Friday 7 November 2014

Comfort Food

I was just watching a TV show where a mine blew up with an incredibly powerful explosion. Of course the hero ran towards the mine which was still billowing smoke and raining down debris. I suspect that his initial reaction was to see what he could do to help. I’d like to think that is exactly what I would do in the same situation.

I hope that I am never close enough to a major explosion to find out if I am made of the kind of stuff that TV heroes are. I probably am, with a large dose of self preservation tossed into the mix. I’m not very decisive either, so by the time I decide what I was going to do, those TV heroes will have already done it.

I remember a time when I was in high school when some friends and I were sitting on a curb just talking, laughing and generally just hanging. A car passed by with some drunks in it and they yelled something or other that prompted me to yell F*** YOU! There was a similar incident the previous winter when I was in Florida. It ended with my buddy getting punched in the face and I was knocked to the ground. There would probably have been more of a beating if we hadn’t run like frightened rabbits and kept running until we couldn’t run any further.

Well, fast forward seven or eight months to a street corner in Toronto and I knew just what to do. I told everyone to get ready to run and when I saw the brake lights come on, I ran. I don’t think it was my fault that no one actually heard me saying to run or that they didn’t have the sense to run when I ran. I mulled over this as I lay hidden in the tall grass by the railway tracks. Eventually, the hero Ken fought his way out and convinced coward Ken that they should both go back and help their friends. This internal argument took a certain amount of time and by the time I retraced my steps, the thugs had left and I was branded a coward for the next forty years. Sticks and stones…

There was another time when I was on a picket line for one of the many strikes I was a part of during my time at the Post Office. We were picketing a warehouse that the Post Office was using as a staging area for the Scabs. Emotions run high on both sides of the picket line, everyone thinks they are right and the other guy is wrong. I just liked getting the chance to visit people I hadn’t seen for a few years. Strikes were more of a social occasion for me. I got to take some time off, get reacquainted with old friends and I was home earlier than normal.

There was a point when someone threw a punch which caused another person to get involved and before you knew what was happening, the crowd of striking posties were surging forward. Well, not all of us, I was walking backwards to get a better view of everything. Yeah, that’s it; I was going for a clearer line of sight. The problem with backing up when everyone else is moving forward is that they tend to carry you with them. I felt strong hands on my shoulders and was bodily lifted up and put down clear of the surging masses. This cop wanted to get to the action more than I wanted to get away from it.

I got my better vantage point to watch the altercation and aside from two slightly bruised shoulders I came out of the strike much the same as I entered it. You know, if there ever was an explosion, I suspect that I would be the guy who went to get coffee and donuts for the rescuers. They are going to need some comfort food…

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