Thursday, 31 May 2012

An Early Death From Exhaustion

I went over to my sons to give him and his wife a hand tonight. They are having a garage pad poured tomorrow and the concrete guys had to tear out a tree and they left it in the back yard. My job was to help make a tangled mess of roots and branches into an orderly pile or six of wood and branches.
I came armed with a chainsaw, hatchet and other weapons of mass destruction. It kind of felt like I should have been filming a horror movie when I was walking up to Brendan’s house with all that stuff under my arms. We put in a couple of hours cutting and stacking, and in the end the backyard looks like a backyard again. It was a lot of work, but I think it will look great when all is said and done.

Towards the end of the evening as exhaustion was setting in, we began to talk about what life must have been like when our ancestors were clearing land for their farms. It took us about two and a half hours of hacking and cutting to reduce a relatively small tree to kindling and we were using modern tools. We didn’t even have to uproot the damned thing; a guy in a bobcat tore it from the earth without even working up a sweat. Two hundred years ago the men used horses and elbow grease to clear their land. I can’t imagine how long it would take them to clear an acre or at least enough land to feed them for the coming winter.

There was a TV show a few years back where two or three couples were put in the pioneer situation and they had to adhere to a strict set of guidelines to survive. They did pretty well, but I don’t think they would have actually survived without help. One of the men actually had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. A hundred years ago he would have been rushed into the ground and his family would more than likely starve to death. There was a fire that killed the only pig and a multitude of problems that they ran into. No, the show proved to me that no matter how much you might think you could survive, without a lifetime of training we would all most likely be dead.

The key to survival is that back in the day the people were inured to that kind of life. They would know all about horses and pigs and just what would be necessary to keep them alive and healthy. They would probably have a working knowledge of how to do almost everything from making furniture to planting a crop. The population was small enough that all members of the community would have to help with the seeding and harvest. They were a tougher bunch as well. Life was hard, but the people were harder. You and I are just creampuffs and for the most part can’t do anything that is saleable at all.

Yep, they worked hard and then worked harder and on the weekend they would bust their guts working harder still. They didn’t even have indoor plumbing! Come to think of it, the only thing they had to look forwards to was an early death from exhaustion.

Hip…hip…hooray…for the modern world and our lazy ass ways.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

I’ll Pick The Movie

We went to Costco just before it closed tonight in order to pay for our membership. On the way out I just wanted to have a look at the electronics section to see the things that I want but don’t need. Did you know that there is a camera that is not only water and shock proof, but it also has GPS capabilities? How absolutely incredible! Now when I am lost, I just have to take a picture and the camera will tell me where I am. No more having to ask strangers for directions.
Fujifilm FinePix XP50
When we got to our car there was a guy getting in a truck that was parked beside us. I smiled at him and he smiled back and said “Do you like to go to the pictures?” I figured that this guy was at best trying to sell me Cineplex passes, and at worst wanted me just a little closer so that he could sever my head cleanly from my shoulders. I suppose there could have been in between options, but I have all of the emotions covered with the two extremes.

I told him “Ahhhh…yeah…but we don’t go as often as we used to.” By bringing Louise into the conversation, I figured that I might have company on the trip to heaven or the hospital. He brought out his phone and started to push little buttons while asking me if I knew where the Plaza Theatre is. I said “Isn’t it in Kensington?” and then he holds the phone up and told me that his director sent him a clip. I watched about thirty seconds of what looked to be a fun movie.

“It’s called ‘Universal Ninjas’ and I am kind of the comic relief.”

I couldn’t help but get excited from the contact high he was beaming out. “You must be so proud of yourself!” I said and then told him that I would tell my son who would be more likely to go. “Congratulations and thanks for telling us about the movie. Have a good night!”

You know, I just might go and see this; it might be a fun time.

Strange how chance encounters can just make your day isn’t it? Even stranger is the complexity of this world we live in and the people living here.

I had a friend that I worked with who raised Guinea Pigs. There was a time when he had about 60 I think. Before talking to him I just thought that they were well fed house rats and I couldn’t imagine ever owning one, let alone 60. There are 12 varieties of Guinea Pigs if I remember correctly and some are quite beautiful. They are trainable and every year during the Calgary Stampede, the Guinea Pig breeders would stage a mini chuck wagon race with the pigs taking the place of the horses. Pretty cool, odd, but cool. The Guinea pig should be kept in pairs or in larger groups, lest they suffer from stress and depression. Well, get in line little piggies!
It turns out that in South America the Guinea pig is considered food, and there is a move to try and introduce them into North America as food because they are easy to raise, require less room and reproduce more quickly than traditional livestock. If you believe what you read, they are tasty as well. Dave would never eat his “babies”, but who knows, in a few years we might all be chowing down on “Pigs-in-a-Blanket”. I read about a prehistoric Guinea Pig that weighed in between 400 and 600 pounds, it is amazing the kind of information you can pick up just talking to people.
If it comes down to a choice between eating a Guinea Pig or going to an independent movie, I think I’ll pick the movie.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Balloons and Sugar

When we were in Hawaii there was one of those big top tents that you can rent set up at the beach park. There was a big sign that read “HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY” and of course the birthday persons name was there but I just can’t remember it now. There must have been a hundred or more people in and around the tent. I don’t think it is too hard to get people to a party on the beach in Hawaii, even a party for a one year old. More beer for everyone else…right?
I had been at the beach for a while and needed to get something from the car which just happened to be beside the big tent. On the way back, I stopped to ask a couple of tattooed gentlemen why there was such a big party for a one year old. The one guy that didn’t look at me like I was something just scraped from the bottom of a flip-flop, told me that they have a very big celebration on either the first or the fifth birthday and after that it isn’t such a big deal. I asked if this was a typical Hawaiian custom. I could tell that two of the guys were trying to figure out where to bury my body and the “friendly” one gave me the old stink eye and said “Samoan!”

I said “Sorry, what can you expect from an ignorant Canadian? Have a good time.” And I took off to the relative safety of Louise and the beach.

I understand now why the fifth birthday is so important, since Hurricane is celebrating his fifth today. It is the stepping stone to adulthood, well at least to some degree of independence. He will begin to develop friendships that have nothing to do with his parents and he will start to be interested in his own stuff. Oh sure, he is still tied pretty much to mom and dad, but it is a beginning. Sometimes even now, he will spend what I consider to be “MY” time playing video games or even wanting to do things that I don’t want to do. It is inevitable I suppose.

