Saturday, 29 April 2017

My Twilight Years Rant: Reduced to Four Moods

"The older I get, the less I care what people think of me. Therefore the older I get, the more I enjoy life."

I so love that! Sounds a little harsh, maybe (or a lot harsh perhaps), but truth is truth. I've played the games that people play, and quite frankly, I'm no longer interested in playing them.

At the risk of no doubt offending some of my readers, let me simply say: Shit or get off the pot; say what you mean, and mean what you say, and stop with the riddles already! (You know who you are). I can't read your mind, and quite frankly, I'm no longer interested in trying. If all you're going to do is play mind games with me, then just go away, and while you're at at, "unfriend" me from your social networks. Strange word, that "unfriend," isn't it? Begs the question: Were you really one to begin with, the way you carry on? Did I mention that I don't care anymore? Again, I'm sorry if that offends, but sheesh!

[End of Rant]

I'm actually quite happy to be at this stage of life. Isn't it interesting how peer pressure becomes less and less an issue the older you get? I remember someone once asking George Burns about what was the greatest thing about turning 100-years old. Cigar in hand, he apparently answered, "No peer pressure." With each passing year, as I see more and more people of my generation and my age in the obituary columns, I am also reminded that, I too have fewer and fewer peers to try and live up to. And quite frankly, I find that strangely liberating. (Sorry if that also sounds a little morbid).

So here I sit, in the twilight of my life, and I find that I really do care less about what people think of me. I've done my penance; I've paid my dues; and quite frankly, I no longer care. The world is going to go on with or without my approval, and with or without your approval, so go ahead; knock yourself out with your rants, biases, religion and pet peeves. Fact is, I really no longer care. I'm tired, and as someone has so eloquently said, I now only have four moods left:

1) I'm too old for this shit.
2) I'm too tired for this shit.
3) I'm too sober for this shit.
4) I don't have time for this shit.

Well there you have it. Offended? Oh well, shit happens; I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. But harsh as it may sound, hopefully I spoke truthfully. In the end, maybe that is worth something. Peace?

Photo Source: Unknown

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Little Red Riding Hood: A Politically Correct Rewrite?

There once was a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother on the edge of a large wood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house - not because this was womyn's work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community. Furthermore,  her grandmother was not sick, but rather was in full physical and mental health and was fully capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.

So Red Riding Hood set off with her basket through the woods. Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place and never set foot in it. Red Riding Hood, however, was confident enough in her own budding sexuality that such obvious Freudian imagery did not intimidate her.

On the way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood was accosted by a wolf, who asked what was in her basket. She replied, "Some healthful snacks for my grandmother, who is certainly capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult."

The wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused  you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be on my way."

Red Riding Hood walked along the main path. But, because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought,  the wolf knew a quicker route to Grandma's house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, an entirely valid course of action for a carnivore such as himself. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on Grandma's nightclothes and crawled into bed.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, "Grandma, I have brought you some fat-free, sodium-free snacks to salute you in your role of a wise and nurturing matriarch."

From the bed, the wolf said softly, "Come closer, child, so that I might see you."

Red Riding Hood said, "Oh, I forgot you are as optically challenged as a bat. Grandma, what big eyes you have!"

"They have seen much, and forgiven much, my dear."

"Grandma, what a big nose you have - only relative, of course, and certainly attractive in its own way."

"It has smelled much, and forgiven much, my dear."

"Grandma, what big teeth you have!"

The wolf said, "I am happy with who I am and what I am," and leaped out of bed. He grabbed Red Riding Hood in his claws, intent on devouring her. Red Riding Hood screamed, not out of alarm at the wolf's apparent tendency toward cross-dressing, but because of his willful invasion of her personal space.

Her screams were heard by a passing woodchopper-person (or log-fuel technician, as he preferred to be called). When he burst into the cottage, he saw the melee and tried to intervene. But as he raised his ax, Red Riding Hood and the wolf both stopped.

"And just what do you think you're doing?" asked Red Riding Hood.

The woodchopper-person blinked and tried to answer, but no words came to him.

"Bursting in here like a Neanderthal, trusting your weapon to do your thinking for you!" she exclaimed. "Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can't solve their own problems without a man's help!"

When she heard Red Riding Hood's impassioned speech, Grandma jumped out of the wolf's mouth, seized the woodchopper-person's ax, and cut his head off. After this ordeal, Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the wolf felt a certain commonality of purpose. The decided to set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, and they lived together in the woods happily ever after.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Story Source: Copied in its entirety from: "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times," by James Finn Garner. A great little book of thirteen chapters, including politically correct rewrites of timeless classics such as, The Three Little Pigs, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, and others. I highly recommend it. An awesome #1 Bestseller. Check it out.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 6

So, though we have long since stopped attending a traditional institutional church in favour of a more organic form of Christian fellowship, on Easter Sunday of this year my wife was invited by my daughter and son-in-law to join them at their church for Sunday services. (I was invited too, but chose the quiet solitude of an empty house instead).

Having said that, this week my grandson taught my wife a few lessons, and me as well through my wife, since I wasn’t personally there to learn them first hand from my grandson. This was a decision on my part that I have since lamented.

First of all, a caveat is in order. The theme of the Sunday service was one of “New Life.” For those of you not familiar with the true Easter story, I’d suggest you polish up a bit on your Christianity 101 by reading the New Testament account of the first Easter, such as recorded in Matthew chapters 27 and 28.

