Monthly Archives: December 2014
This actually happened — except for the parts I made up.
I am walking eastbound on Sheppard Avenue. I am on the north side facing traffic. I like to walk facing traffic so I will see any cars before they hit me.
A bus approaches. It is the Sheppard 84 bus. For some reason I stop to watch it go by. I am glad I did. There I am sitting on the bus, in a single seat, staring out the window! I am not looking at me standing on the north sidewalk. I am staring off into space towards the south and west. I am staring at everything and nothing. How weird is that? I am standing on the sidewalk watching myself sitting on a bus staring out the window.
And then? And then I disappear . . .
It’s over and done with is one of my family’s favorite sayings. They use it to avoid dealing with issues and their feelings. An issue arises. I want to discuss it to resolve it. “Now is not the time,” they say. (Now is not the time is another favorite family saying.) “Okay, when is the time?” I ask. “We don’t know, but now is not the time,” they say. When I try to raise the unresolved issue at a later time they say, “It’s over and done with.”
I anticipated flak from my family over not participating in Christmas.
“It’s Christmas and you should be with family,” they said.
“But I don’t feel like being with anyone. Christmas no longer has the happy feelings it used to have,” I said.
“Well, you should not feel that way.”
“But I do feel that way. Plus I don’t like the way we pretend that we don’t have issues with each other. We never discuss these issues to try to resolve them.”
“Christmas is not the time to discuss things that are over and done with.”
“Perhaps not, but we never discuss anything. We have problems with each other and we never discuss them.”
“We don’t have problems with each other. We have a problem with you because you won’t let things go. You dwell on the past. It’s over and done with, and you keep bringing it up.”
“But it is not over and done with. You pretend that it is no longer an issue, but I still have feelings about things.”
“Oh, poor, poor baby has feelings about things. Your problem is that you’re too sensitive and you dwell on the past. You shouldn’t be so sensitive and just let things go.”
“I can’t help how sensitive I am.”
“Yes you can. You can let things go.”
“I don’t feel respected around you. I feel that I don’t matter and you don’t care about my feelings.”
“Don’t care about your feelings? Your feelings are wrong because you dwell on the past and don’t let things go.”
“I won’t be there for Christmas.”
“You’re being selfish!”
“And you’re not being selfish by wanting me there?”
“No, because family should be together at Christmas.”
“Have a good time,” I said.
The conversation did not end that way. That was the nice censored-for-a-blog ending. I could have written how the conversation really ended, but now is not the time. Besides, it’s over and done with.
On November 30, 2014, near Ferguson riots, a gang of black youths attacked Zemir Begic, who is white, and beat him to death. A witness reported that before the attack, that these youths ran up and down the street shouting, “Fuck the white people! Kill the white people!” Officials claim that the attack was not racially motivated.
UH? Black youths shouting, “Fuck the white people! Kill the white people!” and then beat a white man to death is not racially motivated?
Also, why wasn’t this story given more coverage by the mainstream press?
No matter what color the human being, he or she is capable of racial prejudice and violence. But The System fears saying that some black people are racists and violent. The System reserves these qualities for whites only.
When not thinking rationally, we human beings resort to racism and violence. When not thinking rationally, we human beings also resort to justifying double standards.
Recently, a man killed his ex-wife and two children. The media are sympathetic and compassionate in reporting this story. You would think that the media cared.
Several years ago a neighbor feared for her life. Her ex-husband threatened to kill her. He had gone to jail for threatening and assaulting her, but the jail released him early. He would show up and try to break into her house threatening to kill her. She had a restraining order against him, but he would be gone by the time police arrived. The police said that there was nothing they could do unless they caught him at her place.
I thought a story in the media showing how The System was failing this woman would not only help to stop The System from failing her, and other women in her position, but prevent a murder. She gave me permission to contact the media, and she was willing to go public.
I called three television stations in Toronto and spoke to the producers for the news shows. (All three were women.) How shocking their response!
The first producer interrupted me as I was explaining the situation.
“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Has he killed her yet?” said the producer,
“No, but I was hoping a news story on–”
“Call us back when he kills her,” she said once again interrupting me.