When Arwen asked if I could look after Hurricane for a couple of hours today, I kept the angry Samoans in mind and decided that it should be a special as I could make it. He is having a big “Official” party on the weekend, but that isn’t for a while, and today is the day. I decided that we would have his favourite for supper, spaghetti and meatballs, and his mom was bringing the cake. When his dad dropped him off, I had the floor covered in balloons. That is what you get when you put a retired guy, a compressor and cheap dollar store balloons together for an hour or so. I also made a 3 X 5 banner wishing him a very happy birthday.

Just as soon as Chris left, I stuffed a cookie into his hand and asked him if he would like a Popsicle or a Fudgesicle. He watched a little TV, played a little video game; his poppa made him a really bad balloon doggie and before you knew it his brother and mom pulled up. We had fun playing in the yard where I had put together a tetherball set up and in the garage where we would climb ladders and hit balls hanging from the ceiling. I suppose that in the strictest sense, it is a pretty dangerous game, but pain is the best teacher and for today anyways, we had fun.

You know, there is nothing better than being a kid. There is nothing harder than being a kid as well. We all want nothing but the best for our kids and would do nothing to make them suffer. Unfortunately, life is such that being a kid can mean dealing with broken promises or at least promises that are perceived to be broken. We learn to deal with this as we grow up and come to understand why they were broken.

It is my job as Poppa to try and keep my promises and make being five the best thing that it could possibly be. It is my job to fill the day with balloons and sugar.


Monday, 28 May 2012

Shit Faced on Honey Mead

I found a bee in the garage today. That isn’t an earth shattering occurrence by any stretch of the imagination. He could have come in because it was pretty cool and he needed to warm up. I believe that bees get warm by getting up close and personal with all of the other bees in the hive and I guess while you are in that crowd you might as well try to get close to the queen. Everyone likes a brush with royalty, bees do and even people do.

I will often leave the “man” door open while I fetch and carry things to and from the garage, and even though it is a “man” door I suppose an illiterate bee might just find his way through it. I think all bees are illiterate, but if so then why do we have spelling bees? The rest of the garage is as far from being hermetically sealed as a building could be and still be standing. If I wanted to commit suicide by running the car in the garage, I would need to spend a day or two making sure that it was air tight. I can’t think of anything more depressing than trying to commit suicide from carbon monoxide poisoning and just be sitting in the driver’s seat until the car ran out of gas. You would be going through all of the pockets looking for something to read, finally settling on the car manual. It would be a double piss off; because you would finally learn how to set the clock and that your side mirrors had defrosters.

That actually happened to me about two years ago, not the suicide part, but the mirror defroster thing. I would notice a little light every now and then, but of course it would be at night and too dark to figure out what it was about. During the day I would forget all about the little light until the next time it would show up. I can’t remember why I was reading the manual, probably waiting for Louise while she was shopping, but there it was, the little light and the button that would turn it on. I have been waiting to use it for the last two winters, but since I park in the garage and rarely leave it outside for more than an hour, I haven’t had any luck.

That doesn’t matter, I am talking about bees. Whenever I do hear bees in the garage, I try to trap them in a jar and then toss their asses out the door. It usually takes me about ten minutes to find an appropriate jar and then I spend another ten minutes seeing if I can get the jar around the bee without him stinging me. You would think that if I were smart, I would keep a special “bee” jar somewhere in the garage. Half the time I get frustrated and end up squishing the poor thing. When that happens, I don’t catch-n-release; I toss him in the garbage can and say a few words over the can to help him on his way to bee heaven. Stuff like “All the flowers liked him.” or “A honey of a guy.” but I really didn’t know him and I’m not sure that the guy who kills you should say the eulogy.

Today’s bee was a completely different story. This bee wasn’t buzzing at the window trying to get out, he was staggering along the workbench and eventually he fell over the edge. I don’t think he was hurt, because he kept staggering shortly after he fell. I think he was either drunk or stoned! I bet if I had looked closely I would have found a bunch of empties on the workbench and a few piles of puke here and there. I suppose it is possible that the bee was snorting pollen. I wonder if this particular bee found someone’s pot plants and spent the afternoon “pollinating” them. You know, I should have offered him some honey because I bet he had the munchies.

I had to pick him up and get his hammered self out of the garage. Picking up a bee is tough enough, but picking up a wasted bee is next to impossible. They keep staggering around and if you aren’t careful you just might find a bee’s stinger in your thumb. The first time that I was ever stung, was after I had squashed a bee to death on the grass and picked him up to see what was left. His stinger was left!

I used a couple of pieces of wood to grab this guy, and I was none too gentle. I don’t want a bunch of drunked up or stoned bees hanging around my place threatening the grandkids. I tossed him and the sticks into the alley and I hope he sobers up.
I don’t mind a guy getting a buzz on as it were, but this was a little early in the day to be shit faced on Honey Mead.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Half Full

I can still remember the first time I heard someone ask if the glass is half full or half empty. It was in an introductory philosophy class that seemed to be filled with crazy sayings like that.
One of my favourites went something like this. My house is grey. Elephants are grey. Therefore, my house is an elephant. I have no idea now just which whack-a-doodle eighteenth century philosopher came up with this tidbit of clap trap, but I do know that whoever was paying him started to go over the employment contract trying to find a loophole. I get the feeling that with the advent of the industrial revolution, there were a lot of rich kids with nothing to do but live off of daddy’s money and think up weird shit. I can’t tell just what if anything these guys contributed to our society. I still don’t get it. I did really well in Philosophy 101, because it is the kind of thing I was made for.

You don’t really have to know anything. I have that attribute in spades. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am an expert in knowing nothing. Just ask me, I promise I won’t know what you are talking about. What you do have to be able to do, is to convince people that what you are saying actually does make sense. I have been trying to perfect this for my entire life. On the philosophy exams, you could give the absolute wrong answer (I did), but just so long as you back up your wrong answer with an appropriate amount of bullshit and sort of prove your point, then you not only get a pass, but also bonus marks for original thought. I loved university, but unfortunately in our society philosophers aren’t in the same demand that they were in the 18th century. Oh well, another path not taken.

I have been thinking lately about what life is all about. For most of my life I thought it was about endings. We are after all drifting towards the end of our life with every second that we live. I have always looked forwards to the end of grade school, the end of high school, the end of university. I actually was able to end that one early. When I started to work, the type of jobs that I had, made me look forwards to them ending, because most of them I didn’t like. The jobs that I did like, it turns out that my employers were looking forwards to ending my employment. When I found a job that I liked and that liked me, I spent the time looking forwards to the end of the day, and ultimately the end of working with retirement. Now, I am looking at the end of life, I find that I don’t look for the end any more.

