Bazel and the Plastic Bag

I wasn’t going to blog about this, but Zoom suggested it would be a public service to cat owners and I realized she was right. Bazel’s story must be told.

We came home late Saturday afternoon with some shopping. As we’re putting the shopping away, our cat, Bazel was playing in the bags, like he usually does. One of them was a small plastic bag. When I left the room for a moment he somehow got one handle of the plastic bag wrapped around his middle.

Suddenly, he came tearing out of the room at breakneck speed, sheer terror permeating every fibre of his little kitty being -eyes wide, ears flattened, plastic bag flapping.

He raced twice around the living room, bouncing off walls and furniture, knocking over a lamp, smacking his head on stuff, tipping over a table. I finally managed to grab him and get the bag off him.

But too late. He’d managed to break off all the claws on his back paws in his desperate attempt to survive the plastic bag attack. Two of those claws were broken off right at the flesh; the others half-way down the quick. And ya, there was a fair bit of blood.

He still hasn’t recovered completely from the mental trauma of the incident. He hasn’t said a word in almost five days and he’s usually a very, very vocal chatty cat. Also, he suddenly wants to be cuddled all the time and he never allowed any cuddling before.

I didn’t know how bad the broken claws were until a day later when I noticed they were getting infected, so I took him the vet. They cleaned up the wounds. They poked him a bit and then took him away to the back room for the next three hours.

They gave poor Bazel a shot of antibiotics, some pain killers and a head cone. And I was $230 poorer. And I have to bring him back next week to have the paws checked.

Ka-ching!

Having his claws ripped off like that is the human equivalent of having your fingernails pulled out. It’s not like getting  a cat surgically de-clawed. That’s the human equivalent of having your finger cut off at the first knuckle. So Bazel’s claws will grow back they tell me.

Meanwhile, he has to wear the head cone for two weeks so he won’t lick the paws. He had a nice small one first, but turns out he’s leggy and bendy enough to still lick his paws with it on. So I had to go back and get him a bigger one.

The vet got all huffy and didn’t want to sell me a bigger cone without me bringing the cat in for a proper fitting. I pointed out that they’d had him in yesterday and had their chance to fit him properly and blew it. Also, they only had one other sized cone, so I don’t know what the huff was all about.

Anyway, the cone is totally disorienting for him because he can’t hear properly; he can’t balance himself right without his whiskers guiding him; he keeps banging the cone into stuff.  And it’s very unpleasant when he tries to rub up against my bare legs in the morning.

I take the cone off him so he can eat, but I have to sit by and watch so he doesn’t sneak in a paw lick. And I’ve rigged up a water bowl so he can drink during the day with the cone on.

I know there is a humorous element to all this… cats aren’t very bright… and there’s the cone and everything… BUT, from what the vet told me and what I’ve heard elsewhere since this happened, there are apparently many, many cat-plastic bag related incidents every year.

Cats love to play with and chew on these bags, but sometimes they swallow and choke on chunks of plastic. Like Bazel, cats often manage to get themselves caught in the handles and it always freaks them out. The lucky ones are just mentally traumatized for a while – hiding out, not eating, hissing at everyone. Others have violent diarrhea or vomiting for days and sometimes weeks afterward. Others do all sorts of physical damage to themselves.

I mean, who knew getting tangled up in a plastic bag could frighten them so badly? Not me. I don’t know if the same thing happens to dogs? I assume they’re not as skittish. Still, it’s probably best to keep these lethal things away from all pets.

If anyone has any other tips on seemingly innocuous things (i.e.: head cones) that could freak cats out and/or make them crazy and/or harm them please let me know. Thank you.

big cone

And yes, we do get HBO on this thing.

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If you have a moment, check out my new Anonymous Rants page (see tab at top of page). The other day a commenter was bemoaning the fact that  she couldn’t blog about her coworkers on her blog and I suggested that she send me her coworker rant and I’d post it here. I also invited anyone else who felt the need to rant anonymously to email me their rants at urbanpedestrian@gmail.com Someone did.

Evolution in the Workplace

Over the last couple of weeks a lot of the bloggers I read seem to have written about issues related to people in their workplace. Maybe it’s because we’re all back from summer vacation and in the full swing of work again that there is a renewed focus on work frustrations.

Work relationships are funny. Because we’re grown-ups, (for the most part) and because we know that we’re going to have to work 8 hours a day with a certain group of people for maybe years and years and years, somewhere deep within our  sub/unconscious we decide that we are going to get along with these people.

