Aging and Changing


by Roxanne Tellier

Teenaged me wasn’t very smart.  “Hope I die before I get old.”Never trust anyone over 30.” I’d not yet heard of the 27 Club, but if I had, I might have aspired to joining it, thus avoiding becoming untrustworthy.   

I was an idiot, as we all are when we are young, dumb, and believe we are the first creatures to experience the banquet of life. I was certain that no one had ever understood fashion, been in love, or known the glories of sex, before my existence.

Yet, by 30 I was having the time of my life! When I think about how much I’ve learned, and how much I’ve accomplished since the days of my ignorant youth, I am so very glad that I survived long enough to find out how very wrong I was about just about everything I thought I knew when I was legit dumber than a box of rocks.  

The fifties and sixties were very different times from present day. Older people got older faster – my grandmother seemed much older than her years when she was in her mid 50s, and bowed down by grief and loss. Older women were expected to be very fragile, and older men were best left to their spooky lairs. (Come to think of it, why did I live amongst all these very odd people?)

But in reality, the seniors of the 50s and 60s were often true survivors. They had lived through the Spanish Flu, two world wars and a bunch of smaller skirmishes, and the Great Depression. They’d seen the world change from being largely agricultural to a more technological economy, might themselves have been child labourers, had seen the onset of unions and labour laws, and had had to change how they worked right along with it. They’d paid some heavy dues, and it showed, especially in their health.

Today’s seniors, on the other hand, are very different. We’ve had a lot of advantages, and few of us were involved in any wars except peripherally. In Canada, we’ve had access to pretty good health care across the board since 1984, when the Canada Health Act was passed. In the heady days when every halfway decent job came with ‘benefits,’ we could count on our teeth being cared for, and often even other small mercies were covered, like massages and rehab.   

Many of us segued from mullets to middleclass, and worked decent jobs with the possibility of retiring with a little financial cushion to enjoy in our ‘golden years.’ And many, many of us bought houses, which exploded in value over the decades, and provided us with either a roof over our heads, or a nice nest egg, post-sale.

Whether we invested wisely or not, we are still guaranteed a small pension on which we can live, if not like kings, then not like paupers either. Before 1965, that didn’t exist. The Canada Pension Plan was passed to replace the original old age pensions for those who lacked pension plans from their pre-retirement days. Older, single, women often suffered the most on those plans, since they generally were paid significantly less than men during their prime working years. While I believe there needs to be a rethinking of how the Plan is currently administered, I am aware of how many are blessed to have this financial security in their lives.

As a rule, boomers have much better educations than their parents had. My parents both left school around the 8th or 9th grade, to help support their families.

Beyond the benefits of having more education, money, and security than our grandparents could have dreamt of, boomers were also a generation that could let their minds fly free in dreams of a progressive future. In the late 50s, the sci fi magazines and even the kiddie cartoons promised us a future in the stars. Flying cars! Robot maids!

Radical ideas were being approved at government levels, and marvels like underground trains, the wonders of Expo 67 and it’s manmade islands, McLuhan’s Geodesic Dome, and Ontario Place rose around us, in a brave new world.

The world, including what we could watch on our new tv sets, themselves a huge jump from the world of radio, went from black and white to colour, almost overnight.

Our world got much smaller, even as we got bigger. Our trips overseas went from being week long journeys on steamers, to eight-hour plane rides, to a zippy 2 hours, 53 minute jaunt, New York to London, via the Concorde.

Our reach got longer, as we began to embrace the foods, customs, and musics of far away places.

So much progress, of unimaginable proportions, happened between 1940 and 1980. There’s a meme going around that says, “2020 is now as far from 1980 as 1980 was from 1940″ and I just can’t stop thinking about that. I mean, the 60s made the 40’s unthinkable. Just a few decades later, the North American world we lived in was virtually unrecognizable.

(What happened from the 80s to today, I cannot explain. We seem to have entered a  cultural void reeking of political correctness that prevents forward movement. I’m hoping we’ll eventually emerge from this costly stasis.)    

While there are stories of sadness, despair and deprivation from those who lived then, as there are in nearly every other time in history, I would still love to be able to spend a few days back then, when we all seemed to be younger, fitter, healthier and sexier. Those were good times for most of us, on many levels.

Nevertheless, life can only be lived forward; looking back might occasionally be pleasant, but living in the past would impoverish my present.

If you have the luxury of aging, there is an opportunity for mental and emotional growth. Personalities don’t really change with the years, but our traits tend to become more pronounced and entrenched. If you were a miserable middle-aged person, you may not ever be happy. But assuming no drastic and/or damaging mental or physical changes come along, you’ll really be pretty much the same person you always were, only more so.   

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks; studies have shown that older people tend to be more responsible overall, more empathic, and more caring of their work and the people around them. Those prone to social fears tend to become less willing to socialize, but more engaged in others when they choose to do so. Quality over quantity becomes the rule.

In some cases, getting older means getting better. Most research shows that as people get older, they are not more agreeable — they just don’t care as much what others think. We develop a higher sense of personal identity as we age, a better understanding of who we are, and what we stand for.

Our personalities are always changing, right along with the calendar, but the change is very subtle, and unlikely to be noticed in the short term. Our reactions to emotional situations tend to become calmer over the years, as we develop self-confidence, leadership abilities, and social sensitivity.

The internet and social media have had a lot of impact on those who are easily persuaded by those they admire. Especially politically, sadly. But there’s also a real positive aspect to social media, when it’s used to connect with friends and loved ones, allowing those that have less physical interaction with others to become engaged in constructive activities and self education. The Internet – it giveth and it taketh away.

Getting older is not for sissies. There’s a lot of entropy involved, for one thing, and most of us swear that we’d have taken better care of our teeth and backs, had we known we were going to have to use them for so long.

But aging is a luxury not all will enjoy. Aging gracefully means accepting your age, living your best life, and hopefully, having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. It means loving yourself enough to be kind to your body and mind, in hopes of having many enjoyable years to spend with family and friends.

Aging well means keeping your mind sharp, and your attitude positive. It’s time to do the things that bring you joy, and to spend time with people of like minds. Mindfulness, and living in the moment by focusing on the present has many proven health benefits that will lower stress and increase immune functions.

For myself, I hope to continue being creative, and to never stop learning. The world is full of wonders, if we are open to seeing them.

Because, as they say, getting older is inevitable. But aging poorly is optional.

What Do You Miss the Most?


by Roxanne Tellier

A couple of weeks into the start of the COVID pandemic, I asked my husband if he’d have done anything differently before we entered lockdown, now that we had a little experience with this way of life. We kicked around a few thoughts, but it all being so new, he couldn’t really think of much he could have done to prepare.

We’re pretty low maintenance. We’re retired, have a very small place stuffed with the goods of a lifetime of (my) conspicuous consumption, and really don’t need much to get by. But need is not want, and want is what drives our capitalistic society, which we are all a part of, whether we want to be or not. 

The pandemic made me realize that what I missed most about my pre-COVID life was the ability to do the things I had taken for granted – the ability to move through my city freely, meet with friends and family when I wished, stop for a coffee or lunch break without having to check that the location was open, and shopping leisurely without worrying about having to line up for entry first.

Oh, and to find an open public washroom when nature called. That turned out to be one of the little amenities most of us had never had to consider in the past.

I’ve lived in Canada all of my life, and I’ve seen things come and go, as times and society changes. I remember ashtrays affixed to supermarket carts, and when you only had to look up and around to find a clock attached to a wall, or a building, ticking away the hours of our lives. But for all the changes, both good and bad, that I’ve seen, what I’ve never seen is a curtailing of the basic things that keep Canada in the top or near top of “Best Places to Live” in the world.

We take our freedoms and rights for granted, rarely acknowledging how much work has gone into making Canada the free country others envy. Our ancestors mostly chose to leave the evils of their places of birth behind, and instead, to work together to create the society we enjoy today. Decade by decade, election by election, those who came before us made the health and well-being of citizens a priority, and they did it with the politeness that Canadians have always been famous for. 

What is the difference Why is Canada considered a Cultural Mosaic and not a Melting Pot Why is this important to our country’s population

We became a nation of shopkeepers, not a company of merchants. We were the vertical mosaic of different ethnic, language, regional and religious groupings, rather than the melting pot of America, where immigrants are expected to adopt and follow the American way, however it is currently defined. We retained our cultures and beliefs, and in a crisis, Canadians pulled together.

After one year of a global pandemic, the veneer of that civility is wearing thin. Oh sure, we appreciated those who sacrificed to keep us going, in the beginning, but as the months wore on, and as the information meted out to us morphed and changed as new knowledge about the virus was obtained, a lot of us started to show our fangs.