It turns out that I have been wrong for my entire life, it isn’t about endings at all, it is about beginnings. I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised that I have had it wrong all along. I realized it is about beginnings by watching Hurricane and Tornado. Everything for them is a beginning! They begin this life and as they move through the days, weeks and years, life begins to open up for them. They learn to walk which allows them to control how they learn about their surroundings. They learn to talk, which lets them begin the process of learning, because they can ask their Poppa how the world works.

Every step forwards is a new beginning for them and I am beginning to see life from the other end of the glass thanks to them. I guess that glass is half full.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Double “0” Doggie

I think that Buster is spying on me.
Oh, I understand that dogs tend to be underfoot all of the time and it is just their nature. I have come to expect him to get in the way when I am walking and to give me that “Can’t you see how hungry I am?” look whenever I have food of any kind. That is as I say, just normal dog behaviour.

What doesn’t seem to be normal is his sneaking around at night. I will wake up and the spot where he sleeps (40% of the middle of the bed) is empty and when I get up he comes right back to bed. I wish I could access the phone records like they do on the TV shows, then I could find out if he is making long distance calls or any calls for that matter. He’s just a dog remember?

He hasn’t been the same on our walks lately either. Oh, they start out the same, but pretty quickly he begins to lose interest and sometimes he just walks beside me instead of trying to pull my arm out of its socket. He lifts his leg to mark his territory, but I feel that he is just going through the motions. He even took a dump and then sniffed it and turned around right away to sniff his own ass, just to check that it was really his. That is what I call distracted.

It is possible that he is tired of being my best friend. Maybe he is jealous of the time I spend with Louise, Hurricane and Tornado or my coffee buddies. He has no need to fear being replaced by any of them. I wouldn’t pick up any of their shit in a bag! Well, maybe Tornado, but he’s the only one. None of them are nearly as happy to see me as Buster is when I have been away. Well, perhaps Hurricane, but some of his love is candy driven I suspect.

Tonight I was working in the garage with the door shut and when I opened the door suddenly, there was Buster, listening at the door. He gave me a guilty look and then ran into the house. Not much of a spy! I caught him later in the evening too, but he was quicker this time and I just saw the doggie door swinging. Sure, it is a possibility he is spying on me, but for what purpose? I have to be one of the most boring people in this part of the world. The only secrets I have are the ones someone else has told me and I am just waiting for someone to want to listen to them. I am something of a sieve when it comes to secrets. Don’t tell me if you want to keep them secrets!

I am going to believe that Buster is just doing his doggie duty and trying to be proactive in protecting me. I’m fine! Leave me alone and do what you used to do, sleep 20 hours a day. Dream of chasing rabbits and eating ice cream off of the floor like you did before. I’ll let you now if I am going to do anything interesting at all, but the chances are you won’t have to lose any sleep.

Good night double “0” doggie, you have kept the airplanes from landing in the back yard and every dog in the neighbourhood knows that they shouldn’t walk in front of the house.

Friday, 25 May 2012

I Am The Daniel Miller Character

I got an email today that was kind of fun. It was/is a life span calculator and can be found at this site.

I have done similar things before, and I just can’t remember how I did. On this particular test I am happy to announce that I should be living for another 25 years or so. I can’t promise that I will still be writing the blog, but I doubt that I will become any less opinionated or that the world will become the paradise that it should be in 25 years. This is great; I should be able to figure out just what I want to do with my life by then. Maybe I will have great-grand children that I can spoil.

I can just imagine the conversation that Hurricane will have with his wife when she says that I offered to look after little Cyclone. “Yeah…I don’t know…he’s pretty old and I don’t think Cyclone could handle that much sugar at one go. He lies a lot too; the truth is something that he has never really found a use for.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, he is such a sweet old guy.”

Hurricane will then say that he reluctantly agrees but only at their place and I would have to be searched on entering. Silly buggar, you can get anything delivered now, can you imagine what it will be like in 25 years?

Over the years I have been involved with my share of psychics and other people of the paranormal persuasion. I have had readings which have made me feel really good about myself and the way that my life was/is going. There are a couple of things that bother me about these psychic leaps of faith. The first and perhaps the most important to me is that, assuming the reading is 100% accurate, do you really want to know the future? When you are totally convinced of the reading, I don’t think you could help yourself from trying to steer the circumstances of your life in that direction. The reading becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Maybe you weren’t meant to be on that particular path. Maybe you were, but will never know now.

Secondly, most readings are very positive. Sometimes they mention things that may need work in your life, but by and large you only hear the good things about yourself. Perhaps this is just the psychic wanting to have you feel happy and good about coming to see him or her. Some of us are bastards and I have never heard of a psychic that told someone what a colossal prick they are and the world will heave a collective sigh of relief when you are hit by that car in two days time having the life snuffed out by a guy listening to “Karma Chameleon” on the car radio. I’d trust that psychic! I wouldn’t go to him/her, but I would trust them.

Why is it that everyone that goes in for past life regression was famous or some kind of royalty? I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t be of any higher stature socially that I am in this life. If I were told that I was a peasant girl that was traded to the local tanner for a pig and a pair of shoes in the 12th century, then I just might start believing. If they further went on to say that in another life, during my wedding ceremony I was taken by slavers that sold me to a white guy who changed my name to Toby and put me in charge of the fighting chickens, I would then know that this guy is the real deal. Once again I don’t want to know because where is the percentage in knowing that you have got the “loser” life thing down to a science.

I think that I am influenced by the movie “Defending Your Life” with Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep and Rip Torn. It is a great movie that deals with this subject far better than I can, and if you get the opportunity (and why shouldn’t you) it is a must see as far as I am concerned. When you do see it, I am the Daniel Miller character.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Moral Ambiguity

I killed my first mosquito today. Hopefully, he will be the first of many this summer. The way that I feel, the only good mosquito is a dead mosquito. The first one is always the hardest to kill, not because I have any moral restraints about it, but because the first ones are the toughest ones. Not only did they manage to hatch earliest, but they are rugged enough to handle the extremes of weather at this time of year. I had to knock him out of the air, slap him when he was down, and just to be sure he was dead, I ran him through a table saw. I think he went through the table saw, but everything just happened so fast.
I say “he”, but as we all know, it is the female of the species that is the blood sucking parasite spreading disease. The same is true of the mosquito. Many scientists believe that because they spread disease among all vertebrates, it remains the most deadly creature of all.

