Never in my wildest dreams…

Part of wallowing in nostalgia these last few days has been being surprised at how different everyone’s life turned out.  Once we were all young, idealistic, narcissistic, artistes. We were fun. We were ready to take on the world and make it a better place. We had aspirations. We had dreams. We knew EVERYTHING!

Now we’re all old. Most of us work in mundane, non-art-related jobs. We’re parents, drive SUVs, live in the suburbs. And, interestingly, we’re all pretty happy with our lives.

If you’re under 30, you won’t know what I’m talking about because you still have a whole list of stuff you KNOW you’re going to do with your life.

If you’re over 30, maybe you are exactly where you always wanted to be, but maybe your life has taken a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. 

So, (and I saw something similar someone else’s blog recently, and I’m sorry I can’t remember which one)  finish this sentence: When I was very young, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would…

My answers:

  • Spend my life working in a government office
  • Be this boring (what happened to that artsy commune we were going to form?)
  • Be this poor (doesn’t every young person believe they will be famous and/or a millionaire as an adult? I’m not sure how “commune” and “millionaire” were supposed to reconcile, but they did in my youthful, yetfeeble mind)
  • Get so much joy (and paranoia) from being a parent (growing up the oldest of5 withmuch younger siblings kind of put me off the wholeidea of babysitting for the rest of my life – who knew?)
  • Be lucky enough to get a good kid (my mother always cursed me with, “I hope you end up with a daughter just like you! I totally believed here and was fully prepared for a monster.)
  • Own a computer (when I was a kid, a computer was 12 feet high, took up an entire room, cost billions of dollars and processed data using punch cards, whirring spools as big as your head and a team of highly-trained technology geeks. Also, in the movies, The Computer always ended up taking over the world)

Those were the days, my friend

Hey, remember just a few posts back when I was talking about Cheez Whiz and the disappearance of Cindy who I met at my very first ever post-secondary institution? No, I haven’t found her, but a whole bunch of people from that very post-secondary institution have found me!!

There’s a first ever reunion this coming weekend of alumni and I guess it took a while for someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows of my whereabouts to get me on the list. Too late for me to attend, but I’ve reconnected with a whole bunch of people I’d pretty much forgotten about.

Alas, none of them know anything about Cindy.

On the upside some crazy photos of a teenaged me have surfaced through all of this which I thought I’d share.

 

It was a small artsy school. Here I am doing something creative.

Here I am in a play. I’m the second one with the fur thing around my neck.

The Ultimate Relationship Quiz

Note: No, I did NOT copy this from anywhere. I wrote it myself.

Okay, so you’ve achieved the holy grail of humanness and are in a relationship, but maybe it isn’t quite everything you expected it to be. How do you know if it’s right? If you’re doing the best thing? If it will last? If you should stick it out? These are tough questions, so here’s a handy quiz to help you make some decisions:

1. You get hit by a bus on the way home from work; your partner:

  • a) Drops everything and rushes to the hospital to comfort you.
  • b) Stops by after work if it’s on the way home.
  • c) Is too busy to visit, but passes a “hi” along with one of your other visitors and invites a special friend over because the house was so empty without you.

2. For your last birthday, your partner:

  • a) Organized a big party at your favorite restaurant with all your best friends, and had a romantic surprise waiting for you when you got home.
  • b) Gave you a gift certificate to a place that’s been out of business for over a year.
  • c) Oops…

3. Your partner is “working” at the computer. You’re kindly bringing in some fresh coffee. Your partner:

  • a) Thanks you and asks you to read over the report being worked on to see what you think of it.
  • b) Grabs the coffee from you and stands pointedly at the door waiting for you to leave.
  • c) Unplugs the computer and screams at you about invasion of privacy while fumbling with something under the desk.

4. You used to stare at each others’ faces, lovingly, longing to touch every line and contour, and now:

  • a) Nothing much has changed except you know each others’ faces as well as your own.
  • b) You can’t remember the last time your partner looked at you and, unless there’s something disgusting growing on it, you don’t have much interest in looking at your partner’s face either.
  • c) Even a glimpse of each other across the breakfast table sets your teeth to gnashing and you both have to exercise extreme control not to smack the stupid smirks off one another’s faces.

