Saturday, June 29, 2024

Dates or Days?

I once remembered important dates with ease, especially birthdays. Nowadays, I forget a few here and there. Some dates are burned in my memory, oddly unexpected ones. Does anyone else remember their driver's test? 

I can recall almost everything that occured during that hour on Thursday, June 3 the year I finally turned 16. It seems my pea-brain decided to scan the driver's test details along with the date and file that information in forever. But why store this memory?

The answer is anxiety, or as I refer to it, my inner narrator's default mode. He and I disagree on how to perceive any situation: where he (typically) sees a horror movie, I (attempt to) find the comedy. If you've struggled with anxiety, you know what I mean: THREATS are EVERYWHERE; I MUST PROTECT YOU FROM IMMINENT DEATH while rational reality begs to differ. Yup, my inner narrator is a drama queen. I have known this forever. But my (unreliable) inner narrator does not give a rat's pizza about what I think, some days. He can be soothed, but the process is fraught and he rarely leaves the building.  

For example, during my road test—I can recall this with absolute clarity—while I waited to turn left at a red light, a pedestrian began to cross the street, but not just any pedestrian MY GRANDFATHER OMG IT'S MY GRANDFATHER PLEASE DON'T NOTICE ME PLEASE DON'T NOTICE when he noticed me in the driver's seat he stopped, smiled, and waved frantically. I remained (externally) calm, barely nodded, and waited for him to continue, THE LASER EYES OF THE DRIVER TRAINER BURNING INTO THE SIDE OF MY HEAD. When the light turned green, I casually proceeded left INTO AN ABYSS OF WORRY AND SHAME AND IRONY OR COINCIDENCE OR SOMETHING WRONG WRONG WRONG AND HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? Soon after, I parallel-parked perfectly, but by then I was convinced I HAD FAILED THE TEST and would never get my license, plus ALL MY FRIENDS WOULD LAUGH AT ME AND NO ONE WOULD EVER DATE ME, but in reality the outcome was decidedly neutral: I passed. And later, my grandpa laughed until he had a coughing fit. 

Fusion horror-comedies can be stressful, so whatever, inner narrator, I passed. Neener neener. 

Anyway, this (finally) leads to my question: do dates matter? Thanks to anxiety, sometimes dates are useless brain storage. We can get stuck by dates, especially those dates that challenged us, or those that commemorate something painful: regret, loss, grief. So in the grand sublime scope of our lives, which is more consequential, more meaningful, more precious: dates or days? 

Friends, I choose days.  

Decades ago, my wife and I got engaged on a sunny, warm Spring day in April. We visited a glass conservatory with a wishing pond situated among a sea of Easter lilies and tulips. We made a wish, she opened the box and there was no ring inside. I tricked her; she looked up at me and laughed so I pulled the chain out of my shirt and there it was, a marquis diamond ring we chose together. It was a very happy day for both of us. Later, when people asked us if there was any significance to the date, we explained that no, it was just the right time and the right place. Curious though, I looked up the date's history: the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. 

Even my anxy inner narrator had to laugh at that. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Whatever the Sport May Be

My oldest grand-
daughter, M. 
Maybe keep this on the downlow, but I'm not a hockey fan. As a Canadian, it's a controversial declaration. Feel free to judge me if so inclined, but it isn't just hockey: I have no allegiance to any sport or sports tribe. Okay, one exception: I love Scottish Highland Games. Fight me. (And my kilt.) 

So this begs the question, why am I currently obsessed with the Edmonton Oilers?

If you are a long-term fan in these last days of June, 2024, YOU KNOW WHY but it's not just that they are finally in the Stanley Cup Finals; it's that they are continually on the PRECIPICE OF DEFEAT and yet continue to RISE AGAIN, LIKE PHOENIXES, which is probably the name of some other hockey team, I have no idea, but anyway. THIS TEAM. THEIR DOGGEDNESS. After losing the first three games, it's like they had a much-needed Rosa Parks moment: no, I belong here! (This is definitely a false comparison logic fallacy because Rosa Parks is way more important than these bearded, bleeding millionaire-dudes chasing a puck around, but as I said, when it comes to hockey I don't know what I'm talking about, okay?) One hardcore fan told me the Edmonton Oilers often impress, then shit the bed, but these last two games?! Let's just say that despite their history of stench, they are currently quite a lively clean-up crew. I have such high hopes for them and I am glued to my seat...okay, let's be honest: I read a novel while watching game 4 and in fact, I didn't watch Game 5, just nervously googled the score, my Grinch-heart sizing-up each time I did. Truthfully, I have no idea when the next game is scheduled, but I can't wait. 


Lots of reasons. Sure, I love an underdog story but I'm just happy that my Albertan/Canadian friends and neighbours are surprised how joyful they feel. Kids everywhere are proud to wear their jerseys, including my grandkids who mimic their parents' excitement although distracted by snacks and Lego. I love seeing Oilers flags on vehicles everywhere. They are such a sight for my sorry eyes after years of seeing various other flags protesting issues inspired by Fox News propaganda. I encounter strangers wearing Oilers t-shirts and we chat, both revved up on optimism, finding common ground. This hasn't happened much since 2020, has it? Right now, I can't recall my last positive culturally-collective experience. Can you? 

This tired old world needs a few wins, doesn't it? The odds are still against the Oilers: apparently, the current scenario hasn't been successful for the underdog since 1942. It's likely they will be unable to deliver the win, yet they are reminding anxious old me to still hope for better things to come for us all, whatever the "sport" may be. 


Monday, June 3, 2024


My grown son and I enjoy texting our Wordle and Canuckle scores to each other. 

We both love all things words: precision, connotation, word-play, the power of words, etc. If you're wondering about this post's title, it's one of his favourite words and it's an apt choice for the entire narrative that is this particular wordle, including a plot twist.  

If words were people, I'd be polyamorous, but what I truly love is that my son texts me his scores, daily. Hmm, what word describes the feeling this generates? Toast

Here's hoping there's someone in your life who surprises you with toast. 

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