Dec 18

Where Did We Go Wrong?

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A good friend posted a status on Facebook about the changes to school safety and restrictions since we were teenagers. It was more a question about us as a society, but mentioned how he was allowed to make a crossbow in shop class, and also transport it to and from school on the bus. He alludes to the fact that this would not fly in today’s world, and he wants to know what the hell happened to us to cause such a huge shift, and how we can reverse it.

Fair enough right?

When I was in high school, a kid from another school in town was making a meat tenderizing hammer in shop class. While he was minding his business at his locker, another kid started teasing him about who knows what. Turns out this was one too many teasings, because he clocked the asshole in the eye with the hammer he had just made.

Maybe not exactly like this one.

Maybe not exactly like it, but it was metal.

Is that the right way to handle a bully? Probably not, but it would sure get the point across. To me, anyhow.

Did it stop the other guy from teasing him again? Probably not; that guy was a fucking douchebag. I assume he still is, but I’d like to think that he’s changed.

Now the guy that did the hitting and I had some pretty good fights over the years. Probably because of me being mouthy, but I think it was more like neither of us took shit from people, including each other.

It was always hit and miss with us. I can’t even count the amount of scuffles we had, but I don’t remember one time that we told on each other. I remember after one fight; he smashed my window with his fist and I had to sit in the principal’s office the next day and tell everyone that I thought a bunch of kids were throwing snowballs and that one must have had a rock in it. I had to do this while sitting beside him; both of our faces and knuckles probably cut and bruised.

It never even occurred to me to throw him under the proverbial bus.

I guess it’s possible that it was him, or a bunch of guys like him, that brought about heightened school security and the beginning of humanity’s demise, but I doubt it.

The guy who got hit, on the other hand, was a spoiled brat. He acted like he was better than everyone else and was quite vocal about it. I really believe that he thought he could do no wrong. Even as a young adult he was a rotten prick.

One night, I was on a friendly date, (that means she wouldn’t have sex with me) and we went into an establishment owned by his family. He was drunk and obnoxious, as usual, and proceeded to sit at our table and start hitting on the girl I was with. When he saw the grimace on my face, he asked her what she was doing with an asshole like me.

I took offence to this, as I was wont to do back then, and told him to step outside. As we were on our way out to the beatdown, I was stopped by three older gentlemen who explained that they were regulars there, and that I should just leave him alone. They told me he was drunk, and it wasn’t his fault that he was being a complete dick.

I was pretty sure I could take any of them, one on one, but they made it clear that it wouldn’t be going down like that, so I allowed the waitress to put the drunken fuck in a cab and get him out of there. He didn’t lose his job, and was probably clapped on the back by his friends for putting that “skid” in his place. Probably as they stood around drinking Molson Brador and lighting their hash oil doobies with five dollar bills.

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Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The problem was that this guy’s family never seemed to punish him for his behaviour. There were never any ramifications for his actions, for some reason. If there had been, I think things would have been much different, but you have to remember that it’s not just him. There are millions of people out there that think they can talk to people like they are somehow less deserving of respect for some reason. It might be their looks, their financial situation, their ancestry, or their intelligence. No matter what it is, they have the right to live their life without fear of being bullied. Unless they are Irish or something, then all bets are off.

Another thing that was mentioned in a comment was that the reason for the lack of morality in the world was the lack of God. I assume the person meant the Christian god, but I may have misread that.

As you may know, I don’t care what someone believes in, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, and it isn’t pushed on others by way of the public school system or other secular places and events. Well, unless all religions are going to be taught equally, but what are the chances that will happen?

As for morality being linked with Christianity, or any religion, more than Atheism or Agnosticism? That’s bullshit, and anyone who knows non-believers and faithful alike, knows this. There is good and bad in every religion, race, country, and person. You should believe in whatever makes you feel good, and not because your family, friends, or a charismatic stranger says you should. Study up on everything and make an educated choice. Don’t ever feel that if you choose one or the other, that you will be more or less righteous. It just doesn’t work that way.

You are who you are. That doesn’t mean that you can’t better yourself, but it does mean that if you want the peace and love, you can have it. As much as you want to strive for, if you go about it the right way. It also means that you can go the other way if you want. It’s totally up to you.

