Archive for September, 2009

If I should wake before I die…

September 20, 2009

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“Don’t anyone wake me if it’s just a dream, ’cause she’s the best thing ever happened to me.”  Angel Eyes by Jeff Healey

I don’t think about dying much.  I prefer to believe that I would be ready for it at any time, fearlessly staring down the Grim Reaper to the point of his awe and embarrassment.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living.  I still have an ever increasing fondness for Hawaiian style pizza and the seemingly endless varieties of ice cream.  The desire and indulgence of these two items alone could carry me over into the next century.  (a scant 91 years from now)  Not to mention the fact that each morning’s sunrise still inspires an appreciative reverence to the Almighty, music still calms the savage beast in me (or arouses him, depending on the circumstances) and reading a good book or discovering another classic film delightfully tickles my intellect to no end.  Nope, no death fixation here.  So why the somber moment of reflection?  

I am living a dream.  No, I am not rich and famous, I gave up on that a long time ago.  No, I haven’t conquered Mt. Everest or swam the English Channel, neither have I made some stirring contribution towards the betterment of mankind that will headline the annuals of achievement for the next one hundred years.  I am virtually a nobody that will die with quiet dignity amongst a small circle of friends and relatives as most of us do when crossing the finish line in this human race called “life”.  Like everyone else, I’ll be leaving a faint ripple in the sea of mankind that will ebb away into the calmness of those deep, still waters.  But until then…

The 20th of September is an anniversary of sorts, the day my BB and I made contact.   I had actually commented on her blog on the 9th of the month, but it was just a random hit… one of many I had instigated back when I was bored and just reading other blogs to pass the time.  Hers was different.  It struck a chord with me, like she was speaking to me or for me… needing my response.  We were both searching then, but we didn’t realize it… casting our bread out into cyberspace waters and not really expecting a bite.  As we connected, there was an honesty and openness there that I had never experienced in a relationship before.  Maybe it was because we didn’t have the distractions that usually accompany a formal meeting.  We couldn’t see each other.  At first, we only had the words we wrote and read, then came telephone conversations but still… no face to face contact.  No visuals of any kind except through our blogs, e-mails or voices… and maybe that made the difference.

 When you first meet someone, the attraction is mostly physical.  Her eyes, legs, hips or breasts are most prominent; his smile, shoulders, biceps or chest most profound.  After that initial impression comes communication; a look, a gesture, an approach, an introduction.  Finally there is a meshing of compatibility and compromise.  My beautiful girl and I had none of that, just two hearts willing to begin a relationship that had no idea where it would end up.

Now this morning (two years later) I am in our living room writing this little message to you all while she prepares breakfast.  She enjoys being a housewife, honestly… it never seems to be a chore for her.  I find myself asking, “What can I do for you today?” and actually wanting to be her handyman.  All those things we told ourselves when our courtship began; all the negativity and apprehension, all the tension and nagging doubts, feelings of unworthiness… they are all gone.  What attracted us to each other is still the central part of our relationship; honesty, trust, communication and of course, mutual respect.

We both work jobs that are not very glamorous, we have simple tastes and find joy in the little things.  Our conversations are lively and thought provoking.  She has her own mind and opinions as do I, but we allow each other the differences that make up our personalities even when we disagree.  I am proud of the way she carries herself; delicate and feminine yet forthright and determined.  I admire her devotion to her children and humble posture before God.  We’ll both admit we are not perfect in any sense of the word and yet find we blend gloriously.  I am constantly telling her what a lucky man I am.  I cannot think of a better reward in this life than having her love me.

So… if I should wake up sometime before I die and find it was all just a dream, if my life with my French Canadian sweetheart has just been the jarbling of events mixed into the cinema of sweet slumber;  rock me gently, coo softly into my ear and whisper a child’s prayer so that I may lull myself back into this ever-comforting blanket of serene contentment.  She is my reality, I require nothing else.

I love you, my fair one.  Sweet dreams all.    

(If embedding disabled by request appears, try double clicking to youTube)

peace.

To thine own self be Trudeau

September 7, 2009

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My wife and I watched Blazing Saddles a few nights back, the Mel Brooks classic.  She has decided that one way to understand her American husband better is to review his entire DVD collection alphabetically.  The next night we saw Bite the Bullet with Gene Hackman, another western albeit not a comedy but you get the connection.  Anyway, I remarked to BB after we watched Saddles that the movie would not be made today due to how sensitive we have become with being offensive towards any racial, social, ethnic, pantheistic, hedonistic or humanistic group, which rules out quite a few possibilities for good comedy, in my opinion.  I thought about this for a while and pondered how far we have come in this enlightened society of ours.  I remembered some of Lewis Grizzard’s comments on the Thought Police of 1984 (some 25 odd years ago), thinking he was uncanny in his prediction of our future .  We have succumbed to rubbing out individualism and the free expression of an open mind for fear it may be offensive.

