Suck It Up?

Here is what the Next Vehicle Information board looked like at the Sheppard West Subway Station on Saturday December 9, 2017, at 7:54 p.m.  When working, this board gives the bus routes and times the buses are expected to arrive.  Obviously there was some problem with no information showing.

Is the hashtag indicative of what the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) thinks about its customers when TTC equipment malfunctions?


Weird But Funny



When I started going to the YMCA, I was fresh meat.  All the older gay men stared at me.  As time passed, their staring stopped as they learned that I was straight.

But one man has continued to make sexual comments to me that make me feel weird, but the comments are funny.  I will call this man Steve which is not his real name.

In order to see the humor what I am about to tell you, you have to remember that Steve always walks around the dressing room naked.  He is not ashamed of his body.  It’s almost as if he is advertising,  “Here I am!  You can have me.”

A few weeks ago, Steve came up to me while I was shaving in the washroom.  Naturally, he was naked.  He leaned towards me and whispered loudly, “Hey Gary, wanna see my dick?”

When I stopped laughing I said, “No, not today Steve.  Maybe tomorrow.”

Several times since then he has said, “How about today, Gary?  Wanna see my dick?”

I laugh when he says it, and when I think about it.  I am laughing now as I write this.

Today, I was in the shower room alone when Steve came in.  He immediately started singing “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca.  I was naked!  He was naked!  And he’s singing a love song to me!  Weird, but funny!

Another man came.  Steve stopped singing and said to the man, “I’m just singing a love song to my boyfriend.”  The man shook his head and laughed.

Steve likes to see how far he can go.  He knows I’m good-natured.  And, as I have mentioned before, I am proud that I am well-adjusted and not threatened by homosexuality.


Santa On The Subway

Santa celebrates because there were no delays while he was on the subway


Today at 11:35 a.m., Santa Claus boarded the southbound Yonge subway at College.  With him was his helper handing out candy canes, and two transit security officers.

Seeing Santa on the subway was not as amazing as seeing two transit security officers.  I thought transit security officers only existed in posters on subway walls for me to look at when I am in danger.  But there they were, two transit security officers protecting Santa as he walked down the train spreading goodwill.

Not once, while Santa was on the subway, was there a delay.  Not once!  How strange to have the subway move from station to station without stopping in the tunnel because of a delay . . .

“Attention TTC Customers:  We are currently experiencing a delay while workers build new subway tracks.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Thanks to Santa, I got to where I was going in good time.  I wish Santa took the subway more often.

Clarification for More Thoughts On Life

Several friends contacted me about yesterday’s blog, More Thoughts on Life.

They asked why I wanted to die in the Fall, and wanted me to clarify the ambiguity of “leaving the world laughing.”

I’m sure I have blogged before about why I want to die in the Fall.  I have a habit of repeating myself since my memory retired.  Did I mention that I have a habit of repeating myself?  But I can justify this incidence of repetition because my friends asked.

Besides being the opposite of Spring, in which I was born, Fall is beautiful with the leaves changing colors.  But the beauty of the changing colors is because the trees are preparing for Winter, and have cut off chlorophyll going to the leaves.  The leaves are changing colors while they are dying.  What a glorious death!

I doubt whether I will turn such beautiful colors as I die, but I can pretend to do so by dying in the Fall.

. . . I will leave this world laughing.

As for the ambiguity in the ending of yesterday’s blog my friends asked, “Will you make the world laugh before you die, or will you be laughing when you die?”

My reply?  “Yes.”

More Thoughts on Life

My high-school buddy with cancer is heavily sedated.  He spends a lot of time sleeping.  When he is awake he is too weak to talk.  A miracle would go good now.

What dreams or visions is he having?  I’d love to know.

I have mentioned before that when it is my time to die, I will die in the Fall.  I was born in the Spring and I will die in the Fall.  Of course, Life may have other plans about when it leaves my body.  I will have to go along with Life’s plans.

It is also worth repeating that I came into this world crying because I was young and did not know better.  Now I am older.  Now I am wiser.  I will leave this world laughing.

Jungle Food?

Yesterday, I walked south on Dufferin below Bloor towards the Dufferin Mall.  A teenager approached me.  He was smiling.  He wore baggy gangsta clothing with bling.  His pants were around his thighs.  (How can guys dress like that and be comfortable?  I can’t stand having my socks fall down to my ankles, let alone wearing my pants below my waist.)

You could call him a “bleached gangsta.”  He had short blond hair and blue eyes.

“Hey nigga!” he said to me.  “Lemme see you eat some of that jungle food.”

What?  Jungle food?  What the hell is jungle food, and why does he want to see me eat it?  Why would he say this to me?  Is this some gangsta code?

His words stunned me, but I said nothing and kept walking.  I had a purpose.  My purpose involved shopping at the Dufferin Mall and, secondly, pulling my pants down to my ankles and subsequently pulling them up again.

Silence? No, But Close Enough

I have mentioned many times how much noise there is at the library these days.  People talking, people laughing, cell phones ringing, cell-phone chatter, kids screaming — all compete for the space in the air at the library.  Times have changed since stern spinster librarians would “Shhh!” you for breathing too loud.