I think it’s some sort of modern-day survival instinct that allows us to shut off our usual like/dislike radar when we’re at work. Because you can’t afford to let your personal feelings get too engaged in your work relationships. You can’t afford to feud with someone you are forced to sit next to day in and day out. And you really can’t afford to get too intimate with  someone you are forced to sit next to day in and day out either.

So, humans have evolved a peculiar compartment in their psyche especially for work relationships. All the usual stuff that attracts you to or repels you from people is muted and you adopt a generic work face. So now you can work together in relative harmony; laugh at stuff together none of you would laugh at outside of work;  bitch endlessly about stuff about which you couldn’t give a crap once you’re away from the office.

And it works. Yes, some people will always irritate you and there are people you enjoy working with more than others, but you have no real emotional life invested in any of these relationships. It’s nice so we can complain about our families and friends at work and gripe about people at work to our friends and families knowing the two will never meet – at least not in any sustained, bonding kind of way.

But we do get to know our work-mates pretty well within a certain context. We probably spend more waking time with them than we do with anyone else. We can often talk to workmates about stuff we can’t talk to anyone else about – stuff we don’t often get such a captive audience for. They get to hear all the minutae of our lives – how the commute was, what we had for breakfast, how the kids pissed us off that morning, the crazy thing the spouse did,  how your pantyhose is binding, why your head is aching more this afternoon than it was this morning, what should you make for supper?

We share meals with workmates, celebrate holidays and special occasions with them, drink with them (occasionally…rarely, really…ha), travel with them if work demands it, laugh with them, cry with them, etc., etc. – but for all that they really only occupy a very small, and often superficial place in our heads. Because if we get laid off  or retire or get promoted or move on to a new job or new town, we’re gone from their lives.

We take a lot of things into consideration when thinking about a new job, but the people we work with are usually far from the top of that list. We can’t afford to let them be any more important. Yes, we’re sad not to be working with them anymore and we keep in touch, furiously –  for the first few weeks. And then we move on. And 99% of the time, we never see or hear from them again. At least that’s been my experience.

I find the whole human work relationship adaptation thing strange, don’t you?

My Dear OC Transpo

After work today, while I was waiting among the sheer madness that is Hurdman Station, I reflected on how delighted you must be that your Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 voted in favour of maintaining their right to strike and against agreeing to send all future unresolved contract negotiations directly to third-party arbitration. Almost two-thirds of union members (62.3 per cent) who voted, opted to maintain the current arrangement — even though the last (long, long) strike ended up with you having to go to arbitration anyway.

I understand your need to keep this threat in your back pocket. I understand because I had a long time to reflect on your decision, as people raced back and forth looking for their buses, because the bus I needed to take to get home didn’t show up — not an unusual occurrence.

I see what you people have to put up with every day. I see dozens and dozens of buses darting in an out of the few designated stop areas. Would-be passengers don’t have a clue where exactly their particular bus is going to land, so they dart about, racing from one end of the station to the other until they spot their bus. Often, the potential rider doesn’t make it before you decide to pull the bus away. Idiot passengers run next to the bus and wave and yell. Like that’s going to convince you to stop and let them on. You shrug and drive on. Passengers are so stupid, aren’t they?

By my reckoning, somewhere around 25% of potential riders never manage to get on the bus – either because you don’t feel like stopping at the designated area; or because you decide to leave well ahead of schedule (you have a life too, right?) or because you just don’t feel like showing up at all.

You do everything in your power to discourage transit users and yet some of us just won’t give up. You hiked our fares by 15% right after going on strike for 52 days, making us walk to work in the middle of winter. (Good one!) And still some sad-sack people insist on trying to riding the bus.

Don’t they understand that they, the passengers are the root cause of all of your problems?  You’ve explained, very carefully that it’s because of us always sneaking on buses without paying that you have that giant deficit.

On top of that, we insist on having stops called out to us, so now you have to install 17 million dollars worth of announcing equipment. Then we whine about bus rides taking too long, so now there’s a never-ending kerfuffle about light rail and tunnels and other silliness.

You even hired on “special constables” to scare us off. You decked them out in Gestapo uniforms and armed them with handcuffs, batons and pepper spray and had them travel in packs wherever they go. And yet, the passengers keep coming like so many locusts in a wheat field.

