Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Forest Through the Trees

You swallow hard and take a deep breath trying to quell the butterflies before you knock. You exchange awkward pleasantries imbued with the knowledge that things are about to change forever. Excitement wells up as you both head to your car and embark on the first date.

Ahh the first date. Nowadays it’s prefaced by texting and facebook creeping. Well no more tech veils. The facade is a snap shot in time and lol’s don’t work in the real world.

A lot has been said about the job interview nature of the first date and for good reason. Attraction is a strong adversary to truth and it can imperceptibly take over our objectivity.

On one first date I laughed so hard at the beautiful girl’s joke that it stunned me. So stunned that I immediately outed myself saying “Not sure if your joke was that funny or your beauty got in the way of my judgement. “ True story.

Attraction is so powerful that when coupled with our innate desire to believe what we want to believe we can convince ourselves of almost anything.

A simple quip or a witticism can be easily extrapolated into many wonderful things by a thirsty mind. The quiet and reserved can be assumed deep and thoughtful when really that wind noise is coming from their ears.

On the first date we are full of expectations so our propensity for this fallibility is at an all-time high and it’s better to get a grip before we lose our heads. Ever wondered how your friends could date so and so and not see what you and everyone else sees? They’ve been blinded.

We are surrounded by friends with relationships clearly doomed to our unbiased minds. If only they would’ve governed themselves and saw that person for what they truly are. Instead we are left feigning sympathetic ears to their constant tales of woe. Been both dance partners myself.

Common interests are the ubiquitous check lists to these occasions. Favourite songs, shows and movies are very good gateways into things that interest and touch them. You can glean a lot from such interpretations as long as you are aware of the inherent’re the interpreter. Mind you Zoolander in their top 3 is a dead giveaway. Run.

Ok so now we need more spelled out information that is unique to this stranger across the table. Time to get them talking while thinking, the “while” thinking being the key.

We don’t want them regurgitating familiar material they’ve trotted out many times. Impassioned diatribes are poor barometers and as engaging as pouring words over a chair. You love family. Check.

Getting them thinking on their feet is the ticket. Here’s an example to evoke the desired effect : If money was no object how would you plan the perfect day?

This would be a snippet of mine.

I’m gently stirred by the rumbling Ocean as the sun begins to cascade through the drapes. It is a crisp blue sky that beckons from the balcony overlooking the white sands and translucent ocean below. The weather is perfection.

After breakfast on the terrace we meet our guests poolside. A select gathering of friends are cabana surfing around a private pool at our own resort that would make a Sultan envious.

After squeezing in a wee hammock time we would gather for a meal to end all meals. Dressed in all white linen and our tanned faces danced with torch lights we engage in lively conversation.

In three short blurbs I have revealed some interesting things about priorities, aspirations, intelligence and even neuroses. Fate is a made up word and we should all do a better job as the interviewer in my humble opinion. Best thing about population explosions is all the fish in the sea.

See ya next week top of the food chain!

-Life is complicated and far from perfect, but it's still great.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Hope This Finds You Well

A 15 year old girl bellows at her parents: “You don’t know how much I love him! I can’t live without him!” Tears streaming down her reddened face as the moving truck pulls up to the house.

A 90 year old man lies in bed alone for the first time after 70 years of marriage and a wife’s death. He longs to peer upon her countenance and thoughts of joining her fill his dreams.

Love is a uniquely powerful emotion weaving its way through the tapestry of our lives. According to The Beatles it’s all we need and Milton summed it up thusly “So dear I love him that with him, all deaths I could endure. Without him, live no life”.

However I submit that Hope, not Love, is actually the lifeblood that sustains us all. Hope is the real invisible hand; not only behind the little girl’s angst or in the elderly despair, but in absolutely every facet of everyone’s life, in every possibility that lay before us.

Hope is all powerful. It sustains not only the loved, but those searching for love. It sustains people in the direst of times when their very mortality forces them to face death itself, and it also empowers those that are living the dream to push forward for something more.

Hope knots up our stomachs in a job interview, then morphs into elation when we imagine the possible future ahead.

It is in a parent’s eyes clutching a new born as they hope so badly for all life’s greatest gifts to be bestowed upon the unsuspecting infant.

Hope is in everything we do. People are the most despondent when all hope appears gone. However, once acceptance of the new predicament sets in, hope will flicker in the darkness and will refuse to be snuffed out.

It is worth noting that a life in hindsight has an apex, a sort of Benjamin Button trajectory, where life leads up to something wonderful only to slip silently away. We don’t live our lives looking down the slope though. Each new low is a new bottom and we hope to right the ship, catch a favourable wind and turn this swale into a crest.