5. Sex

  • a) Although you’re both very busy you manage to make time for some intimacy at the end of every day. It’s not always a full marathon, but enough to keep you close.
  • b) The last time you had sex you were both stinking drunk and barely remember it. You’re pretty sure it was 2008, though.
  • c) The last time you had sex was yesterday afternoon. You have no idea when your partner last had sex.

6. Your partner’s domestic habits have never been exactly like yours, but at first you learned to accept the quirks and foibles for the sake of harmony. Lately:

  • a) Your partner respects your feelings and has adjusted several habits to accommodate you and you have adjusted several of yours as well, so there are few household-related disputes anymore.
  • b) Your partner’s habits have become worse to the point where you feel they’re doing it just to spite you. Normal people don’t wash their undergarments with the dishes to “save water”.
  • c) The next time you see public hair on the bath soap, you are going to grab a filleting knife, hunt your partner down and remove all their body hair along with 3 layers of skin just to be sure.

7.  Money can be a major source of contention between partners. You and your partner:

  • a) Pool your finances and consult each other on all major purchases. You are both good at budgeting and your financial situation is healthy as a result.
  • b) It’s getting difficult to find hiding places for your money because your partner always manages to find it and blow it all at the casino. This is the second house the bank has foreclosed on in the last 3 years.
  • c) Both of you have quit legitimate work and are getting paid under the table by various criminals in case one of you files for legal separation and tries to take the other to the cleaners.

8. The thought of going home at the end of the work day:

  • a) Fills you with delightful anticipation. You’re looking forward to seeing your partner, cooking together and enjoying each other’s company.
  • b) Fills you with glee because you can’t wait to see what your partner’s going to say about that photo you emailed to your partner’s workmates showing a certain someone applying salve to their genital warts.
  • c) Fills you with soul-crushing despair. The thought of having 1st degree burns over most of your body is more appealing.

 9. Arguments:

  • a) You don’t really have arguments; just the occasional disagreement which is always resolved amicably and with respect from both sides.
  • b) There is nothing either of you could say or do at this point that wouldn’t result in a big, loud, nasty, no-holds barred fight.
  • c) The police are at your house weekly and you’re on a first name basis with all of the emergency room staff.

10. Your relationship with each others family and friends:

  • a) You’re all one big happy family and everyone seems to get along really well.
  • b) You’ve had sex with most of your partner’s friends, 2 of their siblings and one of their parents. You’re actively feuding with the rest of the friends and family members.
  • c) You suspect your partner’s family has taken a hit out on you and the fatal car accident involving your partner’s evil bitch of a mother was no accident.

Scoring

If you chose mostly “a” answers you are either in a new relationship, deluded or should have your own talk show.

If you chose mostly “b” answers you have a normal relationship and should count yourself lucky that you’ve found someone so you don’t have to grow old alone.

If you chose mostly “c” answers, your relationship might be on rocky ground. Some couple’s counseling is recommended.

15 Minutes in Time

Several blogs recently have posted something they call, “A Letter to my 18-year-old Self”.  It’s an interesting exercise: knowing what you know now, what would you warn your young self about; advise him/her about? I’m sure most of us have thought at one time or another – if only I had it to do over again, I would…..

But what about taking this concept to another, more global, level? Knowing what you know now, what would you do if you could go back to any moment in time and make one small change? You only have 15 minutes. Where would you go and what would you do? What would you hope to accomplish with this action?

You might, for instance, want to trip Frau Hitler at the top of a staircase when she first gets pregnant.  Or you might want to answer the phone instead of Watson and explain to Mr. Bell how this piece of crap is going to spiral out of control and that he should drop the whole idea and focus on the hydrofoil thing. (It wouldn’t have taken much. I understand he hated telephones).  Or maybe you’d drop in on Captain Smith and explain to him exactly how an iceberg was going to ruin his career.

Or maybe not even something momentous like that. Maybe you just want to knock on Elvis’ bathroom door in time to get his bloated belly pumped so he could grow old and live to give Lisa Marie a good hiding when she comes home to announce she’s going to marry Michael Jackson. Every little effort helps to make the world a better place after all.

I think I’d like to go to that grassy knoll on November 23rd, 1963 and bring a few cops along.  I don’t know exactly what sort of an impact that would have, but that date and event always seem to be pinpointed as the moment when the world lost its innocence. It would be nice to try and recapture that — kind of like re-virginizing — just to see how different things might turn out.

