I remember how I once woke up in the morningsafter my feet were already on the floor. I was already in gear and racing into the possibilities which the day held. I had enthusiasm for everything. I could outwork, lift more, stand more heat and cold and noise than anyone else. I had been taught at a young age that to be a beast of burden was noble and divine. Stupid bastard! It got me nowhere. Now I am old and burned out, in constant pain in many ways.
It is a terrible thing for an old man to wake up with dark thoughts. He lays on and on in bed as the perfect morning sunrise streaks through the gap in the curtains. He contemplates that perhaps his entire life was a waste and that there is little of value to show for his existence. His passage through it all was of nuisance value only. He knows that’s not true but the thoughts are there and that is not any way to start the day. Friends and family have children producing babies lately. Perhaps that’s what has brough this on. He has none. Oh blub blub.
Grumpa, cheer up enough to swing your gnarly old feet down on to the floor, open the curtains, go let the dogs out. They’re thrilled to simply be alive. That’s why we have them in our lives. So wake up one toe at a time if that’s your best, follow the dogs out and inhale the dawn. No-one has shot at us, there have been no fires or earthquakes. You know who you are and where you are. Not a bad start! It’s Monday again. Three days until garbage day. We’ve just lost Gordon Lightfoot. All is bluebirds and rainbows.
A post from a friend this morning reminded me that as spring advances so does tick season. These nasty blood-sucking insects which burrow into your skin can also carry plagues like lyme disease which has a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. After being outdoors check behind your dog’s ears especially, but also all over their body, and then check you own corpulous delectum. The wee flax seed-shaped bugs are not fussy with their taste. I once discovered a tick had lodged itself in my armpit.The discovery came while scuba diving. I wore a neoprene wetsuit over the spot and was in ninety feet of water when the discomfort set in. Gnyum, gynum, yum. So it was grin and bear it for the rest of the dive and then wrestle out of my gear once back on the surface and remove that invasive beast which by then felt about the size of a shovel.
You can remove them by firmly pulling and twisting, preferably without breaking the little beast into bits. Any remains can become a nasty infection but broken-off heads do NOT continue eating their way inwards. That’s just a myth. There are special tick removal tools available at pet stores. Be sure to check and remove any you find as soon as possible, they do like to chew their way in and once swollen with blood are much harder to remove. An acclaimed repellant is a spray mixture of one third white vinegar and two parts water. Well now, that’s out of the way before breakfast.
It is now almost NOT news that there has been yet another mass-shooting in the US. Sadly, mass shootings are hardly the sensation they once were. Canadians are neighbours to this clearly conflict and violence loving nation. We too share the same culture and embrace entertainment which consistently has characters waving guns. The film sets run with blood. It’s expected and even taken for granted. We just don’t notice it. Gun violence in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island are now a daily fact of life and there is more going on than ever makes the news. Then there are the goons hurtling around our roads in their projectiles weighing infinitely more than any bullet. All the horrors of war, earthquake and famine just don’t register in our collective conscience. There are a lot of good things happening but before we spend more on stuff liking sending back breath-taking images of the unknown universe perhaps we should clean up our only home and make life a little more bearable for most of our global population who suffer horribly every day.
I was confronted by one of those characters last week, who from his suv seat threatened me with his brass knuckles. I refuse to run from any thug. He backed down when I challenged him to discover how this old bull got to be old. He left. I do seem to find an inordinate number of confrontations but I am hard-wired against conceeding to bullies. The whole world seems to be tense and angry but running from any tyranny, no matter how small, is to endorse it.
There are other forms of foolishness we also have to deal with. I am writing this on mother’s day and the weather is now seasonally normal, in the mid to high 20s. The media is determined to place us within a heat dome and caution us with how to deal with the extreme heat. You can go back into the archives and find that this is normal late-spring weather and I suggest that hot, even to us folks, is in excess of 30 degrees. Nice and warm has been replaced with hot and dangerous. What’s with all the drama? Isn’t paying for gas and groceries exciting enough?
I don’t know how to act my age, I’ve never been this old before! anonymous
Why do we name something with the noun or verb which we do? Why is a tree called tree instead of wrench or spoon or brainfart or porridge? In English an egg, in French un oeuf, in Spanish el huevo. There’s no apparent link but that’s the way the pickle squirts and we all understand each other; or not. How come hi means hello but not high? An old English expression says it’s a “Corker” which mean “unanswerable.” Bugga! There’s a lot to be said for grunts and facial expressions.