I guess the question is whether you want to ruin people’s lives or enrich them?

Make the right choice for you, and for the love of whatever you believe in, pay attention to your kids. They need it more than you think.

Birdman

 

 

Sep 18

And So It Happens

mindofbirdman

I got a call on the long weekend from a buddy out west. He lost a couple of his drivers to illness or injury, I can’t really remember which, and he wondered if I was interested in filling in for him until he could get someone else.

“No, I don’t want to come all the way out there and then not have a month of work. If you can guarantee I’ll be working, then I’d consider it.”

“You know how it is here. I can’t guarantee anything like that, but I’m busy as hell here and have trucks parked with no drivers, so I can say that as long as the weather is okay, you’ll be going.”

I said I’d think about it, but we were busy at work, so I didn’t think too much. I did think it would be nice to see my friends again, so that may have had some bearing on my decision making process.

Then it got slow last week and I only worked half a day, this week wasn’t looking any better, so I talked to my boss. He said that unless something disastrous happened (I work for a disaster restoration company), then we were caught up with everything from the ice storm in the spring.

So I called Tracker to find out the expiry date of my tickets. Looks like I need my H²S and GODI, so I got calling around to set that up. I didn’t want a repeat of last time where I had to sit around for a week, waiting for schooling when I should have been working. It’s not that I don’t like sitting around, and if all of my friends were on welfare I would like it more, but when you invest your time and money into making more time and money, then you kind of want to get at it.

I then got ahold of Alpha Safety in Fort St. John and booked the GRRDI course (GODI equivalent) for Friday. I explained to the girl that I would book my flight early to take the course, because the only other option was Sept 26th at the college and I didn’t want to wait that long. I was able to get into St. John’s Ambulance on Saturday for my H²S, so I would be ready to work on Sunday.

I then booked my flight for Thursday and called Jimmy to tell him when I’d be able to start, because I know he’s got people crying for trucks. Everything was good.

Fast forward four hours and I get a phone call from Alpha Safety to tell me that they didn’t have enough people enrolled in the course, so they were cancelling it.

Really? You didn’t know four hours ago that there wasn’t enough people? When I explained that I would fly out a few days early to make this course, because I couldn’t work without, you didn’t think to mention that you were short a few people and might not be having the course? No? That’s perfect. Bang up job, Alpha.

This doesn’t reflect how pissed of I was, because when I called Jim back later to tell him the shit news, he said that someone had called about a camp job and needed trucks until probably the new year, and I didn’t need the defensive driving course for that.

Sweet, but it doesn’t change the fact that Alpha fucked up. If they had have called and said that they were sorry and had made a mistake, but here are all of the other companies offering the course and what dates they had available I wouldn’t have been so angry. I probably would have applauded their customer service, but they didn’t. They told me when their next course was and made some excuses as to why it wasn’t their fault that there wasn’t enough people.

Maybe it isn’t your fault, but how you handle it is how customers perceive your level of service. I mentioned to you on the phone that you wouldn’t be getting any more of my business, and I meant it. I just hope that you learn from it and don’t do this to someone else.

Now on to sadder news.

I had to say goodbye to the girls this morning. It wasn’t as bad as times before, because I was able to wait until they were gone before I started crying. Well, maybe they weren’t out of the driveway, but they were out of the house. The good thing about it is that today is Liv’s birthday, so at least there were pancakes to soak up my tears. Mmmmm, a short stack of salty flapjacks. It’s the breakfast of wayward stepdads.

Now on to even sadder news.

We are going to visit Sebastard today.

I’m partially kidding, but after that we will be staining the sheets of an airport hotel room on our last night together for over a month. Oh, you thought I was talking about the sexy staining? No. We will probably be having dinner at Lahore Tikka House and you know how a spicy butter chicken ends up.

I'll get my picture taken in this today.

I’ll get my picture taken in this today.

Anyhow, I won’t be blogging very much for the next month, mostly because I will only have my phone with me and I will be studying for my GED as much as I can while I’m away. I also hope to catch up on some movie watching as well. Shit. I guess I’m going to have to pull the old laptop out of the dead electronics bucket and see if it will work for me.

Don’t cry for me Argentina, the truth is I never left you,

Birdman

P.S. To Amber, I know you told me to never go back out there, but it’s different now. I need to know that you won’t beat the shit out of me the next time I see you.

