Your Helmet Won’t Stop A Speeding Car…

I grew up during as time when the wearing of bicycle helmets wasn’t really a thing. And how could it be? I couldn’t wear a helmet while wearing earphones to my walkman, now could I? This was long before the advent of earbuds but honestly, as long as I was wearing a ball cap to protect my scalp from the sun and I was home before dark, my parents never imposed the wearing of a bike helmet. These days? Depending on the community you live in, the requirement of a bike helmet may be law. But there isn’t a day where I don’t see multiple people cycling in heavy traffic areas without a helmet.

It is what it is. Some people are more apt to follow rules and best practices than others. But the curious thing is, what purpose does a bike helmet serve? If you’re a young child and you happen to topple sideways on your bike, a helmet may save your skull from cracking on the edge of a sidewalk; no question. But whether you’re a child or an adult, you’re helmet won’t save you from any significant incident, such as getting struck by a moving car. This makes one wonder why it’s considered so necessary on most cases. And this post is about all of those little “rules,” not just bicycle helmets.

The reason behind certain rules and regulations isn’t always clear. And more often than not, it can seem unnecessary and perhaps even excessive. Especially if you find yourself on the receiving end of a penalty in relation to any of it. One good example is last week, when I was issued a traffic ticket for performing an “illegal” turn. I won’t get into the specifics of the ticket, other than to say that I definitely performed the alleged action, and the section of legislation does render it unlawful. So I really can’t argue the traffic ticket. But I couldn’t help but feel that I had done nothing wrong or unsafe and that being issued a ticket because of it was rather ridiculous.

The point behind today’s particular rant, is that even though it seemed perfectly safe and acceptable to me, doesn’t mean that it would be to everyone. In most cases, an incident likely occurred that led to that action becoming unlawful. By that logic, it becomes important for people to observe those laws and abide by them. Not only for their own safety, but the safety of others. At the risk of opening my comments section up to a plethora of argumentative points of view, this concept applies to a lot of rules, regulations and laws that are being enacted in response to the current state of the world. Some of them may seem unfair or excessive, but they all have the aim to protect and safeguard the population as a whole.

Most people can’t discern the difference between their “rights” and doing “what’s right.” The two often don’t go hand-in-hand and don’t always apply to one another. And sometimes, we need to abide by certain rules in order for society to continue to function normally. This is the cost of living in a modern society where we live in mass gathering of populated towns and cities. I’m quite certain that if a vehicle clips me while I’m out cycling, my helmet likely won’t do a damn thing to save me. Just like wearing a face mask “may” do nothing for me or the people around me. But I acknowledge two things: the first is that I can still observe my rights as a person while abiding by the rules. The second is that it costs me nothing, which tends to make peoples’ theatrics over most of these issues more than a bit ridiculous. this is why you’ll always see me do both those things, so long as it’s required of me. Food for thought… ☯️

If I Go To Hell, I Won’t Go Hungry…

Every culture and person has their own conception of hell, whether drawn from descriptions in Holy scriptures or from cultural beliefs and even mainstream media. Some cultures even have multiple hells or different levels thereof. But some people will often joke about how some situations or tangible locations would be their own personal hell. For me, that place would be Costco. If I died and went to hell, I’m pretty confident I’d land squarely in the middle of a fucking Costco. Allow me to explain…

First, I should probably clarify that i don’t actually hate Costco. In fact, I very much love Costco. A can of energy drink that retails at $3.69 at the corner store for $1.40 instead? Yes, please! And it isn’t always the lower cost on an item, since some of their prices are no better and in some cases higher, than other retail locations. But the fact you can get some of that stuff in bulk is also a significant draw, and usually results in my filling my cart with a few hundred dollars’ worth of items when I only intended on grabbing a couple of small things.

No, the issue I have with going there is the people who shop. I altered my work schedule recently in order to make an unplanned trip out to our city’s only Costco location. I got off of work early and drove out, thinking that since the work day hadn’t ended for most people yet, it should be pretty quiet. Boy, was I wrong. The place was packed, which usually triggers a whole bunch of acronyms in my behaviour, not least of which is the fact that I dislike being held up by large crowds and being surrounded.

