Wednesday October 01 , 2014

Archive for March, 2011

Corporate Blackmailers & Government Stooges

Just one more political post before I get on with it. But I have to ask – is anybody else tired of our government giving in to blackmailing corporations over taxes? I mean, it’s not as if our government would give in to blackmail from citizens saying we want better social programs or we’re going to take our money and move to a country where the government puts the welfare of its citizenry before corporate profits. What’s up with corporations constantly threatening our government that they’ll take their ball and go to where the labour and lives are cheap if they don’t get their tax cuts? Worse, why is our government giving in to corporate blackmail? What’s next? Our government will give multinational corporate blackmailers the right to board migrant workers in our homes so they don’t even have to bother outsourcing work to slave labour in China anymore?

 

“Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels”

Kate Moss said that. (Omigawd, I can’t believe I’m ending a sentence with “that” – not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. I just live by a lot of assumptions about what the rules are, and since I’m in a constant state of passive rebellion against the perceived powers that be, I assume that, if something comes easily to me, it’s because I’ve broken one of them.) But she really should have followed up, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” with “Don’t hate me because I’m a mensa genius”.

I know, I know, “Sooey? Kate Moss? Mensa Genius?”

“Yes, Fat Ass. Kate Moss is a mensa genius.” And I should know because I’m a mensa genius, too. I was the first person to ask (on my blog and I got enough feedback from it to know how clever it was – even the Israelophiles were stopped in their defense of the little engine that could practice apartheid tracks for a moment), “Why does stupid travel so much faster than smart?” And if Sir Isaac Newton can have an apple fall on his head and get credit for discovering gravity, I should get credit for intuiting a sociological phenomenon – don’t you think?

Of course, Kate also said something about being beautiful on the inside and that’s what makes for a successful model, so either she’s unaware of Naomi Campbell or she was having a stupid day in rehab when she said it.

But she’s right about “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” – if you’re anorexic. So it was kind of odd to have everyone jump all over her as if she was idiot of the year contributing to the scourge of nation-wide anorexia instead of diagnosing it. And whether or not she herself is anorexic, well, someone who is 5’7″ and weighs 105 lbs is clearly a disciplined eater. Of course, cocaine helps burn off a few calories, I’m sure. (Full disclosure: I’ve “done” cocaine twice (that I know of, anyway – it was Toronto in the 80s and I often left my drink unattended while lining up more drinks before last call at 1:00 a.m.) and both times left me confused as to why anyone would want to take a drug that made your heart speed up and your friends act like flimflam artists and real estate agents.)

I mean, no one’s jumping all over Walmart for promising Michelle Obama to bring in a healthy line of food products (and when you follow up “food” with “product” you cancel out “food”) implying that, well, being a Walmart shopper (heheh – I just corrected shopper from whopper – freudian type much, Sooey?), and by definition, overweight (there are entire websites devoted to sizing up Walmart shoppers, afterall) means you’re in need of weight loss.

What? Anorexics don’t shop at Walmart? I mean, c’mon – why not just give out free feather pillows and suggest they sleep with them over their parched and dessicated faces instead of under their thin boned low fat heads.

Kate, who, as I said earlier is a mensa genius, and who I’m implying is probably an anorexic, as well, later said what she thought about the furor over her comment, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” (as you have no doubt figured out, I am so in agreement with Kate on this that, well, I consider myself a mensa genius just for recognizing what a mensa genius Kate Moss is for saying it) when she said, “Now I’m being blamed not only for anorexia but for lung cancer” in response to the furor over her smoking habit. Because, yes, like most girls and women who want more than anything else to be thin, she smokes while she doesn’t eat.

If I seem insensitive to anorexics AND people with weight problems (although, surely, anorexics have the real weight problem, don’t they – overweight people have discipline problems more than anything – and is problem even the right word if you’re overweight and fine with it?) then you’re just not enough of a mensa genius to understand what I’m trying to say here.

Or, you’re a man.

