Wednesday, October 31, 2012

love is sneaky

Ooooo ... you sweet dancing fool ...

love is sneaky

           love is sneaky
                   upside down freaky
             on a good day a little cheeky
       sometimes leaky
            beats such good time
                   and bangs with such vibrancy
            it near pops the tops of my two heads off

love is tricky
                      sometimes a little picky
       but better a quickie
                            than going home with just a hickey

She says ...
                                    "Come on over, Kennedy,
                            I'll rock your bones
                                  and tomorrow you'll
                      wake up a real man."
And I'm thinking ...
                                   "I wonder what she'll
                                                make for breakfast?
                        I'm partial to toast and honey ..."

                    love is weepy
                            sometimes creepy
                                            and it can make you sleepy
"Is Lazarus home?"
"No, Lazarus has gone back to his tomb."
"See if he's home, OK?"
"Trust me.  Lazarus is dead and buried."
"Lazarus was home last night."
"Yes, but Lazarus can't be popping in and out of his grave every night."
"Let me knock and see if I can raise him."
"Only Jesus could do that."
"Oh, look sweetie, he's coming up for another visit."

                                  love is up and down
                         a smile and a frown
                                                    a quick exit out of town

"I tell you, Johnson, it was the same old razzmatazz.  There I was running naked as a jaybird through the garden.  Good grief, Johnson, all the due diligence in the world could not have predicted her husband would come home just as I was about to seal the deal.  And the funny thing is, he was carrying a bouquet of flowers.  I was pretty sure they weren't for me."

                                        love is stop and go
                                  the two halves of an Oreo
                         it's an "I don't know"
                               a blow by blow
                                            that kicks your sweet ass with a clout
                                                    and near knocks you out        

hold me, scold me, do what you told me
          but get this straight
                      get this right
    i have feelings like everyone does
                    you can't just come over to see my paintings
and say, "Don't  show me ... blow me ..."
        this is not Missouri
                      and i won't be spoken to like that
          at least tell me you showered ...

                            love is romantic
                      sometimes a little frantic
                rarely gigantic
                         but if you can do a little cooking
                and you're not half bad looking
                               there's a someone out there somewhere
                   with a life to share and a mind to care
                         about you and yours
                                     you'll likely find him or her
                               in the strangest place i'm sure

                      just remember
                          love is more than give and take
                  more than a midnight shake 'n' bake
                              it's a train and a tunnel
                          a mix of emotions dripping through a funnel
                    a guesswork recipe for tomorrow and a day
                             and so all i really have left to say
                         before i let you sneak away
                    before you leave through the door marked "Adieu"
                                   is simply that i hope you know blue from blue
                                                      and that if your love is honest and true
                              then love will always be true to you



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The R-R-Rolling Moans

Oh My Aching Tongue . . .

The R-R-Rolling Moans

Owwwww ... it hurts right there ... and right there ... and oh yeah, over there too ...

Somehow, I have managed to frazzle my tongue. I have no idea why it hurts, but it hurts like crazeeee.

I don't eat spicy fast food, no curry in a hurry, in fact, nothing more exotic than maple-flavoured pork 'n' beans, a favourite in Canada, so I don't think it was that.

I didn't drink anything scalding hot, like the ridiculously blistering hot chocolate people serve at ice-skating parties, so it wasn't that.

I didn't use the Lord's name in vain (more than maybe twice), so I'm sure it's not that.

I didn't lay it flagging out the car window like a dog does on a hot summer's day, so it wasn't that either.

I wasn't chewing tobacco, even though you don't really "chew" tobacco, but I haven't had a wad of that gruesome stuff in my mouth for over a decade, so I can't blame it on that.

I didn't mistakenly start using Liquid Plumr Foaming Pipesnake Clog Remover as toothpaste, and no, my electric toothbrush didn't short circuit and unexpectedly become a tongue taser.

I didn't get it stuck on a frozen steel fence post, the way I did when I was a five-year-old imbecile too stupid not to take a dare, so it wasn't that either.

Well, I guess it doesn't really matter why it hurts, the point is that it does hurt.

I may need to have it amputated.

If that's true, then I want a transplant.

Do they do tongue transplants? Is it possible that I could get, say, a cow's tongue? a giraffe's tongue? an iguana's tongue?

What does one want in a tongue?

Do I want some extra length? some extra girth?

Does size matter when it comes to tongues?

Or is it just in how you use it?



Monday, October 29, 2012

The Edible Man

"Run, run as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"

The Edible Man

No one likes to be called selfish.

I don't mind.

I am selfish.

I am selfish with my time, selfish with my attention, selfish with my love. For what it's worth, it's my life, and though I'm willing to share some appetizers and a few desserts with others, not many get the full meal deal.

My kids get the whole buffet, and sometimes I think it must be a little daunting. Far too much to figure out, but they know what they like about me, and so they usually stick with their usual entrées. My son connects with me in ways my daughter doesn't, and my daughter connects with me on her own terms. My son likes to know everything; my daughter is much more selective. My girls (granddaughters) are too young to even know there's a menu. They're still fascinated with the ambience of the restaurant.

When I am in a relationship with a beautiful woman, I realise that being a part of my life in that special way is sometimes an acquired taste.

I've long accepted the fact that a creative mind can be as palatable as top sirloin steak one day and as crusty as two-day-old macaroni 'n' cheese the next.