The constraints put upon us, to stay inside, wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, and get the vaccine when it is available, those strictures that once would have been the only responsible adult choice, have become just too ‘demanding’ for many of us to bear.

After a little more than a year of living under Covid, important lessons have been learned by some countries, and have been completely ignored in others.

A successful response to Covid-19 turned out to depend on more than a country’s wealth, scientific prowess and history of public health successes. The U.S. enjoys all of these advantages but mounted one of the worst responses to the pandemic: 1 in every 990 Americans has died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began. Bad politics, quite simply, can trump good public health.

Other developed countries that did well initially, such as Canada and some European nations, have faltered during the second or third surge of infections, because their governments and people grew tired of implementing effective strategies. In many Asian countries, it has long been common for people to wear masks when feeling ill, so they adopted masks early and widely. “ 

The Wall Street Journal, January 2021  

Taiwan profited from early action, and the provision of intensive financial support to the ill, and to contact tracing, which kept Taiwan to less than 800 cases by the end of 2020.

American Samoa never saw a single case or death from the virus, due to the territory calling a complete halt to all incoming passenger flights. While the 55,000 inhabitants have been isolated from the rest of the world, they have not had to implement any sort of closures, distancing, testing, or strain on their health care.  

New Zealand crushed the curve early, first, by being an island better able to enforce travel bans, and secondly, by an aggressive pandemic influenza plan that began in February of 2020. Implementing a country wide lockdown in late March of 2020 essentially eliminated the virus entirely. By June, New Zealand was pandemic free, with only a few cases coming from international travelers, who were kept in quarantine for two weeks post-arrival. Jacinda Arden, the NZ Prime Minister, must be congratulated for her use of clear communication that worked to increase her people’s willingness to cooperate for the betterment of the nation.

Finland, South Africa, and Germany fared well by relying on clear, concise communication, that allowed people to understand their risks, and shoved aside any acceptance of the concept of ‘fake news’ that would confuse their people. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for her citizens to have “patience, discipline and solidarity,” the three essentials to an effective pandemic response.  

“The European Dream” prize winning photo … Andrei Stenin

Many other countries, like Brazil, Moldova, India, Czechia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, have suffered far worse, with thousands of deaths, all while suffering with little modern conveniences or health care to give any comfort.  

In Canada, a very large segment of Canadians, a very large and VOCAL segment, did not take much of a financial hit. Those who had a decent job, with benefits, were generally in position to simply move their office into their home, thru the miracle of the internet and ZOOM. In fact, that group is said to have accrued quite a lot of extra money they didn’t expect to have, due to the lack of restaurants to visit, vacations allowed to be taken, and a focus on shopping by mail, rather than in person.

Scotiabank polled over 1,500 Canadians to learn more about their saving and spending habits since the pandemic began and found that one in four Canadians (25%) have been able to save more because of reduced spending in other areas of their lives. Canadians who are saving more say they are spending less on: eating out (75%), entertainment (81%), clothing and apparel (58%), and commuting costs (41%).  Also, more than a third (37%) who are putting more money aside have made saving a priority since COVID-19.” 

(Scotiabank Newsletter, November 2020)

For the first time in 50 years, I stopped spending about $50 every four weeks to get my hair coloured, and discovered that my ‘real’ hair colour made me look like a cross between a Shih Tzu and Blanche from Golden Girls.  

Lots of other people – those whom we call ‘essential’ but pay as if they aren’t – were the human tinder we threw on COVID’s fire. In March of 2020, people all over the world were urged to ‘make some noise’ to honour healthcare workers, by going onto our porches or balconies, or throwing open our windows to cheer, applaud, and bang pots. That lasted a few months, but as time wore on, I guess we just decided we didn’t really care how many of those in the healthcare field were exhausted or dying from having to care for hundreds, then thousands, and eventually, millions, of sick people.

Hazard pay” for those low on the totem pole, but highly likely to become infected, was discontinued by the fall. We stopped being grateful for those minimum wage earners who staffed the groceries, pharmacies, and Big Box stores, and started demanding that they serve us as though we were management, and they were grovelling for a raise in salary.

We cared about the seniors and sick who were dying by the hundreds, until it meant that the day when we had planned to get a haircut was pushed forward, again and again, until many of us just took the clippers to our manes and had at it, because, really, who would see it when you hadn’t anywhere you were allowed to go?

The herd immunity that initially shocked people by it’s callous cruelty, started to sound good to those who didn’t care how many had to die to get there, as long as it wasn’t themselves, and it meant that they could get out to see a band or a sports match. 

For a very short time, some businesses cared about those who were chafing under the pressure, those who made their living doing jobs that barely covered their needs during normal times, now having their hours drastically cut, while still being ineligible for supplements like CERB.

Ontario Hydro lowered their rates, but decided, in the fall, that they’d done enough to help, and that profits over people were more important.

““Last fall, our government introduced customer choice for all Ontario customers; we encourage customers who continue to work from home who are still paying time-of-use electricity rates to consider switching to the tiered rate option, offering a flat rate at all hours of the day,” the spokesperson from the Ministry of Health told Daily Hive. 

They added that customers who are unable to pay their electricity bills due to COVID-19 can apply to the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) through their local utility. We have recently expanded eligibility for the CEAP program and residential customers can now receive up to $750 in direct electricity-bill relief.” 

The Daily Hive

Rents and mortgage rates, controlled provincially, have been entangled in regulations that have left many wondering if that roof over their head would be there in the near future, and at what cost. Banks upped their rates, eagerly collecting all those one-dollar-a-transaction fees from those being asked to make their purchases with bank debit cards rather than cash.

As the new year dawned, many companies, large and small, raised their prices and rates to reflect that they’d suffered financial losses in 2020, while ignoring the corollary, that their users and buyers had suffered just as much, if not more, in a turbulent economy.

This week, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford added even more severe restrictions on Ontarians, some of which make little sense, from the standpoint of those in the medical field already coping with a flood of sick patients. Social scientists and medical professionals have called his latest declarations “an abandonment of science and common sense,” and warn that we will see “a completely foreseeable and preventable tragedy play out in this province.” 

Like a bad parent, unable to control a wayward child, Ford’s reliance on the ‘grounding’ of citizens is backfiring. Continually backing people into a corner only works for so long, before even the meekest amongst us will come out fighting.

Tippy toeing around the necessity for masking, and waiving fines for the scofflaws not only not masking, but organizing large super spreader events, has made even the most compliant of good citizens show their teeth.

And here’s the problem – we don’t have any answers, any other options. All the things we shoulda coulda done from the onset, including school, business, and airport closings, were off the table from the start in an attempt to appease Big Business, and keep the economy chugging along. 13 months in, the virus has dug deep into the soft under belly of its victims, and thrown off new, even more contagious and dangerous variants. Now, all we can do is hold on tight til the end of the ride.

At this point, there’s little we can do to stop this third wave beyond shutting down non-essential businesses and services, enforcing the necessary health mandates of masking and distancing, and getting ourselves vaccinated as soon as possible.

But I’m growing concerned that our leaders are oblivious to the roiling anger simmering underneath our lip service to containment that prioritized business over people, and the lack of policing of those who openly and publicly advocate and display civil disobedience that may prevent our country from ever completely eradicating this plague.

That, along with the pandemic fatigue that has left so many in pursuit of unrequited self-determination, and the sister pandemic of selfishness, may well be the death of many more of us.

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that what COVID stole from me, what I miss more than anything else, is the belief that, in a crisis, Canadians would always pull together for the good of their country, and of their fellow Canadians. That’s something that I never thought I’d have to question. But it seems it only took a year of belt-tightening and restrictions to bring out the worst in too many of us.

Talking Points and Party Lines


by Roxanne Tellier

During the trump years, it was a staple of reporting; when asked for their opinion on something the Administration had done, all the top Republican Senators either brushed off reporters with a breezy, “hadn’t heard anything about that yet,”  or stopped just long enough to run whatever party line Mitch McConnell had broadcast to them earlier that day, into the microphone.

It was so common that comedy shows often ran clips of the beleaguered Senators, or of Conservative media talking heads, mouthing in lock stop whatever nonsense they’d been fed.

Fr’instance, remember the parroting of McConnell lies in 2016, when Senate Republicans said that the seat vacated by Justice Scalia’s death should not be filled in an election year, and refused to hold hearings to consider Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland? McConnell argued that the Senate had not confirmed a Supreme Court nominee by an opposing party’s President to fill a vacancy that arose in an election year since 1888. Of course, it was nonsense.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President,” McConnell said in 2016.

And at a Judiciary Committee meeting in March 2016, from Lindsey Graham

“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination, and you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right. We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year, at least of a lame-duck eight-year term, I would say it’s going to be a four-year term, that you’re not going to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court based on what we’re doing here today. That’s going to be the new rule.”

