Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Never Grow Up, Never Grow Old

when i was just a little gaffer, i had a paper route. impressively, i delivered those bitches every saturday for four. fucking. years. it was brutal. not the deliveries, so much, but the rag i was charged with hoisting around the block every weekend is actually a free publication that is really a delivery mechanism for a stack of flyers and coupons. people who "subscribe" to this paper actually have no interest in the poorly written and uninteresting content, they just want their flyers. and when i was a kid (and i believe their system has not changed at all), i had to stuff the papers with the flyers before i delivered them. this sounds like it isnt a big deal, but there were anywhere from 5 to 10 different flyers that had to be stuffed, and they didnt come in prearranged piles. so, you had to take out the flyers and line them all up and then collate them by hand and THEN stuff them in the papers. then i had to load them into my red wagon and start my deliveries. this horrible process basically ruined my saturday every week for four years. if memory serves me, i think i also had deliveries on wednesday nights, but there werent as many flyers on wednesdays so it wasnt as big of a deal. anyway, the reason i am telling you all this is because all of this had a great impact on my life. not only did it incite a great hatred of child labour in me, it has also affected the way that i think about and approach life's little challenges.
you see, when i was delivering the papers (all 26 of them, which seemed at the time like a lot) i would motivate myself by setting small goals. i would think, 'ok, i just need to get to the next telephone pole,' and then i would get there and think, 'ok now i just have to get to the house beside the telephone pole,' and then i would say, 'now i just need to get to that bush' or the end of the sidewalk or the trunk of the tree or whatever, whatever, whatever. the point is, that instead of getting overwhelmed by the daunting size of my whole entire paper route and how long it would take me to do it, (keep in mind, my only company was my cat, who would follow me 3/4 of the way and then go back home when we were at the house behind our house) i would just look ahead to the nearest possible check point and just focus on getting to that. most of these little stops along the way were only like, 5m apart from one another, but thats what got me through all of those winters and rainfalls and boring afternoons.
i have applied this same approach to many other things in my life, most recently to my running training, which generally sucks big ones. instead of thinking about the total distance or time that i am trying to do in a given workout, i just think 'i just have to get to the end of this song' or 'i just have to go for thirty more seconds' or 10% of a mile, or whatever, whatever, whatever. and these small distractions are enough to get me through this and all of lifes little obstacles, and i came up with that strategy when i was eight. years. old.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Strong and Free

well comrades, now that we've all had a laugh looking at my mother's ass allow me a moment to talk about the upcoming election. no im not going to rant like i usually do about these things. quite the opposite, actually. despite the flaws in our society, i have to say that at the very least i am proud of my friends and acquaintances.
the media loves to play endless statistics and interviews indicating that most canadians dont vote. this is true. what is so irritating is that the media also loves to make it sound like most of the non-voters are young people. the implication simmering under the surface of such reports is that young people dont give a shit about politics and are too self absorbed to bother with voting. i would even read into it a little further and say they also imply that our whole country is doomed because eventually all of the people who do vote are going to die and then only us non-voting, self-absorbed once young people and our equally self-absorbed non-voting children will be here to not vote and the whole country will descend into anarchy. perhaps there is some truth to this, but i doubt it. and this is where my sense of pride comes in.
this fine afternoon when i opened up my facebook, i discovered that the vast majority of my friends had watched the debate last night and many of their friends had commented on their admissions of having done so, indicating that they too, had watched the debate. i doubt very much that people who will take the time to watch the debate are not planning on voting in the election. and so i say: young people do vote and we dont have to give up hope just yet. and to my friends who may be reading this: i never doubted you. now lets get that robot out of office once and for all.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wheel of Morality

