Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'd like to think so.

My teens had a presentation about suicide and depression at school today....

I've been trying to understand a suicide for nearly 25 years.

Suicide is so confusing. There's always why. Even if you know, it's impossible to be know everything, to fully know, to fully comprehend. This is such a trivial comparison but it's like missing the end of an amazing movie, one of those movies that fills the empty spaces in the heart. But then it's left unfinished. The cartoon's fourth frame is missing. The painting is abandoned. And there's nothing left to do now. No way to see it complete. The director stopped directing. No way to complete it yourself. It's just so unfinished.

And it's such a mess. So unfair. And dare I say it, so selfish. But maybe it's just as selfish to think I could have made any real difference. I don't know.

All our talking didn't seem to change the outcome for my friend. She kept losing the light. Why couldn't her psychologist do more? Why couldn't we have perceived just how serious it was?

After talking with my teens about this today, I realized something after nearly 25 years: a stranger possesses just as much power, and quite probably more power and influence to save the life of someone contemplating suicide. When friends fail, or when friends are not enough, or perhaps when friends are too familiar to be truly heard, then maybe it's the stranger who can change everything. If only someone had asked her to dance. If only someone had noticed the girl sitting on the bench and sat down beside her and said, "Hey." If only someone on YouTube had said "it gets better."

Maybe this is our true power. Maybe each of us, in a moment of pure random compassion for a lost someone, is the antidote to the giant loneliness of life. And we would say the right thing. Or enough of the right thing to be the tipping point to prevent an unfinished life. (Maybe it's happening right now.) And we would never even know.

Sometimes I'd like to believe we all have that power. I'd like to think so.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I used to think that I wasn't qualified to use the word "disabled." What could I possibly know about being disabled?

Then a man with cerebral palsy taught me that each of us carries a backpack, some heavier than others. For a few people, the backpack is obvious. For others only hinted at. And some may not even be aware of carrying one. 

But we all do. 

He taught me that we disable ourselves when we do drugs or abuse alcohol. Or when we don’t participate or when we condemn others. Or when we lack gratitude. He argued that lying and fighting and criticizing and blaming disables us. He suggested that trying to be perfect or trying to control or manipulate others disables us too.

He helped me see how disabled so many people are. Especially me. He helped me see my backpack. He helped me figure out how to loosen the straps.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wordfuse (Get Off Their Lawns Edition)

A group of fish is called a school. A group of hamsters is called a horde. A group of mosquitoes is called a scourge. So what does one call a group of curmudgeons?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This Kind of Day?

I think it might be this kind of day...

The kind of day to put up a new trampoline.

The kind of day when it rains but the sun stays shining anyway.

The kind of day to write a letter.

The kind of day for looking for things that might be growing again.

The kind of day for jellybean tea.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Things that deserve the stink-eye sunglasses:

I guess the sunglasses were the icing on the cake, er the urinal cake. Kinda. But not really because there was no urinal cake. Because it was the wrong bathroom for that. Because...nevermind. Here's what happened....

I blame the whole sad creepy thing on that ophthalmologist. He dilated my eyes, peered inside my pea-brain and basically said, "What are you doing here? Most of my patients are in their 80s...there's nothing wrong with your eyes." So I simultaneously apologized and thanked him (like any good Canadian would) then returned to the waiting area where I texted my wife: "dilated and waiting." Her oh-so-compassionate reply? "Happy birthing!"


She couldn't pick me up for a while and hence the mayhem began. Mistake #1: I forgot to bring my sunglasses but I decided to depart anyway. And by "depart" I mean this: picture a chubby kid too tall for his age in a blindfold looking for a pinata minus the broomstick. Now picture him at the street corner walk sign trying to cross a busy intersection in the downtown core of a city. And his eyes were watering. And pedestrians seemed to be giving him a wide berth. That was me. And that's how profoundly sun-blinded I was due to the dilation.

Anyway...eventually my wife picked me up, I found my sunglasses and we went to the mall blah blah blah bought shoes, had lunch, wanted to explain to all service staff I encountered that yes indeed I was aware that I was wearing sunglasses inside the building (necessary mistake #2) but felt too awkward blah blah....

Jump to the part that's clearly mistake #3: that would be when I semi-blindly waltzed into the ladies bathroom with my sunglasses on, wondered momentarily why there were so many stalls, shrugged, tried to enter a few stalls, found an empty one, and then began feeling odd while I listened to some poor confused woman in the next stall have a one-sided conversation on her cell-phone before I suddenly (and finally) had that feeling like someone had just thrown a bucket of cold water on me...Am I in the women's bathroom? Yup. I. am. There were no urinals! HOW THE HELL DO I GET OUT OF HERE? Then I heard a woman say to another woman, "are you in the line-up?" AND NOW THERE'S A LINE-UP? I WONDER IF ANY OF THESE WOMEN ARE CARRYING MACE? I AM GOING TO JAIL!