Having your drivers pretend it’s their first time driving anything bigger than a Vespa, does keep us at the edge of our seats, but it’s still not enough to convince us to stop pestering you people for rides.

Well, I want to assure you that I, for one, get it. I feel your pain. I understand where you’re coming from and I want to help. So, I’m forming the Amalgamated Union of OC Transpo Passengers. And we’re going to make it our first priority to find all these public transportation junkies alternate ways of getting around. You have my word.

PS: I took me from 3:30 until 4:40 to finally get home tonight. By car it would have been a 10 minute drive. And I would walk it except there just isn’t a walkable road from here to there, believe it or not. (Yay, urban sprawl)

Killing Coyotes

You know those old monster and/or sci-fi movies where the villagers and/or farmers gather up pitchforks, torches and/or possum rifles and storm the castle and/or space ship to kill everything inside?

Well, I was reminded of that when I saw this headline in an Ottawa newspaper the other day, Councillor calls on province to kill coyotes.  Seems that coyotes are running amok in Osgoode and Greely and parts of Ottawa’s south end. They’re scaring people and hurting/eating pets and livestock. City Councillor Doug Thompson, along with many of his constituents thinks the coyotes should all be trapped and killed.

From Ottawa Sun Sept 24/09

From the Ottawa Sun, Sept. 24/09. This guy is proudly holding the preserved head and pelt of a coyote he killed.

People tend to want to kill wild animals when they see them in their backyards – bears, raccoons, skunks, foxes, whatever. In fact, humans’ first reaction to anything unexpected or unfamiliar or scary is to destroy it. Whether it’s a spider[1] in your bedroom or a weed on your lawn or a growth in your body or the citizens of a country of whom we’re not particularly fond. We’re forever battling something, beating stuff, waging wars on things, fighting fights. It’s exhausting.

And it doesn’t really work, does it?

Sure, it’s great that we’re able to kill the offending tumour with all the miraculous toxins we invented, but when are we going to start taking a serious look at where all these tumours are coming from in the first place?

And spraying poison all over our orchards and fields makes us conquering heroes over all the nasty pests and unwanted plants that try to invade our food sources. Don’t we care that we’re also going to end up eating those poisons?

We fight with our own bodies when we “battle” weight problems, “beat” addictions. Violence is a quick fix and gives the illusion of progress. But it’s almost always a short-term solution.

We tell our kids to use their brains not brawn when dealing with problems, but by example we ingrain them with the lesson of mindless destruction.

We need bigger homes so we destroy acres and acres of woodland and the finely balance eco-system that goes along with it. Some creatures are not polite enough to lie down and die when their habitats are pillaged and end up resorting to unusual behaviours in order to survive.

Do you suppose a coyote’s first choice for a fine dining experience is rooting through someone’s garbage or gnawing on a mangy old cat or a yappy Lhasa Apso?

And where does it say that it’s okay for your cat or dog to roam around free in the outdoors at night, but it’s not okay for a coyote?[2]  If the two happen to meet, inevitably one of them will become the other’s dinner.  That’s what the term, “it’s a dog eat dog world”  means. If you don’t want your pets to be part of that world, keep them indoors.

But WE are at the top of the food chain, so WE reckon WE have the right to ride roughshod over every other life form on this planet. The problem is that all this destruction is killing off link after link in that chain. And what will WE do when WE’RE the only link left?[3] 


[1]What’s the deal with all the spidercide? Why are people always wanting to kill spiders? I read two spider killing blog posts in a row on Friday. (Linked in the text). It was horrible!
[2] In some native legends, the coyote is a messenger, bringing culturally significant information to the people.
[3] Once again, I will refer you to Soylent Green

Here Lies

You’ve got mortgage insurance and life insurance; you’ve made a living will and a regular will; you’ve signed your organ donor card and you’ve even arranged and pre-paid your funeral. You’ve done all these things because you’re a good, organized person and want to do all you can to ease the burden from your grieving nearest and dearest when the time comes.

You are so kind and thoughtful. Always thinking of others. I’ll bet you haven’t even given a moment’s thought, however, about what words of wisdom you would like to leave behind for posterity. Have you?

Yes, I’m talking about your epitaph. Those few, memorable words that will be carved onto your headstone. Those words, that along with your name and dates of birth and death, will be all that will speak for you decades from now when strangers sneak into your final resting place in the middle of the night to make-out on your grave.