When I began blogging I named my website “Seafire Chronicles.” That was the name of the boat I owned at the time and I intended to document my journeys in body and soul aboard that fine little ship. Now, the boat is long gone and I’m still here (Not hear). I decided on a new clever name and renamed my blog Driftword.ca which, I thought implied travel writing, both by land and by sea. A web designer whom I hired said no. I trusted her. She’s gone now as well. I understood how hard it was not to think driftwood instead of driftword. I was probably missing a lot of “hits” because of that. I need a name which might not be poetic but will embed itself in one’s mind, be easy to remember, spell and to find. Good idea! Furthermore, she explained, anything British Columbia is a hot topic globally so best to incorporate at least “BC” into the name. And, I should register my blog as a home business for obvious tax advantages. It made sense to have a business name and an URL that were the same. My blog has essentially been a hobby and I want to produce some income with it so it is time to wax pragmatic.
I looked up an available unclaimed URL and eventually came up with bcawesome.ca. It met all the criteria and although the name did not thrill me I decided to learn to live with it and applied to register it as an official business name. NYET! Someone else has a name which is remotely similar so the name and the thirty dollar registration fee were flushed. After considerable thought, lap after lap in the local swimming pool and day after day walking the dog I came up with a new name. It was one of three which I again submitted for approval. The name which was approved is BC BOGTROTTER.COM. Yes the URL was also available, it’s easy to remember and spell. Now I learn, I must apply for official provincial government permission to employ the term BC within my business name. Once that permission is granted, probably for yet another small fee, I’ll go and see if the URL is still available. Phew! Would you believe that one of the questions in this little inquisition was “What direction does your street run?” I wanted to respond, in degrees magnetic or true? Check out Google Earth and decide for yourself.
What’s a Bog Trotter? Well you may ask. It’s an endearment installed on me by my Scottish mother-in-law. I think it was originally an Irish term. It means lowest of the low, homeless one, eternal wanderer, despised, unwelcome, rough, course, primitive. An approximate close appropriation on my continent would be hillbilly or perhaps country bumpkin. I’ll take it, with pride. It has suddenly occurred to me that a bog trotter could even be a sasquatch. AHA! What could be more BC than that? If all of this comes together I’ll have managed a minor coup without pissing in my own knitting. Look! I can say what I want, after all I’m a bog trotter. Would you expect anything less?
Frankly I don’t give a toss about being politically correct, socially acceptable nor fashionably appealing. That’s the problem with being a reprobate, your appeal comes from offending folks yet you need them in order to be sustained. Most successful comedians have mastered this fine art of balancing themselves delicately between being universally offensive and wisely charming all at once. You must manage to get folks to laugh at themselves and also feel enlightened. I swear that our prominent comedians are also our foremost philosphers and even leaders; Volodymyr Zelenskyy for example.
And so we move on to the pig on a roller skater. I haven’t crashed my new motor scooter, yet. A friend who is a seasoned motorcyclist recommends some good protective gear. I’m sure losing a piece of your butt skidding along a gravel road is not a preferred weight loss method. The little fliver sits in the garage shiny new and red for the moment while I divert my attention to plan F. My little home-built trailer will grudgingly accommodate my stuff and my scooter but there’s no room for me to sleep in a pinch. I’ve happened to find a small livestock trailer which has never hauled a beast. There’s no rust from bull pee or other critter emissions and the price was relatively reasonable. It’ll hold all my gear and provide a little extra accommodation if the need arises. There will be no fancy upgrades but it will be a forever trailer which will stand up to back roads anywhere I choose to go. It may even have to become my home some day. You never know, the world seems to get progressively crazier and the notion of an old clown in a box is not that ludicrous.
Yesterday I bought some gas at a station while a tandem tank truck delivered a load of fuel. Another customer pulled in to the pump behind me. He began to rant at the truck driver about the high price of his gasoline. Pointing at the metre on his pump he screamed “I bet you’re not paying this price!” Fortunately the trucker was physically massive character. He could easily have defended himself and had clearly endured a fair share of morons. All the while an aroma of fuel vapours wafted in the air as the sparks flew. I’ve always admired these folks who keep our wheels turning and demonstrate a very high driving skill manoeuvring their massive tandem bombs in tight places. Then they have to face idiots whenever their boots hit the ground.
I was hoping to end this blog right about here with something witty and humorous. Then I watched the six o’clock news. In the wake of the disgusting mass school shooting in Uvalde Texas, and the carnage in Buffalo the usual rhetorical tsunamis wash over us once again. There have been almost two hundred mass shootings in the US so far this year. They are not a big news item anymore. And don’t exonerate yourself from the pandemic of violence because you are Canadian. We are all North Americans with the same culture no matter what side of the border we live on. The sickness has reared its ugly head here as well too many times.