Here’s what I know to be true about anorexia: It’s only a problem in extremis and it’s almost never in extremis.

When I was about, oh, sixteen or so, I think, I went to Toronto to visit my sister, who was just out of university and working somewhere, a publishing house of some kind (which would explain why they’re all failing now – don’t tell anybody, but her slack-assed, sloppy, slatternly ways no doubt led to all of what we’re seeing now, although she only worked there for a year or so back in the early to mid-70s). It was over the Christmas holidays and my mother had no notion of my upcoming adventure, having herself decamped to Toronto with my bachelor uncle, who was also an avid pianist, as Frank Magazine would say, for a brief holiday. This meant that my grandmother (who lived with us and who never went outside) was in charge. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my grandmother wasn’t much for giving a shit one way or the other about anything, really, except staying under my mother’s radar (pretty much everybody’s modus operandi in Sault Ste. Marie) so heading off to Toronto on the bus to meet my sister, who would be leaving the Sault for Toronto later in the day on the plane, at her apartment, seemed a no-brainer.

And so, off I headed down the street with my knapsack on my back (my grandmother later told me that she’d experienced a twinge of foreboding seeing me head out in December in my jean jacket and addidas, especially when she heard my sister saying on the phone to one of her skeezie drug-dealing friends, “I hope I gave her the address of my new apartment and not my old one.”)

So yes, not only did I not have the right address to my sister’s apartment, I didn’t have the right phone number, either, her old phone having been disconnected and her new phone not hooked up yet, as it would not be for months, possibly years. Fortunately, I met a ne’erdowell on the bus, some sort of miscreant teen who had to sit up by the bus driver (I sat up by the bus driver because I like looking out windows and could see both the coming highway for the next 12 hours and the side show as we went by it). She was a runaway being returned or somesuch otherworldly imbroglio, but I appeal to such characters and so we struck up a friendship that would last until she got off the bus in Sudbury, four hours into the trip and where I ill-advisedly smoked dope at the Sudbury bus station before being abandoned by my new friend and left to take in the rest of the trip stoned and alone, armed only with a change of clothes, enough money for treats at the Sudbury bus station, and directions to an empty apartment in Toronto where my sister was no longer living.

As luck and circumstance would have it, of course, even the directions to the empty apartment were wrong as we discovered later, to much hilarity. Not that it mattered because when it looked to me like we had arrived in Toronto and the bus pulled over at what looked to be a subway stop (it was – AS OPPOSED TO THE BUS STATION!!!!!) I asked the driver, “Can I get out here?” (notice the failure to use “should” – “should” I get out here) he said, indifferently, I realized, too late, “Sure”.

So I did. I got off the bus.

I’m not sure where it was that I got off, one of the hinterland subway stops, I guess. York something? Anyway, Toronto seemed surprisingly desolate, but it WAS probably about 11:00 p.m. (Who wore a watch in those days, right? Right? Who wears one now, for that matter. Of course, now I have a cell phone that tells me the correct time. Unfortunately, it’s usually back at my house sitting where the land line used to sit, and not in my purse, the whole point of having a cell phone defeated by the necessity of having to charge it every few hours.) So I headed down into the subway, but, as you may have noticed, luck was not with my that day and night, my friends.

Tokens only. (Really, someone should go back in time and bomb Toronto the Good for being such a prick of a city for so many years.)

Much lonely desolate walking later, thoughts dominated by the likelihood of being raped and murdered, my bleached bones found by the side of the road by a passing nomadic tribe come spring, I encounter a team of hockey players from Quebec and things started looking up. They were lost, I was lost. They didn’t seem to realize I was one of those girls who imagined herself so completely repellent that any boy who was interested in her was a disgusting pervert of highly questionable taste in perversions. (Also, I was saving myself for either Bob Dylan or Gene Hackman, whoever was lucky enough to recognize my transcendent beauty first.) And I had, glory be to the Patron Saint of Dorks and Losers, whoever that is (I’m not Catholic), my first and only successful hang-out with a team of hockey players. (I once hung out with the Pocket Rocket, Eddie Shack, and a bunch of prostitutes in a hotel room in Quebec City, but that’s another story and one I would want to phrase very carefully for the sake of my reputation and theirs, such as they may be, seeing as, with the exception of Eddie Shack, we could all be said to be hanging with the dregs of humanity.)