My journey began with a walk through the liquor portion of the warehouse. In a hilarious irony, someone was providing free samples of beer. I accepted a half ounce of cerveza, which was delicious and light. I thought my shopping trip would be smooth and easy. Problematically, people who shop there always seem to move like a decomposing zombie horde, moving with the kind of speed the one would expect to see a snail, tree sap or a tax refund move at. And this is the part that drives me batty because for the most part, even when I don’t know what I’m in there for, which is pretty rare, I move briskly and get through the store in due time.

Meanwhile, everyone else leans on the handle of their cart, moving about slowly, casually glancing about and acting as though they can’t see me even when I ‘ahem’ and cough loudly next to them. I especially love the ones that are blocking the way through a certain area and staring at a single item for a full two minutes. Dude, either grab the item or don’t and get the fuck out of the way!!! Seems like a pretty simply concept, right? And then we even make eye contact, they see someone waiting to get by and they just turn away and keep gawking.

Having me navigate the shopping warehouse is not without its comedy for anyone who may be watching or who knows me. That’s why I said if I go to hell, I wouldn’t go hungry. There’s tons of food there. But I can see hell being something where I’m trapped in a crowd of slow-moving people who refuse to hurry up or get out of the way. The good news is a got a couple of flats of energy drinks at an incredibly reduced price, so it made the journey worth it. ☯️

Another Day Off…

Sometimes I get a little cheeky in my writing because you have to admit, there are a lot of weird and strange holidays out there… When you consider things like National Hugging Day, Donut Day and as much as I get a kick out of the gimmick of it, Star Wars Day (May the 4th), it’s easy to see how holidays have become a bit of a staple of society. Social media posts are always filled with tons of posts about these holidays. But once in a while you get one that’s official and it usually isn’t as recognized as some of the goofy ones.

Today is Victoria Day in Canada. For those if you from elsewhere who may not be familiar with the monarchy that oversees Canada, Queen Victoria was the grandmother of King George V, who was subsequently the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, the current reigning monarch. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901. In 1845, Queen Victoria’s birthday was declared a national holiday in Canada. Upon her death 1901, an act of parliament declared it as a legal holiday. In modern days, it’s used as an excuse to go away for a long weekend.

Having a three-day weekend is always a catch-22 for me… Although it’s great to have an added day off to kick back, relax and do whatever, it’s also an added day of work to catch up on, once I return to the office. Plus, it makes the remainder of the work-week shorter, meaning there’s less time to get certain tasks done. This pretty much undoes any of the relaxation I may get from being off today. But that kind of sounds like a “tomorrow me” problem… For now, time for some caffeine and to actually enjoy the added day. Hope everyone got to do something pleasant for their long weekend! ☯️

A Review: Rambo Last Blood (Major Spoilers)

I was born in the late 1970’s, which made me an unfortunate child of the 80’s without reaching my true teen years until the 90’s. if I’m being true to myself, which I always like to do, I got the best of everything. I grew up during the decades with the best music, the best technological innovation and the best movies. Not that we don’t have significant and fantastic technological advancements now. But I was there to use 8-track tapes and marvel as they were miniaturized into cassettes. Then I marvelled and nearly blinded myself with the wonder that was compact discs. I’ve seen movies on beta, followed by VHS and DVD, long before streaming services became a thing. One could say I’m a bit of a historian, in that respect…

When I was but a wee lad, i sat through a slow-moving yet captivating film called “First Blood.” Released in 1982, First Blood told the story of a Vietnam War vet who mustered out of the military and came home after his service. With no known family and nowhere to go, he sought out his old unit compatriots, only to discover they were all dead and gone. He wanders through a small town where he’s discriminated base don his appearance by the local sheriff and all hell breaks loose as he delivers military-grade justice against the sheriff’s department and the entire area as a whole.

As a 5-year old boy in the 1980’s, it was everything I could expect it to be. It had guns, shootouts and action, without much of the gore and violence that would actually be expected from such a movie. Having been born a few years after the end of the Vietnam War, I can’t say that I fully understood the implications of what I was watching. Having a grandfather as a War World II veteran taught me a few things, however. The film series saw sequels released in 1985 and 1988, respectively, with the former covering a return to Vietnam and the later being the conflict between Russia and Afghanistan. Despite critic reviews, I felt all three movies were fantastic and fit perfectly into the perspective I had of the action movie genre.