The Love Award

The very lovely and fragarant Gav from Gav Menagerie has bestowed a very lovely and fragrant award on my blog. Thank you so much, darlin’. I’m honoured and quite verklempt. I so feel the love.

Here are the rules:

- You can put the award picture on your blog.
– Link to the person who awarded you.
– Nominate at least seven other blogs that you love.
– Put up links to those blogs.
– Leave messages with the blogs you nominated.

It’s taken me a long time to get around to posting this and re-distributing the love. The blogs I’ve chosen this time are all blogs I’ve just recently discovered but fallen immediately in love with.  And, so, in no particular order:

Jacquie, Beth & Ellie’s blog  because I am always totally blown away by the lives these women have led and the amazing pictorial essays they present from various episodes in those lives.

 

Aziza  from Moderately Entertaining who is a very young woman, but writes with more skill, wit and wisdom than a lot of old people I know, and whose blog is much more than moderately entertaining You must visit!

 

Janna and her Jannaverse who has a most unique way of presenting her thoughts and has the most mind-bending thoughts to go with it.

 

Piglet from the Daily Piglet who is so cute you want to go find her and squeeze the headcheese out of her and who also happens to have a pretty kick-ass blog

 

Nat from From Nat’s Brain who is a local blogger (and those are always nice to meet), a runner, a mom, a bit of a poet, thinker and philosopher. Her blog reflects all of this in a most brilliant way.

 

Lost from Losing It, who’s not really losing it at all, but very cleverly finding it and painting word pictures about the things that speak to everything that is most human in us – a poet.

 

Recovering Straight Girl who is on a remarkable journey. We are privileged that she is documenting this journey as well as speaking about important and often painful issues relevant to all women. She does it with aplomb, honesty and wry humour.

Something I won’t be doing this weekend

The National Women’s Show is on in Ottawa this weekend. “The Ultimate Girl’s Day Out!” Doesn’t it make you giddy just thinking about it?  I had a look at their website and thought, “holy crap this is so insane, it would make a great blog post. I must go!”  But then my partner in crime convinced me that our Saturday would be better spent in more edifying pursuits.

However, not knowing what I’m talking about has never stopped me from blogging before, so I reckon this fabulous girly show is still worth a mention, even if I don’t go.

The show offers everything a woman could possibly be interested in: a token nod to financial businessy stuff to appease any crazy feminists that might accidentally stumble through the door, and tons and tons of Uber-Girly stuff: make-up, fashion, home decorating, food, losing weight — you know, all the things women are really interested in.

Like the ominous, omnipresent and unfortunately named:  Restylane® .  Try to imagine what this could possibly be.  Sounds a bit like a funeral home, doesn’t it? There’s a lot of Restylane® promotion on the website:  Visit the Restylane® booth at the show for ” A Natural Beauty Lift!”

Restylane® is some kind of “natural” substance (hyaluronic acid) that can be shot into your face to plump of those nasty human-looking lines. Yes, it sounds a lot like Botox, but, don’t worry, Restylane® is gentle and safe to your skin. (I didn’t see anything on the website about the possible side effects[1])

Another highlight of the show is a special guest appearance by this dude from The Young and the Restless:

Because all women watch soaps, so this is brooding hunk is bound to draw them like flies. I guess no one who had anything useful to say was available. 

That’s probably why they also got Medium Marc (his actual name) to come in and tell fortunes – ‘cause that’s the other thing all women are crazy about: You will be in wonderment of his predictions and his communication with the hereafter. Come with an open mind and let Marc put your uncertainties to rest. (I’m sorry. I’m really not making this shit up.)

Really, who better than a cocky, wise-assed teenaged boy to put all our silly middle-aged female minds to rest?

Of course no women’s event would be complete without free makeovers. The benevolent people at Il Paradiso Salon have given up their valuable time to transform us all from our frumpy selves into glamorous make-up laden beauties. Coincidently, all their fine products will be available for sale RIGHT AT THE SHOW!!!

I can’t believe I’m going to miss this event. After that nice discussion we all had the other day about pandering to gender, this would have made such a great follow-up blogpost.

Oh well.


[1] blue color or flushing or redness of skin, cough, difficulty in swallowing, dizziness or feeling faint, fever, redness or pain at place of injection, skin rash, hives, and/or itching, stuffy nose, swelling of eyelids, face, or lips, as well as tightness in chest, troubled breathing, and/or wheezing.