My grandmother used to say that mosquitoes are good to have around because they feed the frogs, birds and bats. I loved her, but whenever she would say this I would stare at her in disbelief with only my head sticking out of the smoke from the leaf fire. That was the only way to keep the little pests away, but eventually you would have to breathe and then they would get you. The way I looked at it was that I wasn’t too keen on frogs, birds and bats anyways, and if they were to starve to death en mass it wouldn’t really impact on my life at all. Just sayin’.
Muskol 100ml Pump Spray
Years later, I discovered Deet, specifically Muskol with 100% deet. It is effective for up to 12 hours and I will willingly do their commercials for free. Deet allowed me to come out of the smoke and breathe clean country air again in the spring and summer. Well, you couldn’t actually smell the air due to the overpowering stench of the Muskol, but I knew it was there. Different concentrations will give you protection for a shorter time, which just seems stupid to me, unless you know that the frogs, birds and bats have been doing their jobs extremely well.

Of course there are drawbacks to the use of deet. The manufacturers suggest that deet not be used under clothing and that you wash it off after use or before reapplication. Bullshit! More is better! They go on to say that it can cause severe epidermal reactions and the US EPA has documented cases of at least 46 seizures and up to 4 deaths. To me, that just shows that Darwinism is still working well behind the scenes. Everglades National Park employees with extensive deet exposure can suffer from insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive functions more so than co-workers that are less exposed. Personally, I think it is a worth while trade-off.

I might even buy one of those electronic bug zappers so that I can kill the little pests remotely. There is nothing quite so restful at night as listening to the wind blowing through the trees, the crickets chirping and the zzzzt…zzzzt…zzzt of the bug zapper. The city says that this should be a year with few mosquitoes because of the expected warmer than average temperatures and the city crews were out spraying standing water all around the city to kill the eggs off. That means one thing to me; we are going to be swarmed with a biblical amount of mosquitoes this year. The city workers couldn’t smell dog shit if it plastered on the end of their noses.
Let them come! I have that kind of moral ambiguity that will let me kill them with wild abandon.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Birds Can Be So Fickle

Last week I built and put up a couple of bird houses, one in front of the house and one in the back yard. They were really just for show and to get them off of the work bench. The one out front has a birch bark roof and the one in the back has miniature cedar shakes. Both bird houses have walls made up of slices of tree branches. I got them off the work bench and don’t expect them to last the summer. No, I don’t take pride in my work.

To my surprise, I noticed a few birds hanging around the house in the back yard yesterday. It kind of looked a little like a bidding war was going on, with a Magpie (realtor?) officiating. The hole was way too small for the Magpie, so I have to assume that his only interest was in the commission.

Bird houses need to be designed specifically for the type of bird you hope to attract. The size of the hole is important (I hear that!), how much floor space is significant, there must be the proper amount of ventilation and the roof must mot be made of metal or the baby birds will cook in the hot sun. Some of us learned that one the hard way. Not as hard on me as it was on the baby chicks though. Building houses for birds is kind of like catering to Goldilocks. They can’t be too small, they can’t be too large, they have to be just right. It also helps if the house looks like the kind of place the birds would nest in the wild. Not too picky are they.

Today I noticed that there was a winner in the bidding war on the house. They seem like a nice young couple, and if I am not mistaken, there looks to be a little bit of a baby birdie bump just visible. The birds are quite industrious, flying bits of dead grass, twigs and string into the house. I guess today was moving day. I took a few pictures and watched them with my binoculars so that I didn’t disturb them while they were building the nest. I was just thinking that the elderly Korean lady that lives across the alley might have been a little weirded out thinking I was spying on her. No cops came to the door, so all is good.

While I was watching them I wanted to help if I could. I will freely admit that I have little or no experience building a bird’s nest, but I am eager and willing to learn. I thought that those sticks must be a little rough to sit on, so I needed to find something more comfortable. Bits of thread and cloth would be perfect, and I wish I had thought of it at the time. What I did think of was the lint from the dryer. There isn’t much that is softer than dryer lint, and it smells nice too.

Not surprisingly I suppose, I have a collection of lint and I ran downstairs to get a handful. I went outside with the thought of placing it around the birdhouse so that the birds could “find” it and then incorporate it into the house. They need never know just who their mysterious benefactor is or was. It was very, very, very windy when I went out and if I placed the lint around the house, it would have blown away. I wedged a bit in a tiny crack, but I still had the better part of a handful I needed to get rid of. I guess I could save the birds the effort of taking the lint into the house, so I just stuffed it in for them.

I have been keeping an eye on the bird house from the bedroom window since then, and I haven’t seen either bird. That could be just a coincidence I suppose. It might be that by hanging around the house I scared the birds away for good. It might be that the smell of a human frightened the birds away for good. It might be that I buried the mama bird alive in toxic dryer lint and she died a horrible, painful death, and now the widower is busy trying to find another willing female to mate with.

Birds can be so fickle.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Dog Has Been Eating a Skunk

I’m a little late getting started on the blog tonight due to the fact that I was watching the LA vs. Phoenix playoff game. I am not really a big hockey fan, but the games in the playoffs are sort of like a sports movie, lots of action and intensity and very little plot. The only thing that is missing is some kind of love interest, unless you count Ron McLean trying to pop Don’s Cherry. Heh…heh…heh. I will get back to the game later.

I was thinking about kids today. Specifically, the very young kids that are still in diapers and seem content to remain in diapers. We have all been there, but I don’t know about you but thankfully, I can’t remember anything about it. My daughter Maegan might be able to, she has an awesome memory of her early life, but like I say, I don’t remember shit.

Just what age is it when a full diaper ceases to be a warm, squishy, comforting feeling and becomes something so disgusting it doesn’t bear thinking about? Tornado seems totally comfortable walking around “packing” and if I didn’t know better I would say he even enjoys watching me squirm when I have to change him. The kid hardly eats anything and yet he can fill that diaper as regular as clockwork several times a day.

There have been times when what I trusted would be a fart turned out to have more substance to it. This can be self embarrassing, but nobody really is in the position to know about it other than the person who does your cleaning. The odd time it happened while I was far away from a change or any kind of bathroom facility and I just had to “tough it out”. Knowing that you had something between your body and underwear is bad enough psychologically, but after a very short while it begins to chaff. When you are a mailman, it isn’t long before it feels like you are wearing underwear made from 80 grit sandpaper.

This is what I can’t understand about kids. You know they are being bothered by a dirty diaper because they have diaper rash, but for some reason known only to themselves, they will just keep on playing until someone asks if the dog has been eating skunk. They must have a higher tolerance to pretty much everything than I do. Hurricane will be in the playground playing and after a half hour or so he will tell me he has a stone in his shoe. There are so many stones in there, that it is a wonder he could get his foot into the shoe. I can’t stand it if I have a fold in my sock.