do any of you remember the animaniacs????? i sure do. if you dont, allow me to recap: the animaniacs were a warner brothers cartoon not unlike the looney tunes that were on tv on saturday mornings. it was an awesome show. my best halloween costume ever was a three-man bit where we dressed up as the animaniacs, which, incidentally was the last year i went trick or treating. anyway, at the end of each episode the animaniacs would spin the "wheel of morality" which would randomly assign a moral to the show. they also said this poem: "wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn, tell us the lesson that we should learn." and it would always be something inane like "dont leave the house without your pants on unless its dark out."
sometimes i think the writers of some childrens stories used approximately the same logic to come up with the messages for what are now ubiquitous childhood standbys. i think the reason these stories last is because no one really questions them but let us take a moment to ponder what i shall hereby refer to as CHILDHOOD LITERARY WEIRDNESS:
1) goldilocks and the three bears: i cant help but wonder if the success of this story is at least in part related to the popularity of little blond girls in picture books. im not sure WHY this motif is so popular: genetically, the occurence of blonde hair is much less frequent than that of dark hair and you would think children of the world would relate better to characters that look like themselves. but i digress. as far as i can tell, the moral of this story is "if you do a B and E, make sure you leave the scene of the crime before the family returns home." it also doesnt do much for the bears of the world, it makes them look like they are smart enough to make clothes and stoves and homes and cook oatmeal, but not smart enough to use sentences longer than five words.
2) rapunzel: although i must admit i was very impressed with disney's take on this classic (and believe me, that is HIGH PRAISE, i usually hate those assholes) the point of this story escapes me. for those who may have forgotten the original version, the story ends with the prince being blinded by a thorny bush and wandering the forest for years and the girl having her locks chopped off and being abandoned in the forest. they do ultimately find each other but it seems to me that the moral here is "love is crippling and will cost you everything else" which is as cynical as it is dark. we all know how much i love the dark and cynical but im not sure we need to be filling the heads of four year olds with such things, they will get there on their own around the time puberty hits. when i was a kid this story always made me fixate on the strangely evocative lettuce that the mother craved that got her into so much trouble in the first place. maybe the real moral is "dont eat salad."
3) little red riding hood: although i admit i do UNDERSTAND this story, i find its themes a little too mature for its intended audience. also, i get the impression that most adults DONT understand it, so they dont really explain the intended moral to their children. most adults, ive noticed, tell children that the moral of this story is something along the lines of being cautious and observant to avoid being fooled by someone who looks harmless but wants to hurt you. i suppose thats part of it, but the imagery of the red hood and the independent walk through the woods suggests that little red riding hood is actually a coming of age tale. some have argued that the wolf represents bad men/sexuality and the lumberjack represents good men/being married/if you arent married then your father. i will buy that, but i think at its root its more about growing up and learning things the hard way. i mean, she gets eaten, people.
4) the three little pigs: i think the moral of this story is supposed to either be about not taking short cuts in your work or it wont stand up to the test of time or its an allegory for having strong faith (but then it would a total rip off of the bible's foolish man building his house upon the sand) but i think that message gets lost on most of us and just comes across as "bricks are the best thing to build houses with." also im not sure how or where someone came up with the idea of a wolf BLOWING DOWN A HOUSE which is just too bizarre for words.

im sure there are more examples but these are the ones i was thinking about today. and this is why animaniacs was such a great show. by not pretending to be meaningful or about anything, it actually pointed and laughed at all the stuffy, pompus, figurative morals of most art aimed at children. which perhaps makes it among the most educational of all.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Insecticide

hello comrades! i am delighted to see there have been two more of you added to my fray this week (although apparently one of them got arrested last night and is planning on pleading guilty and expects to get 5 - 10 so im not sure if he will be around anymore. but i hope he is because i liked him but whatever), so let me just say WELCOME! BIENVENUE! and that is the end of my cheerfulness today because i have two rants that are totally unrelated except for the fact that they are equally vexing to me.
first of all, a client of mine who shall remain nameless keeps contracting head lice and its driving me crazy. i am 95% sure this is because some certain nameless relatives of my client's have not done an adequate job of clearing up head lice in their OWN children and so these children keep passing it back to my client and my client's mother and MYSELF are stuck dealing with it. this has been an ongoing issue since last july and im fucking sick of it. especially because when i delivered this nameless individual home yesterday the head lice situation was definitely clear. i go to pick this person up today and the mother tells me they were visiting the aforementioned relatives and one of the aforementioned children was actually in my clients home while i was picking my client up and i thought well isnt that interesting, i bet this individual has lice again when i know this person didnt yesterday!!!! and guess what???? im right!!!!!! yay!!!!!!!!!!! so now, once i get done here, i will have to take this person back to my home and spend anywhere from half an hour to an hour picking headlice. again. grrrrrrrr.
anyway the other rant is that im really pissed about this whole situation with our prime minister. for my possible non-canadian readers (or for my canadian readers who have been living under a rock for the last two weeks) here is a brief recap: our parliament had a vote of non-confidence in the government and it passed. our prime minister was also found to be in contempt of parliament. so parliament got dissolved and we are having an election. for the most part, this is good news but here comes the irritating part. according to our election rules, being found in contempt of parliament is not only in breach of the law, but it is one of the few instances where someone is not allowed to run for office again if they are found to be in this position. apparently, stephen harper, our robotic and enigmatic prime minister DOESNT CARE what the law says and is running anyway. the only explanation the house of commons has been able to give as to why this man isnt a) being arrested for his CRIME of being in contempt of parliament and b) being forced out of office with prejudice is that "this has never happened before and we dont know what to do." what. the. fuck. we dont know what to do? um, how bout arrest him? how about tell him he is not legally able to be the leader of his part? how about telling the conservatives to elect a new leader? i think that the house is just hoping he will step down voluntarily so they wont have to take measure against him, which is what most canadians would do because that is the kind of people we are. "i made a mistake. i will gracefully disappear to let someone else rectify it" is what canadians are all about. but stephen harper isnt. thats why hes not right for the job in the first place. he doesnt embody who we are as a nation, i dont think he even really cares. and i cant believe that the RCMP isnt at 24 sussex with a pair of cuffs for him, not to mention the fact that i cant believe that parliament hill isnt being swarmed with protesters. its so maddening.
if our lawmakers dont obey the law, what incentive is there for us to do so? its not as if hes disobeying the law in some act of civil disobedience (which is kind of different). hes just doing whateverthefuck he wants. just like he always does. and that my friends, is fascism. and that is where all of the great troubles of the world started. and its starting right here, right now, and as is so often the sad case, it is being met with just enough apathy that he is going to get away with it. Lord Have Mercy.