Sunday August 31 , 2014

Category: Sooey Says

Are You There, Oprah? It’s Me, Sooey – Fuck Off, Eh!

Yay! It’s Saturday morning and I don’t have to work unless I get called in because someone else decided to forgo a $44-$55 shift!

I bought a couple of items yesterday that I’d had my eye on for some time because I finally filed my income tax and am now expecting a little cash drop into my bank account courtesy our non-partisan revenue agency.

Tax filing phobia – gone. Who knew making next to nothing would be so much fun at tax time? Not me. I put off doing that sucker until, well, the end of August.

Cripes, I probably qualify for a plucky pauper supplement, I make so little money.

We have that in Liberal Democrat Ontario now, right? Didn’t Kathleen Wynne promise us all a plucky pauper supplement to make up for Stephen Harper delaying old age security for another two years in hopes that we all die of poverty before we can qualify for it?

I wonder if he sang, “Hope they die before they qualify” when he wrote up the legislation denying us our hardearnedworkingfamilytaxpayer old age security.

A while ago I decided to be more open about my brilliant cyber career (total lie, it was decided for me by my technospazzery when I indirectly outed myself to any Tom, Dick and Mary stalker enough to care that Says isn’t my real last name) because why write if I don’t want to be read.

Alas, I’m an anxious sort. Also, a compulsive communicator. And it’s probably only a matter of time before real life axes start falling.

Oh well. C’est la vie, as the shoulder-shruggers put it.

I’d kill to be a shoulder-shrugger.

Last week I thought I might be getting the stink eye from a woman in one of my circles of women. The stink eye was followed by a bit of hissing. At the time, it didn’t register as possibly personal, as in, directed at me, but later it did. That’s because I’m a guilt-catcher.

I snatch free floating j’accuse radicals from the air and synthesize them into anxious guilt.

It’s my special talent.

I am the walking anxious guilty.

Warren Beatty (of all hams) said of Madonna in Truth or Dare, “Why do anything if it’s not on camera?” It was really mean, and he meant it to be mean, but being Madonna, she either didn’t recognize it as mean or didn’t care that it was.

He would soon be over for her anyway.

I have a touch of that need for attention. (Total lie, it’s a maw, a huge gaping pit, an abyss.) But I have that need filled here, in my little corner of cyber space where I write it out.

And everywhere I go in real life.

Also, I have no idea if the stink eye and hissing was actually directed at me, I just think I do and that it was. There’s no specific behaviour I can point to that would cause such a reaction, except that I’m a very open person (we used to joke, my friend A. and I, that we weren’t so much open books as open sores) communicating to all and sundry without any particular regard for my privacy.

My, and by extension, your. And by further extension, their. His. Her.

Of course I use a pseudonym and I don’t name names and all of what you read here is an interpretation of my world, not anyone else’s, and it’s true and not true – but – it isn’t fair, is it.

All the same, it’s fiction.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently surrounded by women. Work, book club, AA, the group I did all that camping with until I realized I prefer not camping to camping. (They do private trips now, by the way – for mixed groups, too.)

I commit to relationships in a way that explains (all of a sudden, right here in this very sentence) my reluctance to commit to relationships.

Omigawd, breakthrough!

Meanwhile, there’s a little bubble of paint that has burst next to the end table on my side of the bed. It’s in our bedroom, obviously, and I can see it there when I reach to turn my reading light on/off. I’ve peeked into it and can see right through to the original paint, the one I trisodiumphosphated and primed before painting over with two coats of eggshell after peeling away an entire coat of pepto-bismol pink semi-gloss laid down by the previous owners, good people with bad taste.

The need to pick at this bubble, to get to the truth of it, which is that I should have sanded the original paint (no way, I read the regulations when I worked at Environment Canada – the TSP was actually non-TSP) and must now peel back the entire room of paint, is doing battle with my will to leave it alone, live with the imperfection of it.