“But I thought–”
“We’re not interested unless he does something. Call us back when he does,” she said and then hung up.
The other two producers said the same thing. They were only interested in the story after the murder, and did not care about preventing it.
Fortunately the neighbor moved away and no one knows where she is. She had wanted to do this before her ex-husband got out of jail, but the jail had released him early.
News is a product that the media packages and sells. If it bleeds, it leads. Do not be fooled by any sympathy or compassion the media displays. It’s only part of the sale.
One of the Toronto Star‘s top investigative reporters exposed Jian Ghomeshi favoring people who shared Ghomeshi’s agent and lawyer. Surprise. Surprise.
Society taught me, while growing up, that life is fair; that the race is always won by the swift; that battles are always won by the strong; that if I worked hard I would be rewarded. Yep, that’s what society taught me. How much pain I caused myself because I believed these things were true! How much easier my life is now that I know that life is not always fair; that the race is not always won by the swift; that battles are not always won by the strong; that no matter how hard I work rewards may not come if I don’t have connections.
Connections are what people need to get anywhere. You get connections by networking or through family and friends. It is nice to have talent, but talent is not as important as connections. This is how the world works. It is possible for someone to make it without connections, but that is rare.
I worked for a bank at one time. I was the supervisor of the dispatch office that serviced the automated teller machines. We had a job opening. My boss called me into his office.
“According to the rules, we have to advertise this job and interview all applicants,” he said. “You will do this, but this is the person you will hire.”
The person I hired just happened to be the son of one of the bank’s vice presidents.
I felt silly interviewing the other applicants pretending as if they might get the job when I already knew the outcome. What a charade! How often do similar charades happen?
Fortunately the son of the vice president was competent and able to do the job. I have worked at places where people were incompetent at their jobs, but management did nothing because the incompetent people were well-connected. At one place, a person ended up getting fired because he tried to do something about an incompetent, well-connected employee. Oh what irony! They fire a competent employee and keep an incompetent employee.
This is where I have a problem with nepotism. I see nothing wrong if the person hired is competent to do the job. I would rather hire someone I know, and who is capable to do the job, than take a chance on someone I don’t know.
“This business sucks! It’s who you know! It’s who you know!”
The first talent agency I was with sent me out for commercials and background work in films and television. This agency sent me out a bit, but not as much as I wanted to go out.
The agency sent out another actor all the time. This actor, I will call Steve because that is his name, had a friend named Sam who worked at the agency. Sam favored Steve. We all knew this was going on, but we also knew that is how the world works. We never complained because we knew complaining about favoritism in the entertainment industry was suicide.
For some reason, Steve’s friend Sam left the agency and got out of the business. The agency did not send Steve out as much — if at all. He was like the rest of us.
“It’s not fair!” said Steve. “This business sucks! It’s who you know! It’s who you know!”
How odd that Steve never complained before Sam left the agency.
I have worked for the municipal government, the federal government, private corporations, temp agencies, and now I have my unreal job in the business. No matter where I worked, the politics is the same: Connections. Connections. Connections.
Let me forget what I know. Let me reread the Star‘s story about Jian Ghomeshi booking guests that shared his agent and lawyer. Let me be shocked and outraged that such unfairness exists in the world. God help us!
My ex-wife obsessed over planning every event down to every microsecond. Time for spontaneity was never allowed. Plan. Plan. Plan. Busy. Busy. Busy.
My ex-wife’s grandfather sexually abused her from the time she was four years old until the time she turned seven. She never received any therapy, and refused to go to marriage counseling because she said that she was not ready to deal with her abuse. Perhaps her obsession to want to control everything stems from her lack of control during the abuse. To have any spontaneity may allow her demons to emerge. By planning everything, she suppresses and controls her demons. Who knows?
One time I was on my way home from work, and I got the urge to go out for dinner and a movie. I got home and said, “Honey, don’t worry about cooking. Let’s go out to dinner and then see a movie.”
“What about Emily?” asked my wife referring to our three-month-old daughter.
“We can drop her off at my mom’s,” I said, “and pick her up afterwards.”
“What? Drop her off on such short notice?”