Still, I offer as much of me as is necessary and as quickly as she may want it. All she has to do is ask. I don't hold back, but I don't rush things either. I have learned from experience that every relationship has its own appetite and its own way of digesting information, quirks, passion, and all those other delicacies of the heart.

Here, in the morning, I guess you get the "soup du jour" or some kind of "special of the day." Some people think that they want more, but quite frankly, both the soup and the specials are very filling, and I insist that people watch their calorie intake.

Too much of anything can lead to gas, and people will be indiscreetly farting here and there and fanning their fannies to disperse the fumes.

And, Lord knows, we don't want that.



Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Powder Of Positive Thinking

All A Matter Of Perspective

The Powder Of Positive Thinking

Oh sure, the world is slipping in free-fall, down the slick metal slide in the playground where the kids rarely go any more, and yes, I guess we'll all land in the inevitable puddle at the bottom of the ride, but what the hell? It's important to stay positive, believe that the world is a beautiful place, hope for the best, stiff upper lip, and all that.

I mean who really knows the truth? Who really knows how bad things are? Most of us have heard the same prophecies of doom for so long that we have perfected the art of denial.

I'm all for denial, all in for living in Delusion City, Nebraska, or wherever it is that people really do believe that if you wait long enough, good things will come to you. Yes, I'm all for those silly dreams, those madcap fantasies. I'm hip to the pancake powder of positive thinking, and I manage to gulp down as much hope as I can on any given day, even while I watch the world swirling down the drain.

Negativity? No, siree, not this boy. I've been to enough carnivals to know when a sideshow game of chance is rigged, and still I throw down my hard earned dollars for even the remotest possibility of winning a kupee doll on a bamboo cane or a giant-sized, stuffed beaver.

I've attended enough magic shows to know that the best illusions are the ones you can't quite believe.

I've been on the Internet long enough to know that the best policy is to fake it until you make it.

No one wants or needs a good dose or reality. It's like a spoonful of cold liver oil — tastes like crap going in and ends up coming out with an even more disgusting splash.

No one really wants to hear the truth any more. So, pulleeez, people ... save all the revelation stuff for Judgement Day. Until then, I'm not going to allow myself the luxury of being revelated, and I'm certainly not going to be judgemental.

I'm not going to be be fooled into believing that, yes, some people are inherently bad, cruel dissemblers, obvious liars, or that other people are seriously committed to making your life something akin to a living hell.

I'm not going to admit to knowing that kids should stay in school just to keep the unemployment numbers reasonable.

I'm not buying the popular belief that some politicians are corrupt, megalomaniac, or worse, just plain stupid, and I'm certainly not going to accept the notion that the voters who elect such politicians are even stupider.

I'm not going to doubt that democracy doesn't really work any more, nor am I going to crack apart that age-old chestnut that "you can be anything you set your heart to becoming," even if millions and millions of people fall asleep at night dreaming of life's possibilities only to wake up in a cold sweat of dreading yet another dawn of impossibility.

I'm not going to get up every morning, read the morning paper and think, "Well that's about as absurd as it gets." Not going to watch the news on television and mumble, "Are you kidding me?" Not going to be embarrassed by the fact that, even though the glass is irrefutably bone dry, people will still say that it's half-full. Not going to question all those cool beatitudes that I learned in Bible study, even if it's pretty damn certain that the meek will never inherit the earth because success is all too clearly measured by selfishness and greed instead of by compassion and charity.

No, no, no ... let cynicism be damned. Regardless of race, religion, colour, sexual disorientation, political persuasion, or anything else that is going to make the future of my grandchildren totally unbearable, everyone and everything in the world is fabulous and beautiful.

It's all just a matter of perspective. So let the dancing begin ...



Friday, October 26, 2012

What You See

Don Quixote Twice Removed

What You See

I went to the Dollar $tore yesterday, and I bought three pairs of those eye glasses that you can still get for a buck apiece.

This morning, I'm trying them out.

One pair makes everything thing seem awfully big. In fact, I feel as though I've fallen down a rabbit hole, and the world has literally doubled in size.

Another pair makes everything about two sizes smaller. Even my coffee cup looks to be miles away, and I dare not try to reach for it.

The last pair just sort blurs everything into a kind of milky fog, and it's like I've been on a drunken bender for the last couple of days.

Some people say, "What you see is what you get."

Don't believe it. It's usually a lie.

Some people go to great lengths to ensure that others see them the way they want to be seen. Some pretend to be larger than life and oh-so-worthy of your admiration, some pretend to be small and insignificant and oh-so-worthy of your constant sympathy, and some just whip up a bit of hocus-pocus so that you'll never really see what they're like at all.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't always want to see what others are really like, but some days, that's all I seem to be able to see.

I guess that I should have bought the pair with the rosy tint in the glass.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chasing Zzzzz's

Zzzzzz ...

Chasing Zzzzz's

I have to admit that I'm not a great sleeper. Most nights find me up and down, in and out of bed, like a yo-yo in the hands of a 8-year-old with fidgetitis.

My sleeping patterns have been like this for several years now.

I'm not sure how much sleep a person should have on a daily basis, but I suspect 3 or 4 hours is probably not enough.