Even Mike Holmes would probably just sand around it, carefully, then prime and paint the sanded spot. Unless he was on camera, in which case he’d probably gut the entire room and bring it up to code with extra insulation, new windows, and then once off camera again add a built in ceiling flat screen so he could lie in bed and watch himself make it right before drifting off to dream of saving orphans in Africa.

It’s a metaphor, in other words. Of what, I’m not sure, but it’s a metaphor, just the same, that little burst bubble.

There’s a joke circulating Facebook right now. It’s disguised as being directed to women but it’s really at women. It asks women are you such and such and such and lists a bunch of stuff and then suggests if so you may be a man.

When you think about it, Mr. Mom and Mrs. Doubtfire and Hollywood’s various role-reversing comedies, depict women as such small stuff sweaters that men don’t have a clue how we do it. And it’s funny because it’s true.

But it’s not just the small stuff we sweat, it’s the big stuff, and the middle stuff. It’s all stuff. And a lot of that stuff we sweat is supposed to make us better people, because we’re never good enough, are we.


From we must we must we must improve our bust to yoga on Everest it will never, ever, be enough because the trick is to live who we are, not who someone better might be.

Right, fellas? Is that it? Did I discover the magic decoder ring to happiness and not caring what other people think, as in, not caring what other people think is the key to happiness?

Feel free to let me know in the comments section. In the meantime, I hope this was as good for you as it was for me.








Projected Sales

Interesting times we live in that Rob Ford could end up being mayor of Toronto again instead of in jail where he could easily get drugs and booze smuggled in and be the most popular prisoner ever.

Can you imagine being stuck on his cell block, though, if you were trying to get clean and sober? Maybe it’s better that Rob Ford is re-elected mayor of Toronto where people are at least free to live elsewhere if they don’t like it.

But there’s no justice in this world, which Stephen Harper recently described as “dangerous”, is there.

And no, Steve wasn’t referring to the methane gas bubbling up from Arctic seabed that has caused scientists to resort to using profanity on Twitter to get everybody’s attention away from Rob Ford.

“We’re fucked, everybody!” was the last I heard from a scientist, now that I really stop and think about it. I don’t know, humanity may be too much for scientists to handle.

I wish the elephants and the whales all the best. I hope the zookeepers think to leave them the keys to the pantry.

No, Steve was referring to evil genius mastermind Vlad’s planned invasion of our Northern front.

Vlad’s the one making the world so “dangerous” in case you haven’t been keeping up with the World According to Steve, which is a lot like Kookoobananasville, if you ask me, which you’ll be relieved to hear no one ever does anymore.

Because for me it all kind of begs the question as to why Steve isn’t planning an invasion of Vlad’s Northern front, you know, to cut him off at the top of the world.

Just kidding with that “anymore” back there, by the way.

Also, I don’t really think we should invade Vlad’s Northern front. It’s got giant methane craters popping up all over it, thanks to melting permafrost or somesuch nonsense that has scientists scratching their heads like so many monkeys left in a room to write the next great American novel.

(I’m currently reading “Mrs. Hemingway”, which is a novel about the women so besotted with Nesto that they would steal him away from each other to become the new wife of. Apparently, he requested of his mother the gun his father used to kill himself and she mailed it to him, which was easily arranged back in the day, I guess. “Oh Nesto – your gun’s arrived in the mail!”)

And really, we’ve just got methane gas bubbling up from our Arctic seabed, so, on balance, we’ve already won, I’d say. In fact, Steve should totally cut Vlad off at the pass by holding a parade on Parliament Hill now, I think.

Scientists may as well spend their days shouting into their beakers if they aren’t going to get hip with the now and figure out how to bomb climate change to smithereens.

I had to mute a Twitter pest for trying to argue with my tweets today. He doesn’t realize I just shout out one liners into cyber space via Twitter, I guess. He struck me as possibly one of those Conservative Party trolls either paid or volunteering to drum up anti-Vlad sentiment and pooh pooh climate change and point out that it’s “oilsands”, not “tarsands”.