It wouldn’t be until a year before I joined the Force that they would release “Rambo” in 2008, which saw the titular character venture into a war-torn jungle to rescue Christian missionaries who were capture by insurgents. Considering all of these movies star Sylvester Stallone and he isn’t getting any younger, one would be inclined to think that perhaps it would be time to set down the compound bow and let Rambo lie where he was left; much like “Rocky Balboa,” where the titular character fights one final time and then has the god graces to bow out. Even in the recent Creed movies, Balboa takes more of a secondary role.

Apparently, the gun-toting, blade-wielding Rambo needed one last hurrah in Rambo:Last Blood. This final chapter (that we know of, so far) sees the titular character settled down in Arizona, having raised a young Mexican girl as his niece. He runs a small ranch with a bunch of bunker-style tunnels built beneath the surface and when the niece decides she needs to find her deadbeat father in Mexico, all hell breaks loose when Rambo has to go to Mexico to rescue her, only to have her die on the way home. When Mexican cartels come knocking, he’s ready and delivers Rambo-style justice in a way only an 80’s action hero could.

It has its fair share of cheesiness but it’s a good flic, with a fair share of gratuitous violence and gun play, as well as some imaginative traps and obstacles placed by the titular character. That last part is a bit surprising, since in previous sequels, Rambo mostly depended on shooting his way out of most situations. But in this one, he actually plans ahead and sets traps, which is a significant change. One could almost surmise that he’s gained some insight in his golden years and uses that to his advantage.

He takes a couple of wounds during the final battle, which is expected of a Rambo movie but I genuinely thought these wounds would be the end of him. And maybe they were. the movie ends with him riding off into the horizon on horseback, which could easily be symbolism for him passing away. Who knows? Maybe it’s up to the viewer to use their imagination. I’ve written about remakes, reboots and sequels decades after the fact on a number of different occasions. Depending on the movie, my opinions differ. A part of me is always happy to nostalgically relive the glory days of kick-ass movies. The logical part of me thinks Hollywood should develop an original idea.

All of that being said, if you’re looking to relive the glory days of classic action movies, Rambo: Last Blood may be right for you. Although the tone and gore of the movie may bot be right for some of modern society’s more tender sensibilities, it can still appeal to the remainder of my generation. I highly recommend it, if you’re looking for an easy, action-base watch on a slow evening. And best of all, it’s only an hour and a half long. considering the popular trend these days is to make movies two hours or longer, it even allows my generation to hit the sack all that much earlier. ☯️

Humming Boyz II Men…

Despite how loud and outspoken I tend to project myself as, I’ve never really been a social butterfly and I rarely keep an increased social circle within my personal life. This isn’t because I don’t WANT friends… Far from it, in fact. But the nature of how I live my life, mixed with familial and home obligations, doesn’t make for much free time to hang out and spend time with friends. And that’s fine. I have a handful of people whom I call “friend,” they know who they are and I get to see them when our respective lives allow us to.

With that in mind, it’s a normal thing for people to come in and out of our lives. Sometimes it happens organically and doesn’t really change a great deal. I have people that I spent TONS of time with, twenty years ago and somehow life carried us in different directions and life has progressed all without the sense of loss that should normally come with that lost connection. However, once in a while a person may make an impact on one’s life that makes it a little bit harder to accept their departure when fate deems it necessary for them to step away.

We usually navigate our own lives oblivious to the direct impact we have on other individuals. And that impact can be either negative or positive but the reality is that any given person will ALWAYS have an impact on others. When you meet someone genuine, someone who is helpful, a teacher, guide, mentor and friend, that impact is all the more measurable and important. It’s made all the more special by the fact that these people often don’t assume or consider how much of that impact they’re responsible for. And that’s kind of what makes it special… If a person did all these things with the purpose of being recognize and considered as a genuine, impactful person, I think it would lose a little something.

In some cases, many cases, we are oblivious of the importance of such people until we’re at risk of losing them. And that loss can come in many forms, whether illness, death, falling out and misunderstandings, moving away to a new location or simply unavoidable circumstances of life. Once they’re gone, it leaves a significant gap and sense of loss and one can suddenly regret that the requirements and rigours of life prevented more time spent with these individuals. But, such is life! That’s why it’s important to value and appreciate the important people in your life while you have them. Because you never know when someone who impacted your life significantly will have to leave. ☯️

If it Isn’t Hard, Is It Even Worth Doing?