In 2020, Senate Democrats were outraged at the GOP, charging them with hypocrisy, when Trump and McConnell blithely chose to shove through a Supreme Court justice to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Ginsburg on September 18, 2020, mere weeks before the presidential election. 

“I therefore think it is important that we proceed expeditiously to process any nomination made by President Trump to fill this vacancy. I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same,” Graham said, with a perfectly straight face.

Trump’s “Big Lie,” accepted and repeated ad nauseum, by his supporters, and conservative social media, is another example of how blithely mindless people can become, as they parrot the words that contain the seeds of their society’s destruction.

Trump’s Big Lie … A Lincoln Project video

Party lines. Talking points. All political parties do it, in an effort to present a position of solidarity within their ranks. There are scripts written for the rank-and-file members to follow, if they are asked for their opinions. And their answers shape public opinion, especially within the ranks of those who believe their leaders are usually right in their decisions.

There’s a modicum of laziness, and of a lack of time or interest, in that approach. Though, I’ll admit, as someone not gainfully employed, I have a lot of time in which to fall down the Internet rabbit hole, ferreting out the details behind the party line.

When I hear about something that has happened that will affect other humans, I have an immediate gut reaction. I then process the new information by digging deeper into the issue; reading opinions, both pro and con, on the subject; and finally coming to a conclusion with which both my mind and heart can feel comfortable assuming. Even then, however, I retain the right to change my mind, should I receive newer, additional information that is pertinent to the issue.

But that’s not how everyone deals with the day’s data. Most people have a lot to do in the day, at work, with their families, getting through their own personal issues, and simply have neither the time nor the inclination to care.  

Which is where the ‘party lines’ come into play. It’s not just those in Parliament or on Capitol Hill (or the Kremlin, or Westminster) who lean on those talking points, it’s a lot of people who will eventually be charged with electing or re-electing the people who will be following those lines and points while in office, shaping the country.

The trouble with relying on talking points and party lines, rather than thinking for oneself, is that lazy judgments can have a huge impact on societies.

Take the rhetoric that I’m hearing from many whom I thought were less gullible, on the subject of Georgia’s new voter suppression laws. For two days, Morning Joe Scarborough whitesplained and whatabouted that these laws were actually GOOD for voters, even as his guests, people of colour and women who would be aversely impacted by these changes, tried nervously to explain to him why his information was faulty.  (birx reacts to trump.jpg)

Seriously, it was like watching Dr Birx dealing with trump assuming she’d be all in on injecting bleach into oneself to prevent COVID. Deer in the headlights time.

Leaning heavily on the unfairness of major Georgia corporations, like Coca Cola and Delta Air Lines, condemning the new laws, as well as the decision of MLB to move the annual All Star Game, he inadvertently quoted Republican talking points (new laws make Georgia voting safer than that of New York) falsely claiming that these laws would actually make voting easier. He was wrong, but even after being schooled by those who had the correct information, he turned a deaf ear to their words.

A similar thing happened on Bill Maher’s Real Time on Friday, when Heather McGhee and Reihan Salam discussed the restrictive new voting laws in Georgia. Mr Salam is a conservative American political commentator, but in this case, he was reduced to simply mouthing the party lines, and being schooled on the truth, live and in colour. 

Something similar is going on right now with the increasing likelihood of international “Vaccine Passports.” Already several countries have started to lift lockdown restrictions for people who can show vaccine papers that prove they have been vaccinated.

There is a desire for opening up entertainment venues and travel after a year of isolation, but liability laws make owners of those venues nervous about allowing the non-vaccinated to enter. This isn’t about dictating to consumers, it’s about Free Enterprise doing what they must to turn a profit, and it’s as legal as demanding that your customers wear shoes and shirts to receive service.

In countries with a universal health care program, a reputable record of vaccination is fairly easy to produce; the vaccines are under the auspices of each province’s health care registry.

The same cannot be said for the United States, and this has created a bit of a conundrum. If there is no central processing point to be had by the government, then it leaves a hole that will be filled by …  Big Business.

And if you thought you mistrusted the government, just imagine how sorry you’ll be if all of your personal and private health care information is put under the auspices of some massive corporation that has no need to worry about re-election at some point in the future. Be very afraid.

Enter talking points and party lines. The Republicans down south are already working themselves into another ‘rights’ lather, at the very idea of their country becoming a ‘papers please’ nation.

And that’s pretty rich, coming from the party that wrapped America in incredibly restrictive security measures, post 9/11, 2001, which have still not been rescinded, nearly twenty years later. Ah, but that was their own party, demanding that everyone show a passport, carry their shampoo in a one-ounce bottle, and remove their shoes to prove they didn’t have a shoe bomb hiding in there. So that made it okay.

There are some genuine concerns over these passports, which are essentially the same sort of vaccination documents that travellers to certain countries have had to produce for safe travel for decades.  

“People are trying to circumvent that (not being allowed entry into venues) by creating false documents, essentially putting the lives of others at risk,” Beenu Arora, founder of cyber intelligence firm Cyble, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an online interview.

Global news reported that “Fake COVID-19 vaccine passports are being sold online for “peanuts” in a fast-growing scam that has alarmed authorities as countries bet on the documents to revive travel and their economies, cyber security experts said.”

This is why we can’t have nice things.

“Last week, 45 attorney generals from the United States signed a letter calling on the heads of Twitter, eBay and Shopify to take immediate action to prevent their platforms from being used to sell fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine cards.

“The false and deceptive marketing and sales of fake COVID vaccine cards threatens the health of our communities, slows progress in getting our residents protected from the virus, and are a violation of the laws of many states,” it read.“ 

Global News Ca

There will always be a breed of selfish, greedy, psychopaths that delight in putting a stick in the spokes in the wheels of civilization. The pandemic seems to have brought many more out from under the rocks where they usually reside.

Party lines. Talking points. These are a sop for the lazy minded, since it prevents real thought and opinion from forming, based on further investigation of whatever it is a government wants to ‘sell’ to its people.

The repetition of these concepts is a form of gaslighting, a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth. The “illusory truth effect” is something that politicians and markets have been doing for decades, knowingly manipulating your mind by manipulating your cognitive bias.

Trump and his administration were masters of this kind of manipulation, pummeling lies and illogic into people’s minds non-stop before, during, and after his term in office. He’s still doing it now, with his “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him by Biden. He can’t seem to stop doing it, and a lot of people can’t seem to stop believing him.

“Repetition makes things seem more plausible. And the effect is likely more powerful when people are tired or distracted by other information.”  Lynn Hasher, a psychologist at the University of Toronto whose research team first noticed the effect in the 1970s.  

It’s not a new concept. Adolf Hitler knew of what he spoke when he wrote, “Slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea,” in Mein Kampf.  

Repetition is a staple of political propaganda. It sells fake news. It sells toothpaste. It drums in concepts that most often are so outlandish that we can’t believe we’re repeating them. And yet, we wondered where the yellow went, when we brushed our teeth with Pepsodent.

We’re slowly coming out of a terrible, traumatic, time, and we’re all a little fragile. Still, it’s not the time to be spoonfed platitudes. What we need now are not party lines and talking points, but intelligent, common sensical directives on how to get back safely into our lives and world, ensuring that the rights of everyone are considered and protected.

Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt


by Roxanne Tellier

People are utterly fascinating, if you have the luxury of standing back and simply observing the way they think. Mesmerising, but oftentimes, head-shakingly and misguidedly, arrogant. Best to avoid them in groups.

Take this week’s Supreme Court decision on carbon taxes; in his decision, Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote that “Climate change is real. It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, and it poses a grave threat to humanity’s future.” 

He added,”The evidence clearly shows that establishing minimum national standards of GHG price stringency to reduce GHG emissions is of concern for Canada as a whole. This matter is critical to our response to an existential threat to human life.” 

Supreme Court or Santas in training? Your mileage may vary.

Under the Constitution’s “peace, order and good government” clause, aka, POGG the federal government has the authority to enact laws to deal with issues that concern the entire country.

Despite complaints from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, who argued that natural resources are the provinces’ jurisdictions, he ruled that it’s constitutionally permissible for the Feds to impose minimum pricing standards, based on the reality of climate change crossing provincial boundaries, and of being so great a threat that it demands a co-ordinated national approach. 

(I’m left wondering if he couldn’t have appended, “just like controlling this pandemic should be.” But that didn’t happen.)

Three of the Court’s Justices dissented, but not on the subject of climate change – that is simply accepted as fact. Rather, their concern was that the decision opened the door to further matters moving out from under provincial control, and into federalist control. In other words, the destruction of the planet by willful, but corporately profitable abuse, was, to their minds, of lesser concern than the provinces being allowed to maintain an exploitative control of power.