I’m already anti-Vlad, although I don’t say that on the sales floor because one of my co-workers is pro-Vlad and Russian/Ukrainian. She got into a heated argument (that I unfortunately missed) with a customer the other day. One of the long time sales associates broke it up before the co-manager, who doesn’t seem to take her job too seriously and often leaves the store unattended by co-management, got back from her tea break.


But that’s not what this entry is about, because this entry is about a mini breakdown I had in the staff room (which is just a chair in the stock room) the other day when I got credited with making a big sale that was really the fault of a couple of up-selling co-workers.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way. One’s a professional sales associate going back 20 years, the other’s one of the university girls who’s worked there part-time for 3 years and is just really good at her job.

They all are, actually. I’m the only one in doubt, mostly my own.

Anyway, the ladieswear purchasers in question looked to me to navigate them through their fashion choices which began and ended in our regular-priced section. I recognized them from a previous purchase with a smile and greeting and they were all smiles and greetings back, somewhat shy about their English, but I’m a natural at dealing with that from my experience working with francophones in the government.

I’m joking.

Just kidding. I’m serious. Nobody understands anybody else in the National Capital Region, thanks to the success of Quebec’s Bill 101 and the failure of PET’s grand vision of Official Bilingualism, which he neglected to insist our provincial premiers back up by way of incorporating it into our education systems.

In any case, I think they may be Mexican or South American, but I’m not sure. At first I thought they were Inuit, we get lots of people from up North in the store, but their clothing indicates a more southern hemisphere. Also the Spanish they seem to be speaking to each other, Inuktitut being incomprehensible enough to me that I can only recognize shock at our outrageous scarf prices by incredulous expressions, not all the accompanying jibber jabber.

Yes, I realize my ignorance is showing, but this entry is getting long and I wish I could just magically splatter this little episode of my life onto the screen and get it over with so I can move on to the next little episode of my life.

I know, I know, but enough about what you think of you, Sooey, what do we think of you.

That’s why I have a comments section!

They knew what they wanted and mostly served themselves, trying on their few chosen items in our dressing room where they got lots of attention from my more professional co-worker who enjoys putting outfits together for people.

Meanwhile, I refolded our folded sweaters and fretted about the rising cost of their intended purchase. So when they came to get me to ring it up (or so I decided) they had my professional co-worker in tow to suggest that they buy a top to go with their three bottoms. And she directed them to the nicest, albeit most expensive, sweaters in our collection, the very ones I was busily refolding.

And so it was that they chose a lovely cashmere sweater in one of our warm fall colours (pumpkin) to go with the tweedy skirt and corduroy slacks (2 pairs) while I mentally breathed into a paper bag to avoid passing out with guilt and anxiety about what all this was going to cost them.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, when they got to the cash, and looked to me to ring it in for them, I had to call over one of the university girls to do it for me, so distressed had I allowed myself to become over the looming bill.

So, of course, being the professional she is she mentioned that they could get a second top at half price and back we all went to the front to pick out a second expensive sweater to go with any one of the three expensive bottoms.

At this point, I couldn’t even stand at the cash in solidarity while the university girl rang it up, which she did, itemizing each piece and assuring them that the store has an excellent return policy (true, it does) and if they’re not happy with their purchases to bring them back for a full refund or exchange (also, true – the store has the best return policy in the world, of that I’m certain).

She told me later that they had ticker shock there for a second, but then waved her forward and completed the transaction. She also does a lovely wrap job (another reason why I wanted her to take over at the cash – I’m not the best at wrapping, which is really a surprisingly appreciated part of the sale, actually) and is very relaxed and easy going with customers.

On their way out they thanked me and said, I think, “See you soon”, all smiles and waves goodbye.

Then I excused myself from the sales floor and went back to the staff room chair where I sobbed tears of guilt and remorse into my cold cracked hands (air conditioning combined with fabric handling combined with failure to adequately moisturize).