I read an interesting quote by Ashton Kutcher, of all people, that says, “If it doesn’t seem insurmountable, how is it going to be a life purpose?” An interesting quote and deep meaning behind it, confirming my opinion that knowledge and wisdom can come from any source. Of course, as some of my readers would and have pointed out, a quote is only as good as the confirmation of its source. Realistically, unless one is in a position to actually speak to the source to confirm the quote’s accuracy, it’s up in the air. However, that makes the words no less true. But I digress…

The point and purpose is to speak about those “insurmountable” goals and life purposes and how you can get past the BELIEF that they’re insurmountable. When I look back at my life, I recognize that some of the goals and purposes I planned for myself seemed impossible at the time. Considering I’ve achieved almost everything I set out to do in life, it almost seems laughable that I was as concerned as I was that I would REACH those goals. But Everest always looks insurmountable until you’re touching the flags at the top, right?

When I was younger and I stepped into a dojo for the first time, my health was waning, I had no support from the outside on my choice to start training and I believed my life would end before I reached my late teens. That first class was among one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, considering my blood sugars dropped, I had no physical constitution and the workout was gruelling for those who had been there for a while so you can probably imagine how difficult it was for me. But like taking that first step up the mountain, completing that first class paved the way for me to push froward and reach my goals. The same can be said of most things in life.

It’s important that goals and purposes be difficult. Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. If you can simply coast through to the finish line, it technically isn’t a race, right? But while contemplating that thought, it’s important to bear in mind that difficulty is a subjective thing. Maybe walking ten minutes to the corner store is a fuckin’ joke to me and I don’t consider it exercise, despite walking for twenty minutes, round trip. But someone else may have difficulties in mobility, health issues and other problems that make walking for twenty minutes a significant challenge. This means that it’s important never to judge someone else on their chosen goals, even if they may seem like less to you.

Another important quote that I like, in case y’all haven’t noticed that I love quotes, is attributed to Muhammed Ali who said, “Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” Getting started and building one’s momentum is what will usually get you there and accomplishing your goals. Just remember that when it gets hard, and it will, that’s normal. If it isn’t hard, it isn’t worth doing. The easy path isn’t challenging. Food for thought… ☯️

Cresting One Hill Brings You To The Other

It’s been a hell of a month and half, with the recovery of a physical injury I sustained at the beginning of April, only to get sick with some kind of flu or virus immediately after. And no, before anyone panics, it isn’t COVID-19! But for those of you who may not have read earlier posts from a month ago, I attended a karate seminar and took a strike to the left rib cage, which resulted in a sharp, piercing pain that I assumed, at the time, was a broken rib. Although x-rays negated that possibility (allegedly) the pain and limited movement has kept me pretty isolated and unable to train and move freely for well over a month.

For about two weeks, despite the stiffness and slow movement I have been recovering well. I can breathe and move somewhat normally and can now sneeze, cough and fart without nearly passing out in pain, which is something you don’t necessarily recognize or take for granted until you can’t do it. This week, I contemplated returning to karate, which would be my first class in 46 days. The fact I’ve been counting those days should give you some indication as to how anxious I am to return and how much it means to me. Monday classes are usually at 8 pm, which is a later start than I’ve ever had at previous dojos. For this reason, I’m usually on the fence about attending on Mondays.

Last Monday, i got home spent and exhausted from my day’s work and opted for my usual, which was to skip. This sounds pretty bad and it’s not something you would have heard out of me, twenty years ago. but as one gets older and wiser, quality over quantity becomes the new norm. By Tuesday afternoon, a wave of nausea and clamminess struck me. I was dizzy and felt physically ill. I worked my way through the rest of the afternoon but by the time I got home, I was done for the day. not only did I find myself unable to eat, I spent my evening cradling a bucket and wound up sleeping downstairs so I wouldn’t wake the entire house if I retched and threw up. Lovely.

The irony is that Wednesday would have been my first karate class since the injury, having skipped on Monday. I had full intentions of attending but of course fate had other plans. I had hoped whatever this was would pass during the night, but I woke up still feeling like shit on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening, I made my peace with the fact I wouldn’t be attending. Come this morning, I still feel like crap. Things have a tendency of turning on a dime for me, what with the whole Diabetes thing. So you never know what this evening may bring or whether I may be able to attend. Just one more step towards understanding that life doesn’t care about one’s plan.