Meet my search engine friends

I get a kick out of reading the daily search engine terms list for my blog. I picture these poor lost people desperately trying to find information on odd or important topics and ending up on my blog. What ever do they do next?

Well, I got a very nice email from an American doctor the other day who was doing some unspecified research and suddenly found himself on my blog. He said he spent the next 2 hours reading it instead of getting on with his work. I’m proud to say that somewhere in the US a patient is getting less than excellent treatment today because of me.

To make restitution, I thought I’d help to redirect or answer the burning questions of some of my search engine friends right here and now to save them a lot of unnecessary googling.

  1. blog female [this has brought people to my blog 202 times to date. so many people with no real idea what they're looking for]
  2. how do I know if my helmet is too tight [the fact that you're googling this instead of loosening your helmet answers the question]
  3. “threw * down my shirt” [mysterious. I would suggest taking off the shirt and shaking out whatever was thrown down there]
  4. cucumber sizing [a fledgling farmer no doubt]
  5. long-term adultery [I don't recommend it and if you're looking it up it's probably not working for you]
  6. what is the white stuff attached to a fresh egg [this blog will actually answer that question. See A Word About Eggs
  7. tofu cure [tofu is a food, not a disease]
  8. naked man in public [Report this to the police, not my blog]
  9. infections stay on underwear? throw away [I'll save you some time and say, yes. Also cold germs tend to linger in your bras and other viruses in jeans. Always throw out your clothes if you become ill]
  10. sowing time of strawberries in Canada [Late January. The whole country stops work for a week and heads to the country armed with bags of strawberry seeds which they spend the day sowing over the fields. The seeds cling to the frozen earth and germinate and grow into small strawberry trees by May]
  11. liza minelli no makeup [I caught you Dr. Kevorkian]
  12. old toilet paper mites [I don't even want to know]
  13. funny reasons not to have a sugar daddy [that sounds like blog post research, let me know when it's done]
  14. odd things to think about [you've probably come to the right place]
  15. silver biotic bubbles in feces [Have you met the old toilet paper mite guy?]

And a few [scary] people looking for other people’s blogs and ending up here with search terms like:

You Smell

One of the best things about get up and out really early in the morning is that you are able to get a head full of relatively unsullied air.

The early morning tang that hits you as you first open the door is always just a little different depending on the season, temperature and weather. That first whiff can sometimes instantly transport me to a very, very specific moment in the past. Not necessarily an important moment – just an ordinary day that was evoked by the ordinary scent of fog on a warm spring morning or the mulchy perfume of autumn leaves on a frosty dawn or the crisp aroma of an impending snow storm or the heavy, languid air of a summer’s morning fragrant with a lingering bouquet of odors from the night before.

Look how many different words we have for “smell”. Those in the preceding paragraph are just the words for good smells. There are also stinks and stenches and reeks and pongs (like when your partner stuffs your head under the duvet).

Our sense of smell plays such a big part of our daily lives without us even being aware of it. Did you know it helps humans assimilate with nature?  It helps warn us of dangers and sharpens our awareness of other people, places and things. It helps us to respond to those we meet, can influence our mood, how long we stay in a room, who we talk to and who we want to see again.

  • Everyone has his or her own unique odor-identity which is determined by many factors including: our genes, skin type, diet, medicine, mood state and even the weather. No two people have the exact same odor-identity.
  • The average human being is able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors. It’s possible to train your olfactory sense to a very high degree (I think at least one of my blog readers might be able to speak further on that topic??)
  • Your sense of smell is least acute in the morning; our ability to perceive odors increases as the day wears on. 
  • A woman’s sense of smell is keener than a man’s.

A smell can cause an intense physical reaction, from making you vomit or lose consciousness to bringing you back to consciousness, relieving nausea or headaches. A smell can inspire instant lust or hunger. A smell can attract or repel. What an amazing sense!

