Aug 2017 10

I called one of my late mom’s best friends last night, just to catch up and see how she was doing. Her own husband had passed away recently and the last time I saw her was at his service. Talking to her was like watching a cliche TV commercial for how vibrant living in a seniors home can be – she is staying super active and social. I’m now amazed she was even in her apartment based on the social calendar she is keeping. She’s even going on a bus tour out to Halifax next week. Her story isn’t over, and it was very inspiring.

We reminisced a bit and talked about what it’s like to get older, for both of us at our ages. Although I am feeling I’m in a very good space in my life right now, I shared that working is hard, and paying off mortgages isn’t fun, and talking about how ‘When (insert whatever scenario) happens, things will be better’ and she had this to offer… I’ll remember it as best as I can but she basically said:

“Recently, I’ve realized – when you’re going through those years of working hard to make money, and getting ahead in your career, and raising children, and you’re busy all the time, you think ‘Wow, when are things going to get better?’. But now that I’m this age, and looking back, those ARE the good years. You just don’t know it when you’re in it. Being young, your friends still alive, being part of the rhythm of life. It turns out it was a lot of fun. It doesn’t actually get any better than that.”

I took a lot away from that. Like, when you’re on your way somewhere, it’s important to enjoy the journey. It’s about more than arriving. In a way, as my mom’s friend demonstrated, we never arrive. Life is a constant journey.

So get out there and truly enjoy the struggle of life, everyone. Keep moving towards something. Whatever it is.

And call an old person you know. They’d love to hear from you. Not all of them are lucky enough to have a full social calendar, or possess such a positive attitude. But also, they have a lot to offer.

Aug 2017 09

Heroes

Posted In Blog,The world

I have tried to stay out of the news cycle of what’s going on in the White House (AKA: on the golf courses) south of our Canadian border. I like to think I am very news and politically-minded, but I felt that giving more attention to this circus to the south was only giving it power, and taking attention away from my own life and how I can only affect things in my own sphere.

In recent weeks, when friends have engaged in animated conversations about ‘the Gooch’, or ‘the investigation’, or Sean Spicer, I have politely stayed out of things. I couldn’t really give an informed opinion when I didn’t have a base of knowledge. There are people who are supposedly ‘handling’ this, right? I mean, even Al Capone was eventually nailed on tax evasion.

But yesterday’s headlines were hard to miss with good ol’ 45 threatening to bring ‘fire and fury’ to North Korea. Did this scare me? Well, maybe not on the level of when I filled the bathtub before Y2K in case we needed fresh water. This isn’t my first ‘everybody panic!’ bait-thrown-into-the-water moment – you live long enough, you see a lot of them I bet.

No, what scared me the most was actually what was being served up today. Rex Tillerson, a name I know nothing about, was being introduced as a voice of reason. Who is this person? The Secretary of State. I looked up his credentials, while they aren’t nearly as potentially evil as one might be worried about as someone who was appointed by good ol’ 45, they do show a history of Russian business connections, oil, and maybe not ‘climate change denier’, but certainly ‘climate change accepter of the status quo’.

Credentials aside, it dawned on me that this is the hero that the media has been given to the world to appease our fears that things could spiral out of control.

This. Rex Tillerson.

And I asked myself “Good god, where are our real heroes in all of this? When are they arriving?”.

The world is clearly waiting for someone to step up and say ‘enough of this’. Like watching a child throw a tantrum in a restaurant and the parents aren’t doing anything, we hope for the grandmother to be in the washroom and then when she comes out she’ll restore some order.

And then I realized that there are no heroes coming. We are the heroes. We are waiting for us to show up.

This sounds quite dire because it’s so easy to just sit back and witness this and laugh. I currently have no plans to go south of our border and carry a big sign in Washington DC. And I am done with filling up bathtubs.

But it does make me wonder… What are we going to do? It’s hard enough to be a hero in your own life these days.