Flippin’ pancakes, hangin’ with the guys …

Minutes after his decision, the backlash began, not just from the provincial premiers who had launched the appeal, but from climate change deniers across the land. Although 97% of scientists believe that climate change is real and human-caused, one of our friends, who is on the side of the 3% who don’t, expressed outrage at the Court’s acceptance of human activities being responsible for the changes we’re seeing in our climate. He said he could produce at least ten articles from ‘learned professionals’ that disproved that fact. Hey – tell it to the Judge.

Well, tell it to the CANADIAN Supreme Court judges. In the States, newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett isn’t sold – she called climate change ‘politically controversial,’ at her confirmation hearing. She then added, “You know, I’m certainly not a scientist. I’ve read things about climate change. I would not say I have firm views on it.”   

In 2020, The majority of Canadians believe in climate change, but still debate how much of the damage has been created by humans.73 percent of Americans say that global warming is happening, and 62 percent of Americans accept that it is human caused.  

A lot of the blame for scepticism about the role humans play in environmental damage comes from people listening to politicians and thought leaders who downplay or outright deny eco-friendly issues. In 2019, after the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, Maxime Bernier, expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, Elections Canada warned that discussing climate change during the upcoming federal election could be deemed partisan activity.

And of course, in the U.S. – trump. He believed climate change was a “Chinese hoax” and pulled the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement. Getting America back in to it was literally one of the first things Biden did post inauguration.

Sure, Bernier and trump are not exactly MENSA members, but beyond that, it’s best to ‘follow the money, honey,’ because politicians tend to take environmental stances based on what the big donors to the party want done. In both Canada and the U.S., the corporations that most depend on producing carbon pollution for their profits never stop lobbying in their own interests. Damn the environment – full speed ahead!

Horrific natural events that were once limited to once a century frequency, are now yearly events. Whether it’s fires, flooding, or drought, the reality and impact of climate change cannot be denied if you’re impacted by the consequences.  

If the current situation at the U.S. southern border appears to be serious now, get ready for things to get a lot worse – and soon.

According to The Brookings Blum Roundtable of 2020, “the world is looking towards a future where these “unprecedented” storms are commonplace. This global challenge has and will continue to create a multitude of critical issues that the international community must confront, including:

Large-scale human migration due to resource scarcity, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and other factors, particularly in the developing countries in the earth’s low latitudinal band

Intensifying intra- and inter-state competition for food, water, and other resources, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa

Increased frequency and severity of disease outbreaks

Increased U.S. border stress due to the severe effects of climate change in parts of Central America

Climate change deniers will find the waters closing over their heads, like it or not, and whether they believe in it or not.  And if they’re Canadian, they might want to heed a recent scientific report from Environment and Climate Change Canada that reported that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and that this warming is “effectively irreversible.”   (climate change deniers underwater.jpg)

The only hope left for deniers is to print out their ‘evidence’ and stand on it. Maybe that will keep their heads above water for a little longer.

After the last decade of arguing with those who will gladly buy what conmen are selling, there are still times when I reel at how gullible even ‘book smart’ people can be at times.

Take the latest ‘former guy’ trump appearance on FOX on Thursday night. Trump had an interesting revision of the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Despite every channel, including FOX, having aired live, unedited footage on that day, trump assured Laura Ingraham that his people posed ‘zero threat,’ even as he basically admitted to having sent them there, all hyped up from his speech earlier in the day. 

“Right from the start, it was zero threat,” he said. “Look, they went in — they shouldn’t have done it — some of them went in, and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know? They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in, and they walked out.”

140 injured police officers would beg to differ. One died after being assaulted, two others suicided days later, and yet another officer had an eye literally gouged out of his face. One officer suffered two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs after being beaten by flagpoles. Others suffered concussions, were punched, trampled, and sprayed with bear spray.

“I’ve talked to officers who have done two tours in Iraq who said this was scarier to them than their time in combat.”  Acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III

No, trump, and Sen. Ron Johnson. These people were not cuddly patriots. They were seditionist rioters, intent on mayhem, and possibly murder, who could be heard chanting death threats against Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several lawmakers as they rampaged. Had they been able to use the gallows they’d set up in the Mall to hang Pence, they’d have done so. And if they’d caught Ron Johnson instead, they’d likely have hung him in Pence’s place without a qualm. But whatever it takes for ol’ Johnson to sleep at night, I guess. 

“my life for you!”

Little lies and deceptions. Little twists in truth, the whispering of conspiracies about political enemies leading to bigger lies, and eventually the Big Lie, that simmers beneath Biden’s presidency.  America is on the brink of a Civil War, all because one man’s ego was unable to handle the loss of an election. Potential chaos is being catapulted forward by his cultist hordes who, like TrashCan Man in The Stand, whisper, ‘My life for you,’ as they torch their own families, jobs, and lives.

The Canadian Supreme Court’s decision on carbon taxes should be the definitive and final world on our country’s acceptance of the reality of mankind’s impact on the survival of this beautiful planet. Rightly or wrongly, that’s how democracy works; we appoint people who are deemed to be wise enough, and intelligent enough, to decide definitively what the country will stand for. Just as the information America received post-election should have put the stamp of respectability upon the Biden election win. But apparently there are still those who prefer their own interpretation of current events, no matter how skewed.

What scares me more than anything else about those that deny truth and reality, who refuse to take responsibility for the physical, emotional, or political future of their planet, is that I am just not capable of understanding that level of arrogant egoism. That kind of self-love is just so far beyond common narcissism, so mind-blowingly selfish and entitled, that it verges on an almost apocalyptic abuse of power. There is no defense.

When there are those that would condemn their own children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to the possibility of a planet dying by their own hands, or a future in which their children are stripped of all rights, simply to prevent their own inconvenience in the present, I fear that it will take something even more dire than a once in a century global pandemic to put humanity back on the right side of history.   

I’ll Take White Fragility for $300 Alex


by Roxanne Tellier

Earlier this month a meme starting going around that made a lot of people feel uncomfortable. The meme asked people to acknowledge that overcoming inherent bias, prejudice, and all the ‘isms’ was an ongoing thing, and that we are all ‘works in progress.’

I’m so tired of those that virtue signal, with various #NotAllWhatever hashtags. To hear these paragons of wounded nobility talk, they are the ‘exception that proves the rule,‘ because they’ve always treated women well, and never failed to give anyone of any creed or colour whom they’ve encountered, the same pure and unadulterated dignity, respect and opportunities as those that look just like them.

I rather think that anyone who COULD claim such innocence, is unlikely to ever do so.

As quickly as the meme travelled thru the internet webs, it just as quickly disappeared, which is an interesting commentary on how society is struggling with what those on the political right are calling ‘cancel culture.’ 

Times change. People change. All of this foofaraw over Pepe le Pew and six Dr Seuss books going out of print is an acknowledgment that what was acceptable in the past is now, upon reflection, not the sort of inherent prejudices we want our kids to accept with their juice and Goldfish crackers. The images that march from books and TV screens to parade across the blank slate of children’s minds form the basis of how they will think of the world when they are adults.

Being of French descent, Pepe’s presence in the cartoons we watched was a pleasant surprise. The kids programs available in the fifties were overall white and bland, so hearing someone who had an accent like my family’s was comforting. But upon reflection, while being included allowed me to feel part of a larger culture, the image of a scheming, lascivious, old lounge lizard who refused to take ‘No’ for an answer wasn’t really a positive symbol of what it meant to have a French heritage.

It’s not ‘inclusive’ if the only time you see your families in a drawing or story is when they are being portrayed in a negative or stereotypical fashion. Asians don’t have bright yellow skin; people of colour don’t belong in zoos with monkeys. But there was a time when it was acceptable to say and portray minorities in that fashion.

Inclusion is critical in making children feel safe and respected. It was only fairly recently that children of colour could easily find pretty dolls that reflected their skin tones. Although there had been some European doll companies that manufactured black dolls, most were caricatures based on the perception of those who might never see a person of colour in their entire life.

In the 1890s, Carl Bergner of Germany made a three-faced doll “with one face a crying Black child and the other two, happier white faces.” The National Negro Doll Company was founded in 1911 by American entrepreneur Richard Henry Body “after he tried to purchase dolls for his children but could find none that were not gross caricatures of African Americans.”

Prejudices, stereotypes, caricatures. With very few people of colour around me in my early years, I saw nothing wrong with having a Golliwog doll, and reading books like Little Black Sambo.

Mattel released “Christie,” the first Black Barbie, in 1969, but didn’t officially release an “African-American Barbie” or  “Latina Barbie,” until 1980.  

Fitting in, being accepted, looking and acting like everyone else, enjoying the same kind of foods – when I was growing up, minority children didn’t often get to feel automatically included, just as they were.