No two people smell the same odor the same way. In other words, a rose may smell sweeter to some people than to others. Some of my favourite smells are:

  • Coffee brewing  in the morning (though I can’t stand the taste)
  • A wood-burning fire on a cool autumn day
  • Laundry that’s been drying out in the sun
  • A just-picked, ripe tomato
  • A clean baby
  • The air during and after a thunder storm
  • A charcoal barbeque grilling food (even meat… except pork. The smell of cooking pork makes me gag)
  • Some types of pipe tobacco
  • Fog
  • A forest in the fall
  • The brine of the ocean
  • A whiff of lilacs (bring them in and they start to get cloying after a while)
  • Mulled wine in December
  • An apple orchard in blossom
  • A field of lavendar
  • And, a field of freshly spread, well-aged manure…

The Sad, True Saga of Ordinary Joe…

…as if told by Joe himself.

It all started, like most things do,  when I met The Dame. We were head over heels nuts about each other right off. We had good times. It was swell. So swell that after a while I gets to thinking that this was maybe “it”, you know, the big committed LTR to end all LTRs.

So we starts yakking about The Future, stuff like that. It was cool. Time went on. Then I gets to thinking that I ain’t getting no younger, you know? I mean, here I am at the wrong side of 30 with 40 knocking on the door and I figure maybe it’s time we starts talking about having some progeny.

The Dame, though, says, “no” right off. Just “no”. I don’t mind telling you, I’m kinda hurt by this. Don’t she want my kid or what? She ain’t ready she says, wants to save up enough dough so she don’t have to work for a while after having the kid, she says.

No problem says I. I got enough dough for the both of us. I was doing pretty good with my business and all and I don’t mind ponying up for a few years of her looking after the kid. It’s either that or daycare, right? And she’s got a big pickle up her ass about not wanting to send no kid of hers to daycare on account of her once working in some nightmare daycare place or something.

So, anyway, I tells her this and still she says no. Okay, so I wait and just mention it in passing like once in a while just to keep the thought in her head, you know. Which is good, because it ain’t too long before I can tell she’s softening to the idea. I can see meanwhile, she’s socking away the dough, anyway even though I told her I’d look after everything. But oh, well, as long as she’s on board, right?

Sure enough one day she says okay. Swell, says I and before you can say jack robinson, she’s got a bun in the oven. ‘Course me, I’m over the moon, braggin’ to my buddies and making plans and all. Life is perfect for a couple a months.

Then…well… I don’t know exactly what happened, but things changed. She changed, for sure. Maybe me, too. I’m starting to feel peculiar, like I can’t breath or something alla time.  And The Dame ain’t so much fun anymore – wants to sleep a lot, don’t want to go out so much, wants to eat healthier, talks about nothing but babies alla the time.

Also, and this totally freaked me out – she starts getting fat. The Dame was fit, you know, real fit, so I never pictured her getting all shapeless and fat. She’s still running and working out and all, but it ain’t doing no good. She just keeps getting fatter and fatter.  Okay, I’m not stupid, I know dames up the duff put on a lot of blubber on account of the baby and all, but still, it totally freaked me out when it happened to The Dame.

Also, she started to smell different. I can’t explain it but it totally turned me off, you know, between the fat and the smell. I mean, I couldn’t bring myself to…you know…doing it with her no more. I know, you guys out there understand what I mean, right? The Dame don’t get it though and get all super bitch about it.

And to top it all off, then she’s also always after me to go shopping for baby stuff with her or go to the doctor or meet the midwife or hold her hand at another ultrasound — like I got nothing else to do or to worry about but baby stuff.  It was always something and I’m a busy guy, specially since now she wants me to earn for all of us, right, on account of she told ‘em she ain’t going back to work for five years!

 Just when I think the nagging ain’t never gonna end, she quits bugging me and starts doing all this baby stuff with some fag friend of hers from work, which is okay with me.

Matter of fact, I’m starting to think maybe I’m not really cut out for all this baby shit after all. I mean it’s all that’s ever in her head – baby, baby, baby…24/7. So I kinda runs the idea by her of maybe we’re not ready for a kid, you know and she just kinda looks at me and says in that real sarcastic, fake nice way of hers, “Okay, Joe, pass the coat hanger.”

That was uncalled for, right?  I didn’t mean nothing drastic like that, did I? I don’t want to stop her having a kid or nothing, just maybe realizing that it ain’t what I want no more, maybe. 

I know I wanted a kid and all, but I guess I didn’t know how it was gonna be. I mean, what happened to having a life, you know? We’re still people. We’re still a couple, right? We should try to forget about the kid once in a while and just let loose, right?  Nah, she wasn’t having none of it.