Since I’ve never caught “man flu” in my life, one can safely assume that if an illness is bad enough to slow me down or stop me, it’s likely because it’s serious. Not serious enough to put a stop to me, of course. I’ll get over this like I get over everything else. It just pisses me off that it had to happen RIGHT when I had recovered from an injury and intended on returning to karate. Such is life. I’ll get there. The irony, and the good part I suppose, is that none of this seems to have affected my blood sugars. Even skipping some meals. Small favours… ☯️

Quit Apologizing…

Society is very much divided into two parts; those who seem compelled to apologize for everything they do and those who seem to feel they are entitled to the moon and all its sand without any thought or care of others. This is a pretty broad generalization, I admit, and many people fall somewhere in between of those two extremes. But for the most part, it’s pretty accurate, based on my observations.

Some people feel compelled to apologize for every day things, even if they’ve done nothing wrong. This can be a problem, bordering on the annoying, especially when it hinders conversation or required actions on the apologizer’s behalf. I recently read a really good post about things we should all stop apologizing for. They made some really good points and some of them were even funny. I thought I would share my list of top things I feel people should stop apologizing for…

Saying No: This is a big one for me, because people have a tendency to want to avoid awkwardness and try and please others. Not always, minds you but in most cases. More often than not, people will be afraid of saying no to something, either at work or in their personal lives, in order to avoid confrontation or having to explain themselves. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to say no. If you’re unable or even simply in wanting to do a particular thing, you have every right to say no and it isn’t something you should be apologizing for.

Being Sick/Ill: Another big one in my life, given how I grew up. There’s nothing worse than calling in sick or being absent due to illness and feeling you need to apologize for it. Recovering from any illness isn’t something you need to say you’re sorry about and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking the time you need to recover. I know many employers will sometimes take issue when an employee calls in sick. And some family or friends may often feel slighted if you tell them you aren’t meeting them because you’re feeling unwell. But self-care is importantly and these parties likely wouldn’t appreciate it if you spread your sickness among them.

Being Wrong: This is important because no matter what side of the argument you fall on, we’re all human and we’ll have times when we’ll be wrong about SOMETHING. It’s the height of ignorance to assume that one is always right. But even if you’re wrong about something, it’s okay to acknowledge that you were wrong, it’s important to recognize that you were wrong, if it has affected someone else. But you’re human; you shouldn’t have to apologize for making a mistake.

There are likely many more and I’m sure you can all think of some I haven’t named. These are just the top ones that grate on me when someone apologizes for it. The article I read (I wasn’t able to find it to link it, SORRY) had included passing gas… Effectively, people in a couple should stop apologizing when they pass gas in front of each other, since it’s GOING to happen as a natural function of the human body. There was more to it than that but I thought it was hilarious.

Don’t feel the need to apologize for every little thing you do. If you feel that something is a problem, then work to fix the problem. This will go much farther than saying you’re sorry for it. And if it’s something that relates to your health or self-care, you should never have to apologize for the choices you make. After all, how can you help or take care of others if you haven’t taken care of yourself, first? Food for thought… ☯️

The Iron Maiden…

Iron plays an important role in the function of the body. In fact, it serves a number of different roles, including helping the body to make hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It also contributes to make myoglobin, which carries oxygen to one’s muscle tissue. oxygen is kind of important to, well… stay alive, so y’all can see how maintaining good iron levels can be extremely important. As with all things in life, the key aspect is to strike a proper balance between too much and too little.

People don’t often realize it, but iron also helps convert one’s blood sugar to energy, which means it plays an integral role in Type-1 Diabetes and the proper overall control of one’s blood sugar levels. All of that, combined with the fact that it will also help to strengthen one’s immune system makes iron a pretty tough supplement. Get it? Tough? Iron? No…? No one gets it? Very well… Moving on! There are a number fo different sources to get iron in one’s diet. Let’s look at a few of my favourites…

Spinach: Besides having a reasonable level of iron, spinach is also high in Vitamin C, antioxidants and can decrease inflammation in the body.

Legumes: Most people don’t necessarily know what’s meant by “legumes,” but they’re far more common in people’s diet than they realize. For example, my wife and I enjoy beans in our homemade chilli. Beans, along with lentils, peas and a few others, are high in iron as well as a reasonable source of folate, magnesium and potassium. they also tend to pack a decent fibre punch.

