Monthly Archives: May 2015

REFLECTIONS ON MY CELL PHONE CASE

cellphoneholder

I love having things that no one else has.  This is hard to do in a society that mass produces everything.  This is why I like to make things from stuff that most people would consider garbage.

I could have bought a nice cell-phone case.  I could have accepted the many offers from people who had cell-phone cases they no longer needed.  I chose not to.  I made my cell-phone case from toilet-paper roll holders and black duct tape.  It does not look as nice as a store-bought case, but I do not care.  It works.  I made a small pocket on the back to carry a spare battery for my phone.  I love knowing that no one else in the Universe has a cell-phone case like mine.

Someone told me that a shaving brush lasts longer when you store it upside down.  I could have bought a shaving-brush stand, but chose not to.  I cut the top quarter off a water bottle and made the mouth a little bigger to hold my shaving brush.  With a string in the sides, this unique shaving-brush holder hangs keeping my shaving brush upside down.  I do not care that it does not look as nice as a mass-produced shaving-brush stand.  I love knowing that I am the only one in the Universe that has this shaving-brush holder.

My life.  What am I doing with my life?  I am living like many others, but it is not like many others because I am living my life my way.  I love being different and knowing that I am living my life my way.

But I confess that being a human being means that I am a social animal.  Being a social animal means that I can only go so far feeling comfortable about being different.  I am comfortable being different as long as there are other human beings out there being different.   If there were no other human beings out there being different, then I would quickly conform to the closest human group.  My need to fit in is stronger than my need to be different.

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE DAY

MHD_fullcolor

Thursday May 28 was Menstrual Hygiene Day.  I would never had known if I had not read a story in The Toronto Star about the Canadian Government tabling a motion to remove the sales tax from feminine hygiene products.  The quest to end the tax gained attention after an online petition started by Jill Piebiak.  The Star quoted Piebiak as saying, “We are ecstatic,” she said, noting that today is menstrual hygiene day.

Menstrual Hygiene Day?  Yep, it is real.  Menstrual Hygiene Day’s mission is to “break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management . . .  plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.”  The first Menstrual Hygiene Day was May 28, 2014.  Yesterday was only the second which explains why Menstrual Hygiene Day is not as well-known as Christmas.

So, I am doing my part for the cause by helping to raise awareness about this day.  Now you know.

http://menstrualhygieneday.org/

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/05/28/conservatives-remove-federal-tax-on-feminine-hygiene-products-as-of-july-1.html

SAYING GRACE

atlantafamilygrace

My parents made sure that saying grace before our meals was a standard practice.

For what we are about to receive, the Lord make us thankful.  Amen.

Not only my parents, but my Sunday School teacher impressed upon me how grateful I should be for what God provides.

What puzzled me was that no one said grace before eating potato chips, ice cream or candy.  Did God not provide potato chips, ice cream and candy?  If God did not provide these snacks, then who did?  How come no one says grace before eating snacks and junk food?

MY EARLIEST MEMORY . . .

earliest

My earliest memory is being at my aunt’s.  My parents had left me with her for some reason.  I do not know where my brother and sisters were.  Come to think of it, my younger brother and sister were not born yet.

I was learning to walk upright on my hind legs.  This was going on before being dropped off at my aunt’s.  I would walk so far and fall, walk so far and fall, walk so far and fall.  But at my aunt’s, I was walking farther before I fell.  And then I was walking farther and farther before I fell.  Soon I was walking without falling at all.  How proud I was!

When I fall emotionally, I try to remember the persevering child I was who always got up no matter what.

WHEN I GROW UP I WANNA BE . . .

Now what?  No words are coming.  I wish the words would flow out of me.

“Oh, but they are.  Just listen.”

Okay.  I am listening . . .

what

As a kid, I always changed my mind about what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I thought about being Superman, but I did not like the idea of the trouble I would go through taking off my super clothes when I had to poop.  Besides all the layers of clothing to pull down, I could not guarantee that my cape would not fall into the toilet and get caca on it.  So much for being Superman.

I would see a television show about a lawyer, and I wanted to be a lawyer.  Then I would see a show about a scientist, and I wanted to be a scientist.  I liked chemistry.  I liked biology.  I liked physics.  I wanted to be a scientist using all three of these areas, but adults said that I could not.  “You can only be a chemist, or a biologist, or a physicist.  You cannot be all three,” said adults who were always taking the fun out of things.

A pirate!  I saw a movie about a pirate and wanted to be a pirate—a good one of course.  But I was born in the wrong century.  No one sailed good old-fashioned pirate ships any more.

All  the while I was changing my mind about various careers, I was getting older.  I had to find a job after finishing school.  I worked at various jobs and ended up quitting them.

My passions thrive in the Creative Universe.  I love playing with ideas.  But there is something I love more than playing with ideas—although playing with ideas is part of this activity.  I love farting around!  I can fart around for hours and never get bored.  I could fart around forever and never get bored.

“Gary,” people ask, “what are your goals?  Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I answer, “My goal is to get paid for farting around.  In five years, I will be at a job that pays me to fart around.”

fartaround

ON MY HONESTY

crossed

I am an honest person.  I always tell the truth and never steal.  Sometimes I may fudge the truth, and sometimes I find things before they are lost.  This is not the same as lying and stealing.  Lying and stealing are wrong.  I could never live with myself if I told a lie or stole something.

Fudging the truth is not lying because there is still truth that I am manipulating.  A lie as no truth in it at all.

Finding things before they are lost is not stealing.  If people do not know that something is lost, then they cannot say that it is missing or stolen.   I find only things that no one knows are missing.

Should I consider a career in politics?