I have tried most of the common remedies — hot milk at bedtime, one of those sleeping masks that black out every speck of light, a hot bath just before turning in, and reading myself unconscious. I've tried herbal teas, herbal supplements, herbal balms, herbals roots, herbal aromatic sachets, but each of those weedy concoctions just seem to make matters worse, and I turn me into the human equivalent of a herbal gerbil running on a spinning wheel-to-nowhere, squeak-squeak-squeaking through the night.

I've even tried some of those over-the-counter medications, like Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol Body Pain Night, a shot glass of Benadryl, and the like. I still wake up, but with the added bonus of having one whopping hangover.

Perhaps what I need is some companionship, a warm body to snuggle up to in bed. Well, let's be honest. Sometimes those warm bodies snore and fart through the midnight hours, and although I have some tolerance for such human failings, I do find that symphony of REM-inspired orchestration a little unsettling.

I'm not complaining. I like the night. It's a quiet time. The phone doesn't ring, I have no appointments to keep, the outside world is more or less peaceful, and I love looking out, from 25 floors above ground, over the sparkling lights of the city, where I suspect everyone else is probably sound asleep.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Breakfast Of Champions


Breakfast Of Champions

For years, I never ate breakfast ... just coffee. But people always said, "Oh, you have to eat breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day." So, now I eat breakfast, but I'm not so sure it is such an important meal.

I don't eat bacon and eggs, that traditional breakfast which has probably accounted for endless numbers of needless heart attacks. I can't imagine waking up to inject oneself with a double shot of cholesterol and a side order of trans fat.

These days, I usually have a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Plain Cheerios with milk. No banana, no blueberries, no sugar, no parsley, no garnish of any kind. How can that be the most important meal of the day?

Shouldn't I get up and eat a steak, with broccoli and salad? Turkey with mashed potatoes and cucumber slices? Fish fillets with peas and carrots?

I find food to be puzzling. I should probably buy a good book on nutrition, and follow what it says to eat.

After all, healthy body — healthy mind. Right?

Or is it the other way around? Healthy mind — healthy body.

Hmmm, now there's some food for thought ...



Monday, October 22, 2012

The Missed Opportunity

The Mystery

The Missed Opportunity

Ever wonder where that special someone is today?

You know, the someone you met once, maybe for just the briefest moment, who caught your attention in the most unusual way but who quickly slipped away into a different reality?

The someone with whom you could have and maybe should have connected in a deeper way?

The someone who has been haunting you all of your life?

I remember one such person, a young lady whom I met almost by chance at a party many years ago. I remember her face, her voice, her demeanour, but mostly I remember the way she looked at me. It was like her eyes were saying, "You're the one, aren't you? You're the one I was supposed to meet and be with forever."

And maybe, I looked back and acknowledged her look. Maybe. I can't be sure. If I did, then why wouldn't I be with her now?

I believe there are missed opportunities in life, chance circumstances that offered a completely different story from the one we have lived through, if only we had had the sense or courage to seize the moment, to grab hold of a possibility, and to follow that path to its end.

I'm not sure why I started thinking about this quandary, because I am not unhappy with where I am today. Maybe, there will always be the voice of "what if ..." in the back of my mind. At its best, it is dreamy. At its worst, it is unsettling.

One thing is certain. You can't roll back the years and change the choices that you made.

And still ... I wonder ...



Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Random Life

Everything Is Random

A Random Life

One of the new catch phrases among teenagers here is, "It's so random ..."

Some kids have it down to a fine art. Every second sentence is, "Oh, it's so random ..."

Good things, "random."

Bad things, "random."

In-between things, "random."

I want to live in a "random" universe too.

I'm sick and tired of my cause-and-effect universe. I'm sick and tired of feeling like somehow I am responsible for everything that is a part of my life, because the truth is that I'm not. I can't control the actions and feelings of everyone I know. Some days, I can barely control my own actions and feelings. No, I'd much rather have the assurance that at least a part of what happens to me is simply "random."

Take you and me, for example. Who could have ever predicted that I would be writing this for you or that you would be reading what I write. Some of you I know, in a small way, but most of you I don't know at all. We spend a few minutes together here, but then you go your way and I go mine. It's all so random, don't you think?

When I woke up this morning, I felt happier than I have in quite some time. I guess there are reasons why I feel so good, and maybe I even know those reasons, but in a random world, you just don't care. I mean, you care, but you never try to figure out and analyse every minute of your experience. You just live moment to moment. You just "go with the flow" sort of thing, because no matter what you say or do, there is only the random flow of experience anyway. No regrets, no second-guessing. No glass half-full and no glass half-empty. Just the glass of water ... drink while you can.

If everything is random, then anything is possible. If everything is random, you get to dream the impossible, and better still, you somehow know that even the most impossible dreams have a chance of coming true.

That's how I want to live.



Friday, October 19, 2012

The Lonesome Death of Amanda Todd

Amanda Michelle Todd

The Lonesome Death of Amanda Todd

Amanda Michelle Todd was a 15-year-old Canadian teenager who died on October 10, 2012.

Amanda posted this video on September 7, 2012. In it, she uses a series of flashcards to tell of her experience of being blackmailed, bullied, and physically assaulted. She mentions sending an image of her breasts to a man who later circulated it around the Internet. Ten days after posting this video, she was dead, presumably by suicide.

Her decision to end her life has allegedly been attributed to "cyber-bullying," reportedly through the social networking website Facebook.

Shortly before 6:00 pm on October 10, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to her home in Port Coquitlam, to investigate what they refer to as a "sudden death." They have since launched a full investigation into Amanda's case, by conducting interviews, reviewing content at social media sites, and actively monitoring certain online pages.