“Sure. We won’t be long. We’ll grab dinner and catch an early movie. I don’t want a late night because I have to get up early for work tomorrow.”
“No, I don’t think so,” she said. “You’re going to have to give me more notice if you’re going to be spontaneous.”
I could not believe what I had heard!
“You’re going to have to give me more notice if you’re going to be spontaneous.”
She did not see the silliness of her statement.
I tried it once with her. Just before I left work I called her.
“I’m giving you notice,” I said. “I’m leaving work now and when I get home I’m going to be spontaneous.”
“What are you going to do?” she asked.
“I’m going to be spontaneous. I’m giving you notice like you asked.”
“But what are you going to do?”
“You’ll see,” I said and I hung up.
When I walked in the house I was smiling. She wasn’t.
“Before you go any further, you tell me what you are going to do,” she said.
“I’m going to take you in my arms and kiss you,” I said as I moved towards her.
She pushed me away.
“And then what are you going to do after that?”
“I don’t know. I’ll improvise.”
I made another pass at her, but she pushed me away.
“I’m not going to let you kiss me until you tell me what you’re going to do after that. Tell me now. I don’t have too much time. I have to get dinner ready.”
“Never mind,” I said. “Never mind.”
I never did learn how to plan my spontaneity.
When I and my brother and two sisters were kids, our father would make us wait at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning. We were not allowed to go see what Santa had brought us without our father checking the tree first, and then setting up his movie camera to film us charging down the stairs. Of course Daddy would take his sweet time going down the stairs. Several times he would get halfway down the stairs and then pretend he had forgotten something and come back up again. Once back upstairs he would remember that he did not forget whatever it was, and start down the stairs again walking ever so slowly.
Once he finally got downstairs, he would shout, “Holy Moly! Look at all the presents under the tree! Wow! I’ve never seen so many presents! Holy Moly!”
We were not allowed to come down until he set up his movie camera. And when he did? Charge! How we managed never to trample each other is a miracle.
Those were happy Christmases for me. What fun the anticipation! Daddy knew how to tune us up Christmas morning. He later admitted that it was as much fun for him as it was for us. It was a tradition that he had started. Neither he nor my mother had the same thing done to them Christmas morning.
Once married, I was looking forward to having the same fun with my kids at Christmas. I wanted to carry on the tradition that Dad had started, and tune up my kids on Christmas morning.
“What a stupid idea!” said my wife. “Making kids wait at the top of the stairs. No, you’re not doing that. The kids can come down and open their presents the way it’s done normally.”
“But, honey,” I said, “the best part of Christmas was the anticipation. I have to think hard to remember any gifts I got, but how easy it is to remember how much fun it was waiting for Dad to let us come down.”
“No! It’s a stupid idea and you’re not doing it.”
So marked the beginning of Christmas’ downfall for me. After we separated, my ex-wife did everything she could to prevent me from seeing the kids at Christmas time. If I did see the kids, then it was after a great obstacle course that she created. Some Christmases she fixed it so that I never saw my kids at all. With not seeing my kids coupled with the tensions that arise with family at Christmas, I got depressed at Christmas and never looked forward to it.
I loathed going to family functions, but went out of a sense of obligation. I thought, “One should be with family at Christmas time.” I thought this even though I hated that we got together and pretended that we were happy; that we had no unresolved issues. We were assisted with this illusion by alcohol and drugs. I have asked several times, but no one wants to try to resolve these issues.
No where is it written that one should spend Christmas with family. No where is it written that one should celebrate Christmas. Realizing this has taken away the guilt I felt by not spending Christmas with my family, and not celebrating Christmas.
Christmas is a hodgepodge of Pagan traditions and ideas from fiction. At one time Christmas was banned by Christians because of this. There was never a time that Christmas was not commercial. Our image of Santa Claus comes from a Coca Cola advertisement.
Why not be generous all year round and not just at Christmas? Why be miserable and force yourself to socialize with people you never socialize with the rest of the year?
If Christmas is your thing and you enjoy spending it with family, then Merry Christmas!
As for me? I have no idea what I will be doing on December 25, but I will be having fun just as I do everyday. Cheers!