ONTARIO OPPORTUNITIES FUND

TEMP-2015-Logo-Ontario-Yours-to-Discover

I could not believe it when I read this on my income tax form:

Ontario Opportunities Fund – You can help reduce Ontario’s debt by completing this area to donate some or all of your 2014 tax refund to the Ontario Opportunities Fund . . .

I had to read it several times to make sure I was not misunderstanding what it was saying.   The poor Government of Ontario is destitute and needs help.  The taxes it takes are not enough; so it is asking taxpayers to give it some or all of their income-tax refunds.

Huh?  Who in his or her right mind would give an income-tax refund back to the government?  “Here, Ontario, I want you to have my income-tax refund.  You need it more than I do.”

I love the name,  Ontario Opportunities Fund.  Opportunities for whom?  For me?  I don’t think so!  Opportunities for any taxpayer in Ontario?  I don’t think so.  Opportunities for the Government of Ontario to get and spend more money and go further in debt?  I think so.

Hey Government of Ontario, I understand you are having some financial difficulties and may end up on the street.  It would be most appreciated if you could spare some money for a donation to the Gary Johnston Opportunities Fund.   Your donation would help reduce Gary Johnston’s debt, and give him some extra money that he, too, could waste.  Thank you.

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/oof/

THE WISDOM OF THE AGES

rainbow-nebula

People like Kenny Conservative (see previous blog) do not trust themselves.  They fear listening to that Still Small Voice inside.  They have trouble expressing their feelings.  They always look outside themselves for guidance and answers.

My father was like that.  He used to ridicule me for expressing what was inside me.  “What the hell do you know?” he asked.  “Who the hell do you think you are?”  I soon learned not to trust or express my feelings, and to think the authority outside me was wiser than The Authority inside me.

It has taken many years for me to undo what I learned, and trust myself.  What a journey learning that The Authority inside me, the Wisdom of the Ages, is wiser than any human authority.  And I am still learning, growing.  It is an ongoing process.

People like Kenny and my father do not allow for growth.  Fixed beliefs gives them security.  Allowing for growth means uncertainty, insecurity.  Better to have fixed beliefs and listen to a human authority figure .  It is safe that way.  There are no risks.

I will not pretend that I do not long for certainty and security.  I will not pretend that following my Inner Guidance is always pleasant and fun—especially when I barely have enough money to buy food.  But I trust my Inner Guidance knows why I need to experience what I am going through.  My Inner Guidance sees the big picture.  I see only the brushstrokes.  And as much as that Still Small Voice appears wrong to human reasoning, I listen to it because I know it comes from a place beyond human reasoning, beyond human thought.

Am I stupid or courageous?  The answer depends upon your beliefs.  Kenny says that I am stupid.  Other people have told me that they admire my courage.   Perhaps I am stupidly courageous.

No matter what, I will listen to that Still Small Voice.   It knows better than I do what is good for me, and the highest good for all.

KENNY CONSERVATIVE’S RATIONAL THINKING

Brain-image

How fascinating that some of us will believe what we want to believe no matter what facts stare us in the face.  We find ways to justify  beliefs we want to keep.

A friend of mine is a stanch conservative.  Let’s call him Kenny, Kenny Conservative.

According to Kenny, conservatives can do no wrong.  Recently I mentioned how U.S. President George Bush lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction.  Kenny said that I was wrong because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  I said that they never found the weapons of mass destruction, and Bush had lied to justify invading Iraq.

“Just because they never found them doesn’t mean that Hussein never had them,” said Kenny.  “Bush never lied.  The liberal media twisted the facts.”

I could not believe what I heard, but Kenny was serious.

In Kenny’s world, there are no grays or uncertainties.  Things are either black or white, good or bad, right or wrong.  Conservatives are always right and good; liberals are always wrong and bad.

Kenny worships Rush Limbaugh.  If Rush Limbaugh said that the moon was made of red cheese, then Kenny would believe that the moon is made of red cheese.  Any scientific proof showing otherwise would be “a plot by the liberal media to discredit Rush Limbaugh.”

Another example of Kenny’s rational thinking concerns God and afterlife.  Kenny says that there is no God or afterlife.  During one of our discussions, I asked Kenny, “What if a scientist produced scientific proof of God and an afterlife?  Would you accept this scientific proof?”

“No,” said Kenny.

“Why not?”

“Because,” said Kenny, “the scientist would be wrong.”

“How is he wrong if he produces scientific proof?”

“The scientist is wrong because there is no God or afterlife, and the scientist cannot prove what does not exist.”

Kenny makes me ask, “Do I twist truth to fit my beliefs?”   I probably do.  But unlike Kenny, I am not afraid of uncertainty or life’s gray areas.

Although he would never admit it, Kenny trembles with fear behind his rigid beliefs.

ANOTHER USELESS FIRE DRILL

aasreeetterror

“In ten minutes we will have an emergency fire drill and you will be asked to leave the building.  Thank you for your co-operation.”

Thanks for our co-operation?  What choice do we have?  Can we choose to stay in the library after the alarm sounds?

Every six months the North York Central Library has a pretend emergency by activating the fire alarm.  We library patrons have to go along with this plan and leave the building.  Several librarians don reflective safety vests and carry clipboards making checks as they watch us leave the building in a calm, timely and orderly manner.  What a waste of time!

Anyone who has been in a real emergency with a crowd of people knows how calm, timely and orderly evacuations get trumped by confusion, fear and panic.  All the practicing and drills mean nothing to a crowd’s fear and panic.  What group of people will calmly walk out of a building after and explosion covers them with human blood and guts, and smoke and fire causes difficulty breathing?  We won’t mention the collapsing floors, ceilings and walls.

If the library wants to practice an emergency, then sound the fire alarm without a warning and tell people to leave the building as fast as they can.

Too bad real emergencies did not come with ten-minute warnings.