This Easter Sunday my grandson was just past his 10-week birthday, and he had a huge lesson in store for his Nana, and by extension, Opa. The Easter promise of hope and peace rang out loud and clear throughout the service, as my grandson moved and danced to the lights and music of the event, apparently not wanting to miss anything. As my wife held him, she couldn’t help but also become engrossed in his enthusiastic passion and excitement to be there with the rest of the church community, celebrating Easter. Did he already get the gist of what some have said is the most holy day in the Christian calendar? Maybe he did. After all, as Jesus himself once said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

The lesson our grandson taught us is that we need to celebrate “new life,” not just on Easter Sunday, but every day. For him, everyday is a new day, and every day is a day to smile and bounce around in a joyful expectation, glad to be alive. For those of us who have lived a little longer than my grandson, the same is also still true (or it ought to be). Unfortunately, we too often allow the pressures and stresses of life to keep us from smiling and bouncing around in a joyful and hopeful expectation. Somehow, we have to find a way to get past that lethargy. Everyday is a new day, a day gifted to us from God. How will we respond to it? If you still don’t know, look at a small child; they’ll teach you.

I’m really making a concerted effort this year to especially learn this lesson my grandson taught me, and to look at the world through his eyes. “Look, Opa! See, Nana! Isn’t that awesome? Wow! Wow!

It really does take a grandchild to screw our heads back on straight. Can you see the wonder through their eyes? I hope that you can, or at the very least, that you’re open to learning. Peace and blessings.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Expensive Lawn Art

I think my heart just skipped a couple beats.

I was leafing through a local car and RV dealers flyer/magazine, the kind that are distributed for free at various news stands and other public places, when I saw this picture advertising a "sale price" of $739,650. I couldn't help but wonder what the regular price was. Hmm.

Oh, I'm sure it's very nice (it ought to be for $0.7M), and at that price, I suspect that potential buyers are looking for something more than just a family RV to take them on two or three week's vacation each year. It's probably much more likely that buyers in this kind of market are probably planning on living in it year round.

Still, I look at something like this and all I see is a depreciating asset. Sure, it comes with a 7-year "Coach" warranty, but what's it going to be worth three years down the road, or when that warranty runs out? Does this really make good financial sense?

I suppose if I were retired and had that kind of "disposable" cash lying around (key word being "disposable"), I might look at it too. But even then, I'd probably still choke on a price tag of even only  1/10 of that, because all too often, even when it comes to cheaper and more affordable RV's, it seems to me that they end up sitting abandoned on the end of someone's driveway for most of the year, like the expensive lawn art that they ultimately are. Personally, I can think of other ways to landscape my front yard, but as with all things in life, to each their own.

I guess this post means that I now won't be getting a sales commission check from our local RV dealers this month. Hmm.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit

For those people who know me well, it is no secret that I'm somewhat of a bookworm and have been known to get lost in bookstores, and especially, in used bookstores. There's a plethora of hidden treasures that can be found in those endless stacks of literary genius (and some not so "genius") .

On one such used bookstore adventure, my wife found this little nugget:

The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk.

Now, doesn't that title just jump out at you and make you wonder about the content? It did that to me. In my twisted way of thinking, the title alone justified its purchase. In the introduction, author Lois Beckwith says:

A new era of corporate bullshit is upon us, and it is far more sinister than the words some Bschool grad, crusty veteran, or dot-com kid can dole out. It goes beyond empty phrases like "at the end of the day," "a sense of urgency," and "on the same page" and corrupts words like "lunch," "celebrate," "passion," and "commitment," which take on whole new meanings in this environment.

However, the most dangerous element of corporate bullshit is outside the realm of language altogether. This sickness has placed a stranglehold on our culture of work, affecting how we relate to and treat each other. It enables incompetence, iniquity, and frankly, inhumanity. At this point, language is merely the vehicle through which the bullshit is communicated. (p. 2-3)

Well there you have it; a "lexicon of empty, enraging, and just plain stupid office talk" for that hard-to-shop-for corporate business professional on your shopping list, or just for those looking for a great bathroom* reader. Happy reading.

*bathroom 1. the place where you go to perform essential bodily functions 2. the first place you are shown as a new employ, by a fellow staffer who is resisting telling you all the reasons it sucks to work there 3. for the cubicle set, the favored place for crying when struck by a particularly rough breakup, unfair retribution/public humiliation from the boss, or the overwhelming sense that your life is shit and you're never going anywhere, ever 4. site of bizarre intragender scolding regarding hygiene [primarily female], found in the form of eight-and-one-half-by-eleven-inch sheets of paper taped to the wall castigating fellow users with statements in the spirit of "Your mother does not work here"; "Learn to love the art of flushing"; "If you sprinkle when you tinkle …"; and "Were you raised in a barn?!" 5. also realm of uncomfortable monitoring/timing when it's okay to do a number two; some employees, most frequently men, will attempt to casually make their way to or from the bathroom with reading material, as if they are not announcing either "I am about to" or "I just did" take a shit; execs tend to relieve themselves with abandon, indicating their place in the social hierarchy, and may even conduct conference calls while on the can, an act that makes those in the bathroom uncomfortable as well as those who are subjected to the sound of flushing in the background during their meeting. 6. may also be the site of repeated encounters with a weird person, whom you get trapped in small talk with, or of a supreme busting in which you are openly bitching/gossiping with a coworker only to have your boss or another senior staffer emerge from a stall. (p. 11-12)

Photo Credit: Frances Ellen; Flickr Creative Commons