This old country boy has owned and used many different types of firearms. I’ve done a lot of hunting. I’ve killed as many deer with a tiny .22 rifle as with any other calibre of rifle or shot gun. Dead is dead, no matter what killed you. Banning any single type of weapon will NOT solve the problem of gun violence. There was never ANY firearm produced that is not capable of killing. That is their purpose and what they are perfected to do. SO STOP THE BULLSHIT! NRA be damned! We live in a violence-immersed culture in North America. The concept of violent death is our prime entertainment. Whether it is a video game, a movie, a book, yet another murder mystery, try to find one that does not orbit around death, death, death, the more graphically gory and violent the better. Violence is embedded in all of our collective sub-consciences. We endorse it. Even Christianity uses a symbol of capital punishment as its icon! Sorry God-botherers but violence is so much a part of our culture we are all desensitized to it.
So long as we refuse to look within ourselves, and admit our dark primal instinct we will continue to have this escalating issue. Our consumer culture tells us we are worthless unless we look like this, smell like that, own some of those, hang out with pretty people. We live with a massive insecurity and sense of inadequacy, frustration and smouldering rage. We all have an aching expectation toward things we are convinced since childhood that we are entitled. We cannot love others until we learn to love ourselves. That will not happen until we start using our personal intelligence and ability to ask questions which come from within ourselves and not from the politicians, the clergy, the advertisers and certainly not our news industry. I, for one, am weary of the notion that someone else has to solve our woes. Every one of us, is in some way, to some degree, responsible for the incipient violence in our culture. We continue to tolerate the embedding of acceptable in all our brains, both young and old.
I do not know how to sow the seeds for universal self esteem and peace. I struggle with this issue within myself. We are each a miracle, a product of amazing cosmic wonder, every one of us unique and special. We don’t need divine fantasy to realize that. Perhaps that is the problem, inverting mind knowledge to heart felt certainty. An ultimate description of evil is the destruction of innocence. But naivety and ignorance are not innocence. Wilfully ignoring darkness is not innocence. Let’s each take a long look in a mirror then follow our conscience.
When a country with less than five percent of the world’s population has nearly half of the world’s privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world’s mass shootings, it’s time to stop saying guns make us safer.” ― DaShanne Stokes
They’ve freakin’ blown it. The Republicans will not win an election for generations. That’s my humble uniformed bog trotter’s opinion. I’ve promised to restrict my political rhetoric but this is so pathetic it demands comment. If the Republicans truly wanted to restore trust and belief in their party all they needed to do was to make a stand and declare that they do not support or condone the abhorrent attitudes expressed by Mr. Trump. “He was our mistake.” This way they have virtually guaranteed a Democrat win next election and probably the next as well. Some Republican senators did vote in support of the impeachment. It is encouraging that these politicians chose to put their country ahead of their party. They will probably be punished for their historic stand. A quirk of politicians, in particular, is that they seem unable to admit mistakes. If only they could confess their human frailty they would be demonstrating a strength which would take them much further than any lie or denial.
As far as I am concerned one party is no better or worse and ongoing political chess games have nothing to do with reuniting the country and putting it back on the rails of peace, prosperity and “In God We Trust.” The “united states” may well dissolve in anarchy and the Second Civil War will be upon us. Yeah, I know we are Canadian but if you don’t see yourself as a North American, you will be rudely awakened when the troubles erupt in full blossom. We’re part of the fiasco.
Yesterday I watched a video clip sent to me by a friend. It was a cell phone recording taken while some goon sat on his ass and watched as a police officer was assaulted by a madman with a large stick. Ultimately the cop shot his assailant twelve times, point blank, before the nutter finally fell down and died, twitching and jerking just like some of the deer I have taken. What appalled me more than the actual graphic detail was the shallowness of the man recording the event. The videographer cheered the policeman and expressed pleasure as a fellow human gasped his last breath not ten feet away. The event was entertainment to him. This pathetic soulless son-of-a-bitch is not alone. There are millions like him…on both sides of the border. Here’s the link if you have stomach enough for a dose of harsh reality. That the perpetrator/victim may have chosen ‘Suicide by Cop’ does not devalue human life.
I’ve confirmed that this is a real event which occurred on Feb. 6th. It is ironic that this is an area where several fatal shootings of black people by police have occurred. Here a black man encourages a policeman to shoot a white perpetrator. I can’t help wondering what might have happened if he’d gone to help the cop.
After I wrote the above I wrestled with myself while I showered, vacuumed, ate breakfast, walked the dog and shovelled a heap of snow. Dark tabloidism is not my genre. I prefer to provide hope and cheer, introspection and humour with my blogs. The darkness here doesn’t do much to make the world a better place, but sometimes a little slap therapy is in order. I desperately need to find another boat.
By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day. It has something to do with love I’m told.
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” ― Yehuda Bauer