So, what I did, and I’m not exactly proud of this, but I got me some nookie on the side. It didn’t mean nothing or nothing — not like some big love affair or nothing. Just a few women I’d meet through work or at bars when I went out at night with my boys. And it ain’t all my fault neither ’cause The Dame was always welcome to come along, but she alla time says no on account of she says she don’t like hanging around smokey bars no more. Well, okay, but you gotta know shit happens when a bunch of guys go out on the town, am I right? Still, like I said, I ain’t proud of it or nothing.

‘Course she found out and I expected her to be a bit pissed, but I figured given the circumstances and the fact that she was usually pretty cool about other stuff, she’d be okay, you know, once I explained.

Wrong! Man, was I wrong. She flipped-totally. Called me all sorts and then told me to “get the fuck away from her”. And I’m quoting directly here and I want youse all to remember that it was her who told me to get lost, right?

So, I get lost for a while, figgering I’ll give her a chance to cool down a bit, knowing how all that hormone stuff can make dames do and say stuff they don’t mean.

A few months go by and I shows up at her place one morning just to see what’s going on and fuck me if she ain’t in labour!! There’s two dykey looking broads with her. One of them’s got her hands up The Dame’s twat and the other one’s trying to give me the old heave ho.

But I stick my ground, ‘cause that’s my kid she’s squeezing out there, right? And I wanna be there and make sure my name goes on the paper that says I’m the kid’s old man. So I hang around. It takes the whole day and most of the evening, but then out pops this baby and it’s a girl and I gotta tell ya, I felt a little something grabbing me in the vicinity of my heart when I look at her and all.

It was something alright, but the day pretty much drained me like nothing else ever has, so I crashed on the couch while they was all still cleaning up and doing whatever a bunch of chicks do when there’s a baby around.

When I woke up The Dykes had gone and The Dame and The Kid were sleeping and I had to get to work on account of missing the whole day before so I took off, trying not to wake them up.

So after all that I don’t hear nothing from The Dame for days and then when she does call she wants me to bring her groceries. I’m wondering what this means, so I gotta ask, “Does this mean we’re back on?” She says no, it just means she needs some groceries and it’s the middle of winter and she don’t wanna take The Kid outside.

Well, I gotta think more about this ‘cause I don’t wanna be used here. I mean, I’m feeling sorry for her and all and I’d like to see what The Kid looks like in daylight and all, but I don’t wanna start any kind of precedent or nothing, so I don’t go. I mean, it’s not like she don’t have nobody else to fetch shit for her, right? Why me?

There are a few more pissed off phone calls from The Dame after that, so I starts to thinking this ain’t a good situation no more and it’s time I did something about it. I give The Dame one more chance to take me back and tell her if she don’t I’m leaving town. She tells me to go fuck myself! Nice talk, eh? Does she kiss her kid with that mouth, I asks her.

So, I sells up my business and “liquidate all my assets”, as they say and then not only  do I leave town, but I leave the whole bloody country. There were a few things I’d been meaning to get into anyway and here was the perfect opportunity.

Time goes by as it usually does. The Dame and I have plenty of friends and friends of friends in common so I hears things about them once in a blue moon and probably she hears stuff about me, too, I don’t know.  And I know I made the right decision on account of it ain’t good for a kid to be in a situation like where the parents are at each other’s throats alla time, right? And me being around was just gonna set up expectations all around that weren’t going nowhere.

So anyway, pretty soon, I hears how she had to go to court to get full custody of the kid on account of my names on the birth certificate and she wouldn’t be able to do nothing of a legal nature with the kid without full custody. That’s cool. I get served some papers that say, blah, blah, the usual legal mumbo jumbo. There’s a bit tacked on about support of some piddly-assed token amount which I know nobody’s gonna bother about and which I’m sure The Dame don’t need and don’t want off the likes of me anyway. So ignore the whole thing and get on with my life.

The Dame is an independent cuss anyhow and she’ll be fine and I know she’s gonna do a good job with The Kid. She don’t need nothin’ off me, right?

I work my ass off over the next 12 years or so, sometimes doing two jobs at a time to keep my fingers in lots of pies, ‘cause that’s the kinda guy I am. I made me some good dough and met me a dame who ain’t so prickly as The Dame and married her. I told her flat out – no kids and she’d cool with that, so we’re doin’ real good.

