Just A Few More New Year’s Resolutions


We’re less than a week into the New Year, and the salad eaters are already getting a little crabby, the non-smokers are downright belligerent and if Rashema, from accounting, tells you one more time why she’s not eating chocolate, you’re going to shove a Mars Bar™ up her nose.  But not to worry!  This happens every January when the “I’m-going-to-get-better” resolutions are still fresh.  In a couple of weeks, things will settle down and get back to normal.  Thank God!

However, in the interests of social progress, maybe it’s time our world made a few collective “I’m-going-to-get-better” resolutions.  Just a couple of minor changes that would enhance our society and make the journey from the cradle to the grave a little better for all of us.  Naturally, I have suggestions.

#1 — It’s time to limit the size of baby strollers.  Yes, parents have to move their kids around somehow, but they don’t need a vehicle the size of a Smart Car.  Some of those Infant Transportation Devices (ITDs) are big enough to have their own WiFi, for God’s sake!

#2 – And while we’re on the subject: let’s give some reasonable thought to carry-on luggage.  It isn’t necessary to haul that much crap onto an airplane that’s only going to be in the air a couple of hours.  And honestly, how much stuff do you actually need for a weekend in Vegas?

#3 — Let’s quit “checking our privilege” every five seconds.  Folks!  It’s still there.

#4 – And could we kindly remember that the collective wisdom of 50,000 years of science, mathematics, art and history isn’t merely a matter of opinion?

#5 – Perhaps we could overcome the burning need to constantly call each other with minute-by-minute updates on our global location.  “I’m on the bus.”  I’m around the corner.”  “I’ll be there in 10.”  If your friends are that worried you’re going to wander off like an absent-minded puppy, give the people around you a break and text them.

#6 – This is the year we should finally stop using the term “speaking out.”  First of all, it’s redundant and secondly, there’s an implication that, at some point, the speaker was silenced.  I can assure you: in our 24/7 Social Media universe, nobody is silent — unless they want to be.

#7 – Let’s not forget there’s a reason we have right and wrong.  Again, it’s not merely a matter of opinion.

#8 – At some point, we need to realize that a 140-character tweet is not a well-thought-out discussion of anything – ever.  Tweets don’t deserve that kind of respect.

#9 – The world would be a quieter, gentler place if everybody who has one would just shut up about their student loan.

#10 – We need to stop thinking people get extra points for being “authentic.”  They don’t!  It’s what people are supposed to be.

But the thing we all have to remember in 2019 – seriously — is:

#11 – It’s not about you!

And So This Is Christmas …

christmas 1

There are a million and six ways to celebrate Christmas — everything from Aunt Betty’s fruitcake (“Isn’t that the same one from last year?”) to the latest overpriced iPhone (“Holy crap!  They’re proud of their plastic!)  And we all keep Christmas in our own way.  However, there are certain things that everyone experiences at Christmas.  And these are the things that make the season special.

Christmas is about music — For God’s sake!  Could you give “Jingle Bells” a rest?  You’ve been playing that damn thing constantly since the 12th of November.  And, while we’re at it, one more “Little Drummer Boy” and I’m going to jump up and punch somebody – seriously – I’m going to punch somebody.

Christmas is about good cheer – To the guy who stole your parking space, the woman who elbowed into line and insisted she was next, the teenagers who were singing “Straight Outta Compton” in the Lego Store, the delivery person who dropped your package and kicked it to the door and the co-workers who secretly ate all your cookies – Merry Christmas, ya bunch of assholes!

Christmas is about giving — You’ve known each other since grade school; you’ve been friends since university.  So this year you’ve spent the last three months searching every garage sale, dusty charity shop and back alley record store within 100 km. looking for a copy of her totally favourite vinyl record, The Velvet Underground & Nico.  You found it!  You wrap it in special paper with a handmade tag.  You give it to her.  And she hands you a scented candle and a Starbucks’ Gift Card.

Christmas is about family – Your mother hasn’t spoken to Uncle Thomas in 12 years.  Your brother borrowed money from you last April, and now he doesn’t answer his phone.  Your niece is a vegan and her girlfriend is an atheist.  Grandpa can’t eat salt, sugar, soy or starch and Grandma has trouble with fibre.  Cousin Benny and his wife drink – a lot.  And your own kids have decided to spend Christmas in Hawaii with their father.  Surprise!  It’s your year to host the good old-fashioned family Christmas dinner.  Oh, and your sister’s kids want to bring the dog.

But the one thing that we all have in common at Christmas is:

Christmas is about kids – I don’t care if you’re the world’s most committed social worker, one good deed away from the Nobel Peace Prize or a badass biker, one neck tattoo away from a felony conviction — when a child sees Santa Claus for the first time – screw the 6 O’clock News — there is no wickedness in the world!

3 Dangerous Lies


We all lie: it’s built into our psyche.  I’m pretty sure that somewhere back in caveman days, somebody looked around and said, “Does this sabretooth pelt make me look fat?”  And her mate grunted the equivalent of, “No, darling!  It’s perfect.”  Thus our species continued populating the Earth.  Personally, I think lying is an essential part of civilization.  It gets us through social situations, keeps our friends and enemies in line and helps us not look like jerks – most of the time.  Plus, in general, lying is no big deal.  The rewards are large and the consequences quite small.  However, sometimes lies can be dangerous.  These are the lies we tell ourselves.  Here are just three examples.

1 – Remember, back in school when Brittany, Class President, hooked you into helping with the Annual Charity Drive because “It’ll be fun!”  And remember how is wasn’t because, while she and her friends were up at the dance, “collecting” non-perishable food items, you spent the evening down in the school basement, working your ass off, sorting cans of tuna and packages of macaroni.  Remember that?  So how come you’re phoning everybody in the family (on both sides) and saying, “We’re doing Christmas at our house this year.  C’mon over for dinner.  It’ll be fun!”

2 — Normally, this lie comes right after some celebrity TV know-it-all has created a beautiful gingerbread sculpture shaped like the British House of Parliament.  You watched them fashion this marvel — from finding fresh ginger at the local farmer’s market to carving out the wooden molds on a lathe.  They’ve spun sugar to a transparent sheen for the windows and even installed battery-operated lights – all in less than 30 minutes!  So, you say to yourself, “That looks easy” and go out a buy a Gingerbread House kit from the grocery store.  Two weekends and three Gingerbread House kits later, your own mother won’t speak to you, the kids have filed a restraining order and whatever’s left of the gingerbread mess is sitting in the corner – where you threw it.

3 — Once again, this lie started in school.  Your term project was due at the end of the semester, and that was three months away.  Three months!  That’s a lifetime when you’re a teenager.  So, you decided to do a kick-ass/best ever treatise on the Pre-Cambrian Shield – complete with rock samples, charts, hand-drawn illustrations and a working model of a Canadian glacier because, you say to yourself, “I’ve got plenty of time.”  And you keep saying that for the next 2 months and 27 days while your project slowly melts away like that glacier you’re never going to build.  Finally, you end up with 10 pages (double-spaced) that you borrowed from an encyclopedia (no Wikipedia in those days) a Xeroxed copy of an aerial photograph of Ontario and couple of stones from your garden . . . .

Well, folks!  Today is the 4th of December, and Christmas is exactly three weeks away.  Just sayin’!