And then it came to me that I was projecting onto others (others whom I had profiled in a stereotypical way, too, I have to admit) my own reluctance, bordering on inability, to use money to ease my way in life, in the way that other, more sane people, do. And also that I’m trying to do a job that is anathema to me.

Is that proper English? “I’m trying to do a job that is anathema to me”?

I thrift shop for clothes and I do get very good deals because I’m slim, and it’s a known fact that women often buy very good quality clothes planning to lose weight, which they never do, and so those clothes, 9 times out of 10, end up at the thrift shop, where skinny minnies like me pick them up for a song.

The other time, the 1 time, the clothes are being worn by a very crabby working person who can barely wait until the work day is done so she can get back home and into her jammies to watch Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black”.

But it’s time-consuming and non-specific shopping and size-related and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc and not everybody is as fucked up about using money to ease their path in life as I am.

So I went back out on the floor where it was high fives all ’round until I explained how shitty I felt about it and my older professional co-worker advised maybe I keep my sales reluctance under my hat. Or, at least, not let our manager know how I feel about selling to shoppers.

But really, she was confused that I felt shitty at all, since the clothes they’d purchased were good quality timeless classics yadda yadda blah blah. Although she’s right. I even bought a pair of the corduroys (albeit with my discount) and we can’t even wear them in the store and still I bought them, they’re so nice.

And she looked at me with real concern, not just because I was so upset, but because I didn’t seem to get it that people use money in all sorts of ways that are really none of “our” business, which was when I started to get it that people use money in all sorts of ways that are really none of my business.

People live all sorts of ways that are really none of my business, too!

But the next day, when regular priced items went on sale, I wasn’t sad, I was mad, mad that everything is so stupid and that we all end up feeling complicit whether we are or not, an anger that was soon replaced by eye-rolling at myself for caring too much about it all when, at the end of the day, we’re free to live any which way we want to, aren’t we.

It’s so easy to forget that we’re free, isn’t it, that we can change, not “the” world, but “our” world, just by how we choose to live in it.

Seriously, I’m learning more about my place in our world in this part-time minimum wage retail job than you can possibly imagine.

And yes, seriously.

And yes, maybe you can imagine.





Help Yourself

On the dog walk the other day I filled my Beau in on how a young woman stole a pair of shoes from the store.

I didn’t see her do it, but she checked them out, complained about the price, and shortly thereafter they were gone.

Not sold. Just missing from the handy display shelf at the front of the store with a big “Look What’s On Sale” sign obstructing the view of them from the cash wrap – and every other angle of the store.

Our sight lines are terrible, the clothes don’t have security tags in them, we’re chronically short-staffed, and have a lot of older demanding customers who want old-fashioned service, i.e. time and attention suckers.

Our tagline is that we offer the sort of one-on-one service nobody pays for anymore – if anyone ever did.

It’s easy to get distracted helping an older demanding customer match a scarf with a blouse and a pair of slacks (but not too matchy matchy or you’ll look more senile than put together) for the instant a much younger thief needs to snatch an item from a view-obstructed display shelf she’s already scoped out.

We have the odd enticing item for the yout’s.

Our traditional customers, the ones who think we’re highly paid personal shoppers, as opposed to dime a dozen retail workers, don’t buy nearly enough crap, I mean, ladieswear, to warrant all this time and attention, but the boss lady actually stayed late yesterday waiting for one of them to make the trek over from her expensive residence to do some shopping in preparation for her latest cruise.

Why aren’t cruises illegal?

She won’t let anybody else serve her because she was once an important person with a certain standing in society and at our store she can still pretend nothing’s changed.

So I guess nothing has, really, now that I stop and think about it, not as far as she’s concerned, anyway.

I don’t mind the old timey days customers, but it’s pretty clear to me that our store has a reputation as easy pickin’s for the new fangled ones. Also, on my shift yesterday, only one customer bought items at full price. Everyone else was there for either end of summer markdowns and/or thievery.

