of dermatitis and he bought the scratch tickets in order to perfect his scratching technique. Nothing can be more irritating than an itch that you just can’t scratch. I guess you could get someone to scratch your body, if your name is Brian McCarthy.

Maybe he wanted to impress his father, and get into the hotel business. His big idea is to have a hotel with unique theme rooms. Like the live lobster room where you can eat all of the lobsters that you can catch. Perhaps he would have a “guess the smell” room, where the guests get a Smell Passport and try to identify all of the different smells that you find in a hotel room. Of course there would be the “Loser Room” which would be decorated like a Las Vegas casino and have the walls papered with losing lottery tickets. You could do this if your name was Brian McCarthy.

Maybe Brian was trying to recapture his youth by using cloths pins to hold a lottery ticket so that it would make an engine sound when he pedaled his bike. I bet hundred dollar bills would make a nice sound. You could find out if your name was Brian McCarthy.

Perhaps he was recently charged with the rape of a hotel maid and he needed a few million to buy off the DA, the cops, the judge, the witnesses and the press. This would all be possible if your name was Brian McCarthy.

I guess that the real reason is that Young Brian isn’t really any different than you or I. He bought the ticket without thinking that he would actually win, and a miracle happened. The Gods looked down from heaven and decided that the mortal with the nice sounding name deserved to win the lottery. I don’t know about you, but when the courts open tomorrow I’m changing my name to Brian McCarthy.

Sunday 11 September 2011

The Land of Misfit Shoes and Socks

Sometimes I have a plan about what I am going to write in the blog, and other times I just sit here and hope for the best. I would imagine that it isn’t very difficult to tell which one is which. Unfortunately for you, tonight is one of those, hope for the best nights. Sorry! Just give me a minute....

Have you ever been walking along a street and noticed a stray sock or shoe lying by the side of the road? Buster and I are out walking on a regular basis and we have seen our share of abandoned socks and shoes. The odd time you will see shirts, blouses, coats and the odd pair of panties. I have never seen briefs or boxers abandoned. I wonder why that is?

I have seen gloves and scarves which actually make sense. Someone tries to put their glove in a pocket when they answer their cell and it just slips out. Should have had those “idiot strings” on the gloves. By the time the call is ended they have gone too far to go back and get it or they forget that it is cold. That must have been a pretty good call. The scarves are notorious for falling off. You can tie them tightly, but then you get a little over heated and loosen them and before you know it they drop off and are buried in the fresh snowfall. Oh well, you probably didn’t like that scarf that much anyways. You never hear about anyone using “idiot strings” for scarves. I wonder why not?

I would pay good money to find out how you can lose a sock and not notice. The same goes for the shoes. Socks are notorious for slipping down and ending up in a bunch at your ankle, but rarely do they ease themselves off the foot and out of the shoe. You know, I can remember wearing rubber boots and the sock actually did come off in the boot, but it didn’t ever actually escape. Perhaps the socks are made of some kind of smart material nowadays. Let’s just say for the sake of argument, that the sock slips off of your foot and makes it out of the shoe. Now what? Where is it going to go? Who wants just one sock? I guess someone like Terry Fox, but then how would a sock know where to look for a one legged man? Perhaps that’s why I see them on the road, abandoned and forlorn. I imagine that after a day or two of freedom they are looking to come back to the warmth of a shoe and eventually a dryer.

I can understand shoes to a certain degree, but if I lost a shoe while I was walking I am very sure that I would notice it immediately. There is a chance that you could be drunk enough to actually walk out of a shoe. I remember a time when I was at a party and when it came time to leave I gathered up my shoe. Hmmmm.... didn’t I have two when I came in? Yes, I am sure that I did. Upon closer inspection I found a tiny look-a-like shoe in the pile by the door. Someone (Norma), must have been so drunk that she didn’t notice that one of the shoes she wore home was twice the size of the other one. Thankfully, she didn’t walk out of it and the next day I managed to get it back. I guess a shoe could have fallen off of the roof of the car, but then what was it doing on the roof in the first place?

Eventually these wayward socks and shoes disappear from the road. I like to think that they go to a place where individual socks and shoes can run and play in the country with others of their kind where they get to play in dryers and have all of the shoe polish that they can dream of.

The Land of Misfit Shoes and Socks.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Little Brown Nut

There are things that stay with you for your entire life, like your nose, freckles, the twinkle in your eyes, and that odd little snort when you are really laughing hard. Some things come and go, like teeth, hair, cars, hearing, family, money, pets, teachers, warts and good looks. Other things come into your life at various times and stay, like children, grandchildren, glasses, homes, friends, that sore back when a storm is coming, beliefs, your favourite pair of underwear and that little brown nut.

No, get your mind out of the gutter! It is really and truly a nut...I think.

When I was thirteen, my parents held a family meeting and told us that rather than spend a fortune on Christmas presents, we should go to Florida for the holidays! Florida sounds pretty cool, but no presents? It turns out that it wasn’t a family discussion at all, but rather an information meeting to tell us of a done deal. Well, I was a little bit more flexible back in those days and I guess that I will be able to leave the snow and cold of Toronto behind for a couple of weeks, to lie in the sun at Hollywood Fla. by the sea. We flew down that year, but in the years to come we would drive down in a marathon of hell. I am sure I will get around to writing about those drives in the future, after the pain has gone.

Perhaps I should give you just a tidbit to keep you reading loyally. I was fifteen and we were all packed and had been on the road for about two hours out of twenty four when my brother said “Did you know that Ken smokes?” Twenty two hours of listening to my parents alternating between quiet talk and yelling the reasons why I shouldn’t smoke. All the while I could see my brother with a smug, shit eating grin on his face.

We had been down in Florida for a few days at the Beach Terrace Motel and while walking along the beach I spotted a small brown thing floating in and out with the surf. It took a few tries, but I rescued it and saw that it was a seed of some sort. It was about an inch (two and a half centimetres) around, and three quarters of an inch wide. There is a darker brown strip running around the wide edge and at the back there is what I suspect is a hinge of sorts, like a clams. It is rough, smooth and shiny, and feels very nice in your hand.
I have always believed that it came all the way from Africa, but really who knows? I started to think about this seed and all of the other flotsam that is in the ocean and began to form a mental picture of how islands in the middle of an ocean would develop soil and eventually plants. This seed and its brothers helped to make this world the wonderful place it is. It seems odd, but I became very attached to that brown seed the moment I held it in my hand. I carried that seed with me constantly for the rest of our time in Florida. I guess that it just made me feel safe and good. I would hold it during times of stress and it would calm me down. Living with my brother caused me plenty of stress.

I kept the seed with me when I got back to Toronto and would take it to school and hold it while I was attempting to pay attention in class. I was a little shy back then and I would use my seed to give me confidence to talk to girls that I liked and stand up to people that I didn’t. It wasn’t a very good help in school, and probably not with the girls either, but it did make me feel warm. I can’t explain it. Over the years I have carried it from time to time. I don’t carry the seed all the time any more, but I have a type drawer that I use as a shelf for special little things hanging on the wall and my seed has a place of prominence. The shelf has Maegan’s nose cast, a tiny coke bottle, a green plastic army man that I used to blow up, whistles, first birthday candles and many other strange and diverse items. The most important is the little brown seed.

I suspect that this seed will be my “Rosebud”, and the person that gets it when I die will have no idea of its importance to my life. Right now, it’s a toss up between Ewan and Cohen but maybe, in ten or eleven years I will take them to a beach somewhere and I hope that they can find a little brown seed of their own that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

If they are lucky...