At the time of her death, Amanda Todd was a tenth-grade student at CABE Secondary in Coquitlam, British Columbia, the most western province of Canada.

What happened to Amanda Todd?

Was she a victim of what is being called "cyber-bullying," or was she a victim of a much more insidious problem — the way in which the Internet and social-networks "connect" some people while completely "disconnecting" others.

Young people, lonely and alienated, without real friends and somehow separated from their families, are especially vulnerable to the pressure to be a part of some larger online community. The Internet offers them a false world to replace the vacant world in which they find themselves on a daily basis. Social networking entices far too many people to mistake the "cyber world" for reality, and as absurd as it may seem, many young individuals like Amanda Todd find some kind of solace and self-worth in the words and the attention of absolute strangers.

I can't help but wonder what kind of life Amanda Todd had beyond her online life? What feelings drove her to seek companionship in a world of anonymous friendships and fabricated emotional connections? How desperate was she to step outside her home and actually engage in a relationship with a man who seduced her from the safety of her room into a world, not where she felt loved and respected, but where she felt disgraced and worthless. She sought love. She found betrayal.

The video is an obvious cry for help. Why didn't someone answer that call?

What has happened to our world?

What happened to the care and attention, and more importantly, the education and communication that Amanda needed from her father or mother?

Where was the boy next door?

Where were the dates to the movies, the nights out for pizza, the parties in some friend's basement?

Where was the best friend at school with whom she could confide, someone with whom she could share her deepest secrets and her darkest desires?

The Internet leaves a void in some people's understanding of real life. The instantaneous interaction with others through a computer screen seems real enough, sometimes better than anything an individual has experienced before, but no matter how one defines that interaction, it is not real in the truest sense.

In a world where everyone seems to want to "belong," where everyone seems to want to be "connected," one can expect to have victims. One can expect to see lives destroyed because of some incredulous pressure to befriend and interact with as many "friends" as possible in one social network or another.

What haunts me still is that we allow weak and vulnerable children to enter into these dangerous situations on the Internet. Youth and innocence is not a weakness. It is a time to be cherished, if only because it is so fleeting. Nevertheless, it is also a time that requires at least some modicum of supervision and protection from those who have no moral base and who run like wolf packs in our world, cut the weak from the herd, and destroy them.

More on the Amanda Todd story is available at The Toronto Star, which includes a fairly comprehensive series of articles.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Scrambled Conversation

The Wheel Of Misfortune

A Scrambled Conversation

"Do you like your eggs?"

"Mmm ... very smooth, I have never had scrambled eggs quite so smooth."

"Yes, well, the secret is not to stir them."

"Sort of like an omelet, then?"

"No, not really. An omelet has to be flipped."


"Yes, flipped, you know, turned over sort of, tucked, kind of like making a pocket."

"But shouldn't scrambled eggs be scrambled, sort of, you know, like the name implies?"

"What do you mean?"

"Shouldn't scrambled eggs be stirred into little humps?"


"I meant to say 'lumps.'"

"But you did say 'humps,' didn't you. A Freudian slip, I guess. You were probably thinking that you'd like to, well you know ... "

"God no, that hasn't crossed my mind for months now. I'm not at all interested."



"More a Freudian slap, then? You're angry that I won't, you know ... so you're full of resentment."

"No, honest, I don't care. There was nothing Freudian about it at all. I just missed the consonant by what? By four letters. It's not like I said 'pumps.'"

"Where did that come from? 'Pumps' is worse than 'humps.' You really do have some issues, don't you?"

"Me? Me? You're one to talk. It's not me who makes scrambled eggs like a pancake. Not me who decides the ins and outs of our relationship. Not me who ..."

"Oh ho, there's the truth of the matter!"

"Pardon me?"

"The 'ins and outs,' as you so casually put it."

"I have no idea what you mean."

"Oh yes you do. You're frustrated. And you blame me."

"I don't blame you for anything."

"Yes, you do. You blame me and you taunt me for being, oh I don't know, purefect."

"'Purefect' is not a word."

"Yes it is. But you have to say it like this ... Purrrrrrefect."

"Sort of like a cat, then?"



"Again with the passive-aggressive, uh, off-hand accusations?"

"I don't quite get your drift."

"A cat? A pussy cat? Pussy ... oh, you are something else. Is that all you think about?"

"Really, I had no intention of referring to anything sexual."

"So you say."


"You're a sex addict."

"No, I am just trying to get down these wonderful eggs, and be on my way to work."

"No you're not. You're stalling. Wait. Did you say, 'get down'? Did you really say, 'get down'? Oh God, all this buttery innuendo. You think I'll give you a three-minute quickie for the road, don't you?"

"Fat chance of that ever happening."

"Oh, there it is ... now the real aggression comes out. Fat? Now I'm fat ..."

"Excuse me?"

"Let's get one thing straight. It's not those eggs that you want. You want to scramble my eggs with your little beater until you have a bowl full of meringue."

"OK, now you're just being crude."

"You want to be the rooster in the barnyard. You want to be the cock of the walk. Well, listen carefully, Mr Cock-Of-The-Walk, listen very carefully ..."

"Yes ... I'm listening ..."

"This is one fat hen you're not going to be fluttering around any time soon."

"Got it. No fluttering. No problem."