Teachers ask for “The Teachers Discount”. They have no idea, do they. They’re like politicians that way, completely isolated from the adult world of economic reality. I’m surrounded by teachers in my family, my ex’s family, and my Beau’s family, seemingly intelligent, well-informed people, and yet teachers stand out amongst our customers as feeling hard done by and put upon at the cash wrap.

“Uh… the teachers discount? Um… yeah… I think that was discontinued after all the people who make the clothes you’re buying burned to death in that fire? No wait… it only applies to full priced items and these are all markdowns.”

Just kidding. There’s no connection between people burning to death in fires and our discounts. There’s no connection between anything in retail.

That’s free trade, baby.

Yes, I know, unions brought us weekends, sick leave, vacations.

But if there was any real justice in the world, people who belong to public sector ones wouldn’t shop at private profiteering malls, would they.

Every time you spend money you vote on what kind of world you want.

To be fair to teachers, we also have hagglers at the cash wrap, including a recent spate of heavily accented ladies swaddled in silks demanding “The Manager’s Discount”. Not to stereotype (total lie, stereotyping is a retail standard) but older recent immigrants from India and/or China can pretty much be counted on to express outrage at our prices, including markdowns, and find various and sundry flaws in the sale merchandise they eventually purchase to accompanying sympathetic tsks and clcks from whoever is stuck ringing them up at the cash.

I jolly them along with “imagine how cheap this would be if you were buying it back home!” deliberately being non-specific as to the name of the old country because I’m terrible with accents.

I can’t even tell Australian from South African, can I, having recently assumed Israel’s spokesthingy was from the land of apartheid lovers when he’s actually from the land of thieves and reprobates.

One evening, a woman looking at our scarves asked “how much?” and when I told her (embarrassed, because our scarves are a crazy price, as is our taste-insulting jewelry) she raised her eyebrows almost to her almost visible hairline “you’re joking!”

“Alas, I’m afraid not. And they don’t seem to go on sale, either, or I’d tell you to wait until they do.”

“Never mind. I’ll wait until I go home for a visit. In my country these scarves would be very cheap.”

“For sure. Our scarves are a crazy price even for here. Where are you from?”


I didn’t tell her that when I thought of Iran, cheap scarves would henceforth fall fourth behind stoning female citizens to death for adultery and beheading male citizens for homosexuality and lashing all citizens for made up crimes against a fictional god (redundant much, Sooey?) for my reasons never to visit there myself, buying all my cheap scarves at the Sally Ann as I do.

I bought a red silk scarf at the Sally Ann for 99 cents a couple of weeks ago and all three managers of the store ooh’ed and aw’ed over it.

Two of them hate that I won’t buy much from the store (because I’m awesomely slim and drop dead gorgeous and would look amazingly incredible in some of the clothes we sell) although I’ve taken to buying the odd piece for my mother and mailing it to the Sault.

She’s having trouble with buttons and zippers because she’s lost feeling in the ends of her fingers.

I know, I know, every time you spend money you vote for what kind of world you want. Okay, teachers, you win. And it’s not like I don’t benefit from your purchase today by picking up your cast-offs at the Sally Ann tomorrow, is it.

Plus, I get to go around being holier’n thou.

I even stepped up my game yesterday at the Sally Ann by purchasing an entire J. Crew outfit for under ten dollars that I can wear to work and play, not that I play much anymore.

By the way, the Iranian lady’s husband looked like he could afford to buy her as many scarves as she wanted, wearing more gold than the Taj Mahal, as he was.

Omigawd, ignorant much, Sooey? The Taj Mahal’s in India!

But I kid. (Total lie. Everybody’s a stereotype in retail. Reduced for sale.)

Even if we were to catch someone in the act of thievery it’s not clear to us, or to me, at least, that there’s anything we can do about it. We’re not supposed to confront anyone, not that I would, so I’m not even sure a person couldn’t look me in the eye and fill her bag from another store with loot from ours and just walk out into the mall and come back to the store the next day to do it all over again.