Sep 16

So We Did A Bit Of Timekeeping

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My good buddy Gadget asked me to come and hang with him while he fulfilled his fatherly duty of volunteering at The Mullet’s hockey tournament this weekend. We were going to be timekeeping a couple of games so that they wouldn’t have to pay people to do it.

I guess it’s to help keep costs down, because HOCKEY IS A FUCKING EXPENSIVE SPORT TO PUT YOUR KIDS IN.

Did I mention that the tournament started on Friday.

Yes, Friday. The last day in the school week.

‘That’s okay, Birdman. It’s good to get an early jump on the weekend, so it’s no big deal to start a tournament on the Friday night.’

No it’s not okay. This tournament started on Friday morning. This means that the kids have to leave school and at least one parent has to book out of work that day. Maybe your kid is homeschooled and you are an Amway distributor*, so it’s no big deal for you to whip the little bastard over to the rink for his 10:00 AM game, but most of the parents I know had to leave work for several hours or the whole day because of this.

* – Can you grab me a box of that awesome laundry detergent that you brainwashed fuckers sell? It’s the shit.

Anyhow, I go to the game on Friday night to give moral support to my buddy, when I realised that it was going to take two of us to do this job. Mainly because I had never seen one of these boxes before, and Gadget had just been shown it a bit earlier in the day.

I got the hint that he may have really needed a bit of help when he said “So, you wanna be the stop/go guy?”

“Nah, I’ll just watch. I don’t know anything about this.”

“So you are going to be the stop/go guy?” He had a hopeful look on his face.

“What do I have to do?”

“You hit stop/go when you hear the whistle and then again when the ref drops the puck.”

“That seems easy. Okay, I’ll do it.”

“It’s not easy. If you aren’t paying attention, those hockey mom’s will tear you a new asshole for fucking up their kid’s game.”

I didn’t care, so I just shrugged and said “So? It’s not like they’re going pro or anything. “.

He gave me the “You will die, this day.” look and finished filling out his sheet and screwing up the period times on the scoreboard as we prepared for our maiden voyage.

Oh yeah, the scoreboard.

It’s rumoured to have cost $60000 and it looks like this.

60k? I Tim Hortons paid for it.

60k? I hope Tim Hortons paid for it.

Now the thing that gets me is that this amazing facility was built in 2011 and this is the technology that was chosen to run this wonderful scoreboard.

Really? They couldn't have come up with something a little more user friendly for the volunteer parents to handle?

Really? They couldn’t have come up with something a little more user friendly for the volunteer parents to handle?

Now Gadget is a fart smellersmart feller, so I know he can figure anything out if he’s given the proper amount of time, but when you have whistles blowing for penalties, refs yelling numbers and chopping away at their legs, and doors to open, it’s hard to read the fucking codes that they give you for each action.

It was something like:

Visitor penalty – Press and hold 911, rotate your pelvis 30° to the right, cup your scrotum and then press the symbol for magnesium.

Home goal – Put your left foot in, take your left foot out, put your left foot in, shake it all about, gently slide your thumb across the 1,2,and 3 buttons while you hold the time button down with your opposite ring finger.

These may or may not be true, but it was fun making up new dance moves while learning my new skill.

This brings me to the hockey moms and occasional dad.

We were lucky to do two games that had no players that we knew. I say “lucky” because that way I don’t have to out any of my friends as obnoxious, loud, and assholish parents that can’t just let the coach and their kid do the job that was appointed to them.

Most of the hollering was unintelligible from where we were, so I can just imagine what the kids on the ice could make out. The word I heard the most was “SHOOT!”, and I mentioned to Gadget that I wished the kids would shoot as soon as someone yelled it to them.

I mean the moment they yelled, and in whatever direction is easiest from where their stick is.

I should have went to school for graphic design.

I should have went to school for graphic design. Right?

How about you let the kid play the game. If he’s that fucking simple that he doesn’t know when he should shoot the goddamn puck, then you shouldn’t have bribed his coach into putting him in rep hockey. Instead, you should have saved your money for some Baileys to juice up your coffee and spent your time catching up with some fellow whores, while you watch your fatherless kids* play outside on a pond or someone’s backyard rink.