But times change, and people change, hopefully in a positive evolution. The discrimination of the past, the things that ‘everyone says’ or ‘everyone did’ may now look offensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you were a bigot when you said or did those things at the time. But it does if you continue to use terms that are cruel and offensive after society evolves and develops new language and terminology to reflect more inclusive views.

Much of the confusion over changes to our established culture is due to the Overton Window, also known as the window of discourse.  The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time.

“The Overton Window is a model for understanding how ideas in society change over time and influence politics. The core concept is that politicians are limited in what policy ideas they can support — they generally only pursue policies that are widely accepted throughout society as legitimate policy options. These policies lie inside the Overton Window. Other policy ideas exist, but politicians risk losing popular support if they champion these ideas. These policies lie outside the Overton Window.

But the Overton Window can both shift and expand, either increasing or shrinking the number of ideas politicians can support without unduly risking their electoral support. Sometimes politicians can move the Overton Window themselves by courageously endorsing a policy lying outside the window, but this is rare. More often, the window moves based on a much more complex and dynamic phenomenon, one that is not easily controlled from on high: the slow evolution of societal values and norms.” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, mackinac.org

As what is deemed acceptable changes in our society, we may find that views we held previously are no longer appropriate. This means we have to rethink our own attitudes, and question how we came to those conclusions in the first place. Explanations – not excuses – for why we thought the way we did, when we didn’t know what we know now.   

People are tribal, at heart. We want our children to do well, our family to succeed, our ‘team’ to win. In a world where there are nearly 8 billion souls looking to get thru the day, it’s just easier if you know who is on your side, when the chips are down, and we like our clues to be shorthand.

My team must be the ‘good’ team, while the other side is, in our minds, framed as the competitors, and an impediment to our team getting what we feel it deserves. By definition, they are the ‘bad’ team.

Tribalism is at the core of every prejudice and bias known to man. Couple that with our brain’s need to categorize all the information thrown at it, and you’ll see how prejudicial attitudes tend to harden as we get older – with more contact with people that we feel confirm our initial gut dislike of the ways of the ‘other,’ we build a wall that keeps ‘our kind’ in, and ‘their kind’ out.  

Have you ever heard someone rail against the actions of another person who was preventing them from getting what they desired? Rather than realize that everyone works their own agenda, the righteously outraged loser of the situation will tend to categorize their opponents acts as archetypal of all people who are of the same race/colour/creed. They’ll come up with ‘facts’ supporting their right to denigrate ALL people from different geographic regions/ people of colour/Muslims because they’ve been thwarted from something they want, by one ‘representative’ of the group

When I was a young woman, there was an explicit bias against women in the work force. Older women had it especially bad, as they were often deemed of least value, and paid accordingly.

Good women didn’t ‘work,’ we were told, even when we could see with our own eyes that women never stopped working, whether it was in the home, in the field, or at a job, or sometimes, in all three. In many societies, it was ‘women’s work’ that literally kept the family unit alive.

And since women were not making the rules, or dictating policies, women who worked, willingly or unwillingly, had a long, slow stretch of years in which to slowly become a valued part of the workforce – as long as they would work for less than a man.

Times change. People change. There are now slightly more women on the planet than men. New statistics project that the United States will become ‘minority white’ in 2045, but only by a tiny percentage, since whites will continue to comprise 49.7% of the population. But the majority 51.3% is split up amongst Hispanics (24.6%,) blacks (13.1%,) Asians (7.9%,) and multiracial populations (3.8%.)

In other words, even the minorities are likely to be jockeying for position, while the previous white majority is already seething at ‘only’ comprising .3 per cent points less than half. And that is still 24 years away.

It almost seems to prove that those who, through a miracle of birth, were born exactly to the specifications their country demanded, have no intention of ever being treated …

… the way they’ve treated those born without those same gifts.

                     xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A friend sent this link to me last week – lots of interesting ideas to mull over!

The Joy of Research


by Roxanne Tellier

Since the end of last year, I’ve been working on a mammoth project that I hope – fingers crossed! – to be ready to launch by the summer. Why is it taking so long, you ask? Why, because it is a multi-pronged, multi-media venture, and I want to get it right before anyone sees the finished product! 

I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty of my venture, but suffice it to say that I’ve really had fun working that three-year certificate that I took in technical writing and editing. It is standing me in very good stead, since having a firm grounding in research and how to explain things to people who want to learn about things, was the foundation of the course.

Writing courses, teaching people how to use technology or how to work with different media, is harder than you’d think. Most of us have taught someone how to do something; parents teach kids how to cook, make their beds, drive. Artists show students tips and techniques. Musicians have taught learners how to tune their instruments. And it’s great, when you’re one on one, and have a firm grounding in information that you want to pass on to a questing newbie, especially if they’re eager to learn.

But it can be a little more difficult if you’re trying to explain to someone how to use machinery, or how to understand computer code, or how to manipulate a complicated computer program. Especially difficult if you’re trying to explain something completely new and unknown, by writing down every single step necessary to get from A to Z, while bearing in mind that the tyro you’re training is quite likely to find some way to make a mistake that can potentially harm them, the machinery, or the program. That’s the essence of tech writing.

But the fun thing about this kind of writing, once you’ve become skilled at it, is that you can use it to explain how to do just about anything. If you can wrap your head around it, then you can potentially master a subject, and then pass on the knowledge by teaching someone else how to comprehend and utilize that information as well.

Learning how to learn

I’ve always had an ability to grasp the essence of how things work. I find it easy to learn how to do things that interest me. What I found difficult, prior to my course, was how to walk someone else through all the necessary steps. If you are a quick learner, you tend to glide over the tiny steps that are necessary to complete a project successfully. It’s the reason why so many memes (and columns!) have misspellings, bad grammar, or missing words – our brains charge ahead when we’re eagerly creating, and we see the end product, instead of the nitty gritty that makes up the whole.

Creation is one skill. Editing is another. It’s impossible to do both simultaneously, without sacrificing the niceties of one or the other.

What I’ve found the most interesting about this project, much of which I’ve researched on YouTube and on websites, is how open and giving enthusiastic amateurs can be about sharing information, tips and techniques. Granted, many of the people who are visible on video networks, or who have cobbled together a website that rises to the top of search engines, are people that are not just enthusiastic, and relatively proficient at what they do, but are savvy about self-promotion in the brave new world of the interwebs. I’m not saying that they’re all young and born writing computer code, I’m saying that those who are not, have had the good sense or good fortune to connect with people who can help them frame their work in a way that’s pleasing to people browsing the internet. 

As someone who just loves to lose themselves in research, the hardest thing for me is knowing when to stop. Like potato chips, it’s hard to eat just one! Each subject I chose to delve into is fascinating to me. I’m transfixed by those who are artistic and able to create beautiful things from next to nothing. And each time I find someone who takes a basic craft or tool and elevates the project to another level, it’s like Christmas for me. Such a gift they are giving to anyone interested in their métier!

Marketing product in today’s internet world is a complicated thing. While the gatekeepers of the past, those sentries who kept so many from getting product to market, are largely no longer at their posts, the flood of art and craft that flowed into the wide-open web spaces can be overwhelming in scope. Getting your product to the front of the line is nearly impossible. However, there are a few ways that may help in getting your work seen and/or heard by those interested in your particular niche.

Search Engine Optimizer

To create the skeleton of the project I’ve been working on, I began by internet searches. That led to websites, and videos showcasing a subject. While you can use an SEO (search engine optimizer) to parse the data that shows which sites and video links get the highest amount of hits, I looked for enthusiastic comments and subscriber figures to see which creators best made the casual or dedicated viewer excited and salivating for the next time their idol launched an email or video. 

I also spent a lot of time cruising the library data base to find books on the subjects that interested me. Some days I’d be ordering, and then picking up, 15 to 20 books at a time, only to quickly scan the tome, capture any images that inspired, and then return the book to the library, within a few days. Having access to the Toronto Public Library system, whether in person or virtually, is a boon to a researcher.

Once I had the framework for the books and PDFs I wanted to write, I began a deeper dive into branding. That led to another dozen books on creating interest on video sites, and of course, how to tie and cross-merchandise the information on multiple sites. (And don’t even get me started on merchandising! That’s another whole science unto itself!)

In the last few weeks, I’ve been deep diving into books on how to create and market product for the internet, which is where so many now reside. E-books, PDFs, audio books, websites, mailing lists, autoresponders, lead magnets – for me, I’d rather delay launch by getting all of my ducks in a row pre-show, then run aground from a lack of good marketing, losing potential fans and buyers after the fact.

It’s all been a wondrous deep dive into creativity, and my adventures down the rabbit hole would make Alice jealous. Every day I wake eager to learn more, and ready to tackle yet another program that will help me reach my goals. When you’re riding out a global pandemic, having something that keeps you interested without having to deal with other humans, is a very good thing indeed.