"And if you want dinner tonight, bring home a Polish sausage, nice and firm, the biggest you can find."

"I hate to ask, but what, eggsactly, do you mean by that?"


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hello ... Goodbye

Don't Look Back

Hello ... Goodbye

It's the late night phone call, the letter, the awkward last kiss and hug, the bag of "your stuff," the gossipy friends, the two-day-later voice on an answering machine, the sleeplessness, the bittersweet letting go ...

It's funny. I have never had a problem with goodbyes. Sure, they're sad sometimes, tragic, full of drama, but any goodbye is also a dividing line that makes perfect sense to me. On that side, we were lovers; on this side, we are not. Or, as I like to say, the opposite of being with me is not being with me. Simple as that.

Hellos are complicated. Yes, getting to know someone is wonderful, exciting and all that, but still complicated. Hellos are a journey of discovery. Who are you? What kind of food/music/books/movies do you like? Did you know you talk in your sleep? What do you mean you think I dress like a homeless person? You have some broccoli in your teeth. Oh, so complicated and really quite time-consuming.

When it comes to goodbyes, no one cares about much of anything any more. Nice knowing you. Take care. Be safe. Have a nice life. Here, let me throw you a hundred more little platitudes.

Some people have their goodbyes down to a fine art. I suspect they've had a great deal of practice. I know, that sounds a little insensitive, but I swear, some people have their exit lines and an escape route planned even before they start a relationship. I suspect those people suffer from glass-half-emptyism — always expecting the worst in life.

After all, saying hello is a leap of faith, faith in yourself and your other, faith in the possibility that love has a long, albeit undefinable, future. Sadly, it's that very undefinable quality that screws some people up. Some people like to draw up a blueprint and plan the course of love right down to the final moments of breath. Therein lies the problem. Love is so tricky. Just when you think it's going this way, it goes that way. And if you're still going this way, while the relationship is going that way, I can almost guarantee you that there will be a goodbye in the offing.

Of course, sometimes someone in a goodbye scenario can be absolutely crushed by it. Then the goodbye doesn't seem so simple and easy. It's always a nasty business when anyone gets really, really hurt. "Owww ... I never saw that coming." I wonder, though, how some people don't know, don't realise what's coming?

Hellos have foreplay and so do goodbyes. From my experience, there are always plenty of warning signs prior to someone dropping the G-bomb on your plate. If one chooses to ignore the tiptoe moments foreshadowing a goodbye, well, there's bound to be some heartache. Sure love is blind, but it shouldn't also be deaf and dumb.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Big Head


My Big Head

As the story goes, I was dropped at the moment of my birth. The truth of the matter is that I apparently slipped through the fumbling hands of an obstetrician who got his medical degree in a USA college on a football scholarship. The good doctor presumably never made it to pro football. I guess you can understand why.

One variation of the plot has me bouncing on my head, and rebounding into the starch white apron of a matronly nurse, another former athlete, who once played first base for the Selkirk Sweethearts, a women's softball team of some distinction during the war years.
The Crane Technique

A second variation has me flipping from crown to toe and landing steadfastly on one foot, in some kind of complicated karate pose, much like the Crane technique that Ralph Macchio perfected in The Karate Kid.

Whatever the case might have been, I was definitely dropped. I know this to be a fact because I have a notation on my Dollar Barn Offshore Birth Certificate to prove it.

I offer this nugget of my past simply because someone told me the other day that I have a big head. Being fully dressed at the time of our conversation, I can only assume that person meant the one perched on top of my shoulders.

What I am not sure about is whether the person meant that I have a big head in a literal sense, or if she meant I have a big head in the sense that I am a pompous bastard.

You see, in the literal sense, I do have a big head — size 75/8. However, it may be equally true that I am somewhat, how shall I put it ... uh ... overly self-confident. OK, let's not mince words, there are times when I can be full of myself, even when I'm trying my damnedest to be humble.

I value humility, especially in others. I think, however, that everyone should have a certain amount of arrogance. An positive, even somewhat inflated, self-identity isn't all that bad. In fact, feeling important about oneself is almost a basic human right. I mean, who goes around telling everyone else that, "You're so much more important than me."

Vanity is said to be one of the seven deadly sins, but that kind of vanity must be an all-encompassing obsession with oneself. The everyday, garden variety form of vanity makes us proud of who we are, of what we do, of what we accomplish in life. Without it, people would just be sitting around in baggy, old sweat pants, drinking beery beverages, and eating sweet 'n' salty snacks until they pass out in front of the television. Ooops ... hope I didn't touch a nerve there.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Dream A Little Dream

Your Morning Chuckle

Dream A Little Dream

Some learned philosopher, Jiminy Cricket I think, once said that dreams do come true.

I hope not. I'm not so sure that I want my dream world getting all mucked up by reality.

In a dream, anything goes. You can be anyone you wish to be. You can live anywhere you want to live. You can have fame and fortune and friends galore, not to mention a long queue of lovers who come and go with the latest media heartthrobs.

I don't mind that my sleeping dreams and my daydreams are not real, and almost always, not even possible. Reality can be a drag, so we all need moments when we simply let the unreality of imagination fly, when we allow ourselves the luxury of letting fantasy flourish.