* – Hee hee. Sometimes I like to be an asshole. I know that you and your friends aren’t whores, and I happen to know that your kid has a dad, but you have to admit that this wound you up for a second. Didn’t it?

A bunch of friends with a couple of mittens for a net, a few old wooden sticks, and whatever ill-fitting pads they can find, will trump any fancy tournament that I can imagine. It’s when the kids have no pressure except to come in for a hot chocolate before they get frostbite, that makes for one of the greatest games that I’ve had the pleasure to watch.

Sometimes at night I can hear the ice crack, it sounds like thunder and it rips through my back,

Birdman

Aug 19

Road Rash

Birdman

Alright, so after my parents divorced, we moved with my mom to a house that was two doors north of my Uncle Larry’s place. He was my dad’s brother, and it wasn’t uncommon to see Dad’s pickup parked there on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

It also wasn’t uncommon for me to have stupid ideas.

This is one of those times that the two landed on the same day.

Now this was a weekend that we were at Mom’s and my brother Larry and I were playing in the yard. We just happened to be looking for something fun to do, when Dad’s truck pulled into Uncle Larry’s driveway.

Don't you dare make fun of my Paint skills; my wife was sleeping, and I don't know how to use Photoshop.

Don’t you dare make fun of my Paint skills; my wife was sleeping, and I don’t know how to use Photoshop.

“Hey, we should go and crawl under Dad’s truck.” said I, in my infinite wisdom.

“What for?”

“We’ll drag underneath it when he backs up, then we’ll climb into the box and scare the shit out of him. He won’t be able to see us in his mirror,  then…BANG! We are yelling at him in the back of his truck. It’s going to be so funny.”

“Haha, that’ll be so awesome. Let’s sneak through the ditch, so he doesn’t see us. We’ll be like ninjas.”

I thought that was a great idea, so I answered with a silent nod and point towards my uncle’s place.

Back in the early 80’s, people weren’t as flippant with the word “ninja” as they are today. Back then it meant something; especially to a young boy who had just watched this.

So we stealthily crept through the ditch and crawled under the truck, hanging on to the rear bumper so he couldn’t take off without us, and we waited. After a short while that seemed like two days, we heard the screen door open and heard him say goodbye to Uncle Larry.

This was it, our time to shine.

He fired up the beast and started backing out onto the road. Everything was going according to plan. We smiled at each other and laughed inwardly. As the truck came to a stop we spun around and grabbed the bumper while moving into a crouch position behind the truck. YES! It was totally working. As he started going forward, Larry lost his grip on the bumper and was left behind as I “land skated” behind the old girl.

Shit. I was going to have to go this one alone.

As he picked up speed, I reached up to grab the top of the tailgate and pull myself into the back of the truck. This was going to be so cool. I secretly wished I would be able to record the the manoeuvre and the look on his face as I leapt into the box and started yelling at him.

That was when the tailgate popped open from not being shut all the way and smashed me in the face. That sent me skittering onto the road at about twenty miles an hour. I’m not going to tell you that I wasn’t concerned, because I was, but when I finally stopped and realized that I was okay, I began to grin. Partially because I was glad to not be mortally wounded, but also because I knew I would have made it had the gate stayed shut. A few scraped up limbs was worth knowing that.

Seriously, stop laughing at me. It's not my fault.

Seriously, stop laughing at me. It’s not my fault.

The truck slid to a stop and Dad came running back toward me, as my brother was yelling and making his way toward me too. He was laughing and grinning when he got to me, and had a look of incredulity at what had just happened.

Then there was Dad. I’ll never forget the look on his face through the stars and my pulsing, bloodshot eyes. It was an expression of shock that turned to horror. Oh, and then the fear, that I might have mistaken for rage.

Can you imagine being a parent and seeing your kid in the middle of the road with blood all over his smiling face? I couldn’t then, but I sure can now. He had no clue what had happened, just as I suspected, but instead of that being funnier, it was just a lot scarier. I think about the myriad of emotions that would course through me if it was one of the girls that this happened to. It’s really hard to fathom.

Not that I will ever have to worry about that though, because they are far too smart to pull that kind of stunt, and they rarely go outside. This is good, because that means that most of the things I expected to die from as a young man are off the table, and there’s a way less chance of them developing harmful sunspots.