I’m nearing the end of the research, and getting ready to plunge into accessing some programs that I hope will increase my reach on the internet. And all of this comes BEFORE actually beginning the creative process of writing the books, which at this point, are merely outlines, copious notes, and chaptered layouts.

Computers and the internet handed us the keys to a universe of information. Everything you could ever want to know is just a few keystrokes away. It’s a cornucopia of delight to me. The least that I can do in return for these gifts is to try to help others to find the same pleasure in learning and creating that I enjoy.

Fingers crossed that I succeed, if only in some small way, in doing so.

The Great Reset


by Roxanne Tellier

I’m still marvelling at how much more relaxed the world has become since January 20th. Feels like a luxury, not being on high alert every minute of every day, and I’m loving it.

As the fog of negativity lifts, there’s time to look around and marvel at how much our lives have changed, and will be forever changed, by our experiences. There’s no discounting that the very framework of our lives has been reworked by the ravages of COVID-19. Nearly everyone has lost someone dear to them to the virus, and many who became ill with the disease may have healthcare issues impacting them for the rest of their lives.  

We’ve often felt scared and alone, dealing with our concerns. Studies have shown that feeling happy and enjoying life have been associated with longer lifespans, and a reduced incidence of serious illness. Our attitudes define how we treat ourselves and others. COVID-19 greatly impacted our quality of life, and shut a lot of the doors that allowed nearly everyone, regardless of mental or physical health, to seek out healthy encounters and to be part of the cultural mosaic.  

The isolation can literally kill us. While some of us are missing our coffees at Starbucks, or our lunches with friends, others are suffering alone in silence, contemplating their own mortality. I worry about those at both ends of the age spectrum, since the very young and the very old are often at the mercy of caretakers who are under great strain themselves.   

The times, they are a changing, and more than just our lives have been upheaved; our economy has taken a brutal beating. Many have not been able to work. Tens of thousands of stores have closed. Our major cities will be reshaped as the bone structure created by small business and entrepreneurs fractures due to the loss of investments and opportunity, and is replaced with franchises. Our hospitality industry has been decimated. People in the arts, or those who work in fields that support the arts, have been either unemployed, or underemployed, for nearly a year.     

And strangely, the majority of people that continue to work during this time, often against their own better judgment, our ‘essential workers’ who toil in menial jobs that allow the rest of us to continue in relative comfort, are some of the lowest paid workers in the country. Meanwhile, their bosses, some enjoying six and seven figure salaries and bonuses, haven’t left the house in 12 months, and never missed a single paycheck.

Is it time for The Great Reset? That term came from the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, held in June 2020.  They were originally more focused on initiating entrepreneurial solutions to handle the problems of climate change and achieve sustainable global development, but as the pandemic has dragged on, and dragged down global economy, the more imperative question has become how to move forward in sectors that have been devastated by the pandemic’s effects. 

“The Covid-19 crisis, and the political, economic and social disruptions it has caused, is fundamentally changing the traditional context for decision-making. The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems –from health and financial to energy and education – are more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for lives, livelihoods and the planet. Leaders find themselves at a historic crossroads, managing short-term pressures against medium- and long-term uncertainties.

As we enter a unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, this initiative will offer insights to help inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons. Drawing from the vision and vast expertise of the leaders engaged across the Forum’s communities, the Great Reset initiative has a set of dimensions to build a new social contract that honours the dignity of every human being.” (weforum.org/great-reset/)

This has a lot of people quite concerned, especially those with a vested interest in squashing the idea of a better, brighter, more sustainable future. Within 72 hours of the announcement, a petition to stop it gained 80,000 signatures. A lot of people are very much afraid of not having the status quo to kick around any more – even if that status wasn’t all that quo to begin with.

Those who rail against Big Government, Big Pharma, and the Big Corporations are certain that these ideas are being put into place to either take away people’s money, guns and freedom, or, even more bizarrely, some conspiracy theorists believe that this would signal the beginning of humanity’s enslavement to the Lizard People. (Hard to believe they’d be any worse than trump and his cultists)

So, what does the Great Reset propose we do? Is this the best way forward for the planet, and all of the people who inhabit it? And who are the people that want to design and control the implementation of the plan?

Those that deny that a global pandemic is a cause for alarm are the same cadre who were the climate change deniers of the last decade, who subscribe to the age-old idea that we should just keep on talking about inequality, climate change, and the pandemic, without ever actually doing anything about these problems.

The Great Reset has been championed by global celebrities, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, cellist Yo Yo Ma,  andmodel Lily Cole, leading some to believe that these idealists are more interested in their own wish lists of progressive ideas, including a return to an independent media, support for the arts, sustainable architecture and demilitarisation.   

But at the core of the Great Reset is the request that every recovery stimulus, fiscal and monetary, ensures an inclusion of Green conditions. The reasoning behind that thinking is that any money tossed at the economy will likely help, at least a little, but why not invest in the planet’s future, rather than simply patch up its current wounds?   

If there are to be economic recoveries, the key lies in joining the need to create jobs with the need of most countries to sink more dollars into infrastructure, education, and health care. Creating jobs to further those endeavours puts money into the hands of the workers, who in turn, spend that money on their community and country’s businesses, ultimately making the economy stronger. Everyone’s quality of life thus improves.

The key is ensuring that the jobs being created contribute to the long-term health of the planet, rather than the depletion of scarcening resources.

It’s not surprising that some of the wealthiest people fear losing their ability to plunder the planet, and  are calling this agenda, “another example of wealthy, powerful elites salving their consciences with faux efforts to help the masses, and in the process make themselves even wealthier and more powerful.” (Forbes.com)

In Canada, Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre described his idea of what he believes is Justin Trudeau’s approval of the plan.   

“Last week, the presumptive finance minister in Erin O’Toole‘s “government-in-waiting” warned that “global financial elites” are attempting to “re-engineer economies and societies” in order to “empower the elites at the expense of the people.” Canadians, he said, “must fight back against global elites” and “their power grab.” He invited those who share his concerns to sign a petition calling on the government to “protect our freedom” and “end plans to impose the ‘Great Reset’.”

That certainly does sound like a frightening scenario. But there are some holes in the plot.

The item that so alarmed the Conservative frontbencher was a clip that circulated online last week of the prime minister speaking at a United Nations conference in September. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Justin Trudeau told the conference. “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to re-imagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.”  (CBC.ca/politics/ Nov 27, 2020, Aaron Wherry, CBC News)

 Oh my yes! How very terrifying it would be to actually address such challenges! There are profits to be made, and profiteers to feed!

Those unable to contemplate change have seized upon a rallying cry attributed to Davos attendees. “You will own nothing, and you will be happy.” Were that the end of the quote, I might find it disturbing as well. But what it actually refers to are changes that are already upon us, and to come, based on actual changes to our needs and priorities. 

And the quote came from a series of predictions for what the world might look like in 2030, that was published in November 2016. It accurately noted that for many, especially in cities that ‘work’, there is no need to own a car, a house, or any appliances. All of these are rented, and you can leave them behind when you move on to another location. Products thus become services, not something to own, but to use and discard when their use is no longer necessary.

The other eight predictions include global carbon pricing, a lessening of U.S. dominance, a change in how we interact with health care providers, a move to a diet less reliant on meat, the testing of Western values, and the opening up of practical applications for space technology in order to move humans off Earth, and onto other planets. Much of this has indeed come to pass, just in the five years since the predictions were written.

(https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/11/8-predictions-for-the-world-in-2030/)

We often falsely believe that those who have become wealthy through commerce have society’s best interests at heart. But then again, we also used to believe that of our politicians, and certainly we can agree that that is no longer always true.

The Great Reset is merely a proposal; however, it seems more in keeping with the progressive direction that the planet needs to take, post pandemic, in order to ensure not just humanity’s survival, but the survival of our planet. We could do worse than listen to what is in the proposal. We already have.

Post Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder


by Roxanne Tellier

Eleven days post the Biden Inauguration, and I’m still on a high. It’s not about Joe Biden per se, nor even the wonder of the first black, South Asian-American female vice-president in history in the form of Kamala Harris. It’s not even about the days starting to get a little longer, with the sun coming up a little earlier every day.

No, it’s so much more than that.      

This high started when trump was unceremoniously and ignominiously booted off Twitter on January 8th, two days after the riot of January 6th.

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence…

Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.

However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement. “   

Twitter Inc.

It was astounding how quickly the temperature of social unrest dropped. Within hours, the silence was deafening. And oh, so very, very welcome, after more than four years of increasingly manic, psychotic, delusional and authoritarian tweets designed to condition his cult followers into demanding trump’s elevation to dictator of the nation.

Still, so many of us waited with held breath, unable to believe that the nation had actually escaped the hostage situation it had been held in since January 20th 2017.