That would be honest looting, like what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri (minus the unnecessary violence). Meanwhile, we have lots of society ladies who head into dressing rooms with bags and clothes (there’s no limit on how many items they can bring into the change rooms with their bags and purses and whatnot) and leave big messes on the floor for us to clean up. Even if someone’s been assigned to the dressing rooms it’s impossible to keep track of everything they’re taking in to try on versus everything we’re putting back.

I mean, people don’t get rich by spending money, do they.

Anyway, all this to say that my world these days is very female, and yet I live with two males, neither of whom ever seem to buy anything, so it is with some shame for my sex that I have to admit – if we’re voting for what kind of world we want every time we spend money, the suffragettes must be rolling rolling and rolling over again in their graves.


The Line Is Too Fine To Divine

Oh hi, you’re up early. I was up at 6:45 a.m. because I’m trying to get myself on an old timey days pioneer schedule. Every once in a while I have to be at work for 7:00 a.m. (out with the old and in with the new at the store) and because I’m a homebody/blogger I like to get up at 5:00 am. The university girls get to work first, then get up, but I like to get up at home.

I kid. (Total lie. They show up still asleep in pajamas and then change into work clothes in the stockroom, which is silly since we actually have very nice change rooms they could use, and eat donuts and danishes while tearing down and setting up. I’m not criticizing, I’m envying.)

We/they. I’m not actually part of the company, I just get paid via the private equity firm that owns the chain, although I still can’t abide shoplifters. There’s something about people stealing what other people pay for that really gets to me.

You’d think it would get to the private equity firm that owns the chain, too. At least enough for it to do something to curtail it, which it easily could. But it doesn’t seem to matter. I know, eh? Hard to believe. I reckon it would cost $126.50/day (labour) to prevent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of from being stolen every year.

I dunno. Maybe it’s personal and I just don’t like feeling like the sheepdog vs the coyote in that Bugs Bunny sketch.

Ralph and Sam.

I finished “Malled”, which is a whiny and annoying book by Caitlin Kelly, freelance journalist, who still just wants to “connect” with the snobby customers who frequent “The North Face” (she only worked one shift per week, Thursdays, although for two years) even after learning firsthand that the retail profiteering model is based on squeezing sales associates as much as legally/illegally (the line is too fine to divine – see title) possible after paying third world workers next to nothing to work in inhumane conditions making ever more disposable crap for over-priced purchase in North American malls.

It was okay, but distractingly all about her.

Yes, haters, she’s whinier and more annoying than me, so please, do yourselves a favour and buy “Malled”.

Do NOT shoplift it.

I had an interview for a contract at Environment Canada the other day and when I walked into the government building it was held in I felt my life force slip away. Seriously. Then during the interview when I realized the three young things conducting it had no idea what the job would actually be (the words “strategic” and “partnerships” and “initiative” were all in the job title, which should have tipped me off that the job itself was in Newfundland, which is next door to Imaginaryville) I felt it ebbing back again.

The next day, after leaving a voicemail updating the perky agency go-getter on the likelihood of everybody getting rich quick via the latest government contract possibility, I received an email from her more or less confirming my suspicions.

Apparently, the youngsters at Environment Canada have gone back to the drawing board re job specifications and will stage a do-over in due course. In the meantime, I guess why not ask job applicants what they think the job might be if the funding ever materialized for it.

But the Ottawa Citizen has a piece in the paper today (yesterday?) about Peter “oh you piece of shit!” Kent (one time Minister of the Environment) neglecting approval for scientists studying the melting Arctic to release their unsettling findings to the public. I mean, really, I know they’re scientists (and not terrorists, as alleged by governing Conservative politicians) but they really need to stop seeking approval from people in whose private interests it isn’t that the public knows the truth, and start leaking (or, disseminating, rather) information to the public via the media.