Red meat: Alright, if things are misspelled from this point on, it’s because I’m drooling at the thought of a decent-sized steak, brazed over a hot grill with delicious seasonings, and served with a side of steamed greens covered in butter… FML, I’m hungry… but seriously, most red meats contain zinc, selenium, B vitamins and, you guess it! Iron. There’s no need for me to tell you that red meat contains a reasonable protein punch as well, making it a perfect all around food to accompany whatever side you see fit.

Dark chocolate: Sign me up! Besides the fact that dark chocolate has a decent dose of iron, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the total sugar. It apparently has to do with the difference in process from making milk chocolate. Who knows? What am I, a chocolatier??? All I know is that my wife and I usually prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate anyway, so life is good.

Fish: What can I say? I’m a Maritimer, born and raised. I love fish in all its forms and all its preparations. And fish have a bunch of stuff that’s good for you but it’s also high in iron.

Although all of this sounds great and you’re likely writing up your grocery list for a kick ass barbecue, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much iron in one’s body will result in organ damage, organ failure as well as cirrhosis and even lead to Type-2 Diabetes. Moderation is key. A simple blood test will reveal your iron levels and where you’re sitting. So, what if your iron levels are too low? That’s what we’ll cover next…

If you read that first paragraph again, you’ll notice that one of the main functions of iron is to carry oxygen. Lack of oxygen in the bloodstream will cause numbness in the limbs, weakness, pale skin and fatigue. You may also experience headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. How do I know all of this, you may ask? I could be a smart ass and say I looked it all up. And you’d be right. But I also know all of these things because my wife recently discovered numbness in her right arm and fingers. Considering we both have fatigue and weakness, it was hard to think much of it until she pushed the issue at the doctors office and a month later with iron supplements, oxygen flow to that arm is back to normal and no more numbness.

We often think that since we’re not hungry after we eat that all is well. Nutrition is about more than just filling one’s belly and not being hungry. But when it comes to something as important as iron, finding that happy medium for YOU is important. Too much iron, big problems. Too little iron, also big problems. Finding the balance, as with all things in life, is the key to ensuring proper nutrition and proper health. Food for thought… ☯️

“I Want More”

I learn more from my children that I often give them credit for. And that’s a pretty common parental mistake; we tend to think that we have all the knowledge and know-how and need to impart it on these blank slates so that they can learn and grow. But kids see everything and hear everything, even when we’re of the opinion that they don’t. And it amazes me how I often see a child’s behaviour in most of the adults that I associate with. I was reminded of just such a thing last Saturday, when I brought my oldest to an indoor play gym to blow off some steam.

The original plan was to go to a local shopping mall, which contains an inside play structure. What’s nice with this location is that there are always plenty of children for the boys to socialize and play with and it happens to be free. Although this may make me sound ridiculously cheap, any parent can easily understand the need to find inexpensive or cost-free ways of entertaining one’s children; especially when you have more than one of them.

As is usually the case, Nathan tends to change his mind more than an internet joke about asking your girlfriend where she wants to eat. We were only five minutes down the road when he decided he wanted to go to an inside trampoline gym called “Get Air.” Although I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s pretty awesome, it also costs a small fortune and requires constant yelling and correction to keep him from literally breaking his neck. I explained to him that we wouldn’t be going to this location, especially since they require specialized socks. He indignantly stated he wanted to return home and go nowhere but we had a purchase to return at the mall we were MEANT to, which is another reason we were headed there.

I calmly explained that we weren’t turning around simply because he was unhappy with the options he was being given and that we would go return the purchase I had with me and we could come back home, then. Once we were at the retail location, he stated he would be in the toy section and scuttled off. Once the return was done, I found him and told him it was time to go. He handed me a 10-dollar toy and expressed his want of it. I explained that we weren’t here to buy toys and that every outing didn’t indicate that something would be purchased for him. Any other parents relating to this story, yet?

He got visibly angry with me and explained that since I wasn’t taking him where he wanted to go, buying him this toy was the least I could. Setting aside for a moment that the least I could do is feed him, clothe him and essentially keep him alive, the degree of selfishness he was displaying was making me nauseous. And then, something unexpected happened; he Jedi mind-tricked me. Somehow, through our debate, I wound up being convinced that he had the choice of either choosing the toy and going straight home for the day or I would concede to take him to an indoor park called Klimerz, which required no special socks.