So, then a couple of years ago, we decide to move us back to Canada to start putting The Retirement Plan into action. I got myself a nice house on the beach on the west coast. Both the wife and I love sailing so I sunk some dough into a swanky boar. I’ve got a few swell investments and a tidy little nest egg to keep us in our old age. I ain’t rich by no means, but comfortable, you know and looking forward to taking things easy.

The End, right? Not on your life. A few weeks ago, out of the blue I starts to get a whack-load of legal shit in the mail telling me I owe 15 years of back child support!! Then they tells me how I also gotta start paying the monthly child support from now on or they’re gonna seize my dough and house and boat and the investments and everything!!! Like holy fuck!? What kinda world do we live in where some dame from more than a decade ago can come along all of a sudden and mess up my life?

If I fight it, I gotta pay some lawyer a pile of dough as well. So I’m between a rock and a hard place, right? What the hell does an ordinary working stiff guy do? One option the papers say is to get holda The Dame and get her to back off (well, they call it, “make alternate arrangements”). I tries, I really do. I leaves her messages, but she don’t return none. I figure she don’t want to make no alternate arrangements, but that’s all I can figure. I can’t for the life of me figure, for instance, what the hell else to figure. Why’s she doing this now? I just can’t figure it, man.

So finally I writes her a big note.

I tells her how this is really hurtin’ me and ask why she wants to do this. I tells her how it ain’t fair that she’s hittin’ me with this just when me and the wife are getting’ ready to wind down the hard work and gearing up to relaxing more.

Then I points out that one day The Kid is gonna want to look me up, see her old man,  so if she don’t back off with this money shit now, I ain’t gonna be too friendly when The Kid comes knocking at my door in a few years, am I? I know she won’t want to mess that up for The Kid, so fingers crossed, eh?

Cool Drugs

So, the kid and her friends are sitting around the other night watching TV; lots of squealing and yakking as usual. Suddenly there’s silence, so I peak around the corner to see what’s going on. Silence is never good.

They’re all glued to the TV watching the commercial! The ad shows a lot of teenaged girls giggling, being cool, looking cool, doing cool stuff like flipping their hair around and rubbing shoulders with boys. The girls are all whispering, “Yasmin”.

What or who is Yasmin? Is it a new pop singer? A new TV show? Some kind of clothing line, food, technology?

The ad is alluring and mysterious. The girls watching the ad need to know what Yasmin is. The ad ends with a seductive voice saying, “ask your doctor about Yasmin.”

 

They more or less lose interest, but I still want to know what they’re trying to lure my kid with now. I go google Yasmin. It’s a new birth control pill. I think to myself, “fuuuuuuck”

 

The advertising of prescription drugs aimed directly at the public (aptly called Direct-to-Consumer-Advertising or DTCA) is prohibited in all developed countries except the US and New Zealand. In Canada pharma companies can advertise the name of a product or say what it treats; but not both at the same time.

 

So, we are treated to a whole host of mysterious ads that hint at a vast array of horrible diseases and illnesses that may be afflicting us and for which, thankfully, an attractive new product is available. Or, they try to convince us how much more fun life would be with drugs like Yasmin or Viagra. Forget about side-effects, contraindications, overall health – go ask your doctor to give you this fabulous drug.

 

If you’re a smart-ass, you may be thinking “Why did my doctor go to medical school, if I have to get my important health information from TV ads? Why do I have to tell him what drug I need? Who does this?”

 

You might scoff, but this advertising works and is generating kajillions of dollars for the pharma industry. Doctors report twice as many people asking for specific (more expensive, brand-name) drugs. Patients are coming in quoting TV commercials. They get upset if the doctor says, no. Shockingly, 75% of the time, the doctor gives them what they ask for.

 

Part and parcel of DTCA is something the PR business calls Disease Mongering. Pharma companies call “medical education. Pharma companies convince consumers through advertising that their ordinary ailments require pharmaceutical intervention: e.g.: baldness, sweating, impotence, blushing, or my personal favorite – the ad where a sympathetic voice asks if you get up during the night to pee and if so, you have “overactive bladder” and need this new drug to relax your crazy-assed bladder.

 

Pharma companies want Health Canada to lift drug advertising restrictions so they can sell more drugs directly to people instead of to doctors. Health Canada is under a lot of pressure to cave.