Clearly the only one in there with balls, I decided to use them before any more panic rose in my throat, so I pushed open the door, exited the stall, walked directly down the aisle and out the door as women parted in waves. That's when this know how sometimes you have a momentary out-of-body experience when you see yourself as others see you? Well I saw myself, my inside-wearing-sunglasses-self, my suddenly very-creepy-inside-wearing-sunglasses-self. I guess I didn't look as pervy as I imagined though because those women began laughing while I proceeded directly across the hall to the men's bathroom and began banging my head on the hand-dryer.

Believe it or not, there are two kickers to this story and I kid you not:

1. My wife entered that same bathroom just moments after I began hiding in the men's bathroom. I only know this because when she met me a few minutes later she mentioned all the women in the bathroom talking and texting about some guy who used the ladies' bathroom. I then confessed. My wife then proceeded to laugh and mock me for the next hour. Why no sympathy? Let's just admit it: I've done this before. I once showered in a woman's locker-room. Seriously. Please believe me--I am not a perv, just a dipstick.

2. The very same day, a blogger friend who tells a story way better than I do DID THE SAME THING (but opposite) and she has visuals! I highly recommend you visit her similar post (Chelle at Coffee & Zombie Movies) immediately. I'm now referring to her as my awesome socially-impaired little sister.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wordfuse (Wildlife Edition)

On our way out of Jasper, Alberta yesterday we were treated to a little animal safari when we drove past this mountain goat who barely gave us the stink-eye. Obviously  we were on his highway but I suspect he knew nothing about the sickeningly giant bloodstain we had encountered on the road a few minutes earlier. He should have checked his twitter feed I guess.

This goat definitely had previous drive-thru work experience because we pulled up directly beside him. (I almost ordered onion rings.) Then my wife pointed out that although he seemed quite docile, we could be potentially head-butted at any moment: explain that to the insurance agent. My daughter wanted to reach out and pet him but I yelled TICKS just because I'm a total buzz-kill like that sometimes.

Anyway, you know what you call this "short account of a particular incident" right? An anecgoat.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012


See the arrow? That is where my wife made me go today. Now look down. Keep looking. All the way down to the tiny chalet at the very bottom of the map. That's where I had to ski to.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Uh this is my wife's bra suitcase, at least that's what I call it. And she just made me go out to the car to get it. Who does she think she is...Miss Piggy?


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wordfuse (Bovine Edition)

not the actual cow
In a series of circumstances too gnarly to fully explain nor describe, my son became a gyneCOWlogist last night. His eyebrows are permanently etched at whoa. (I laughed for 30 minutes.)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coming Soon...?

to your house?


Friday, April 6, 2012

Wordfuse (Kitchen Edition)

When my wife bakes, things can get quite violent.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

...the dilated stink-eye.

After the optometrist dilated my pupils, she had me sit in the waiting room. I have to wonder...was noticing the hole in the ceiling part of the exam?


Sunday, April 1, 2012

In the Parentheses

This will be quick. I don't want to stay here for very long....

My Dad died nine years ago today.

So much has changed since then. Isn't it odd? One day's hardship years later is a memory with a bridge built backwards. A bridge I don't cross so often anymore. Once, I crossed it frequently. I would run back there along those clackety foot-boards over the curve and linger close to the edge and feel the weight behind my eyes.

I'm only 20 years younger than you now Dad. How strange. But this means I understand you so much more. I know your struggles. I know your anger. I know your bitterness. As e.e. cummings said so well "Old age sticks up keep off signs) & youth yanks them down (old age cries No Tres) & (pas) youth laughs." Believe me; I feel I'm in the parentheses now and if it would help I would have a big-ass sign on my lawn if I could.

If I'm older now, am I still your youngest? Not really. I'm not your black sheep anymore, I'm not the one you seemed to be working so hard to change. I'm more like you now and I even see you in the mirror some mornings. And I many heartbreaks did you endure while, oblivious, I chattered on and skipped about in my clueless exuberant youth? That's what I understand so well now.

We were so different and yet now, you are the only person I want to talk to.

But I also know what all your worry and anxiety did to you. So I'm trying not to be angry, I'm trying not to struggle so much with the sheer muchness of the world. I'm trying to let go. And since I can't talk to you I have started letting my worries drop like handwritten notes off the side of that bridge. And most days, it's helping.
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