One of the boys even offered me a spot in his room at the hotel – once they found it. And even though he was being totally on the up and up, there was no way I could risk a boy seeing my underwear (Buster Browns, cotton, with naturally occurring ventilation, so to speak) – NOT that I would have taken off my jeans, anyway. But one can’t be too careful. He was disappointed, worried, almost, and in a magnanimous gesture I will never forget, took up a collection and I parted the team’s company with a pocketful of leftover subway tokens.

Alas, Toronto being the prick of a city that it was, the subways were about to stop running.

That’s when I met a man who, after deciding I wasn’t a runaway about to become a drug addicted prostitute. (I have no idea why I was so lucky, he was a social worker, an actual real life social worker, who happened to be on his way home – and I have no idea where I was at this point but I had found Yonge Street, at least – from ministering to the homeless downtown.) After many questions, incidental advice, an offer to come home with him where he had a daughter my age (at this point my “adult male” radar was literally melting down my innards) I finally threw out the mother connected to powerful people lifeline which I no longer use, it having got me shoved against a wall by an undercover cop out in Banff, Alberta one summer.

Now, I’ve always had a very exaggerated sense of the power and influence my mother has in this world, but for good reason. She doesn’t care what people think of her. And she’s an incredible bitch. Consequently, most people are terrified. So I told this guy my mother was in town for a conference, being a member of Trudeau’s trusted inner circle (I knew all the names of Trudeau’s inner circle, trusted or not – and, true story, I recently worked with a guy whose sister was a nanny and hung out with Margaret smoking pot back in the days before being bi-polar was so everywhere it may as well be Attention Deficit Disorder) and was staying at the Windsor Arms.

Many terrifying questions later, I was on my way again. (Why is it that no one is a Liberal when you’re sent door to door by your mother during an election campaign wearing a paper Trudeau dress, but the one time you’re lying about your mother being a major operator in the Liberal Party to avoid being raped and murdered by a serial rapist murderer wandering around Toronto just as the subways have stopped running, said rapist murderer turns out to be contemplating running for the Liberals in the next election? And maybe he was because, unbelievably, he gave me $20, flagged down a taxi and told the driver to take me to the Windsor Arms. And I distinctly remember him saying, “Sorry – your mom is probably going to be pretty mad, but you have to promise me that you’ll ring her room when you get there because chances are she’s found out about your trip here and is worried sick.”)

And so it was that I duly arrived at the Windsor Arms. Of course it was closed, but after much banging and pleading at the door, the guy whose job it was or wasn’t to let people in after midnight or whatever prick hour Toronto hotels closed up shop back in those days, came to the door. “Are you Sooey?”

Omifuckinggawdjesuscuntbastardshitbitchhelldamn.

“Yes.”

“Your mother’s really angry.”

“Is my uncle here?”

“Yes. Want me to ring him first?”

“Yes.”

So, my uncle came down. “I can’t help you. You have to ring your mother. She knows, anyway. I just told her you rang me. I’m sorry. Good luck. She’s really angry. I’ve never seen her this angry, actually. It’s going to be really unpleasant for you. Again, I’m sorry. Please leave me out of this. Don’t even tell her I told you she was angry. Just, take it. It will be over eventually.”

