Lightening Strikes

I attended a summer camp for several years when I was in my early teens, and while I have told this story many, many times to my friends and family, I feel that it is truly blog worthy.

camp1Murray P. was a co-camper who hailed from Montreal. he was a scrawny, quiet nobody who would have to be on fire to be noticed. Even then, I’m not so certain! Murray was somewhat of a knob, a dweeb, a nerd, a dork. He was the type of kid who never really had to do anything to piss you off to be disliked. Murray was cursed! A black cloud seemed to follow him around that summer!

It all started one stormy night, as we sat on our bunks watching the electrical storm that was so prevalent in Northern Ontario that summer. Jagged forks of lightening slashed into the trees just outside our cabin, bouncing off of the steps and ricocheting off of the door. Murray sat awe struck with his legs hung over the metal frame of his bunk. Suddenly a bolt of lightening slammed into the door, shattering the old wooden frame and slashed through the cabin. Murray lay on the floor, motionless: his bunk was hit by the lightening and the electrical force ran through the metal frame and into his body, throwing him from his bunk onto the floor. He shortly stood up, stated he was fine, and carried on as if nothing had happened.

Several nights, possibly a week later, we were in the shower house, a prefabricated metal structure that stood just beyond our cabin when another storm suddenly struck. As Murray stood on the metal floor, his hand in the metal faucet, the shower house was hit by lightening, sending Murray sailing across the building, slamming him into the floor. Although he seemed well, it was soon discovered that he had broken his arm. Poor Murray.

Some days later, some of us had left camp grounds for an outing to a secluded camp2fresh water pool which sat at the bottom of a 20 foot waterfall. It was truly magnificent there! Anyway, as we were frolicking in the cool, clean water, Murray suddenly appeared atop the falls, his arm in cast and sling, calling out to us. It was a sight to behold, as he slipped on the wet rock, and fell head first down the falls into the pool of water. The result was a fractured collar bone and a broken leg. Murray spent the rest of the summer watching from the sidelines.

I never saw or heard from Murray after that summer. I am not certain if he survived the path that he seemed destined to walk. I do believe that there was something special about him, although I am glad that I didn’t share his gift. There are times, when I get nostalgic, times when I see his face and hear his voice as he plummeted down those falls. Thanks for the laughs Murray, wherever you are.

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Memory #1

My daughters, who have always made me proud, while being somewhat neurotic, were wonderful babies. I think the happiest times I spent with them was when they were infants and toddlers. They are all wonderfully gifted, and each possesses a love for music and the creative arts.

I suspect that I had a large part in instilling this in them. Every night, at bedtime, I would sing to each one of them, a song that they particularly favoured.

My eldest daughter loved ‘Sarah The Whale’, particularly the Sharon, Lois, & Bram version (I could not find a link to that version)…so this is what she got…

My middle daughter, well, she was more into pop, and preferred the Beatles. ‘Til There Was You’ was one of her favorites.

My youngest daughter was crazy about this song:

Such fond memories. I am still listening to these songs, and always enjoy singing ‘Sarah, The Whale” to them now, despite their refusal to listen.

IF GOD SPOKE TO ME

g1I have often wondered how I would have reacted had God asked me to build an Ark?  What would I have said if I encountered a burning bush that spoke to me?

I had been informed, in my childhood, through the religious education I received,that the Lord speaks to those who are good, devout, and pure. Realizing that I would not appear on a list of potential recipients of God’s helper, I found myself considering my reaction to a heavenly request, should one ever occur. I surmised that in any circumstance, it would play out like this.

G: Hey, wake up.

ME: WTF?

G: You kiss your mother with that mouth? Get out of bed. We need to talk.

ME: How did you get in here? Who are you?

G: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

ME: Oh, hell. Am I dreaming?

G: No. Pay attention. I am God.

ME: Ya, right.

G: See, I told you. No, really, I am God!

ME: Oh, come on.

G: Why would I make that up?

ME: I need coffee.

G: Do you have decaf?

ME: Decaf?

G: Caffeine keeps me up all night.

g6Me: No

G: You should really keep some decaf in the house, even instant. At least for company.

ME: No one comes over.

G: I’m not surprised. What about herbal tea. Do you have any herbal tea?

ME: No tea, just coffee.

G: But no decaf?

ME: No decaf. Didn’t we just cover this?

G: OK. OK. Never mind the coffee.  You want proof that I am who I say I am?

ME: Not really. I just want to drink my coffee

G: You seem agitated. You know, you should probably give decaf a try.

ME: What do you want with me?

G: I want you to do something for me.

Me: What can I do for you that you can’t do yourself? You make miracles.

G: Miracles I can’t do.

ME: What? God is always creating miracles. What about all those bible stories?

G: Just stories.  People make the miracles. I just give them the tools and the opportunities.

ME: So, what do you want with me?

G: I told you, I need a favor.

ME: What kind of favor?

