Editor’s Note: I fully realize that posting email forwards on your blog is the height of laziness – but this is profound and I have to share.
A little over halfway through my 30s it’s only natural that nostalgia, mortality and violent curmudgeonliness are setting in – which is probably why I’m drawn to these thoughts on how not all “progress” is… actually any sort of progress. I’ve edited this for length and into a list format which also deep-sixes some religious content. And I removed several negative references to movies, cable TV and video games – because that’s just fucking crazy talk. Apologies to the original author, but if you’re that annoyed are you any different from the whiny, lazy and entitled gluttons your original work indirectly bemoans? Let’s get down to the reminiscing…
To Those of Us Born Before 1980
- First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
- We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
- As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
- We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
- We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing!
“And This is What We Call Progress”–by Montreal’s The Besnard Lakes
- We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.
- We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
- We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth – and there were no lawsuits from those accidents..
- We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
- Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.
- The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. In fact, they usually sided with the police.
- These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
- We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
What did you think? Seems thematically appropriate after my recent Chris Brown-related “what’s wrong with kids today?!” post [chases lost, crying infant off front lawn while wearing sandals with socks]. Should we wind the clock back on a few of these points? I look forward to your thoughts.
This isn’t simply another ill-conceived New Year’s resolution… because I’ve been trying to stop using these 3 particular English words for at least a couple of years now. So you know I must be very passionate about this verbal endeavour.
- Passionate: Ask yourself – how many times have you heard someone use this word in the last 7 days? My point is, it’s become a very popular “go to” in the last 5 years or so. So popular in fact that it’s completely lost its power. In ancient times (late 1990’s) “Passionate” was a remarkable and seldom-used term reserved for the most special of situations. T’was a haymaker. Today, however, it sloppily proliferates every single resumé, “About Us” webpage and stupid reality television show you can name. In the course of a week I literally think I hear or read it a couple dozen times. I used to love it… but I have to kill it. “Why should you hire me to clean your yard once a week? Well, (chuckle), that’s simple. Because I’m passionate about separating dog shit from mulch.”
- Really?: Note the question mark. And it’s usually preceded by “Pffft…” There’s nothing wrong with “really” nine out of ten times in normal conversation. I’m taking issue with it in a specific context – namely, that context after which someone has said, proposed or done something you don’t approve of… and you have no better material or recourse than to simply utter “really?” in the most patronizing of fashions. It’s the crutch of the unimaginative. And recently it’s absolutely saturated popular culture. ”Let me get this straight. You want me to either give you a blood sample or exhale into a breathalyser. Really?”
I’m talking to you, Seth & Amy.
- Interesting: See “Really?”
If every other sentence of your marketing material contains the word “passionate”, then I’m sorry if this post is troublesome or even pause for thought. These are my personal observations. However, if your greatest contribution to a smoky party discussion about healthcare is “interesting…” – be warned as I may strike you from somewhere within the dark. Levitate our lexicon, people. Or something.
When a neighbour of mine popped over recently to ask if I too were being charged insane monthly hydro amounts, I looked back on my bills for the summer (I live in Portland, Ontario) to learn they’ve been consistently $500 and over for many, many months. How did I miss these ridiculous charges? My lame excuse is: because the monthly hydro bills are directly withdrawn from my bank account. So I logged into said account and looked a little closer to see that for September’s bill of over $900 had just been directly placed in Hydro One’s coffers. “WTF?” doesn’t really cover the reaction that followed.
And here’s the thing – I’ve been having issues with my furnace and have had it completely switched off for over 4 weeks now. Were I running a grow-op with massive amounts of hydroponic equipment nurturing illegal flora in my basement, I’d keep my mouth shut. But since my Hydro bill should have actually been dramatically less for last month – well, it’s driven me to blog about this nonsense in the hopes eventual readers might be able to share their stories or shed some light on just what the heck is going on. And forget the $900 for a second. I’ve easily been paying over 50% more every month than should be normal for a 30 day utility charge for over a frickin’ year now.
Hydro One: I’m not building a spaceship, powering a nuclear reactor or harbouring the Trailer Park Boys’ next big growing scheme on my property. I’m going to call you next week and try to get to the bottom of this. And by “get to the bottom of this” I actually mean “get a massive credit/refund”. I will keep everyone updated as to what transpires. If you’ve found this post via a Google search and are in the same boat – please leave your own story in the comments below. In the meantime, I’ll be panhandling or selling my body in anticipation of next month’s financial haemorrhage.
Two years ago my house was hit by lightning. Insurance covered the cost of replacing the fridge, microwave and dishwasher which were all fried by Zeus’ misfire – I hope it was a misfire, anyway. Because I’ve been sacrificing goats on the regular.
The fun didn’t end there. Even though we installed a house-wide surge protector (after the fact) things keep breaking down and there is no doubt in my mind, or that of the many repairmen cycling through here, that the original bolt must be to blame.
The latest victims – my 3-year old stove and my furnace’s compressor. Over a year has passed so neither is still covered by insurance. All the money I’ve saved for other long-looked-forward-to household additions has been whisked away, just like that. Quicker than a flash of lightning, if you will. Anyone else have any good wrath of the Gods type experiences to share? I’m doubling up on goats for the next month.