But Rex Tillerson can’t shoulder it all alone, methinks.

He has no cape.

[Re-committing to protocols of not getting into reality-show type discussions about The Mooch etc.]

 

Aug 2017 08

 

Make fun if you want, but I think it is perfectly logical for a child to have thought that pink lemonade came from lemons that were, in fact, pink.

Pink grapefruit juice comes from what? Fucking pink grapefruits, that’s where.

I think this would show tremendous powers of deduction, and a certain wide-eyed innocence in looking at the world.

I have one thing to say about your supposed superiority right now. Santa.

Good day.

#therapy #justgotjuice #ladyatjuicebar

 

Aug 2017 07

Some thoughts that have been brewing on gender, equality, SlutWalk, and my own shortcomings as I reflect on a recent cycle of my own thinking and behaviour that is hopefully coming to an end. (image: Pixabay, royalty-free)

“It’s too bad you can’t wear a tank top to work, Andrew, huh? Or a onesie.”

“What?”

“Cause it’s been so hot out. Women can wear a tank top to the office but you can’t.”

I don’t know where the rage I felt came from, but I was about to let it fly.

—–

I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist. I had a very strong mother who didn’t take guff from anyone despite her 5 feet tall (in heels) status. And as a small, visible minority man in advertising I wondered if I had more in common with women in the business in how I have been treated or dismissed.

This was an absurd myopic view of the world. But how did it take a tank top discussion for me to see? I’ve started to wonder, despite the above about my background, if I have actually been part of the problem.

Last week while out with some ad friends, I was asked why I quit being a full-time advertising employee almost 10 years ago. I waded into these waters with great passion and gallantly talked about how one of the reasons was I thought I had reached my own ceiling in terms of title and status because of my height. And I decided I’d rather put my energy into the creative work than fighting the stereotypes. Looking back, these things are true but as I reflect, I was basically saying I was giving up. It was too hard.

Today, thinking about this, that sure doesn’t feel like feminism. There is nothing brave about that.

Feminists don’t give up. They can’t. It is a never-ending battle. My silence helps nothing.

Compounding this was a recent discussion about pronouns and they/them/he/she that has stuck with me. I realized how hard it is for me to switch my language and that means it’s hard for me to switch my thinking.

Am I a dinosaur? How do I unlearn the habits I have learned? This isn’t just a male / female thing. It’s an all of us / everyone respect thing and as long as I think about equality as just strictly a binary thing, well, I am indeed part of the problem.

The above is very shameful to admit.

—-

“What do you mean I can’t wear a tank top? Why not?”

“Cause it’s not professional.”

“That is just ridiculous.”

“Why?”

“You’re saying some clothing should be perceived as more ‘professional’ or appropriate than others?”

WRITER’S NOTE: [I put ‘professional’ in quotes because I may have made air quotes when I said it. Or hope I did.]

“I guess.”

“That is offensive! This is really dangerous thinking.” I was probably using my drink as a prop at this point, swinging it around stupidly to make a point. “I think anyone should be allowed to wear whatever the hell they want in the office or anywhere if they’re comfortable.”

I should say that I love this friend of mine who shall stay nameless but I was stewing about this for awhile. My friends thought I was just in one of my moods, and I guess I didn’t understand where this rage came from. But now it makes sense. I need to keep myself accountable. It is up to everyone to change perceptions by speaking out. Silence will do nothing.

To my seven readers of this blog, this week is SlutWalk Toronto. Next Saturday. We have so much to work on in this world. How we think clothing defines us in any way – whether it’s in business or social or anywhere – is just one of the things we need to rethink. Clothing is not gendered or sexual in anyway. It is our thinking that is. Despite my tirade the other night, I am not innocent of this either. It is very likely I say and do stupid things on a daily basis. I am sorry it took this surprising flip of the situation for me to think about.

I am only starting to be more mindful. It will be a long slow road. I don’t know if I can change or kill the dinosaur, but maybe there is hope.