G: A big favor. Will you do what I ask?

ME: We’ll see. So what is the favor?

g4G: I am worried about the lakes, and rivers, and seas. Man has destroyed what I have given to him. I am worried about all of the creatures that live in the waters. I would like you to build an aquarium, a really really big aquarium, and put 2 of every sea creature, 1 male and 1 female, in the aquarium.

Me: You’re kidding, right?

G: I don’t kid.

Me: I can’t build an aquarium.

G: It’s easy.

Me: Then you build it.

G: Are you always so difficult?

Me: Usually.

G: This is important.

Me: Why me?

G: We had a lottery. Every marine biologist had their names put in a big hat, and your name was drawn.

Me: I’m not a marine biologist..

G: No?

Me: No.

G: Are you sure?

Me: I’m sure..

G: Is this 147 Taylor Rd?

Me: No, this is 174 Taylor Rd.

G: oh boy. I am so embarrassed. My apologies. Wrong house. Please go back to sleep. And if anyone should ask, I was never here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Acorn & The Tree

 

My kids are idiots!! Don’t get me wrong, I love them to death, but they are idiots. I don’t know how or when this happened. I have searched high and low for evidence of pods, but have found none. I am however, quite certain that something has gone awry.

They were not born idiots. None of them. They all showed the promise of greatness when they were just little things. And then, one by one, as if each followed in their elders footsteps, it happened. Idiocy.

They seem to have lost even the most basic comprehension skills.. At some point in their development,  ” put your shoes in your room” began to be heard as “lay down on your bed and have a rest”.  As time passed, “can you take the dogs for a walk?” was interpreted as “put your headphones on byand have a rest”. It was sad to watch, really.

The next phase of this intellectual demise, was the inability to clean. ” Please clean up your mess”, they were each told.

“In a minute”, they would respond. But nothing happened. The mess was still idiot1there the following morning.In fact, it would grow, mutate, to an even messier display. And then the cognitive confusion, set in.

“I think something exploded in the microwave”, one of them would say.

“Well”, I would reply, ” clean it”.

“I don’t know how to clean the microwave”, a voice shot back.

“Same as cleaning anything else. Sponge, warm water, soap.”

“Oh, I don’t do it like that”.

“Then do it anyway you want to do it”.

“But I don’t know how”.

The lack of logic, the conversations that seemed to have no discernible end, had me convinced that something was wrong with my kids. It reached pitch fever, when I noticed that they could not put toilet paper rolls on the holder, or turn off a light when they left a room. When reminded on numerous occasions that they were to complete these tasks, they informed me that they had forgotten.

I found the water pitcher that had been placed back in the fridge, was empty. Completely empty. There was no water to refrigerate, but the pitcher was put back in the fridge. When they were asked why, their response was ‘I don’t know”. Amazing.

Three of them have moved out, but the idiocy has not abated. It has followed them to a new environment. The two still at home, well, their idiocy continues to astound and impress me.

I have asked my wife where this comes from, as it is not my side of the family. I follow her as she leaves the room with her tablet, headphones in, and proceeds to pour herself a glass of water, and returns the now empty pitcher to the fridge.

It’s A Scary Night, Indeed!!

So, soon it will be the night when all of the little kids get to dress up as ghosts, halloween3superheros, princesses and a host of other celebrated characters, and roam the streets of my neighborhood, inevitably coming to my home, and incessantly ringing my door bell in an attempt to extort candy. I hate Halloween!

I do not like unexpected visitors, nor do I appreciate uninvited bell ringers! I dislike solicitors, salesman, flyer delivery people, census takers, and political pollsters.  I used to have an issue with religious zealots, but they don’t seem to come around anymore. Or perhaps I am on their “keep away from the crazy old man’s house” list.

halloween2 Anyways, back to the goblins and ghouls who will undoubtedly arrive at my house by 6pm, looking for a trick, or a treat. I am not sure why it does not occur to people that this act or random solicitation might be disturbing to others!  There was a time when, if there was no pumpkin on the porch, or in the window, you didn’t go to that house. Now, they come anyway, squealing with delight,  bothering me as I scramble to find something to put on so I can open the door and  give them a processed piece of edible garbage. What I really want to give them is a good talking to, but my wife reminds me that I should just be nice. They are only children!

I will have no pumpkin on my porch. There will be no ghosts dangling from the trees. There will be no haunted house and I will have no candy to give. I don’t care if the lights are on, do not mistake this as an invitation for you to come to my home. Man, I hate Halloween!!

It is obvious however, that Halloween will continue as usual with hundreds of freaks and fairies parading the streets, oblivious to all social conventions. So, halloween1here are a few tips to make your Halloween safe.

5. Travel in groups. Do not go out alone.
4. Look before you run across the streets.
3. Take an adult with you.
2. Wear something that makes you easy to see.
1. Do not come to my house.

By the way-the Morgan’s, 2 doors down from me, always have great crap to hand out. Feel free to ring their bell at least twice.