Because if you leave this to others, your headstone will forever say something sappy like, “beloved wife and mother” or “swept into the arms of Jesus” or “heaven rejoices in a new angel.”  Seriously, is this how you want to be remembered?

Or would you rather be remembered like these people?

  •  Attorney John E. Goembel: The defence rests
  • Johnny Yeast: Pardon me for not rising
  • Mary Aster: Should have jay-walked a little faster
  • Spike Milligan: I told you I was sick
  • Jack Williams: He done his damnedest
  • Bonnie Anderson: I don’t want to talk about it right now

Me, I’m going to be cremated, but maybe they could write something in nice black marker, on the cardboard box that will hold my ashes. Some ideas I’m toying with:

Obviously, I need to work on them a little more. What’s your tombstone going to say?

Me & Jimmy

me and jimmy

That’s me when I was younger than I am now. It’s a terrible photograph because it was developed just a few years ago from some long-forgotten negatives discovered in a box in the bottom of a closet under one of the many piles of junk in my mother’s hall closet. The photo place didn’t think they could even get an image, but they did. And there I am, plain as day.

If you squint and look very closely, you’ll see I’m sitting on a sawn-off tree branch and that the tree branch has a thick rope around it.

That branch was my dog, Jimmy.

Even though, when I was 3, I had been bitten in the face by a neighbour’s dog and required several stitches and still have some faint, but visible scars from that encounter, I madly and passionately wanted a dog of my own. I held no grudges against dogs nor even, Pogo, the dog that had bitten me. No, I loved all doggies soooooo much. (Which is why I had been bitten in the first place…because I was trying to love poor old Pogo while he was trying to eat his dinner).

Anyway, my parents were absolutely dead set against adding a dog to the household. So, one day while my dad was pruning trees, down came this branch that miraculously had 4 shorter, stubbier branches attached to it – 2 at the front (as shown in the photo) and 2 more just like it in the back.

I fell instantly in love with that branch because, except for the fact that it had no head, it looked exactly like a long, skinny, stiff, furless, tailless dog. I named him Jimmy.

I begged a length of rope off my dad and dragged Jimmy around with me wherever I went. I made him a bed in the basement and shared my meals with him. I sat on him, I ran around with him, I talked to him and played with him. For a couple of years, he was my one and only pal since, at the time, I was still an only child and lived in the middle of nowhere. 

Okay, so one day my dad was building a hot-house to start some seedlings for spring. As you can see from the link, this involved lots of thick, plastic sheeting. Knowing how destructive puppies can be, and how Jimmy, in particular had a bit of a destructive bent, my dad made a point of telling me to “keep that dog away from this plastic.”

But as soon as Dad’s back was turned, Jimmy went and jumped right through the middle of that hot house, not once, but several times, tearing the plastic to shreds. I don’t know why.

Jimmy was cremated that evening in the backyard incinerator along with a lot of household rubbish, because that’s how dads got rid of stuff back in the days before recycling.

8 Ways I’m Inept

A lot of bloggers do regular posts on all the fabulous things they’re crafting or building or photographing or sewing or knitting or creating.  You may have noticed that I never do posts like this. I never do posts like this because I’m not good at any of this stuff. For instance, here’s a short list of stuff that a lot of people love to do and are good at, that I can’t do:

  1. Anything that involves yarn or thread makes my insides want to run screaming from my skin. The thought of sitting somewhere for hours whilst picking away at some tiny knot or loop or whatever in hopes that it will all turn into something someone might want to wear one day is way beyond my scope of comprehension. I did Home Ec in school and it took me 4 years to finish a skirt, which I think they submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records in the “most unrecognizable item of clothing ever” category. 
  2. Anything that involves paint, glue, beads, podge, “findings,” string, tissue paper, wire or other bits that need to be fastened together somehow in order to create something crafty or artsy that hangs from your Christmas tree or on your front door or needs to be displayed on your mantle, is also beyond me. I used to work with someone who spent all of her free time crafting and scrapbooking and woodburning and tole-painting and a whole lot of other stuff designed to create festive gifts for any occasion. And then she’d give them to us. As gifts! I worked there for NINE YEARS! I had enough felt Santas, crocheted wreaths, and beaded candy canes to decorate the entire Black Forest.
  3. Anything that involves home repairs or refinishing of wood or nailing something into something else or assembling something from a box of fiber-board with an Allen key, I stay well away from. Nothing good could ever come from anything that involves me picking up a tool. I promise you.
  4. Anything that involves home decorating. I already went into some detail on that yesterday. I have been roped, at times in the past,  into helping to paint other people’s homes in the past, but never twice by the same person and never by anyone who knew anyone whose place I had helped paint. Once I even tried wallpapering. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. HA!
  5. Anything involving a camera. Oh, I like the idea of capturing things I see on film, but the things I capture on film are never the things I see. I don’t carry a camera around like a lot of bloggers, which is probably at least half the problem. And when I do remember to bring one along, I forget that I have it. And when I don’t forget, I never seem to see anything worth taking photos of.  I’ve mentioned a few times that what I need are a pair of camera-sunglasses because I really think with those things I stand half a chance of taking photos of things I actually want to take photos of. I could be wrong. 
  6. Anything that involves driving. I’m a terrible driver. I went from not knowing how to drive on a Monday afternoon to having my full license by the Thursday morning of that same week. It was just sheer dumb luck that I never killed myself or anyone else. As soon as I was old enough to realize what a bad driver I was, I stopped driving.
  7. Anything that involves baking. I can cook. Cooking is easy – you just toss together a lot of stuff that tastes good together and presto! With baking you have to follow the recipe exactly or it doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. Instead of cookies, you end up with “Memories of Plywood Sheet Cake,” for instance.
  8. And finally, anything that involves maths. Or those spatial abilities tests – it actually scares me that I am completely unable to do even the simplest one of these. I seriously believe I’m missing the chunk of brain that allows people to figure these things out. Seriously! Items #1 through #7, I could probably hobble something together if I had a little more patience and a really good reason for doing it, but these spatial relationship tests I cannot do. At all. Under any circumstances.

 mental-rotation-test

 

I DON’T KNOW!!!!!

I’m Cheap and Easy

A couple of women at my work are relatively new home owners. They spend all their free time talking about home decorating and/or buying stuff with which to decorate their homes. They know what these words mean: finial, valance, accent piece, backsplash, casement, sconce and torchere. I only know these words because I hear people saying them. I’ve never been motivated to look them up to see what they mean.

Anyway, every couple of weeks these women giggle about  how they’ve just spent their entire pay-cheque on things like window treatments and spattering for the bathroom.  I find this fascinating because I pretty much never spend any money on household stuff. As long as I have somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep, a place to sit and maybe a table-top or two in my home, I’m good. I never paint, wallpaper or match colour swatches. I don’t go crazy at Bouclair. I’ve never even been to Bouclair. I can’t bring myself to spend money on things like throws and tealight holders. Nothing matches or complements itself or anything else at my place.

I’m also pretty thrifty when it comes to clothing.  Friends might rave about the sexy boots they got on sale for $300 and, while I like footwear as much as the next gal, I’d never spend money on shoes just because they’re sexy.

I also don’t think $48.50 is a steal for a t-shirt, even if it somehow, miraculously converts into an evening gown. I only buy clothes at rock-bottom prices at thrift shops, outlets and clearance racks. So far, no one has mistaken me for a bag lady.

I’m also too cheap to buy things like gadgets or dishes or cookware or books or appliances or accessories of any sort at regular stores for regular prices when this stuff is available at yard sales.

All that to say that I’m rather frugal, economical, prudent, parsimonious and/or cheap in areas where others might have a secret spending vice.

HOWEVER…

While many others would delight in finding bread on sale at Costco for 39 cents or getting a whole bag of apples from the discount bin at the local supermarket or picking up a big bottle of no-name ketchup for a fraction of the price of the name-brand stuff, I am privately horrified.

I gladly spend $12.00 for two loaves of bread every week because it’s wonderful bread. I have no qualms whatsoever in hunting down the freshest possible produce every week, even if I have to pay a premium price and go to half a dozen different places to find it.  I wouldn’t dream of buying no-name food products if there’s something somewhere that tastes better and is better, nutritionally.

I spend a lot of money on food. I’d rather not eat at all than eat something I don’t enjoy and/or that is of inferior quality.

I like to feed other people good stuff, too.  I’m especially happy when they appreciate the effort. Some people can’t tell the difference, but that’s okay, because I know I’ve given them something good. I even found out recently that I spend a lot more to feed my cat than other people spend to feed their cats. Bazel gets only top-notch organic cat food.