Kids are weird!

So, tonight the LA Kings won the game well into the first overtime period. I guess if I were to care I would be happy…ish for them, but it wouldn’t have broken my heart if Phoenix had won. It wouldn’t have broken my heart if both teams lost, which isn’t really possible but there really should be a really rare set of unlikely circumstances which could make it happen. That would be fun to see.

These guys wear a lot of padding and several layers that overlap, some of which are taped in place, some are laced in place. Tonight the players were in uniform for over an hour and a half at least, so how do they go to the washroom? I know they freely spit on the ground in the team box, but I am pretty sure even hockey players wouldn’t crap on the bench. I am pretty sure… I suppose that they could get all undressed between periods, but I can’t see there being enough time for that.

There is really only one solution to this problem. Adult diapers!

That could explain why the players are so intense looking one minute and the next minute they have that look of pure bliss that can follow a personal pressure release. Maybe that is the origin of opposing fans yelling at the players “Hey! You stink!” or “Eat Shit, Gretsky!”  

I saw a commercial for adult diapers the other day where they had a couple of figure skaters try out these adult absorbent briefs. The skaters seemed to like them and had a wide range of movement to boot. I don’t need to have a wide range of movement, but I can see the TV watching potential and the benefit they would give during a car ride or when you are in the middle seat on a long flight. When people’s noses started to twitch and their eyes begin to water, I would just say with a look of pure bliss on my face “I think my dog has been eating a skunk.”

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Buzzing Kind Of Concerns Me

It has been an interesting day. There have been a lot of important things happening according to the newspaper.

The two parking authority bosses that were terminated last year received about $600,000 in severance pay. That is a lot of coins fed into meters. Well, not anymore, because these two guys were instrumental in taking the city parking meters high tech and doing away with coins altogether. You can pay with credit cards or even with your phone…somehow. The lawyers for these guys said that they needed this amount of compensation to help them transition into the next stage of their lives. It is called retirement and I didn’t get any six figure severance package, but I suppose they deserve it.

It seems that we are being overrun with dandelions in Calgary. The city is being selective about where they will spray, and the cities criteria doesn’t include any cosmetic spraying. I guess if they didn’t spend $600,000 plus on two guys to help them transition, then there might have been enough in the budget to cover more weed killer. What we really need to do is to make the public aware of how useful and delicious the dandelion is. Its flowers make a fine wine, the dried roots are a good coffee substitute, the leaves make for a good and tasty salad and the stems…well, they produce a white milky substance that get on your hands and is tough to wash off. Knowing how beneficial the plant is, well except for the stems, there is a good chance that you won’t be able to find any by next year. Uh- huh!

Robin Gibb died of cancer. I liked the Bee Gees and they brought joy to millions of people. He will be missed.

The NATO allies are meeting to discuss what they are going to do about Afghanistan. What they are really trying to decide is how they can save face and get out of the cesspool that Afghanistan is. They simply can’t keep throwing money and men at the problem without any solution or resolution on the horizon. The Russians were mired in the internal conflict for years and when they pulled out the US and NATO got involved. I think they all want out but just don’t know how to withdraw without tossing their Afghan allies to the wolves. They will of course, and this meeting will more than likely decide just how they are going to go about it.

There is no end to the number of important and serious news stories. Today I don’t really care about them one whit. I have other things that concern me today.

The 10 year old grand daughter of a friend of mine was struck by a car today. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to her for a speedy and complete recovery. I heard on the news that she is in hospital and will recover. I am not aware of the circumstances, but I do know that there are many very good people that have been on an emotional roller coaster today. Good luck and get well.

This is what concerns me.

I have another friend whose daughter gave birth today to his second grand daughter, Elizabeth Ann 10 lb. 11 oz. and 21 inches. That is almost 11 lbs. of pure joy and love. I understand that mom and daughter are doing well as is daddy. Grandma and Grandpa won’t be able to get the smiles off of their faces for a month or two, if ever. Congratulations!

This is a pleasant concern for me.

I helped my son move some paving blocks today. I like to help whenever I can, because he is always busy as are most people his age. We got the job done with little difficulty. The only problem was when an older gentleman pulled a muscle in his back, but thanks to modern over the counter drugs, he is feeling no pain but has a buzzing in his ears. It could be either tinnitus, the effect of over medication, or our house is filled with large, invisible and very loud bees.

The buzzing kind of concerns me.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Eleven O’Clock News

I was watching the news today and they were talking about a partial eclipse of the sun that will be happening between …say...4:00 and 8:00 PM today. They went on to describe it in all of the detail they could, and showed diagrams of just where in the country you could see it. They had different covered bands that passed over North America which indicated the percentage of the sun that would be eclipsed. Here in Alberta, I think it was about sixty percent. Pretty exciting stuff.
Well, it would be if you could actually watch it. After they pointed out how cool and rare this eclipse is, they began to tell us how we can view it.  Most people know that looking at the sun is bad for your eyes, well the people with decent vision do. You would need welders glass (where did I put my little square of welders glass?), special order glasses (way too late to order them now) or a pinhole camera. I know only one guy with a pinhole camera, in fact this guy has five or six pinhole cameras, but he is one of those rare and unique people you seldom meet outside of NASA or a mental institution.
So they go on and on about how cool this will be, but then tell you that it isn’t the kind of thing you should try to do at home. I am pretty sure that the report was sponsored by the Canadian Optometrist Society. I think that I will opt to watch it on the Eleven o’clock news.

The Canadian Association of Optometrist

Well, I would like to wish you all a Happy May long weekend!

In Canada it is an indication that summer has arrived or is soon to arrive. Here in Alberta it is an indication that if we plant our gardens there is a good chance we won’t have a killing frost. No guarantees though. It is also known and perhaps more people know it as Victoria Day, named after Queen Victoria to honour her birthday every year. I just found out that it is also the day that Canadians celebrate any reigning monarch’s birthday. That kind of sucks, the head of the British Empire doesn’t even get to celebrate his or her own actual birthday.
I used to always like the fireworks that would go off to celebrate Victoria Day. They were never as good as the fireworks displays on July 1st, but any port in a storm is better than nothing. You couldn’t buy fireworks, but the next best thing was to go where ever they were to be set off and watch them there. It was and is always beautiful. The show was too short of course, but absolutely worth spending an hour or two before the show finding just the right place to stand or sit and watch the sky. Basically, any unobstructed view of the sky made for good seats. I always liked to be near people with dogs and or small children. When the fireworks started, the kids began to cry and the dogs took off through the crowd like Satan himself was after them. Fireworks and what predated performance art made for a perfect evening.
In Ontario, the weather was most often warm, but in Alberta the chances were 50 – 50 as to whether I would watch them in person or on the news. The displays have become pale reflections of what they once were. We are after all, no longer a colony of Britain and I would be surprised if the cost of whiz-bangs and rockets hadn’t sky rocketed over the years.