Too often, people confuse dreams with hopes and goals for the future. Dreaming that someday you will find happiness, wealth, or true love, for example, are not really dreams. These are hopes and an expectations. Each has a chance, maybe just a very slim chance, but each does have a chance of coming true. Dreaming that Johnny Depp is going to come swashbuckling through your bedroom window with his pirate sword drawn is a dream. The chances of that happening are nil to none.

Anything that might come true simply cannot be a dream. A dream owes nothing to truth and the real world. In fact, a dream is the opposite of reality. A dream is an escape from the ho-hum world of everyday life — meeting deadlines, showing up for work, paying bills, well, all that stuff.

So, go ahead and dream. Explore and enjoy the impossible. You deserve it.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Talkin' Wash Day Blues

Who's Hanging On The Wall???

Talkin' Wash Day Blues

Flotsam and jetsam
Eyes shut
It's Saturday morning
Same old pitch and putt

"Tell me something."
"I would if I could but I forget most everything."
"You're impossible. Tell me a story."
"Give me the password first."
"Password? What password? What are you talking about? Jesus Christ ..."

Shuga, shuga
Shuga, shuga
Coulda, woulda
Shuga, shuga
I'm in your wash cycle, baby,
Don't shake me loose

I was in Paris once, and I fell in love with a Paris girl. Not any specific girl. Not, like, one that had a name and a real identity, or even a secret identity. Just some Paris girl, one whom I made up in my imagination.

"Are you lying again? You are, aren't you?"
"How can that be lying?"
"I don't know. I don't trust storytellers like you. You make things up."
"You may be right."
"Well, I wish you would stop. Just stop living imaginary scenarios."
"Live in the real world, you mean?"
"Yes, just once, please and thank-you."
"You have such wonderful manners, how can I resist?"

Shuga, shuga
Shuga, shuga
Coulda, woulda
Shuga, shuga
I'm in your wash cycle, baby,
Don't shake me loose

And this Paris girl was beautiful beyond compare. Yes, I fell hard for her. Until, one day, the girl whom I had imagined was there right before my eyes. She was walking down the Boulevard Saint-Germain and coming straight towards me.

"At least tell me this is going to have a happy ending."
"Happy? Sad? What's the difference?"
"Happy endings make other people happy."
"No, not always, but most of the time."
"Do sad endings make people sad?"
"Yes, oh, I don't know. Just make it happy for a change."

Shuga, shuga
Shuga, shuga
Coulda, woulda
Shuga, shuga
I'm in your wash cycle, baby,
Don't shake me loose

And so we lived happily ever after.

"Smartass. You left out the story."
"I did?"
"Yes, there's no realistic character or plot development, no story at all."
"I see."
"You wanted a happy ending. Real people and real events rarely lead to a happy ending."
"Oh, Jesus Christ, you're such a pessimist."

Shuga, shuga
Shuga, shuga
Coulda, woulda
I'm riding out your spin cycle, baby,
And talkin' wash day blues



Friday, October 12, 2012

A Toast To Old-Fashioned Bread

Good Old-Fashioned White Bread

A Toast To Old-Fashioned Bread

I have discovered that eating toast and jam is not a good idea while I am trying to type out a little something for this piece on my blog. It's not the crumbs that are so bad. A good upside-down shake of my keyboard seems to be pretty effective at removing those little bits of burnt bread from between the "Y" and the "U" or the "O" and the "K." But the jam. Well, that's a whole other issue.

True to its name, the gooey, red-dyed strawberry confiture likes to "jam" up the space bar, which then sticks and leaves a trail of blank spaces across the screen like this                . See what I mean. It's like my computer has flat-lined.

Now, it's true that some days, I'm better off writing nothing than writing about some of the moronic things that seem to capture my interest. Today might be a perfect example.

You see, I got to thinking about toast 'n' jam and all, and I started remembering how it was when I was a kid, and the breakfast table included a mountain of toast. In those days, we ate the simplest of breads — white in a plain brown wrapping of a thin crust — nothing like the bread you get today.

Today, it seems almost a sin to buy plain white bread at $1.49 a loaf. In fact, most people have been convinced to eat only bread that has a million ancient grains in it, is charged with flax seeds, or is in some way organically reprogrammed to ensure that your body won't really digest it. In the name of fibre, and in a society preoccupied with the anus, today's high-end/rear-end bread pretty much comes out of your body more or less the same way it went in, kind of like the journey of corn.

New Age Bread

I've found that this "new age" bread no longer really tastes like bread. OK, to be honest, the bread that I ate as a kid had no real taste at all. This absence of taste, more bland than grand, was designed, I believe, not to interfere with the high fructose sweetness of jam, not to overpower the syrupy ambrosia of honey, and not to confound even the bittersweet flavour of that rind-full concoction called marmalade. At one time, what we gobbed on our toast was what mattered. We valued the spread over the bread.

So what happened? I suspect that some 9th Avenue, New York City baker missed the irony of that age-old pronouncement that "If the poor have no bread, then let them eat cake" — you know, that flip little remark attributed to Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution. So instead of baking simple white bread, the trend has become to produce genetically altered slices of bread that taste like cake.

Don't get me wrong. I love cake, despite the fact that people are always saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too," which I've always thought a pretty dumb thing to say. After all, no one eats a whole cake. So, you can have a piece of cake and still have cake. It's only when you get to the last piece of cake, that things get a little iffy, and my answer to that dilemma is just to go out and buy another cake, for goodness sake. Even in the worst case scenarios, you will probably be able to find an old Jos. Louis or a Little Debbie Snack Pack under one of the couch cushions.