And so I rang my mother. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice it to say that I was persona non grata, doomed to be nattered at for the rest of the night, cast adrift at the first crack of dawn, not allowed so much as a piece of leftover toast from her room service breakfast. My sister was duly berated when she showed up to collect me and we two slunk off to her new apartment where, of course, there was nowhere to sit, let alone a place for me to sleep. But her boyfriend, who I knew from the Sault (he’d been my brother’s friend until my skanky ho of a sister tainted him forever by having sex with him IN OUR LIVING ROOM WHERE DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY WHEN ANY UNSUSPECTING SIBLING COULD WALK IN ON THEM!!!!!) rolled us a joint, then went out and bought bagels and gouda cheese (my first gouda) and made banana/orange yogurt shakes to go with them.

Just before we started eating, my sister said, “Hey – go weigh yourself. I bet you lost weight in all that running around last night. There’s a scale in my bathroom.” (That’s right – no chairs, but a scale.) Giddy with anticipation, visions of Bob Dylan and Gene Hackman at my slender mercy, I stepped on the scales.

Omifuckinggawdjesuscuntbastardshitbitchhelldamn. I had lost five pounds! I knew this hellish nightmare would turn out to be worth it! Five pounds! And I’d discovered the secret to weight loss, too! Diet and exercise! Lots of it! All at once! I would henceforth exercise like a maniac and eat as little as humanly possible! Perfect! I would be perfect!

I WOULD BE THIN!!!!

And so the next few years went, whittling myself down to a svelte 102 lbs, with a brief, very brief time just below 100lbs. I believe I got as low as 98 lbs. The problem was, I was still under 5’5″. If I could have increased my height a couple of inches, I could have eased up on the dieting. Also, I needed longer legs and less torso. I won’t go into all the problems with my hair and face – I’d need to write a book just to cover the horror of realizing I had split ends. The worst of it being I knew, I just knew, I was getting perilously close to confronting the reality of genetics, that it was only possible to do so much, that to do more would require a level of discipline that only people who starved themselves on a point of order possessed. Do-gooder discipline. And that I simply did not have. I wanted to live as a slender, and therefore incredibly popular and desired person, not die a martyr.

Luckily, my eighteenth birthday was coming up and whatever switch it was that powers some girls to lose weight more successfully than others, was about to be switched off. And no sooner did it switch off than I started looking enviously at curvy girls, thinking, “I should be curvier. That looks like the ticket. Curves. Curvy girls have way more fun, I bet.”

Anyway, there’s a lot more to my story of anorexia than the above. I’ve left out the part about training to get to the Olympics, for starters. But I’ve read a lot about anorexia and anorexics, and I’ve known anorexics who had to be fed intravenously – two, actually, both high achievers at university – and I consider myself a member of the club. I just don’t consider myself disordered or to be suffering from a disorder. I’d say I’m just very disciplined about certain things. When I looked in the mirror, I saw what was there, I just emphasized the negative. I’m a perfectionist, so my reflection needed work. It still does, I just don’t have the same discipline I used to have. Also, I’ve come to realize that, not only am I completely deluded about how good looking I am, thin or not, but – men who like women don’t care what we look like. They just want us to have sex with them. Also, I don’t have a scale or a full length mirror, although I’m ready to buy a mirror now because I should take a better look at my outfit before I leave for work in the morning.

Still and all, I have to honest, because there’s no point in anything else. I agree with Kate Moss, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” That’s just the way some of us roll, I guess.

 

Libya Or Bust

Good grief, it’s really a bit much having to listen to the blather about freedom from tyranny for Libyans coming from Western governments, including our own Harper Government (TM), now that, well, they seem to care about freedom from tyranny. I mean, maybe if they’d shown a little concern for freedom from tyranny last month, when Egyptians were united in the streets against Mubarek, Gaddafi wouldn’t have felt so confident that he could open fire on his own citizens and the governments of the West would manage to go through the day without saying freedom from tyranny even once.

 

Nuclear Safety Memories of the Harper Government (TM)

Remember when the Harper Government (TM) fired our nuclear watchdog, Linda Keen, when she cautioned that the Chalk River nuclear power plant didn’t have a properly functioning back-up system in the case of a natural disaster that might disable regular functions, such as an earthquake?