 

GOING UP?

So, the damn elevators are at it again! Despite technological advancements, and numerous hours of maintenance and repair, 3 of the 4 elevators in my building are not operating.This is not a new event, but rather a semi-regular occurrence that I have been forced to endure for over 3 years. I have spoken to the management office on several occasions, and have heard that it is the result of inappropriate elevator usage. Really? Get in. Push a button. Go up, or go down. Pretty simple operating instructions. However, management insists that the users are the cause. I understand, I mean, not everyone is capable of properly using an elevator. So, if that is indeed the case, hire someone to carry out this seemingly basic task! But fix the elevators!!

 

In the summer of 2014, they redid all of the elevators. New wood panelling, mirrored walls above the panelling, new control panel, and beautifully tiled floors. Wonderful idea! nice to look at when you get in, and since you won’t be going anywhere, the ambience is, of course, of primary importance!!

Prior to moving downtown, when I was a suburbanite, I had no elevator. There were only stair cases in the house. I went up and down at will. Whenever I wanted. And so, I have again taken to using the stairs. Less aesthetically pleasing than the elevators, but far more functional.

I hate elevators. I hate how crowded they get. I hate the people who squeeze into them, until I can no longer breathe. I hate the fact that it stops on every floor now, for no apparent reason except that it does not work properly. I have no interest in looking at myself in a mirror, and the silence in the elevator, broken only by an incoming text message on some hipster’s cell phone, is deafening. And eerily uncomfortable.

 

So the stairs. 19 floors. 2 dogs, Coffee from Tim Horton’s, and more often than not, a 6 pack of Chinese beer. Not easy. Not aesthetically pleasing. Not for ordinary men. But then, I am no ordinary man. So, I use the stairs.It is unlikely that this will ever change, I mean it has been going on for over 3 years and, according to the reputable patrons of the nearby methadone clinics that live here, it has always been that way. I would consider moving, but it is impossible to get the service elevator, as it has never worked. Another letter has gone off the the Landlord-Tenant Review Board, and to my Member of Provincial Parliament. I really don’t want anything, I mean, other than for the elevators to work. As planned. Properly. I would like them to go up and down, as they are supposed to.

I have strongly urged that an elevator operator be secured, as it will stop the users from damaging the elevators. They have promised to have them all fixed and working effectively within a few days. We shall see, but if I do not see an elephant, it will all be for naught!!!

IT’S A DOG’S LIFE

dog2The most amazing thing about dogs is the emotional attachment I develop with them. I have always had dogs. As a kid we had 4 or 5. There were at least 2 mixed breeds, a dalmatian, and a black lab. There were 2 females, and the rest were males. Interestingly enough, all of the dogs were named Lucky. My father named them all. He said that they were lucky he let them live in his house. He said he got the dogs for my mother, but they were as much his dogs as anyone else. He trained them. When the dogs got old, or sick, it was my father who took them to a friend, who had a farm, where the dogs could run around and be happy. I believed him!! It wasn’t until I had a family of dog1my own, and had my own dogs that I understood. There was Spike, Rocky, and Gidget. When my wife and daughters exhibited allergy symptoms from the dogs, it fell on me to fix the problem. So, they went to a farm, where they could run around and be happy. Currently, we have 2 dogs, one of whom is quite old, and becoming quite ill. I hope my kids will believe the farm story, just one more time!

 

 

 

EAT, DRINK & BE WORRIED

I am tired of worrying about things. Global warming, infectious diseases, war, and the food I eat.

chicken2I don’t want to know that chicken isn’t really chicken, and beef is not really beef. I don’t care if chickens run free, or eat organic grain. I don’t eat organic grain. I don’t care where my chicken comes from, so long as it is Popeyes! I don’t want to know what they put into my beef. I only want to know it has been cooked medium-rare. I am less concerned with my food being given steroids and hormones, than I am with it being cooked the way I ordered it. I am less concerned about popeyesalmonella and Ecoli, than I am with paying 3 times the price for food that has less in it, and is touted as being better for me. Fruits and vegetables are not free from portrayal as potentially dangerous. I still don’t care.  I read that there is olive oil on the market that is not really olive oil. Well, perhaps we should ask Popeye to identify the real Olive Oyl

cowWell I don’t want to worry anymore. I am an old man. I just want chicken, and the occasional steak. I want olive oil, even if I only think it is olive oil. There is far too much for me to worry about anyway. Eating should not be added to the list.

THE CHURCH OF SAM I AM…

I am not a fan of organized religion. I do not like it here and there. I do not like it anywhere. I do not like it in a house. I do not like it with a mouse. I do not like it in a box. I do not like it with a fox. I do not like it in a tree. Not in a car. Its not for me. I do not like it on a train. I do not like it in the rain. I do not like it on a boat, I do not like it with a goat. I really like Green Eggs And Ham. I like The Church Of Sam I Am.