Oh well, I have my memories and the Eleven o’clock news.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Plastic Money Tree

My lovely, thoughtful, generous and giving daughter (did I say lovely) gave me a gift a few months ago. It was a Money Tree.
I don’t know if you have ever seen one of these trees, but this one had four trunks that were braided together. I like to have plants around the house; it is just that like a lot of living things, they do require attention. I look after them when I remember to, and then I am all talky and generous with the water and sunlight. Most of the time, I give too much water to my plants and too little sunlight to them. The sunlight problem isn’t my fault; it is really the developers fault for building the house is such a way that getting sunlight is problematic. The water thing is my fault, feast or famine as they say.

My mom used to be very good with plants, and would give them tea to drink. She thought that there was something magical about tea and plants. I think she was nuts. Mind you, her plants did grow and mine don’t actually grow. I will walk by peoples houses and when I peep in the window (not like that) there is a jungle growing inside. How do they do it? I have the feeling that if I were to set up a grow op, not only would I lose money, but no mould would even grow on the walls. I would be charged with possession instead of intent to traffic. Lucky me…

So, Arwen bought me this Money tree and it is reputed to be able to bring money and good fortune to the owner. I am assuming that it will only work if the tree is alive and growing. My tree was doing great for a month or two, until Arwen came over and said that hers had died right away. Hers had died? What, was it a two for one kind of gift? Okay, still nice that she was thinking of me. Not as nice as if I were the only one to get a tree, but like I say, still nice. Ever since that day the damned tree has been getting worse and worse. Last week I was fondling it, talking to it and playing it some of the music that I like when I am under the weather. I even played it “The Replacements” with Keanu Reeves, which always cheers me up. So I was fondling this tiny tree and I noticed that three of the four trunks were dried out hulks. I am pretty sure that in plant speak, that is a bad thing.
If the damned tree is supposed to bring money and good fortune to its owner, where does this leave me? What kind of karmic bullshit is this? I tried my best; I even played it “The Replacements”. Maybe plants don’t like football movies. Does this mean that ¾ of my income is down the old shitter? I just checked the fourth trunk today and I think I may have to declare bankruptcy. Could the tree know about the recent downturn in the world economy? Greece started the whole thing and now they can’t even agree on a government. China is doing alright, but then they have the money tree market cornered. If you want good fortune, you have to go to the Chinese and buy one of their fucking trees!

I was at the Asian supermarket today and I saw a variety of Money trees at a store. Some were thirty five years old and looked positively affluent. I can see my bank balance going up if I had that baby sitting in the living room. Well, it would go down $1500 to start with, but I am sure eventually it would rebound, just like Greece’s economy. I still have that water and sunlight problem in the house though. I could hire someone to come and look after it, but that seems a little bit flip floppy. What if the person looking after the plant got the good fortune and money?

You know, in this day and age of gift cards, debit cards and all of the various credit cards, I just might be better off getting a plastic Money Tree.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Guilt Free

There is something so totally satisfying about the act of creating pretty much anything.

I finished a project this week for Hurricane and Tornado to play with. It is a chalkboard with an oak frame about two feet by four feet. I have been planning to do it for over a year but these things take time. Sure, they don’t take that much time, but I am sure I have mentioned how lazy I am in the past. It turned out pretty good and I have hopes that it will take them a day or two before it is totally destroyed. They picked it up today on the way home and it was a big hit while they were here. I think Tornado will be especially pleased to have a new outlet for his creativity. Oh, he is definitely a “lefty”.

I built a couple of bird houses (yeah, I know, “old man hobby”) and managed to put them up this week. I call them bird houses, but more than likely they will be cat feeders. I placed them where I can look at them, but no self respecting bird would choose to live in locations like that. So, I guess I will have a couple of bird houses filled with birds with no self respect. Just so long as they keep the music turned down after 11:00 and pay the rent on time, we should get along just fine. Well, as fine as you can get with beasts whose ancestors were dinosaurs.

I hope to get some carving done this weekend, because I have promised Hurricane a carved caricature for his birthday. I hope it turns out, but women and kids are hard to please at the best of times, and making fun of how they look is never a big hit. I have also plans for some beefy saw horses that my son can use when he builds his garage. They aren’t pretty, but hopefully they will be serviceable.

I tell you this not to brag, but because I noticed that doing these creative things is much more satisfying than watching even the best show on TV. I know, it is hard to believe! I do get joy from this kind of thing, but I also avoid doing it for some reason.

I remember driving with my dad once and he stopped to look at a house being built. He told me that he sometimes wished that he worked in construction so that after the day was done he could step back and see what he had accomplished. His job involved pushing papers around for the most part and if it was anything like my job, you never seemed to get ahead. Oh, work would get done, but the next day there was another pile and the day after that had another pile, and on and on and on. He drove off after a while and he was pretty silent for the rest of the drive. I guess he was dreaming of paths not taken and wondering just where he would be if…

Either that or he was an agent of some kind keeping an eye on a spy, using me as a prop to give him and excuse to be parked on the street. Perhaps instead of dreaming about paths not taken, he was contemplating ways to end someone’s life. He was in Her Majesties service and served time behind enemy lines in WWII. He would have made a great spy, he never talked about anything and who would suspect him living in suburban Toronto. Well, I guess I did, but I don’t really count. I better go through his old papers.

No, it is nice to get some things done; now I can sit around for a couple of weeks doing nothing…guilt free!

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I am a firm believer in just letting things work themselves out. This attitude takes any decision making out of my hands and if everything ends up in the sewer, I can truthfully say "It wasn't me!"
The obvious drawback to this, is that if things work out well I can't claim credit. "Yeah, I was the one that didn't do anything which led to that happening." Another drawback is that you have no control over the direction your life takes. Sure, it's worked out okay so far, but I can't help but think things could have been somewhat improved if I had taken an active part in the planning of my life, instead of leaving everything to chance.