I read recently over in England they are in the process of cleaning up the Queen’s English by removing certain expressions from our lexicon.  It is no longer acceptable to say, for example: “It’ll be a black day for…” or ” A dark cloud hung over…” because these words, black… dark…, might relate to a certain minority that may find them offensive.  Fortunately for us we can still be “… in a blue mood…” or “…be green with envy…” because those colors don’t exist in people.  We may still have “…our golden moment…”  “…turn yellow…” “…drive a lemon…” or “…be aglow with saffron…” with no direct affiliation to Orientals, fruit pickers, Ra and/or the Egyptian sun worshipers… yet.  We might even be “…in the pink…” though the latter expression hasn’t been fully approved by the Caucasian Society of Corrective English Speaking Rosy Red Assholes, but their decision is pending.  The article I was reading even declared that there was opposition to the word, “moist”.

Immediately I thought of Duncan Hines Cake Mix.

A few years ago, Duncan Hines proclaimed their cake moist as opposed to being dry.  Nobody wants a wet cake, but a moist one?   Well, that is to be most desirable and they displayed the fork pressing the spongy content to prove it wasn’t cardboard.  How could that word hardly be offensive?  Have we lost the essence of the old declaration, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me!” that we used so eloquently in our defense throughout grade school?  Are words really that harmful?  Can it be so that “moist” is truly subversive and needs to be rooted out of our conscience minds and forever banned from our parched lips?  I… for one, say no.

I have this big, thick research book; The Random House Dictionary of the English Language – Copyright 1969 (which hasn’t been altered to comply with New Age thinking) and it defines moist as: adj. 1. moderately or slightly wet; damp.  2. (of the eyes) tearful  3.  accompanied by or connected with liquid or moisture.  Nowhere in that definition do I find it as intended to be offensive.  Which leads me back to Lewis Grizzard.

A popular humorist with a column in the Atlanta Journal, Lewis Grizzard had the ability to make people laugh with him or at him and themselves by telling the thinking public we are taking this life way too seriously for our own good.  Lewis was a southerner and by some opinions; a redneck.  Though an educated man and fairly successful in his day, Grizzard defended his heritage with pride but with malice towards none.  He understood prejudice, having been raised in the Deep South and found most of his detractors decrying the fact that he was non-apologetic for what he considered his good fortune to be “… southern by the grace of God.”  In his book, I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962, he stated our society was heading towards a time when expression would be stifled by the ever invasive “thought police”.   Back then (early 90’s) his prediction was founded in subtle humour, today it is commonplace for people to be offended by words that need to be stricken from the mouths and printed pages of our enlightened societies terminology.  Which brings me to that great Canadian, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

I’ll admit that Canadian politics still baffle me, but there is one thing that has been affirmed in my mind.  Outside of Wayne Gretzky, Neil Young or Alex Trebek; no other Canadian comes close in representing the independent, Canadian spirit better than Trudeau.  Why?  History paints him as a maverick riding in a see-sawing playground of popularity amongst his countrymen.  Trudeau was not a puppet politician who succumbed to the whims of Parliament and/or the White House.  To the best of his ability, he did what was right for Canada.

Trudeau was the first head of state to meet with John and Yoko when they set out on their effort to join political dignitaries together for world peace, lending credibility to John and Yoko’s quest.  Trudeau represented a lessening of government and a more independent role of leadership in the free world as a commonwealth nation.  He was both widely popular and harshly criticized, but even through the fickle polls of public opinion he never compromised.  When asked how he was going to deal with certain political hot potatoes, he’d reply, “Just watch me.”

Jesse Winchester declared him, “the poor man’s friend” because of his seemingly neutral stance on the Vietnam War.  Thousands of draft evaders (including Winchester himself) fled to Canada during those years of conflict, yet Trudeau would not bow to political pressure from the U.S. to turn them away.  While not encouraging them to do so, his view of allowing these “immigrants” to move freely across Canada’s border gained him the unique status of a “people’s hero” in favor of the stuffed shirts of the old political regime. 

Pierre Elliott Trudeau even adopted the dual national language of French/English and would embrace both as Canada’s rightful heritage.  He did not seek to change those official languages to fit a mold or mindset, but united his country equally under them.  Would this be offensive today?  Only to the closed minded.

Unfortunately, there are some who feel threatened and/or exposed by certain terms or the usage of words that are unflattering, so they think if these are done away with prejudice will cease.  But you cannot censor thoughts or feelings with the deletion of expression, because if you try to do so… where does it end?  There is no language on earth more expressive than the English language as it continually evolves ever larger in content.  I say, don’t suppress it… 

I read recently that because one Canadian family head found the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, offensive it was being removed from the school’s curriculum, despite being a Pulitzer prize winning work.  So countless readers will be sheilded from this piece of classic American literature.  Ernest Hemingway’s work is being called into question and I wonder if Mark Twain could be next.  When we start censoring words, we shut down the free will to express and in turn foster resentment towards those who champion the ability to choose.

Last night my fair Chantal and I sat down to watch a black and white classic from 1938, Bringing Up Baby.  Early into the film, Cary Grant’s character was informed that a large private grant was being offered to the university to aid in his research as a paleontologist.  When told he’d be meeting a lawyer representing the party who was very favorable to placing the grant in their institution, he  commented, “Why, that’s very white of him!” 

If today’s thought police had their way, no doubt this film would have been nixed, too.

Don’t let them do your thinking for you.

peace.