I know, I know, I'm rambling.

You see, the problem is that I don't want bread that tastes like cake. I want my bread to be nothing more than a flour-power mosaic of yeasty air bubbles that has no flavour whatsoever. Tasty bread leads to tasty toast, and I don't want tasty toast that interferes with the gooey flavours of trans-fat-rich spreads like Nutella or Cheez Whiz, or as is the case this morning, Smucker's Pure Strawberry Jam.

The hell, I say, the hell with this nuts-and-berries mentality that promotes bowel regularity as if the ability to poo-on-cue is the thirteenth commandment. No, give me back that old-fashioned bread and some real toast and jam, and if I get jammed up and space-barred-out as a consequence of my ass-backwards thinking, then so be it.

After all, can a colonoscopy be all that bad?



Thursday, October 11, 2012


Puppet Master


It's human nature to have expectations.

When you go to school, you have expectations of doing reasonably well.

When you start a new job, you have expectations about how you will handle the work, and maybe more importantly, how much you will be paid.

When you move into a new place, you have expectations about how your move might change your life.

When you cut out sweets and low-octane carbs, you have expectations that you will hopefully shed a few pounds.

More often than not, your expectations aren't unreasonable. You study, you work, you move, you diet, and if you are true to your intentions, you will find your life changing.

For most of us, controlling how our personal life unfolds is critical to our sense of well-being.

The one scenario where we seem to falter is when we have expectations of the people closest to us.

Parents who have high expectations for their children can be unduly disappointed.

Friends, even the best of friends whom we trust unequivocally, may betray us.

Lovers, who meet in a whirlwind of passion, sometimes drift from that initial romantic blast off into a more thoughtful state of being. One or the other, or both, sometimes enter a period of unnerving pause in an attempt to define what there is to expect out of the relationship. When the mind takes over from the heart, the one we love seems so much more unpredictable, unreasonable, or uncaring, and suddenly the unwavering love we first felt becomes a quagmire of uncertainty.

We can always seem to accommodate who we are and accept most of what we do in life, but sometimes the actions of those who matter so much to us simply, well, baffle us. What we expected jumps the rail, and the streetcar of our desires careens off its track and wreaks havoc in our lives. Expectation evolves into the urge to control those closest to us, because those are the people who help weave the fabric of our own contentment.

It's tough. Facing and accepting the unexpected is very tough. We begin to manage, manipulate, subdue, or even smother those who, for whatever reason, choose to neglect, mistake, evade, or outright reject our expectations. One day, everything seems fine. The next, our greatest expectations become our direst disappointments.

"I gave you everything!" we scream in anger, only to be rebuffed by the simple assertion, "It's not what I want."

We build a house for ourselves and those we love, and we are stunned when one or more of our closest family members, friends, or lovers decides he or she no longer wants to live under the roof or inside the walls that we have built.

And so, some people fall into a state of almost apocalyptic frustration and seemingly endless suffering.

Writing this brings to mind that little aphorism written many years ago:

If you love something, set it free; if it comes back it's yours, if it doesn't, it never was.

What we should realise is that our powerlessness over others is not a weakness at all and certainly not one of life's great failures. Those who sprout wings need air in which to fly. Be the wind beneath them, not the leather jesses that keep them strapped to your wrist and entrapped in the world you have created for them. Let them create a world for themselves.

Such freedom has a cost. Outside the house you have built, there are obvious dangers, but a house is not a prison. You cannot simply lock the door and say, "I know what's best." You don't know what's best for anyone but yourself, and the cost of not letting go will be only greater heartache for yourself. After all, I suspect that prisoners are the worst form of company.

Stand back. Be strong. Be patient and hopeful. Most of all, do not feel as if a part of you is leaving when someone decides it is time for him or her to travel a path different from the one you are travelling. You are not complete or completed by the presence of another person. For good or bad, you are just you, a tapestry of strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and doubts, attainable dreams and ridiculous fantasies.

Accepting and being happy with who you are is all that ultimately matters, and allowing others to be happy, even if it means being away from you, is one of life's greatest blessings.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Band-Aids On The Run

The Waiting Room

Band-Aids On The Run

I've had some rough bouts of cold and flu lately. It's been so bad that I went to my doctor last week to see if anything serious was going on. Now, for me, that's one giant step. I avoid doctors like the plague, mostly because the only reason I'm there is to confirm what I already know, that I'm sick, and to be honest, I'm not a big fan of bad news.

Doctors are a little bit like car mechanics, with all their shiny metallic instruments and diagnostic equipment used to probe a little here and probe a little there, except that, in the doctor's garage, you can't just ask for the express oil change or the brake job special while you read a magazine in the waiting room. You can't just pat the old Chevy on the rear bumper and say, "Don't be afraid, now ... in you go ..." and then hightail it across the street to the Starbucks to kill an hour or two. No, in the white world of medicine, you get to be an active participant in the drama of deciding whether or not you'll live until next weekend.

I like my doctor. I really do. Of the three hours I spend between arriving at his office door and leaving with a handful of prescriptions, the ten or fifteen minutes that I actually spend with him seem pretty productive. What I don't like is what takes place for the other two hours and forty-five minutes.