I suppose that it was chance that Mister Hitler decided to reunite the Aryan race, and chance that dad was just the right age to die for his country and freedom. It was chance that his plane was shot down and he spent the war shaving his head and playing baseball in a German POW camp. It was chance that he met and married my mom after he returned from Europe. It was chance that I was born, in spite of the fact that my brother Steve had already shown mom and dad what to expect from parenthood. It was chance that I was born in a century that had a low infant mortality, good medical care and indoor plumbing.

I haven't set out to let chance take care of my life, it just worked out that way while waiting for me to decide what to do. The first 18 years was pretty easy, I had to go to school. Well, I could have opted to not go to school but then I would have had decided to work. The next few years were spent going from job to job hoping that someone would recognize the jewel in the rough that I am, or that I was. I took a job with the Post Office for a few months and then I would start my life with a plan. Still waiting.

I was wondering what my life would have been like if I had set out to decide my own fate . I think people that do that, find or discover what it is that they want to do in life at a very early age. I don't mean they know exactly, but somehow they find the determination and drive to make decisions and then follow through till they achieve success or failure. Sometimes the failure is necessary for them to carry on. These people are the ones that study in school and work at summer jobs which will carry them further on their life path. They do financial planning and probably planned parenthood. They realize that the path to whatever goal they have set in life may not always be fun and games. Good for them!

Personally, I think life is a crap shoot and no matter how much planning you do, your destiny will eventually force its way out. I am just waiting to see what life has in store for me just around the corner. Hopefully, not a truck with bad brakes or a drunk driver, but what will be will be. Who would have thought I would ever write a blog and actually have fun doing it? What are the chances?

I have been feeling pretty wonkey today, so if when you read this you say to yourself "This sucks!" then you are probably one of those people that don't take chances.
It is entirely possible that when you arrive at the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter might just give you a pop quiz on this blog. Then you will feel like an asshole...won't you?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A Magic Kiss

I am convinced that the older you get the more sensitive your nerve endings become. Pain is so much more painful now that I am older than it ever was when I was young.

I was just in the garage doing some work on the table saw, and when I slid my hand along the wood I got a sliver in my thumb. Not a totally unexpected happening, but it hurt like the dickens. I had to pull it out with my teeth and it started to bleed right away. Oh, not a lot I will admit, but there was blood and an inordinate amount of pain. More pain than a sliver should cause. I decided to be proactive and try to prevent this from happening again, so I got a piece of 60 grit sandpaper and started to work on the edges. Yep, I got another sliver! This one was larger than the first and drew more blood. At least it was smooth. I decided to be really proactive and put on a pair of leather gloves that seem to be pretty much sliver proof.

I am reminded of a story about my dad when he was a kid. My grandmother had a beautiful old house built in the early 1900’s with all of the expected fine wood work you might expect in a house that age. By the time I came along, gram had pretty much painted over every surface in the house, including that beautiful wood work. It was impossible to tell where the mortar lines were in the cinder blocks in the basement because they had been painted so often. I bet there was a half inch of paint on those walls. Crazy old lady! Anyways, one day dad decided that it would be more fun and a lot faster getting to breakfast if he slid down the banister. It was fast alright. According to the story, he had a sliver about nine inches long in his ass.

God, it hurts me when I write about that! He cried and screamed and cried and screamed and I suppose he cried and screamed some more. Gram put him on the kitchen table, took a pair of pliers and gave that sliver a yank. Most of it came out, but I understand that there were pieces that would surface up to a month later. She doused it with peroxide or knowing Gram she would use turpentine to stop infection. It is a good bet that there was some more crying and screaming when she did that. She let him stand to eat breakfast and then sent him limping off to school. That must have been one unpleasant day at school. Dad told me this story when he saw me with one leg over the banister. I guess he loved me after all.

My brother would do some pretty stupid things. Well, I guess all kids do some pretty stupid things from time to time, but they never convinced me to do them like Steve could. Steve found some cardboard from some appliance that one of the neighbours had bought and brought it home to make a fort. I guess we did the fort thing the first day, but even with a kids imagination a cardboard fort eventually reverts to being a piece of cardboard. That is when we decided that sliding down the stairs on the cardboard would be just like tobogganing in the winter. You know, it was just like tobogganing, a little bumpier perhaps, but it was a lot of fun.

Well, it was a lot of fun until the cardboard caught on a stair and the large industrial sized staple tore its way through my brother’s ass. There was some crying and screaming I’ll tell you. He screamed especially loud when mom put the Bactine on the gash. Probably would have hurt less if she had used Grams turpentine.

I never rode the cardboard toboggan after that, but there are times when we have a certain kind of cardboard that I am tempted. I think in a few years I might just tell Hurricane and Tornado about cardboard toboggans, well, not around their mom or dad.

 Maybe it hurts more now that I am older because I realize just how stupid I have been and there is no one around with a magic kiss to make it better.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


When my daughter was moving recently, Hurricane and Tornado were being looked after by their other grandmother while I was pretending to help move. She brought the kids over at one point during the move and Hurricane ran right into the thick of things, up stairs and downstairs to see what was going on. Moves are pretty momentous and exciting for a four and a half year old. Tornado on the other hand seemed to be a little overwhelmed by all of the activity. He found a friendly face (me), reached his arms towards the sky and said "UP". I picked him up and from his vantage point in my arms he could see everything that was going on and was safe. We all need help from time to time.

Today, I was walking to my physio appointment and a man in a van asked if I could give him a hand. I was wondering if he was going to offer me candy, but Im not young enough or cute enough to worry, so I said "Sure, just so long as I don't miss my appointment." He told me that he needed help with his wheelchair and would I mind getting it from the back of the van for him. No problem! He thanked me and I went on my way mulling over just which one of the Gods to thank for my health and good fortune. I am sure that when this guy first needed his wheel chair it was tough to ask a stranger for help. Maybe it still is, but sometimes need over rules pride.

When we are kids, we need help all of the time. You need help getting dressed, eating,  playing and learning all of the things that we need to know in order to live in this complex society. Lucky for us, we have people that love us we call mom, dad, poppa, grandma and uncles and aunts who are more than willing to give us what we need. I suppose that there are places in this world where children are all alone and have to rely on strangers for help. Being that alone would just be horrible.

Once we reach adulthood, we feel that we should be able to deal with anything that presents itself to us. This is true for the most part, but there are times and situations that  we just can't cope with. Sometimes there are physical problems, sometimes financial problems and still other times we have emotional and psychological difficulties. Family and friends can help with some of these difficulties, but lucky for us, we live in a society that tries to do the right thing by its people by building social safety nets. Not always successfully, but I believe the desire is there. Well, unless there is a conservative government in power at the time.