I wear foam earplugs, but they only mute the noise.   A voice in my head told me that I can block the noise by wearing the earplugs, and headphones playing white noise, or rain and thunderstorms.  I tried it.  It worked!

It’s not silence, but it’s close enough.


Meaningless Customer Service

Loblaws is a grocery store.  For 20 years they also ran a bank called Presidents Choice Financial (PC Financial).  The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) supported PC Financial. Unlike other banks, there were no service charges for your everyday banking with PC Financial.  Also, you earned points towards groceries when you used your PC Financial bank card to shop at Loblaws.

On November 1, 2017, PC Financial and CIBC parted ways.  A Loblaws cashier told me that I would lose my points unless I got a PC Plus card before November 1.  That way I could keep earning points when I shopped at Loblaws.

I got a card and thought I was earning points for all my purchases.  Not so.  I would only earn points for the PC Plus offers I downloaded to my card.  That meant going to the PC Plus website and looking at what they have to offer.  If I bought those items, then I would earn points.

If I had known this, then I would not have bothered getting a PC Plus card.  I have limited Internet access, and shopping is not a priority for me.  I will not waste time going to the PC Plus website and look for their offers so I can earn points.  I want to earn points for anything I buy.

Foolish me thinking that letting PC Plus know my concern would make a difference.  I sent them an e-mail saying that I no longer scan the PC Plus card because I am not earning points.  I also said how shopping is not a priority, so I don’t take the time to download their weekly offers.  I suggested that they return to earning points on everything you buy and not just their suggestions.

Here is the e-mail I received:

Dear Gary,

Thank you for contacting PC Plus Member Services.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate you bringing this matter to us. 

We are always looking for new ways to better satisfy our member’s needs and appreciate that you took the time to share your feedback with us. We will be sure to share your comments with the appropriate department for further review and consideration.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for participating in the PC Plus program and have a great day!


Kenneth Bryle I PC Plus Member Services

PC Plus™

Don’t forget to load your PC Plus offers this week!


. . . and appreciate that you took the time to share your feedback with us

This is saying the same thing as the previous sentence:  . . . and appreciate you bringing this matter to us. 


We will be sure to share your comments with the appropriate department for further review and consideration.

Sounds good, but how meaningless it is.  Which department?  What’s to review and consider?  I want to earn points when I buy things the way I did when I used my PC bank card.  The real message is, “We’re not going any further with your complaint, but we’re not going to tell you that.  We want you to believe that we care and are following up.”


I told them that I am no longer using the PC Plus card because I am not earning points.  Did I mention that I told them that I am no longer using the PC Plus card because I am not earning points?

Thank you for participating in the PC Plus program and have a great day!


I also told them that I don’t take the time to go online and download PC Plus offers because shopping is not a priority.

Don’t forget to load your PC Plus offers this week!


As I said, foolish me thinking that e-mailing PC Plus my concerns would make a difference.  As with form letters, now we know that there are form e-mails.

Adventures With Cancer

Several months ago the doctors, at Credit Valley Hospital, diagnosed a high-school buddy with pancreatic cancer.  But after more tests the doctors said, “It’s not pancreatic cancer, but there are spots on your liver.”

He went for a biopsy for the spots on his liver and the doctors said, “No cancer.  But we may have not done the test right, so we want to do it again.”

He went for a second biopsy and the doctors said, “No cancer.  But we want to investigate further.”

After a further test, the doctors said, “You’ve got Stage 4 Liver Cancer.”  And they started making arrangements for palliative care.

He went for a second opinion at Princess Margaret Hospital.  The doctors there said, “You’re not showing the usual symptoms for liver cancer.  We want to see why your liver is inflamed. We want to do more tests.”

Last Monday he went for tests at Princess Margaret Hospital.  He was to return Thursday for the results, but Thursday morning he was too weak and his ankles swelled.  He went, via ambulance, to Credit Valley Hospital.  The tests from Princess Margaret Hospital showed that the cancer has spread from his liver to his pancreas, and he has an infection in his liver.

I went to see him yesterday in the palliative care unit of Credit Valley Hospital.  He was in good spirits, but as long as I have known him he is always in good spirits.  Unlike the doctors, he hasn’t given up.  He is tired and weak, but he is taking one day at a time.  Who knows?  Miracles happen.

The doctor’s diagnosis? “It’s just a matter of time for him.”  But isn’t that something that they can say about all of us?

I Knew It!

Over 20 years ago, my car died and went to Heaven.  I have used public transit ever since.

It wasn’t long after using public transit that I worried about the noise levels—especially on the subway.  I tried calling the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to find out decibel levels.  For two weeks I was transferred to various departments and left voice messages.  No one returned my calls.  I concluded that the TTC did not want the public to know the decibel levels on the subway.  I have worn earplugs for the past 20 years.

I expressed my concerns about the noise levels on public transit to several friends.  I said how I worried about hearing damage while on the subway.  These friends dismissed my concern as frivolous.  “You’re worried about nothing,” they said.  That did not stop me from wearing earplugs.

A study published in Journal of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, mentions how the noises on the subway can damage hearing.  I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew it!

I also know that studies have proven that studies contradict each other.  That means that the TTC will publish a study stating that using the TTC not only improves hearing, but causes weight loss, whiter teeth, and a longer life.  This may be true, but I will continue to wear earplugs while on the subway.