I always arrive for my appointment on time. Sometimes, I'm even there a bit early, but not too early, because I really don't want to sit around in a small waiting room with a bunch of sick people. Unfortunately, the woman who runs the front desk must have studied metaphysics in college, because she has no idea about the nature of time as most of us know it in the real world.

In her mind, you don't really have an "appointment." It's more like you have a "disappointment," because nobody gets in at the designated time. To her, every patient is scheduled for a specific day, but certainly not for a specific hour. If you show up on that day, you get to see the doctor. Your name is added to a list, and when it's your turn, you get to go into an examining room. Sure, you can complain, but you'd be an idiot to do so. You can say, "But I had an appointment at 10:15, and now it's almost noon!" The reward for such whining is that you get to sit through her lunch break until the late hours of the afternoon before your name finally becomes a conscious thought to her and you're called to see the doctor.

Last week was no different from any other visit. I arrived at my appointed time and got past the front desk about an hour later. There I was greeted by the doctor's assistant, a somewhat sour woman, presumably a nurse of some sort since she was wearing green scrubs, and she quickly ushered me into examining room #10.

"Take off all your clothes," she said without so much as an introduction.

I chuckled slightly. There I was, standing in front of a woman telling me to take off my clothes, and I found myself saying, "I prefer not to."

"You have to. It's a new policy," she snapped back as she pushed a folded paper robe into my hands. "Take off all your clothes, and put this on." Then, as she hurried out the door to get back to her coffee and the latest People magazine, she added, "I'll be back to check on you shortly."

So I undressed and stood there completely naked, and I admit it all seemed a little unusual to be in such a strange and chilly room with no king size bed or even a mini-bar in sight. I unfolded my paper robe. It was white with blue trim, one of those marvels of health care fashion that sort of ties around the neck and then, even under the best of circumstances, falls from the shoulders in a way that leaves one's butt hanging ten, so to speak. That's under the best of circumstances. On this day, there had clearly been some confusion. The nurse had obviously mistaken me for a five-year-old, because the robe didn't fall much past my armpits. Instead of a robe, it was more like a bib.

"Great," I said to myself as I sat up on the wax paper strip down the middle of the examining table, "I feel like a ham sandwich ready for take-out."

When the nurse burst back into the room, I thought for a moment I saw her eyes flickering where they should not be flickering.

"That robe a bit small for you?" she snickered.

"Not if you're serving lobster."

With an almost smile, she handed me a small, empty cup. I took it and looked inside.

"Where is the melted butter?" I asked with my best bedpan expression.

"I need you to take that cup across the hall to the washroom and fill it half-full with urine."

"Is that the same as half-empty?" I mused with a smirk.



"Whether you think the results will be good or bad. If it were me, I'd go for good." She bustled around the room and then added, "And I need the urine to be midstream. "


"Yes. Not at the start and not at the end. I want a sample from the middle or your urination."

I was dumbfounded. "From the middle?" I asked.

"Yes, from the middle."

"Sounds like it could be messy," I suggested. "You see, for men, peeing is a point-and-shoot operation. If I start messing around in the middle of everything and stick this cup into the stream, I'm likely to get splashed in the eye. I may go blind, or at the very least, need a shower afterwards."

"There are plenty of paper towels in the washroom. Just be sure to tidy up afterwards. And don't come back dribbling all over the place."

Suddenly, I felt diminished, almost insulted. "I am not a dribbler," I insisted.

She looked at me carefully, and I sensed a mind about to go mad in the room, but I just wasn't sure if it was hers or mine. I stepped off the examining table and began to walk to the door. Much to my dismay, my butt had warmed and sealed itself to the wax paper that I had been sitting on, and as I walked, I began to pull the paper off its roll, causing a large white streamer to trail behind me.

The nurse grabbed my arm and stopped me. "Turn around," she said flatly.

I turned to my left.

"Turn again," she said.

I turned to my left again, and the paper streamer had now completely encircled my body. She ripped the paper about three feet behind me and handed me the strip.

"Hold this," she muttered.

I took the paper in my left hand.

"There," she said as she looked me up and down. "Now you're more or less decent. Head across the hall like a good little boy, and get me that sample."

The rest of my visit went from bad to worse. When my doctor finally made an appearance, I was prodded and invaded in the most demeaning manner until he finally said those golden words, "You can get dressed now." I must admit I felt a certain elation at the prospect of getting away from the whole medical gig for another year. Sadly, just as I finished tying my right shoelace and was quickly pocketing a sample box of Sesame Street Band-Aids, the doctor stuck his head back in the room and said, "I want to see you again in a week. Be sure to make an appointment before you leave. "

And in that instant, in those eighteen words and assorted punctuation marks, my heart blipped and dipped with the dread fear of the follow-up appointment. Everyone knows that the follow-up appointment can only mean bad news, maybe even the worst news possible. The moment was electric to me, sort of like someone had held the paddles of a defibrillator to each side of my head, and yelled "CLEAR" just before zapping my brain with enough voltage to turn me into a soprano. So you shouldn't be surprised that, when the door closed behind my doctor, I was quick to squeak, "Ooooo ... I don't think so."

OK, OK. Yes, I'm in denial. Yes, I'm a fugitive dodging the long stethoscope of the medical machine, hiding out by the get-well cards in drug stores, buying vitamins and herbal remedies, and quizzing unsuspecting pharmacists about generic over-the-counter painkillers. Oh, I'm a mess, I tell you, an absolute mess.




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