Post Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a thing. For the last four years, America and those who watch her, have been gripped in the paw of a giant, insatiable ego of a man-child, whose gift of creating constant chaos prevented any agency, whistleblower, or potential traffic cop from stopping his reign of error and terror.

Every day was an exercise in a retreat from decades of progress in civil rights, and an assault on how best to suppress votes, allow nauseating police misconduct, defy hard won protections against discrimination against minorities, and to strip from citizens what was left of their health care and social safety net.  

We watched social and mass media, along with trump’s administration, and his devoted base, indulge in a shared psychosis, where the ability to perceive right from wrong became moot, and the only alternative to a trump defence was to confess to a castrating admission of being wrong.

Those who cried out for justice received none. There was no cavalry coming to save the day.            

And so, like the victims of domestic abusers, we happily anticipated the Inauguration and its beautiful and touching celebrations, while we also feared and dreaded what might occur, based on the wrath of trump’s delusional supporters.

That is actually what his followers believed, and still wish to happen, even as January changes to February, and March 4th approaches.

“Social media users have been sharing posts that make various claims related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, including that Martial Law and the Insurrection Act have been invoked; power has been transferred from outgoing President Trump to the military, not President Joe Biden; there have been mass arrests; Biden is not President; and Trump will come back to power on March 4th. There is no evidence to support any of these claims, linked to the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy theory.”

January 22, 2021, Reuters.com

Like hostage victims, like prisoners in war camps, like those who tremble under horrific domestic abuse, Americans have been made fearful and emotionally damaged by the abuse of trump’s followers.

Trumpism is a death cult. Trumpists are willing to die for him, be it by failure to protect themselves against the disease he proclaimed a ‘hoax,’ or in interactions with authorities. Trumpists are willing to kill, whether it be anyone on social media or in real life who disagrees with their contentions, or in storming the Capitol in order to hang Vice-President Pence for failing to block the vote certifying Biden’s electoral win, or, as in the case of one man’s fantasy, to “put a bullet in Nancy Pelosi’s noggin on live TV.”   

All to keep trump in power.   

The images we saw of the insurrectionists storming, sacking, defiling, and searching for elected representatives that they wanted to murder, were disturbing, to put it mildly. As the days go by, and we are privy to more information that confirms that the attack was, in fact, plotted and planned in advance, it’s only natural that Americans, and those that care about the nation and it’s people, are suffering from a PTSD similar to what any person who served in a war zone might experience. We are in recovery.

Under the circumstances, it shouldn’t be surprising that many people continue to look over their shoulders, unable to believe that the Trump Error is really over; we are in a collective mourning.

After four years of watching America’s democratic framework be worked over like Fury pummelled Wilder, it’s no surprise that many continue to feel unsafe and vulnerable. Trump’s behavior towards the American people looks very much like that of a domestic abuser. He was further abetted in his sadistic efforts by the people he chose to head up important cabinets controlling the nation’s emergency and safety nets. These machinations left no escape route for those most damaged by his decisions.

Even before the horrendous incompetence the trump admin showed in handling COVID-19, which has led to over 440,000 American deaths in less than one year, (and still counting), research was showing a large increase in emotional and mental health problems that were brought about, or exacerbated, by trump’s time in office.  

Contrary to the presidential oath of office, trump never cared about, or intended, to protect the safety, health or well -being of the nation he’d been elected to lead. Leading, in fact, was not why he’d sought out the position; it was always intended to simply raise the profile of the Trump brand.   

So the four years of trumpocracy somehow managed to encompass racism, misogyny, a very public embrace of white supremacy, an increase in domestic terrorism, a disastrous trade war that led to a flailing economy, and was topped off by, arguably, sabotage and willful negligence in the handling of the pandemic – a de facto crime against humanity – and an attempt to overthrow the votes of millions of black and brown Americans.

Donald Trump is the most successful bio-terrorist in human history. This is not an accident.”

John Gartner, Psychologist and former Johns Hopkins professor

From 2015, when trump began his run for the presidency, until January 8th, 2021, when Twitter finally silenced his nonstop IV drip of ugliness and bile, trump and his regime emotionally and psychically abused the American people, whether they were in the minorities he systematically targeted, the people he’d elevated in his party, or his slavishly devoted base.

It will fall to Biden, Harris, their team, and the Congress to attempt to salve the emotional wounds of the trump error. For the good of the nation, this PTTSD needs to be treated immediately.

A failed coup, a failed attempt to overthrow and take over governments, must never be ignored, or treated as anything but what it clearly is – an attempt to force the will of one group of unelected malcontents, over the wishes of those who voted for the leaders of the party currently in power.  

Allowing seditionists and traitors to continue to spread false information amongst their supporters cannot be tolerated. Those that contend that trump had a victory stolen from him are provably wrong. Even as the Republican party tears itself apart, in a deathmatch struggle over whether their allegiance is to trump or to the nation, it’s elected representatives must either accept that Biden holds the legitimate power in their constitutional democracy, and spread that message to their base, or they must leave their posts. Their personal beliefs cannot be allowed to poison the ‘one nation, indivisible’ to which they pledged their oaths at the start of their elected terms.   

History has shown us that the failure of President Andrew Johnson, who assumed the presidency after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, to hold Confederate traitors to task for insurrection, and who instead allowed those who had ‘engaged in insurrection against,’ or gave ‘aid or comfort to the enemies’ of the United States to hold public office, is a mistake that resonates in America to this very day.

Similarly, the first insurrection attempt by Hitler and his followers, in the 1923 Beer Hall Pusch, was a failure. But the second one was successful, as his followers had now learned how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

George Santayana is credited with the famous quote, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes,” said Mark Twain  

America is at a crossroads. Will she choose the ‘red pill’ of reality, of life-changing truth, or remain in blissful ignorance, lulled into the comforting ignorance of the ‘blue pill’ of Trumpism?  

I believe that it will take gut-wrenching courage on the part of the Biden administration, backed by their justice departments, to use the Fourteenth Amendment, Section Three, that carries the penalty of barring from holding public office anyone who took an oath to support the Constitution, and then ‘engaged in insurrection against,” or “gave aid or comfort to the enemies” of the United States, to punish those in current or past office who had any role in instigating the attack on the Capitol of January 6th. Their actions were treasonous.

Furthermore, I believe that anyone arrested for their part in the attack should be subject to the executive order trump himself signed into being on June of 2020, which he intended to use against sanctuary cities, and Black Lives Matter protestors, which directed the Department of Justice to “prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal Law” people who damage government monuments, participate in “efforts to incite violence,” or damage religious property, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for the damaging of federal property.

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As harsh as these measures may seem, they are necessary to prevent a future America in which trump flags, murals, statues, and re-enactments of the January 6th attack celebrate his presidency and its denouement, rather than censure his lies and incitement. That would be the fate of an America that DOESN’T prosecute trump, and all of his violent, and criminal followers.   

An America that prosecutes, fines, and jails those that attempted to overturn the results of a fair and legal election would be taking the first and most important step in healing the nation, and all of those suffering from Post Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Wisdom of Our Elders


by Roxanne Tellier

What a difference a week makes! Since the inauguration, I haven’t had a single communication with another person that didn’t involve a distanced high five, and a recounting of how much better we’re all sleeping and eating since we saw the backend and ignominious departure of the previous resident of the White House.

Trump was that creepy uncle that you only saw once or twice a year, and learned at a young age to step lively around, lest he pinch you cruelly, and in a ‘private’ place.  His words were lies, his ‘truth’ nothing but narcissism and tales of his own greatness, believed only by the gullible.

Predictably the QCrazies are bereft, inconsolable, losing their minds, because, it seems the Kraken didn’t awake, the Storm didn’t break, and all the money they spent on champagne to toast a forever trump presidency is gonna have to paid for, so it’s back to the proverbial chain gang, trumpless.

There’ll be no pardons for those that opted to follow their leader’s words, and attempted to overthrow the government, just arrests, fines, and imprisonments to remind them that black out drunks and highs have consequences.

A new Biden administration toddles into place, just a few days old, and already under siege from a Republican party that believes their bluster will protect them from the wrath of not just the Democrats, now in a majority, but the millions of Americans who watched trump and his lackeys attempt a coup in broad daylight.

Gone, but not forgotten, America must now sift through the rubble left behind by a corrupt and criminally incompetent administration whose response to crises was to throw blame and shade on everyone around them, before taking off for some R & R on the golf course. There’s a lot of work – a mindboggling amount of work – to be done before America is back on track.

Yes, Creepy Uncle is gone. In his place, we have ‘No Malarkey’ Joe Biden, a man whose backstory would make an amazing made for TV movie. A dog lover, and a lover of trains, he’s a man who has spent the best part of his life in and around D.C., in public service.