Often the biggest barrier is realizing that you actually have a problem. I have put up with an extremely painful shoulder for seven or eight months, hoping that it will heal itself. I didn't do anything to cause the pain, so it stands to reason that I shouldn't have to do anything to make it feel better. It took months to convince myself to go to the doctors because I don't particularly like doctors in general and being ill in particular. She sent me for tests and they failed to find anything wrong with me. She suggested that physio might help, but I started to think I can live without my right arm. I can't. So, here I am going to physio every few days and hoping that it might just help.

I have suspected for some time now that I have a tendency towards depression. I blame the way I feel on lethargy, winter blues, lack of initiative and any number of other excuses. I suppose that it is tough to admit that I have a problem that is beyond my capability to deal with. The depression will just have to wait until I am ready to get the help I need. I didn't do anything to be depressed about, so I shouldn't have to do anything to fix the problem. Right?...right? Perhaps I might just have to find a friendly face, lift my arms to the sky and say "UP?"

Monday, 14 May 2012

Getting Head on Easter Island

One of the things that I miss about working is that I am no longer in the loop. Things happen and I just don’t get a chance to comment about how wonderful/horrible it is.
I am still surprisingly well informed about all things postal, but the longer I am away the less I hear because my informants are getting older and either out of the loop themselves or they are the ones causing the problems. Whenever I meet an old friend, I engage in conversation about life and love at the post office. To tell the truth, I care less and less as the years march on. I do have a juicy bit of gossip that I picked up, but I don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I will be working for the post office in a couple of weeks and I will spend most of my “work” time with visiting and catching up.

I am one of those people that other people like to confide in. I guess I have a face that says “I care” when in reality I am saying “What the fuck are you telling this to me for. I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire!” Perhaps it is the blank stare and the nodding at what seems to be appropriate times. During most conversations I am just biding my time waiting for a lull in the babbling so that I can say something that I find interesting about whatever the topic is. I do like to tell people things that I discover and I just want to share. Okay, I really want to be the first to pass on whatever bit of information that I have.

It comes as a bit of a shock to find that not everyone is like me. Not everyone likes me, but that is the subject of another blog. Louise is a prime example. I will be talking to one of the kids and find out that they are getting a new job/car/child/house/vacuum/tattoo or any number of other minor things that can happen in a persons life, and when I get off the phone I will say to Louise, “Did you know that Arwen is getting a new job/car/child/house/vacuum/tattoo?”

Louise will look up and say “Yeah, she told me last week.”

“Last week? How is it that I am just now hearing about it? Don’t you think I would be interested?”

Louise says “Well, no one is stopping you from talking to your kids, you are home all day and you could call them and ask what’s happening.”

That is true, but what about being the first to tell the gossip? Like I say, not everyone is like me. They are nuts, and don’t even care if they are in the loop or not.

Last week I got an email about the statues on Easter Island. I have seen photos of these heads all of my life and am amazed by them. How bored would you have to be to make these monolithic monuments? I can only assume that the island was filled with old retired guys that had some kind of a crane and an excess of energy. In the email there were pictures of these heads but they have discovered that they have bodies which are buried in the ground. I thought the carved heads were nuckin’ futs, but to carve bodies and them bury them up to the neck, that takes fucked up to a whole new level.

The first thing I did was to call my son to tell him about these bodies that were attached to the heads. I said “Hey Brendan, you know those heads on Easter Island?”

Before I could say another word he said “Is this about the bodies?” “Ahhhh….yeah. Did you know about this?” He told me he did and I wished him a good day and hung up the phone. How long have people known about this? Could it be that I am the last guy in Canada to know? That is a pretty good bit of gossip that no one told me about. Have they been teaching this in the schools for the past thirty years? I am going to have to start reading more than the entertainment section.

I wonder what else I don’t know? I was just watching the TV and there is talk about John Travolta being gay. WTF? How could he be and why would he hide it if he were? If you are privy to news similar to Easter Island or John Travolta, don’t assume that I know, let me know!,0,1584974.story
I am so deep in the dark that for all I know, John Travolta may be getting head on Easter Island.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Spike The Elephant

I was walking through our local Leisure center on the way to buy my ticket on a dream the other day when a clown passed by me. I’d like to think that I am a mature, worldly sort of guy that can take most things in stride. I’d be wrong of course, but I look better to myself this way.

I couldn’t help but smile when the clown passed me. It isn’t that I thought the clown was funny or even ridiculous. He was ridiculous, but I didn’t think that, well maybe just a little. What made me smile was that the clown had a bag of groceries in his arms and was heading home after what was more than likely a hellish day. He had the look of a man with just one frayed nerve left and could snap at any moment. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t want to smile or even laugh.

When I worked in the post office, I would take a “civilian” coat or sweater with me to cover my uniform if I had to do shopping right after work. You can only take so many “What? You can’t be finished work already! I’m paying you to go shopping?” These comments and more like them would invariably end with me telling the person that I would like a raise, ask him why he thought I wasn’t on my way to work or just tell him to go fuck himself. I would imagine that clowns get similar stupid comments from the public at large. I would have put a jacket over the plaid sports coat with the big flower and huge bow tie. I would certainly have wiped the face makeup off with a rag or even the plaid coat. Same thing I suppose. You know the easiest thing he could have done would have been to take off the red nose.

He had these baggy yellow pants, but since the leisure centre is beside a high school he actually fit in pants wise. No one believes that his feet are really that big! If they were, he would have to wear big old baggy pants to cover the size of his…ohhhh. That’s another thing I hate about clowns, and I guess why they always seem to be smiling.

I used to deliver mail to a couple of married clowns that lived on my mail route. It was pretty weird to get mail addressed to either Mr.Bebe or Mrs.Bobo the clown. I would see them out doing the gardening or just being more or less normal. Sometimes they would be driving their kids to school. I often wondered what the kids would say when asked what their parents did for a living. It would be pretty cool in the lower grades, but as they got into high school, it would be pretty painful. Kids can be cruel.

I talked to them a few times and of course they met at Clown College. I wondered if they would cruise to the A & W in a tiny car with about ten other students all blasted on helium and latex. They seemed to be pretty normal people that worked at an abnormal kind of job. I guess they would make a good living, what with kid’s parties, street festivals and selling balloon animals on street corners. It would be the perfect cover for drug dealers of course and they could hide more than a few kilos of dope in those baggy pants. Maybe that’s why they smile so much.

I guess I am going to have to put the house up for sale soon, once the clowns start moving in, it opens up the neighbourhood to all kinds of circus folk. I don’t like it when a neighbours dog craps on the lawn, can you imagine the pile Spike the elephant would leave?