When Jack Nicholson asked “What if this is good as it gets”, we barely bat an eye, for today is a new day and there is hope of a brighter tomorrow.

I will leave you with two of my favourite quotes from my favourite movie...they articulate the point much better.

Shawshank Redemption

“Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend, Andy.”

-Red reading Andy’s letter in a Maine hayfield

I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

-Red deeply breathing in the air through the bus window

Whatever it is that you hope for, I wish you the best. But know that hope in and of itself is going to be there to help you along your journey every step of the way.

See ya next week top of the food chain!

-Life is complicated and far from perfect, but it's still great.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Silly Rabbit, Tricks is on the Kids

Easter is when a mythical bunny disseminates colourful eggs and copious amounts of chocolate in a quasi Jesus/ Spring celebration. Makes me wonder why parents fill children’s squishy minds with such tales.

Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, tales of magical kingdoms and fanciful creatures are the diet fed to the young and addle minded. Parents feed and propagate these myths by borrowing against their very credibility.

They dissuade healthy scepticism by providing tangible proof to this these unimaginable hoaxes in the form of milk and cookies, chocolate eggs, money under the pillow alongside reams of perfunctory lies. They then strangely drink in their offspring’s wonderment.

Concepts of nurture and sound foundations for these delicate creatures are pushed aside for deceitful frivolity.

Children come to understand the truth through their parents. It is not at their behest to be lied to. No more than it is the dog that chases the phantom ball you pretended to throw. Some find this vicariously amusing and enjoyable but is this not a double edged sword? Have they not besmirched their credibility and created a symbiotic reality with things that go bump in the night?

The Boogeyman, ghost and monsters are no longer ridiculous figments in a world of science but actual possibilities in the co-existing fantasy world confirmed by parent’s words and deeds. Hard to comfort with compromised reason why monsters don’t exist in the middle of the night to a frightened child.

Parent’s position as guardian of all things true and the repository of absolute knowledge has created a conflicting world bereft of reason and logic. What further manifestations of this early betrayal of trust can result?

Would a child not be equally excited to rip open presents on “Naughty or Nice Day” where Mommy and Daddy preside over rewards of an unknown nature? Or “Chocolate Day”? Or “Proud of You Day”?

Is there not enough wonderment in the real world to sustain amazement? We have built pyramids that have lasted thousands of years, a wall that can be seen from space and rockets that have travelled to the moon. We went from caves to skyscrapers, from ridiculously superstitious to splitting the atom and from prey to the top of the food chain.

Perhaps part of the manifestation of impregnating this tomfoolery in the early stages of the defenceless is an adult prone to idiocy.

Amazingly adults seek Fortune Tellers living in trailer parks, to divine their fate through silly little cards. Someone should’ve told them the truth about reality.

I’ll bet there are quite a few beliefs entrenched in fairytales.

See ya next week top of the food chain!

-Life is complicated and far from perfect, but it's still great.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

God There are a Lot of People Here

Global Warming is akin to myopically focusing on the screech of your tires as you lock up your wheels, instead of the concrete wall you are about to slam into. That wall... Global Population.

Mankind has walked this globe for 2 million years of Earth's 4.5 billion year existence (sorry Creationists, 6000 years is an embarrassing absurdity). Most of that was spent in caves adorned with depictions of The Hunt.…a pretty simplistic and barbaric existence. Kinda like hanging around a few of the bars we have downtown at 2 am.

However, a scant 14,000 years ago our primitive brains embraced the higher power of the all-knowing Moon/Sun Gods. Fear of God(s) was very effective in organizing the dim witted Neanderthals and would eventually transform them from the sparse nomadic tribes whacking each other, into the great civilizations of today. Much like the Barrie Police waiting outside those same bars.

We finally reached a Global population of 1 billion in the early 1800's; quite an achievement really. A billion humans had left behind the thick brow line, meat slung over an open fire and wearing dirty ball caps on a Saturday night. We were now living the Little House on the Prairie life, churning butter, relying on blacksmiths and spit shinning our cowboy boots for Yee Haw night.

It took us 1,999,800 years to get to 1 billion in population. It only took us another 90 to get to 1.5B. It was the year 1900. Americans were making $10 per week and closing in on such niceties as indoor plumbing and electricity. Barrie was well established as citizens traversed our godforsaken snow belt in a horse and buggy. College kids drank free I believe. Nothing speaks to sophistication like cheaply obliterating the leaders of tomorrow.

