Tag Archives: Canadian

I’m Sorry

I didn’t start out writing this blog post. I started writing a blog about robots. A shallow blog. And then the world blew up. Again. A dear friend of mine posted a passionate, well-written, well-reasoned response to the grievous events in Charlottesville, and she said this. She encouraged all of her friends to think about ways they too could speak out about what happened and what continues to happen in the United States of America. To no longer remain silent. To stand up and be counted. This is my way.

I am pretty much your quintessential Canadian. I was born in Canada and other than a short stint in the very southern U.S of A, have lived all of my life in this great country of ours. I listen to Gordon Lightfoot, love 5 pin bowling and always pour pure maple syrup on my pancakes. I’m not sure why I am even telling you this as it doesn’t seem to be much of a secret. According to my American friends I sport a Canadian accent which apparently becomes most evident when I use words like “out” and “about”. I also say “pop” not “soda”, assume that everyone knows I want a hot drink when I order “tea”, and always ask for directions to the “washroom” not the “bathroom”.  I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that sometime during a conversation I will inadvertently end a sentence with “eh”, which you would think, would be the most telling of all. But if there needs to be icing on this cake, like most good Canadians, I share with my compatriots a propensity to quite unapologetically say “I’m sorry” for, well just about everything. And that’s exactly what I am about to do now. Because unfortunately, right now in this world of ours, there is plenty to be sorry about.

First and foremost I would like to say I’m sorry to all of my American friends who find themselves in the midst of the turmoil through no fault of their own. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to wake up each and every morning and realize that the man in charge is actually the man in charge. A man who has hijacked their country and taken it on such a turbulent flight that no one knows where and if it will safely land. It’s not a dream, or rather a nightmare. It’s really, really happening. Of course we all know that things have never been perfect. Not here, not anywhere. When it comes to governments, even on this side of the planet, there’s always something to beef about. You know what I mean. There are roads that need to be fixed, money wrongly squandered, past injustices to be apologized for.  But I can’t for the life of me recall the last time that one of the “leaders of the free world” came out in blatant support of a group of white supremacists and Neo Nazis. Not even the “fine” ones.

I’m sorry too for all of the people who lived through the atrocities committed by the Nazis and the white supremacists in the not too distant past. The horrific images etched into their memories, never faded.  The survivors of the holocaust. The men and women who fought in wars to keep our countries free. Those who put their fear aside and marched in the streets of Alabama, and many more streets, in the ’60s. I may be shallow but I’m no fool. I know our problems were never solved. I know that there is still plenty of hatred and bigotry in this world of ours. But for a while there at least, it was frowned upon to walk down the street chanting Nazi slogans and proudly displaying swastika laden clothing. Just ask Prince Harry about that. It hurts me to think that the people who fought so hard for our rights, who implore us to “never forget” must again witness this unadulterated hatred in our streets.

And now let me apologize for myself. I’m sorry for all of the times I stood silent, walked away knowing that something someone had said or done was antisemitic, racist, sexist or egregious in some other way. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t always walk away. There were times that I stood my ground. Let others know what I thought. Fought the good fight. But there were also times when I told myself that battles had to be chosen. When I was too tired to take a stand. Not ready for the confrontations. I had been there, done that. Didn’t want to do it again. Looking back I know better. I just should have done something, said something. As should we all. But now I watch as the daughter and son-in-law of the man in charge have apparently decided to pick their battles too. If I can be so bold, I’d like to say something to them. Here’s some unsolicited advice from one Mother, who at times stood silent, to another.

You are two powerful people. You have a platform, a voice. You have his ear. We counted on you to be his voice of reason. To do the right thing. So where are you now? Ok. I get it. He’s your Father. You work for him. That aside, there are many reasons for you to speak out now, but here’s just one. You made a choice to bring Jewish children into this world. They are your legacy. There is nothing, not anything, that is more important to you than your children. It’s your responsibility to protect them. To speak up, if not on your own, on their behalf. Because if you don’t, one day you’re going to look back and realize that you too, have plenty to be sorry about.  

So there you have it. I’m sorry that this is not really a shallow blog. But I’m not sorry that I wrote it.

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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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Oh Canada!

canadian_flagIt’s a very patriotic day here in the United States of America. I know this because in the 9:00 am time slot normally reserved for Ms. Rippa and her new friend Mike, there was instead a parade of celebrities paying homage to the 44th President as he was sworn into office for another four years. And what could be more American than James Taylor singing “America the Beautiful”, Kelly Clarkson’s rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” which, to this Canadian, sounds remarkably like “God Save the Queen/King” depending on who is alive at the time, or Beyonce doing more than a little justice to the “Star Spangled Banner”? The importance of the day was made clear through the twittersphere where the people shared their profound thoughts about this rather auspicious occasion. A quick peek at #inaug2013 provided a sense of the true meaning of the event reflected in the plethora of “140 characters or less” insightful tweets including “Beyonce’s rendition was so beautiful and so were those earrings!” and “The most interesting thing I’ve learned from the coverage of the inauguration so far is that James Taylor is still alive.” And now with the more formal proceedings completed the focus, I’m sure, will shift to unbridled speculation on what the Missus’ will be wearing tonight along with chatter about her new bangs.

Yet in the midst of all this red, white and blue I find myself feeling more Canadian than ever and it has little to do with the pomp and circumstance that took place today in this nation’s capital. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good party as much as the next person but that’s not what awakened my connection to the maple leaf. No, here in the southern-most corner of California, amidst the sound of the crashing waves and the warmest temps I have experienced in a very long time, I found myself watching a team of my country-people (I’ve opted for political correctness rather than accuracy on this one) challenging a team from my temporary home to the game of hockey, the most Canadian of all sports.

It’s not that I really like hockey or, for that matter know much about it, which is a little odd since I have three brothers, two sons and one husband, all of whom are quite taken with the game. It’s just that, unless you have been living under a rock for some time, you should know that there has been a dearth of ice time due to a disagreement between two groups of very wealthy people who apparently cared more about getting wealthier than about the throngs of fans who have devoted significant chunks of their time and money to the icy sport. So it was a “big deal” when the first game of the season made its way onto the telly and there was nothing I could do but watch.

Ironically, given my most recent post, this particular game was being played by the Ducks and the Canucks, and so it was that the rhyming couplet match-up gave me the opportunity to show my true colours and pay allegiance to my fellow compatriots. Alas, my cheers and admonitions were to no avail as the Canucks went down to heartbreaking defeat. Nonetheless, for a couple of hours I was there, cheering on the Canadian heros and supporting my country in the best way that I could. Just like all those people on the Washington Mall did earlier today. And, lest I forget, Sarah McLachlan did a bang up job of singing the national anthem.

By the way, and in case you haven’t already heard, Mrs. Obama wore Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. I think this rhyming thing is really catching on.

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