To true feminists, and those fighting for equality on all levels, I apologize. To call myself one was an insult to the fight you are truly fighting.

 

Aug 2017 03

Move over Wonder Woman and Rey and Ripley. The true original heroine of Science Fiction / fantasy movies was Star Wars’ Aunt Beru. A borderline embarrassing writing riff that clearly shows my geekiness runs too deep, and also that I need more serious topics to write about. But a bit of fun for the eve of a summer long weekend.

While talking about the original Star Wars (Episode IV, ‘A New Hope’ for you young’uns) the other day, something occurred to me. I have a new perspective on just who is the most sympathetic figure in the movie. It came as a surprise to me when I realized it, but it made a lot of sense.

Before I reveal my new take on this, let’s cover the candidates:

The Toshi Station power-converter-denied farmboy Luke Skywalker. Longs to hear tales about his navigator on a Spice Freighter father – “Cinnamon? Did he ever ship cinnamon?”.

Ben Kenobi, formerly livin large in the galaxy as a Knight and now in desperate need of some SPF 10,000 under the twin Tatooine suns, all to protect previously-mentioned whiny farmboy. Also, chopped in half later – you’ve had 40 years to see it so not really a ‘spoiler’.

The people of Alderaan merit consideration for sure. But were they really peaceful with no weapons? Because reports differed. Really, you’re not the homeworld of the leader of the free galaxy without a few stashed WOMDs for ‘defence’.

Greedo, who, although a complete dick, was really just trying to earn a living – Bounty Hunters gotta Bounty Hunter, people. This was his job. And besides, Han probably did dump his cargo.

Porkins. Unfortunate body-shaming named (was it a nickname?) Red Six in the battle of Yavin, and possibly given a faultily-serviced X-Wing for only, oh, the biggest battle of his life. Paid dearly when he selflessly assured everyone he was ‘alright’ but plowed into the surface of the battle station, nonetheless.

Chewbacca. Didn’t even get a medal from the Rebellion at the end like Luke and Han. Guess they figured it would clash with what he wears normally. Yah, nothing. He was naked, people. We don’t talk about this. Why?

R5-D4. Red astromech droid, put on sale by the Jawas on Tatooine, who just wants a home, and finally gets adopted by Owen Lars but … strokes out before he can even get in the house.

Okay, all possibly worthy candidates. But, the character we have to feel for the most?

Aunt Beru.

Yes, Aunt Fuckin Beru.

Wife of Owen Lars and mother-stand in for Luke Skywalker. The real star of the movie.

First of all, I think she was a victim of the patriarchy, and paid dearly for it by ending up as barbecue on the steps of her moisture farm hut. Think about it. She’s the only sensible and truly capable one in the movie until Kenobi shows up. Her role seems to be servin up blue milk and meals to her husband who makes Jabba the Hut seem downright charming, and this kid, Luke, who it turns out isn’t even a blood relation. Despite that, she’s looking out for him. She even tries to reason with her husband about the kid’s future and well-being but he doesn’t even want to enter into a real conversation with her about it. That is a good indication of how important Beru’s orgasm was to him, just saying. Anyhow, then on the morning of her death, probably like every morning she’s had since the son of what turns out to be the anti-christ showed up for her to help raise, is the first one awake and getting shit done before Luke takes the droids out and Uncle Owen even puts on his burlap sack.

And I’m going to bet that when the Imperial Stormtroopers showed up looking for the droids and Luke, she sealed up her lips like a trash compactor and didn’t give up the info. Whereas, I bet Uncle Owen was ready to sing like a bird. No proof of this, but look at the data – this was one tough bitch. She wasn’t gonna sell out Luke. In fact, I bet she killed Owen herself.

But what about her own dreams? What did SHE want?

She should’ve left Owen’s ass years ago and found the Beru she was meant to be.

She died like she lived – protecting other people and not even thinking of herself.

She deserved better.