Or just slap it all up on the internet.

Environment Canada is a subsidiary of Tarsands Inc. It’s a fact. A Canadian fact.  It was probably mentioning the Ring of Fire that deep-sixed my interview. Up until I mentioned Ring of Fire, which I did deliberately, it was all about (bullshit alert!!) “capacity building in Aboriginal communities to do environmental monitoring of the oilsands”.

In other words, yet more of the publicly funded work of Environment Canada will be contracted out to private profiteers so that the tarsands can continue to be developed at an ever increasing rate in spite of its devastating cost to our collective environment, health, and well-being.

Today I tweeted a question to the media asking if Rogers is shaking down its customers. I’ll let you know if I get any replies. Really, I’m not joking. I’m very upset because I think Rogers is lying to its customers about us having a virus that requires the attention of its fee-based tech support department, which seems to employ people who act more like unscrupulous collections agents than helpful nerds.

They cut off our service when we didn’t respond to the threatening robocall message left on my voicemail, but turned it back on when I pretended to go along with the scam.

Not sure what they’ll do now that I’ve canceled altogether. I’ll let you know if they show up at my door. I’m not letting them in if they do, though. I’m calling the police.

Hey, I wonder if I called the police now they’d have to stop harassing me via robocall or if it’s legal now to shakedown customers for money if you’re a giant telecommunications monopoly in Harper Canada?

Government? What government? I don’t see any government. The Transportation Safety Board investigating the mass murder due to corporate negligence and political failure to properly regulate the marketplace in Lac Megantic doesn’t see any government. People advocating for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women don’t see any government. Citizens defrauded of their vote in the last federal election don’t see any government.

But it’s how Canadians seem to want it, isn’t it, so no wonder I felt relief to hear that I wouldn’t have to quit my $11/hour part-time job selling out my sister and brother humans living in third world countries to make $20/hour (my suggested rate, but I really have no idea what governmenteering is worth nowadays) selling out my sister and brother humans living right here in good old democratic Canada.

Oh, and also my sister and brother human living in third world countries, since they’ll be most affected by the climate change we are doing nothing to mitigate, but whatever, think global, act local.

And downsize, downsize, downsize.


My Cross Talk To Bear

The comedians are angry.

Apparently, Rush Limbaugh said something awful about Robin Williams and suicide, as one does if one’s a bloviating idiot like Rush Limbaugh, and Lewis Black lit into him, ending with “He was my friend!”

It came across as genuine, even on Twitter. As it was. But I’m not a snob about the internet because so much of my interaction with others takes place on it. A tweet is no less valid than any other form of communication.

Content. It’s all about content. And Lewis Black’s tweet in response to whatever Rush Limbaugh had bloviated had an effect on me and I remembered, again, that celebrities are people, too, and even they can have enough.

Having said that, my Beau is currently on a website where someone has posted a shot of Gene Simmons posing with a family at Ground Zero in Manhattan.

Begin the photoshopped hilarity with Gene Simmons posing with a family in front of the famous shot of naked Vietnamese children fleeing American napalm bombs and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc ending with Gene Simmons posing with a family in front of Mork hanging from the rafters.

Thread win. Slam dunk. Hard to top.

(The funniest one, meanwhile, the belly laugh, was Gene Simmons posing with a family in front of the ordinary carnage of a random helicopter crash. I guess it was the down to earth photoshop after all the over-the-top photoshop that brought it home for me. For me. Humour being subjective and all that.)

On the other hand, Russell Brand wrote a piece for The Guardian (I think? – I read it on FB) that ends with the suggestion that we all just be nice to each other.

He’s a comedian, too, so I guess not all comedians are angry. Surprising, too, that the suggestion that we all just be nice to each other comes from Russell Brand. Or maybe not. He’s very politically attuned and takes on a lot of comers and maybe he’s just had enough of mean.