 

Pain Is Where Hope Isn’t

I don’t know if I’m the first to say that or not but it came out of my mouth the other night so I thought I’d blog it. To put it in context (I don’t just randomly blurt out gems of wisdom like that, at least, I don’t think I do) I was suffering from, what was for me, a fairly intense back pain last week when a co-worker turned me on to pain medication.

I had no idea. But now that I do, I’m kind of surprised I’m not on pain medication all the time. I’m even more surprised that less Scottish Presbyterian types (work, suffer, die) aren’t. Unless they are.

Are you?

Anyway, I was having one of those fun (for my partner, I hope, totally awesomely mind-blowing for me because I’m my biggest fan) mildly high (on marijuana, not life, although life is good, too, especially on newly discovered pain killers) conversations about pain management and how difficult it must be for people who have pain all the time.

But then I realized that most people also have hope (life hope, not death hope, which is not hope, I don’t think, believer in life as opposed to death that I am) that their pain will go away.

Then we had a little back and forth about which is worse, physical pain or mental pain. And I realized that people who  suffer from a lack of hope, depressed people, people for whom living has no reason, are in real pain, unmanageable pain, the type of pain that people who have hope really don’t understand.

Interestingly, we use the term depressed a lot these days when I think what we really mean is, we aren’t living the lives we want to lead and yet can’t seem to do anything about it. At least, I realize now, having just recently suffered an unusual amount of physical pain (I have a low level of ache a lot, ever since I was a kid, it’s in my lower back) that I have been depressed, I just didn’t realize that’s what it was. I called it “an existential crisis”. But it was depression. My brain got stuck in an illogical logic loop. Life, very suddenly, had no meaning because I was going to die and there was nothing I could do about it.

And because it was a brain thing, it was also a physical thing. I was so panicked, I guess because I was afraid that I’d never break out of the loop, that I truly wished I would suddenly be struck dead. Quick. Painless. Let this train of thought just end.

But because I’m a naturally optimistic person who believes at her core that life does have meaning, the depression lifted. (The second time it happened was almost to the day of entering the second trimestre of my second pregnancy, lifting when I entered the third, so it may well have been hormonally induced). I also involved other people in what I was thinking because I’ve always found that, when in trouble or doubt, ask around. But I’m a naturally sociable person, too, a real people person. I derive comfort from other people. To me, the fact that some  people suffer from depression and don’t have anyone to talk to about it is terrible. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

And, which comes first? Depression? Or isolation? Or are depression and isolation symbiotic relationships, co-dependent enablers, as Oprah would say. (Although I believe Phil Donahue said it first.)

What I also can’t imagine is how people find hope in isolation when they’re being held captive, whether it’s officially sanctioned or not. I’m opposed to torture under any circumstances. To torture is to deliberately hurt another human being, which, by definition makes the torturer the bad guy in the room, regardless of what the other guy has done. But torture doesn’t have to be physical to cause pain. Because if real pain is where hope isn’t it’s even more likely to be caused by isolation, a practice we engage in as a society all the time.

I remember once Kathy Griffin visiting a woman’s prison. She had a brief talk through the bars with a woman who was sentenced to life or a 100 years or whatever crazy and inhumane sentence she’d been given (she stabbed her spouse). Later, she was crying about it, the woman was living in what looked to be a locker in the middle of a field, she wasn’t even in an institution where she’d at least be able to shout out to other prisoners and be heard. It was just so awful. And you see Kathy Griffin processing it and the cruelty of it but because she didn’t want to think about it, she did that thing people do to explain away stuff we don’t want to deal with and went to, “you do the crime, you do the time”.

It’s just that, who does the time for the crime after the crime? Because if justice matters, the people who torture criminals, and isolation is torture, should be held accountable, too, shouldn’t they? At least, that’s the loop I see here, the loop that we’re in, the illogical logic loop that is, essentially, to me, anyway, telling ourselves as a society that life has no meaning.