At the turn of the Millennium we had grown to 5.9B. Now that is a staggering jump. As of today we are at 6.7B. It took us 2,000,000 years for us to get to 1B and now we can add 1B to our closed system in a mind bogglingly brief 12 years. Keeping in mind the astute among us say that 1.5 billion is the limit for our planet to heal the injuries we impart in virtual perpetuity.

Currently we are doubling the Global Population every 50 Years and we are consuming and polluting on an equally exponential scale. We are the Yodeling mountain climber trekking up the mountainside on the Price is Right, seemingly oblivious to the end result.

Two Thirds of our population live below the poverty line and struggle for their very survival. China in the 70’s instituted the one child law yet still lead the pack with 1.3 billion followed closely by India with 1.2 billion.

This is a Brave New World indeed. Thank Christ SKYBANK is under construction because I need a drink from some place high with a view!

See ya next week top of the food chain!

-Life is complicated and far from perfect, but it's still great.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Money in the Mirror

Ever bought a lottery ticket and waxed about spending the winnings on family and friends? A house here, a car there sort of stuff. Good clean fun. However allow me to evoke John Lennon so we can imagine something better. What if we had “Richest People in the World” kind of money? Big money. $50 Billion club big. This isn't Fantasy Island lore either, people really posses this kind of wealth so let's spend some real dough-re-mi.

- Build a 50 room Five Diamond Hotel for you and your peeps on the water here in The Bear (aka Barrie). We'll want every bathroom dripping in marble, every wall adorned in plasma and every room beckoned by a balcony. Cost $75M.

-Personal airport with four custom tailored G5’s on constant stand-by to whisk you and said posse (not the headband, ball cap askew kind) south. Airport line ups are for the unwashed masses and a thing of the past for us. Cost $125M.

And guess where we are going?

-Our own private Island resort. 50 Rain Man suites, Championship Golf Course/ Spa, awe-inspiring views of crisp blue oceans and fine cuisine await. Cost $300M.

Entertainment? You got it!

- NFL Team Owner has a dulcet tone to it. I don’t know about you but Skyboxes and Jumbotrons on a Sunday smells like victory in the morning to me. Cost $1B. (Feel free to insert your own personal peccadillo here).

-Methinks Producer of the most expensive movie ever made is resume worthy. Let's cast our favorite actors so we can hangout and fame whore a wee bit. Maybe a Will Smith/Tommy Hanks joint with some cameo work from Leo and a Clooney/Pitt/Jolie combo. A new Rat Pack will emerge. Cost $400M

-Being this rich you have access to anyone you like. Fascinating dinner party guests will help you wile away all those free nights. Round up the Obamas, Lettermans, Anistons, Becks, Mannings, Madonnas, Victoria Secret glide ponies, whomever. $2M a week walking around money should suffice in keeping the Champagne flowing.

-Going to need a World’s Largest something. I’m going with Yacht. At 500 feet it’ll have two helicopters, hot tubs, pool, launch boats and a submarine...cause why wouldn’t you have a submarine?! It’ll look something like this but bigger and better of course. Cost $400M

Tab thus far is a paltry $2.4 Billion, if both our movie and football franchises tank. Actually make it $2.5B. Going to buy every dream car I’ve ever wanted too, or at least 30 of them if they average only $300,000 each. That is a lot of Ferraris.

Add on a rainy day fund and cash to keep everything ship shape for a couple it another $2.5B and that leaves us with *gulp* ...$45B left to spend!

Jesus we’re just not thinking big enough...

Ok let us try and cure Cancer. We need to look at our lovely surgery enhanced faces in the mirror after all. Build a state of the art facility, SkyDome was $500M so we’ll spend twice that. Hire 1000 of the greatest scientists/doctors and give them all annual salaries of $1M and with that payroll you’ll run out of 44 years. The attempt alone will get you on Larry King. Plus it makes a great epitaph. “Here lies someone who tried to cure Cancer! What the hell did you do?”


Makes you wonder what drives people to amass and hoard personal wealth like this in a world where 17,000 children die every day from starvation. All that innocence dying on such a staggering scale because they didn’t have something as simple as bread and water...

We all share in the guilt to some degree as none of us are living as Friar Tuck with a rope for a belt. We buy the iPods and designer clothes as others die. However is there a line in the sand or a mercy rule to this game and should we wonder how much horsepower and square footage is appropriate in the face of such reality? Surely some have shamefully ignored any existence of a line, a rule or even an almighty score keeper and perhaps their indecency has crossed into obscenity. Perhaps we can't have it both ways. Therein lies the rub.

See ya next week top of the food chain!

-Life is complicated and far from perfect, but it's still great.