I also happily spend too much money on stuff like soap, toothpaste and shampoo and lotion because I can’t stand the thought of cleaning or moisturizing myself or my child with weird chemicals developed in some moldy lab somewhere halfway across the world.

But other than that, I always hunt or negotiate for a bargain for most things. Where does all your money go?

Family Ties

Guillermo is a local blogger who maintains a blog dedicated to issues relevant to new immigrants to Canada or those in the process of immigrating. Last week he featured a topic that struck a chord with me. Basically, he was asking how immigrants deal with the heartbreak of leaving their parents so far behind and more importantly, how do they deal with taking the children away from their grandparents.

My family immigrated to Canada when I was 2, so I never knew my grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins except as signatures on Christmas cards or the occasional parcel of goodies.  World travel wasn’t as popular or manageable back then so I only met most of them once.

But that one visit was indescribably wonderful. I wanted to stay. I was ready to never go back to Canada. And these were people I hadn’t seen since I was 2 and yet felt I belonged with. My parents had to drag me back. I cried for weeks. I plotted, planned, begged, pleaded and cajoled to try and get them to let me move there. It was impossible and I was crazy, of course. And by the time it was possible, I’d come to my senses and most of the relatives had died.

I felt the absence of an extended family when I was growing up. All those birthdays, Christmases, Easters, Thanksgivings, summer vacations and other occasions when other kids would get together with a whole brood of relatives, we celebrated with just the 7 of us – sometimes maybe a friend or two. I laways felt very sorry for myself –  it was all so sad and lonely.

I wanted to know the grandparents I heard stories about all the time. I wanted an aunt or uncle to talk to or escape to when my I thought my parents were being unreasonable. And I really, really wanted cousins to hang out with – people my age that were relatives, but also friends – people that I had blood and history in common with.

Maybe I’m romanticizing the whole extended family thing because I never had one.  I know of course, that being in close proximity to family doesn’t guarantee sunshine-and-roses relationships. And I’ve heard people complaining about “stuff” that goes on when an entire tribe is so closely connected, but I would welcome that “stuff”. I would go so far even as to say that if I ever met a man with a really big, close family I might even break my vow of spinsterhood just so I could be part of that family and, at least once, experience a giant, crazy family celebration.

I understand why people immigrate or move across the country. I really do and I don’t blame them, I understand that they want a better life, richer opportunties for themselves and their children.  But, as they know very well, there’s a cost to breaking away from the tribe, too.  I’m sure this is why many immigrants live and socialize in a tight circle of fellow immigrants – to create a substitute tribe for themselves. I think people need that connection of familiarity.

I believe I would have become a very different person if I’d grown up surrounded by the glorious insanity of a large, extended family. I think I would have been better at relationships, more sociable, not so restless. And I think I would have had a very different relationship with my parents and siblings if I hadn’t spent my formative years in enforced togetherness and isolation with them.

Of course I also would never have had many of the opportunties I’ve had as a Canadian. My life would have been quite different — and I don’t come from a 3rd world country and/or a country with an oppressive, human-rights violating  government. So, to be clear, I applaud those brave people who leave everything and everyone they’ve ever known to give their children a better life.

I told Guillermo that I wanted to pursue this topic and see how other people felt. Maybe I’m just goofy. Lots of people have told me their circle of friends is more of a family to them than their family ever was.

Did you grow up with or without an extended family? Was it good or bad? How do you think the absence or presence of an extended family shaped your life?

Single, White, Middle-Aged Male

Is there any group of creatures on this, or any other planet, more hard done by than the single, white, middle-aged male?

The poor guy was raised to believe he’s special and privileged and advantaged; that the world is his oyster; that not even the sky is his limit; that he could be and do anything! And what happened? Well, he got royally reamed,  didn’t he? Didn’t he? Just ask one, he’ll tell you. 

He’ll tell you that he is from the era when,  just as he was ready to take the world stage by storm all the rules changed.

Starting with Women: There he was, about to plunge headlong into the dizzying pleasure-orgy of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll when it all disappeared. Turns out sex and drugs could kill you and rock ‘n’ roll gave way to Billy Idol.  Make-love-not-war women snapped their bras back on and demanded a “commitment” before even giving him the time of day.