He chose Klimerz and I was somehow pleased with this as I felt that he would have the opportunity after all to burn off some steam and play with some other kids. It wasn’t until I had paid the entry and was sitting on a bench watching him run around that I realized the lack of logic I had used in my decision and the fact that my 7-year old had basically played me. I’m not proud of it but I stand by the fact that it was of some benefit to him. I let him play for over an hour and half before finally telling him we needed to go. He was soaked in sweat and had a blast, playing with several of the other children at the location. I felt my job was done.

It wasn’t until we were both in the car and buckled in, that he chose to say, “I wanna play some more…” Now, I have two problems with this; the first is that he just finished playing for over an hour and half and this should have been adequate to satisfy any reasonable person. The second is that rather than try and petition further time out of me while we were still inside, he chooses when I’m about to hit the accelerator to say something. I explain that we’re done and have to head home and he gets angry and yells, “I WANT MORE!!!”

This prompted a rather in-depth discussion (because we were in the car and rolling and couldn’t escape)about appreciating what one is giving and to avoid constantly wanting more. Although I was glad that he had had fun, we went from a cost-free afternoon at a public park to paying a fair amount of cash at a specialized play structure and he still wasn’t happy and “wanted more.” Alright, fair enough. He’s a kid and I get it. As a child, we all experience good things that we’d like to see and do more of. We don’t have the reflexes to understand that there need to be limits to such things and that we don’t always get what we want.

So, what about adults? The unfortunate reality is that adults are often as bad if not worse than kids. Modern society has been groomed to believe that the purpose to life is the acquisition of belongings and property. The harsh reality is that in the vast majority of cases, no matter how much one gets, one usually always ends up wanting more. And that’s unfortunate. Most people, at some point in their lives, have heard the expression, “You can’t take it with you.” And this is true. Wanting more in life will often find you achieving less and having an emptier life. And as for Nathan, he’ll eventually learn what’s important. It may take a few full-on sulk sessions before that happens but he’ll get there. ☯️

Friday The 13th

Friday the 13th was a pretty big deal when I was a kid. Either you used it as an excuse for all the bad luck you experienced that day, or you were a fan of the horror movie franchise and could usually find at least one of them playing late in the evening on local cable (when such a thing was the standard). I fell into the latter category, having snuck into the living room in the middle of the night and watched a VHS tape of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason lives. My father had rented it for himself and I got curious so I did what any typical kid back then; I got up and watched it. It was 10-years old. It was all down hill from there…

The day in particular owes itself to a rather unfortunate history. Some view it as a back luck day while others actually see it as good day. It’s kind of like black cats; everyone seems to think that black cats are bad luck. Unless you’re stuck in the matrix and you view it as being a glitch in the system, there’s nothing that’s bad luck about black cats. The same can be said about Friday the 13th. It was especially horrendous during my law enforcement days when anyone in uniform would dread working it, thinking it would carry some excess of criminal complaints by virtue of the date.

There are many stories from different backgrounds surrounding this date. For myself, I was raised in a Catholic household and one of the stories was that the Last Supper had 13 guests (Christ and his apostles) and that the following day was Good Friday. Although that’s a good story, since the Gregorian calendar wasn’t invented until the late 1500’s, that first Good Friday couldn’t have been dated as such. Who knows, right? I wasn’t there…

There’s another thing I read somewhere in viking lore, where apparently 12 gods were having dinner in Valhalla when an unwanted 13th god snuck in, uninvited. That would be Loki, of course. Not the MCU Loki but the actual Norse god from mythology. While there, Loki killed one of the other gods, causing the world to fall into darkness, which is why the Vikings consider the number 13 to be unlucky. Don’t quote me on any of this, I’m going from memory based on stuff I read a long time ago.

There are similar instances of “unlucky” dates in other countries/societies. For example, the Greeks believe that Tuesday the 13th is an unlucky because it’s associated with their God of War. For the most part, I never noticed an increase in complaints or criminal activity when I was with law enforcement. And despite people’s propensity for thinking there’s some correlation between the date and bad luck, it’s just another day. And as we get older, some superstitions tend to fade away. That’s why it’s Sunday morning and I only JUST realized that we passed a Friday the 13th, the day before yesterday. Go figure…☯️