I can’t say I’m proud of all of the things that I’ve done, but I can say I’ve never intentionally hurt anyone,

Birdman

Aug 16

What The Fuck Is Wrong With People?

mindofbirdman

Check out this very short news story and get back to me.

You back? Okay, now tell me exactly what our world is coming to. I’m quite curious.

THEY HAD THEIR MONEY STOLEN AFTER THEY HAD BEEN HIT BY A CAR!

From the CBC.ca version of the story. Try clicking it. I’m trying something new.

Really? The one guy gets caught and charged with theft. Yep, just a theft charge. I guess they don’t have a charge for being a deplorable human being. They should.

I suppose that if they did, three quarters of our government would be in various stages of our penal system. Crooked fucks.

Could you imagine seeing someone hurt and bloody in the street, but the only thing you think about is stealing the money that they’ve dropped? I sure hope you can’t, because that’s disgusting.

As I was sitting here thinking that these people need to be hit in the face with a tack hammer, I started to question what is wrong with our society when these things happen within a year, let alone a week of each other. Then I wonder how bad these people’s lives must be to get to the point that a bit of money is worth more than a person’s well being.

Is it our fault that people are stooping this low?

Are we teaching this sort of indifference to our children? We might be. We might be doing it and we don’t even realise it.

“Don’t look at that man. He’s dirty.”

He’s not as dirty as Margot Kidder circa 1996, but pretty close.

“Stay out of that fight, it’s none of your business.”

Even bear’s will go for a nut punch when they have a chance.

A month ago I had taken the girls to Vanilla Thunder’s house, because I needed to talk to him for a bit. They opted to stay in the van and play on their ipods. Fair enough; there were only gross boys in the house.

After we were gone, there was a girl walking down the street. The girls commented that she was the girl that went by them crying earlier.

“Why was she crying?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” Was the reply from the back seat.

“Didn’t you ask if she was okay?”

“No. We don’t even know her.”

I might have mumbled something like “Well, you should still help people.”, and left it at that, but it was only because I didn’t know what I was supposed to tell them.

That they should start talking to strangers when the person seems distressed?

How should they know who to trust? Hell, I can barely tell anymore. I know that if I saw a kid crying in the street, I’d ask if they were okay, but I’m a grown (if not fully) man. I can discern what to do based on what the kid tells me.

Sure, it may be that they’re crying because their dad took away their laptop until they finished the dishes, but who knows? It also might be that some kids just beat them up and stole the money that they got from their nana.

I don’t know, but if they need help, I’m going to help them.

I just can’t explain that to the girls. Yet.

So maybe we are teaching them that it’s okay to disregard people that we don’t know when they are in trouble. I don’t know. If we are, I hope we are doing it out of concern for our children’s safety, and not because we think that they shouldn’t care about strangers, because they should. They need to have compassion and empathy, as well as caution and vigilance to keep themselves safe. We should always be guiding them to be better people and to aid people who need it.

Sure, we might be teaching our children that they needn’t concern themselves with the plight of others, but do you know what we aren’t teaching them?

To fucking rob people when they’ve been hit by a car.

Or even just to rob people, period.

No, that’s something that you must learn on your own, because I’ve known a lot of parents over the years, and not one of them told their kids that robbing people in a time of need was okay. If they did, I’d like to know about it, so I can tack hammer the shit out of their face.

Just in case you were thinking a tack hammer wouldn't hurt.

Just in case you were thinking a tack hammer wouldn’t hurt.

One day it could be us that’s lying in the street with our wits and belongings strewn about the intersection. What would you want to happen in that situation?

Just think about it, then talk to your kids. Tell them what to do if they see some poor bastard get run down in the street. Tell them that no matter what they decide to do, to make sure that they don’t fucking steal the person’s shit. While you’re teaching them things, watch this video with them.

I saw this the other day and it really got me thinking. Get your kids social media networks locked down. There’s no need for them to have anything public. This can happen anywhere, at any time, so put down whatever you’re doing tonight and talk to your children. Talk to them about safety and doing the right thing when it counts. When they grow up, they might thank you for it. If you’re lucky.

Voices are calling from inside my head, I can hear them, I can hear them,

Birdman