Less befuddled men got right on board with the new program and grabbed a wife, bought homes in the suburbs and began reproducing. The slower,  more befuddled men suddenly found themselves sliding haplessly, involuntarily and irrecoverabley  into middle-age —  alone.  And here they are. Now they look around and their “realistic” choices are limited to men or middle-aged women who, of course,  are not appealing because they don’t look 25.  Also, they’re too demanding. They expect men to be perfect and talk about “feelings”. They expect men to know (and DO!) stuff like cooking and laundry. And let’s not even get into how judgmental they are about you-know-what.  And,  middle-aged women all have kids — every last one of them. They can’t seem to help themselves. Who wants to be saddled looking after and paying for someone else’s kids, right?

Then there’s the workforce. Being a single, white middle-aged man wouldn’t be so bad if one had an exciting, dynamic career to absorb one’s attention,  like everyone else does. But no, here again our boy has been shafted. Some weisenheimer decided that white males had dominated the workforce long enough and came up with Employment Equity and Diversity – the bane of the white man’s existence. Now he can only get a job if there are no women, visible minorities, people with physical or mental disabilities or married/gay white guys applying. (No one knows exactly how or why married white guys got on this list, but every single, white guy knows they’re there). Never mind that the single white guy is 10 times smarter and more skilled than any of those people. He can’t get a decent job to save his life. So now he toils away at some meaningless, pointless, demoralizing job for less than half of what he, the single white, middle-aged male, is really worth. And he has to kowtow to a  boss who is either some know-nothing Employment Equity and Diversity person or some know-even-less married, white guy who was fast-tracked through the ranks.

And he has to pay taxes. Taxes irk the single, white middle-aged male to no end. Here is is working at some shitty job, making next to no money and to add insult to injury he has to fork over a big chunk of his pathetic salary to the government because he doesn’t get the tax breaks all those “breeders” get. And if that isn’t enough to make him eat his hunting rifle, then they use his taxes to pay for schools and daycares and social programs for poor people and for libraries and hospitals and other stuff he gets absolutely no benefit from. Yes, he, the single, white middle-aged male is single-handedly supporting every last tax-funded perk everyone else is getting and WTF is that all about?

And speaking of benefits. The single, white middle-aged man is the only human being on the face of the earth not entitled to any special benefits whatsoever. Breeders get parental leave from work and get paid for it (through programs paid for by his taxes!). They get to take “family-related” days when their snivelling brats get sick. People get married and there’s a big party and everyone gives them tons of gifts so they don’t even have to buy their own household goods. The single, white, middle-aged man, on the other hand, has to drag his sorry ass to Canadian Tire and buy his own toaster.

And, there are all sorts of support groups and special interest groups for women and for people of colour and for the differently-abled and for gays and lesbians – they even get parades and designated “awareness” days. There are books written for and about them. TV shows dedicated to them. Documentaries filmed about them. Funds are raised for them on international television by hoards of celebrities. They get grants and scholarships to go to school. Oprah cries for them. It’s all so unfair!!

And then they inflict their kids on him. As if his life wasn’t miserable enough he has to put up with the offspring of all these horrible people who’ve usurped his rightful place in the world. Wherever he goes people insist on exposing him to their children; and talking about their children; and showing him photos of their children. The single, white, middle-aged man is fairly certain that his own seed is going to die with him so he does not need to be reminded day in and day out that his gene pool is being drained, dismantled and filled with dirt as we speak.  But who would want kids anyway? They are so damned demanding and loud and full of mucous and exuberance and hope for the future. It’s extremely irritating.

He’s so misunderstood. And yet despite the entire universe conspiring against him, he forges on, trying his best to fit into this new confusing world of political correctness, vegetarians, environmentalists, fitness-freaks, twitterers, iPhone-toting, child-bearing, coupled-up, blissfully employed humans. He tries (he really does) to be sociable, presentable and not whine too much about his plight, but still he doesn’t get invited to parties. It’s too “awkward” to have a stray male hanging around stuffing canapes into his pockets for tomorrow’s lunch.  No one wants to hear his brilliant stories of using duct-tape to hem his pants or share his joy in finding a perfectly good spatula in the neighbour’s garbage.  Everyone gawps and gapes at everyone else’s photos of their children, but no one gives a second glance to the really nice snapshot of the vole in his basement.  Sure, they all admire the guy in the wheelchair competing in the paralympics, but no one admires the single, white middle-aged male for being able to cut his own hair or for the fact that he did the dishes twice last month. All of them! AND put them away. With no one telling him to! No. No one appreciates any of his deep, inner, stirling qualities at all. Life sucks.