My Beau read something today about Robin Williams having a rider in his contract to the effect that his employers had to hire homeless people to do the grunt work of the project in question. That’s a pretty cool idea, when you stop and think about it. Pick up work that anybody can do to make a bit of money. Very practical way to help others.

I read the other day that when in Germany he was asked why Germans have a reputation for being humourless and he quipped, “Because you killed all the funny people.”

He seems to have had a very fine mind but with sharp edges that maybe became too smoothed in sobriety. Funny is mean, to be funny is to be mean.

It’s exhausting.

Like I’ve blogged before, I tweet, but I don’t engage, and I may quit even tweeting.

The cool kids are all instagramming, anyway, aren’t they.

It’s the cross talk that’s the problem. It happens on my namesake board, which wouldn’t be much of a board without it, a couple of characters took exception to other characters discussing suicide as per Robin Williams. I snatched at the bait, of course, because I’m nothing if not a bait snatcher, but still, it was half-hearted.

A lazy swipe that I regret nonetheless. Any time I engage in cross talk on the internet I feel like I’ve let myself down. It’s part of the problem, cross talk, and I know it is because every week, sometimes twice a week, I experience listening without cross talk and it’s a wonderful thing. Because it isn’t allowed, the compulsion to respond gives way to the freedom to listen.

I’m practicing listening on the internet now by just reading and not commenting. I’m going to practice what I just preached on my board by not cross talking unless it’s funny.

Sorry, eh, Fenderbender and vic ticious.

I followed a debate about Robin Williams, comedian, the other day, on Michael Murray’s blog and FB page. I weighed in, but I don’t know why, really, since I’m not sure even I agree with me. The terms of the debate had been set to sort of critique Robin Williams, comedian, but he’s not really known to me as a comedian. Or an actor. Or even a talk show guest.

I really only know Robin Williams, suicider.

Apparently, he was quite a joke stealer, and even got knocked down the stairs for it by another comedian. And the accusation is, too, that his improv was scripted.


My own take is that he was very much of the 80s, lots of lapses into foreign-accented gay, hairy androgyny, all of it cocaine-fueled. I could picture him hoovering truckloads of it the night before at Studio 54, couldn’t you?

I wonder if Margaret Trudeau knew him? Anybody asked? I bet she did.

Margaret Trudeau is Canada’s connection to disco, isn’t she. Well, we could do worse, for sure, because I saw her walking down Bloor Street once, a guy on each arm, and she was one of the best looking people I’ve ever seen.

I think there’s a direct connection between cocaine and manic depression. There. I’ve said it. Sue me.

But it’s not about Robin Williams now, is it. It’s about us. He’s dead, we’re alive, and there’s a pact we have with each other, “Thou shall not kill thyself”. I’m not referring to assisted suicide and people who’ve had enough of living with Cancer or Huntington’s or Lou Gehrig’s. I’m talking about depression and how this condition (I don’t believe alcoholism is a disease, either, so sue me again, better yet, sue Rob Ford) that can compel a person to kill himself causes us to, well, kind of freak out when he does.

I mean, he was 63, not 14, sleeping in a darkened room for 18 hours a day, no longer self-medicating, prescribed medication not working, and regardless, medication can’t cure depression. That’s the problem, right? Don’t worry be happy, it’s a wonderful life, stop and smell the roses, and really his comedy kind of played to that feel good bullshit so ubiquitous on the internet. It did. He was really very mainstream and non-controversial. Childlike, is how he’s so often described.

Carrot Top without the props?

So, I think, (and haters, really, you don’t have to care what I think, you don’t have to read me, just go about your day without paying me any mind) he hung himself in defiance of all that, too.

His last act, death by hanging, was unexpectedly uncompromising, wasn’t it, a curiously violent end for a man so often described as childlike.

Why wouldn’t we talk about it? It makes more sense to me to talk about the suicide of Robin Williams than almost anything else, quite frankly, but it’s okay, too, if you don’t agree because cross talk is mine to overcome.

As you were.