Monthly Archives: May 2015

Big Deal or No Big Deal

100 birthdayThings happen. Some good, some not so good. But just like the inevitability of death and taxes, every morning when you wake up you gotta know that sometime, somehow during that day, something is going to happen. It may not be something spectacular, or important, remarkable or even memorable. Truth be told, it might be something rather mundane. But come hell or high water, you can bet your bottom dollar that something, anything really, is going to happen during your day.  As a shallow person I do my best not to dwell on most things that happen, particularly the “not so good” things. As a matter of fact, this past week I had one of “those” things happen and while I have been known to rant, on occasion complain and more than every once in a while worry, the one thing I tend not to do is whine. Which is why I will refrain from going into the details of that “thing  that happened” here. What I will tell you is that it got me thinking. Mostly about the nature of “things” that happen. And here’s what I’ve come up with.

The way I see it, things that happen mostly fall into one of two categories. There are things that are a “big deal” and other things that are “no big deal”.  It’s not complicated. If it’s a big deal, you deal with it. If it’s no big deal, best just to get over it. Both you and I hope that the “big deal” stuff is all good but, while I hate to be the one to break this to you, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sorry about that. Of course there are some things that float from one category to another.  If you’re anything like me, there will be things that you thought were a “big deal” until you wake up the next morning and realize that, in the scheme of things, they weren’t. And if you actually were me, you may not even remember the “big deal” thing the next morning. Which is a good thing, especially if it was one of those “not so good” big deal things. Which brings me right back around to what I’ve been thinking about.

Most of you know that the past few months have been pretty busy for me and when life gets busy there’s a tendency for more things to happen each and every day. So last week when, in the middle of everything, I found myself 40,000 feet in the air for about an hour and a half there was little else to do but think about all of the things that had happened over the past few months. And since I was thinking about things that had happened I figured, why not spend this otherwise vacuous time in the air determining into which category each of the things fit? After all,  if my theory holds true and there really are two options into which everything can fall, it should be a breeze. Besides, the lack of horizontal hold on my rather minuscule TV was proving to be more than annoying and I needed a distraction.  So with no further ado, and much reverence to the very recently retired Mr. Letterman who right now is very likely riding a horse somewhere in the middle of Montana, I bring to you a segment I’ve decided to call “Big Deal or No Big Deal”. You can probably figure this out without my help but, just in case you haven’t been reading as carefully as you should, it goes like this. I think about things that have happened, or are about to happen, and decide whether they are/were a “big deal” or “no big deal”.  It’s just that simple. Here we go.

#1 Selling my house: Big deal before it was sold, no big deal after.
#2 Buying a new house: Big deal. My Realtor thinks so too.
#3 Packing up my house: No big deal. Unless we continue to procrastinate at which point it could turn out to be one of those floaters.
#4 Buying all new furniture: Wasn’t a big deal until I discovered modern Italian furniture. Now it is.
#5 Moving to a new city: No big deal. I’ve moved cities before. So what if that was 37 years ago? Ok, maybe a bigger deal than I think.
#6 Moving the cat to a new city: I’ve driven her the 5 blocks to the Vet. Gotta go with big deal on this one.
#7 Mr. Letterman’s retirement: Probably a bigger deal for him than for me.
#8 My retirement: Only lasted two days. Really no big deal.
#9 The NDP Government in Alberta: Would have been a big deal if it weren’t for #5 above. On second thought, still a big deal.
#10 My Mother’s 100th birthday coming up this September: Might as well stop here ‘cause that, my friends, is just about as big a deal as you’re ever going to get!

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I’m Sorry!

maple-leafAs a shallow person I’ve never been one to turn a blind eye to a cliche. Let’s face it. Trite sayings can be useful on all kinds of levels. Like when you’re walking down the hall at work and you inadvertently make eye contact with someone you tangentially know, and at the most inopportune time, perhaps when your mind is wrapped around whether to have soup or a sandwich for lunch, and the only thing you can come up with in the moment your paths cross is, “Hi, have a good day!” Well, that’s not so bad. I mean, who doesn’t want to “have a good day”? Certainly there’s nothing wrong with letting someone know you hope they do. And it’s miles ahead of trying to pull up something slightly more meaningful on the spur of the moment which, more than likely, will result in some sort of unintelligible garble spewing from your otherwise preoccupied mind, making neither you or them feel any better.  Isn’t it easier just to make someone smile and go away a tiny bit happier?

Or when someone at work comes into your office to tell you that the sky is pretty much falling and they simply don’t know what to do next and you try to come up with something, anything really that will make them feel slightly better and all that comes out is, “well keep calm and carry on.” You’re fully aware of the fact that the chances of that happening are about the same as finding a needle in a haystack but what are you supposed to say? Even if you are thinking there’s a pretty good chance that before too long your co-worker is going to be offered the opportunity to “be successful elsewhere” what good is it going to do either of you to say so? Think about it for a minute. Given the alternative, and the fact that just about anything else you say is likely to lead you into some very uncomfortable territory, perhaps the best advice for both parties at this juncture is to “stay calm”. But none of this explains why lately I’ve been thinking more about cliches than usual. Truth be told, I’ve actually been thinking about one cliche in particular, but if you can hold your horses for just another minute or two, I promise I’ll get to that.

So the other day I’m minding my own business while walking to work. More to the point, I was actually walking from the parking lot to work when I looked up and saw a bus and there, displayed across the top where the destination would normally be, was the following: “Sorry…not in service”. And that’s when it occurred to me. There’s been a lot of that sort of thing going on in Canada lately, and while I am painfully cognizant of our reputation for being apologetic, I don’t think it has ever been regaled quite as publicly as it has been over the last few months. And I know this because I watch TV and lately there seems to be a proliferation of advertising that exploits this apparent predisposition. In case you have missed it, let me fill you in.

There are the Americans who, for some unknown reason are being taught how to “pass” as Canadians. In order to do this it seems, one must bone up on their knowledge of beavers, have a love of VH sauce and, when push comes to shove, automatically declare you are “sorry” to someone who doesn’t allow you to share their food. Is this really all that it takes? And who says that Americans don’t like VH sauce?  Then there’s the “tire guy” who apologizes for changing the name of “all season” tires to “all weather” tires since, it would seem, that for many years we have been fooled into thinking that our winters and “theirs” are one in the same. Not only does he apologize for the name change, he also makes the ultimate apology and apologizes, on behalf of all Canadians I am to assume, for our propensity for apologizing. Come on people! What we should be sorry for is not having won a war that would have given us free and clear access to at least one southern clime.

But that’s not what the bus triggered for me. At the moment I realized that the bus was apologizing for being out of service, even though that’s not an entirely unreasonable state for a bus to be in, the first thing that popped into my mind, and I have to say I’m not sure why, was the well-worn and as we all know, terribly overused cliche “Love is never having to say you’re sorry”.  Heads up my northern friends. It seems this may not be the case for us Canadian folk.

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