It’s an interesting moment in time. The 74-year-old contender was beaten by a 78-year-old retiree. While the new vice-president, Kamala Harris, is just 56, Nancy Pelosi, who is third in the line of succession, will be 81 in March. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is 70.   Mitch McConnell will be 79 in February. The incumbent Secretary of State, Daniel Bennett Smith, is 64. Many of the most prominent members of both parties are in their seventies and eighties, including Dianne Feinstein, 87, whose mental capabilities have been questioned in recent months, and Chuck Grassley, who is also 87, and who recently won yet another six years in office. Prior to last week, Wilbur Ross, 83, was the US Secretary of Commerce, when he wasn’t busy on his side hustle, as Jeff Dunham’s puppet, Walter. (Wilbur Ross Walter Puppet.jpg)

South Carolina’s Senator Strom Thurmond left office at the age of 100, after having served almost fifty years in power. West Virginia’s Robert Byrd died in office at the age of 93, as did Georgia’s John Lewis, at 80. Prior to the most recent elections, it was virtually unheard of that a Senator be under the age of 40.

The United States has, thus, for some time been effectively a gerontocracy.

“A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. In many political structures, power within the ruling class accumulates with age, making the oldest the holders of the most power. Those holding the most power may not be in formal leadership positions, but often dominate those who are. In a simplified definition, a gerontocracy is a society where leadership is reserved for elders. “ (wiki)

Under trump, that gerontocracy was in full bloom, as he placed into positions of power septuagenarians and octogenarians willy nilly. By contrast, the majority of Biden’s nominations look more like the average American than in any previous administration, with the exception of a few, like Janet Yellen, 74, who has been nominated to serve as Treasury Secretary.

And this, a younger, more diverse cabinet, is deeply needed, since the aging of the three branches of government has been repeatedly connected to the broader themes of American decline. 

How weird is it that, in a country where, clearly, we treasure the ‘wisdom’ of our elders, based on our electoral choices, where we only feel safe and in good hands with those as old as our grandparents and great-grandparents in the highest elected positions – that we also treat the poorer, less powerful, and frailest of our elderly with such dismissive contempt?

If we believe, as has been said, that the weight of years and experience is responsible for the wisdom, gravitas, and good-hearted balance brought about by decades of living, how is that so few of those opining on the ‘common sense’ approach of ‘herd immunity’ in dealing with COVID-19 feel absolutely no shame in expressing no regrets, publicly, that the first and most voluminous group of martyrs in such a program would be our elders? 

In Canada, COVID-19 has wreaked most of its wrath upon seniors, disproportionately affecting the elderly. In November, StatsCan reported that more than 52 per cent of those who had died from the virus were individuals aged 85, and older, while 36 per cent were aged 65-84. 88 per cents of our deaths have been in people over the age of 65. Only 12 per cent of the victims were younger than 65. 77 per cent of those deaths can be traced to long-term care, and senior homes.

95 per cent of deaths in the US were of people over the age of 50.

That we have failed so dramatically at protecting and prioritizing the health and care of our elders is a colossal moral failure. It appears that we only value people who are deemed economically productive. Once that time has passed, and regardless of how much we may have contributed to society throughout our younger years, people who are no longer economically productive are essentially perceived as worthless, and without further value.

In Ontario, twenty-five years ago, and under the Mike Harris government, hospitals were closed, and the jobs of thousands of nurses were eliminated, while the public role in long-term care was reduced, allowing corporate players such as Sienna Senior Living, Revera, Extendicare and Chartwell Homes to enter the game. Regulations were relaxed, and public oversight was reduced. Seniors would now have a range of options for assisted living and long-term-care housing, but at a significantly higher price.

In May of 2020, the Toronto Star reported that “three of the largest for-profit nursing home operators in Ontario, which have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, have together paid out more than $1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last decade.”

The article added:

This massive sum does not include $138 million paid in executive compensation and $20 million in stock buybacks (a technique that can boost share prices), according to the financial reports of the province’s three biggest publicly traded long-term-care home companies, Extendicare, Sienna Senior Living and Chartwell Retirement Residences.”

A decent society resists the temptation to take the easy way out, no matter how profitable it may be. The elderly deserve more than warehousing, secured away from their loved ones, while they wait to see if they’re next to die. It shows a horrifying disrespect that we are not making more effort to protect them. 

Ontario may be the guiltiest province in Canada for hypocrisy. In April 2020, when the province wanted to appear ‘caring,’ they brought in the military to help with the abject neglect and chaos in long term care homes, brought about by those lax regulations, and poor staffing choices.

And yet, in June, and despite record-setting profits, the CBC reported that the majority of Ontario’s LTCs were still operating at 1972 structural safety standards.

Ontario changed its structural safety standards back in 1998 — mandating, among other things, that nursing home bedrooms should house no more than two residents.

Homes that didn’t meet the new standard were allowed to keep running as-is, with an expectation they would upgrade eventually. The vast majority of homes that haven’t yet upgraded are run by for-profit companies.

While non-profit and for-profit homes have been equally likely to experience outbreaks, those outbreaks have proven deadlier in for-profit homes. (CBC Canada, June 2020)

In January 2021, Mike Harris, who spent the last 25 years raking in profits from the long-term care system he helped create, and who is the chair of Chartwell Home’s board of directors, was nominated for the Order of Ontario, despite protests from numerous minority groups, most vocal of which have been the Indigenous communities of Ontario.

(“Between 1995 and 2002, Harris was premier during some of the province’s most notorious scandals in recent history, including the shooting death of Indigenous protester Dudley George in 1995 and the Walkerton water crisis five years after.”) from CTV News, January 2021

We believe that we live in lush capitalism, but that’s not true of all of society. In fact, we are in end-stage capitalism, where even the lions turn upon each other. There are homeless living in our parks, but millions in dollars in pandemic aid is going to corporations making healthy profits, who are paying out dividends with one hand, while receiving federal wage subsidies in the other.

In Canada, 53 public companies disclosed receiving more than $10 million under the Canada emergency wage subsidy program (CEWS). CEWS will have cost ALL Canadians more than $100 billion by the time it wraps up in 2021. But only a small segment – the wealthiest – will have received the most benefits from that and similar protection programs.  

While far right Republican and Conservative pundits clamour that the Democrats will ruin their economy with socialism, their parties actually preach and platform something more akin to dog eat dog, where people are only valued for what they produce. These groups advocate the removal of any sort of social safety net, in the form of Social Security or Medicare. What these politicians never acknowledge is that the removal of those nets will doom the elderly, the frail, the ill and the disadvantaged to spending their days in situations akin to that of the worst horrors of the 19th centuries poorhouses and workhouses, where society placed stigma and shame on those unable to support themselves.

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the truth in the social safety net, that it was never adequate protection in times of major risks like pandemic illnesses, because of the massive inequality of resources in capitalistic societies. If not addressed and amended, the worse is still to come.

I’ve long contended that the gerontocracy of the United States government is a negative factor, in terms of governance, primarily because those making the rules and regulations for the future have no stake in that future; they won’t be around to reap the rewards or punishments of their decisions. That’s on top of the fact that the majority of those in power are long term seat holders, who have amassed significant wealth and fulsome pensions and benefits, and so are unaffected by the ebb and flow of the average citizen’s lifetime.

They don’t look, act, behave, or earn like the hundreds of millions of Americans they represent. Yet they define the parameters for everything those hundreds of millions must do, from birth to death, and everywhere in between.  

Some have called me ‘ageist’ for this position, which is almost laughable, in that there is no ‘ist’ or ‘ism’ that takes away one iota of wealth or power from that most blessed group of elected fortunates.

But what do we call those who look at the opposite end of the age spectrum, at the people who are poor, sick, frail, and without any of those benefits, and deem them of no value to society?  Nothing that can be repeated in polite society, that’s for sure.

These last few years have been hard on all of us, in Canada, and in the United States, as we’ve struggled under circumstances made all the harder in the last year with a global pandemic. I want desperately to believe that there are better days ahead. I sincerely hope that Biden has begun as he means to go on, and that his successes inspire Canada and other countries to look in the same direction of progress, healing, and more equal opportunities for all, not just the privileged.

BONUS .. everybody sing along! 😉

Even Grownups Get the Blues


By Roxanne Tellier

“I just feel so badly that my child will not have a Christmas like I did, as a child.”  

“But it could be Great Aunt Thelma’s very last Hanukkah! It’s so unfair to deprive her of our presence!”

Yeah. No. This is not about the kids. The kids have many, many more Christmases in their future, and some will be good, and some will, for whatever reason, not be totally Hallmark. There will be horrible holidays in everyone’s future, because that’s how this thing called ‘Life’ works. 

And it’s not about the seniors, most of whom are terrified that you might be bringing them the plague for the holidays. No, this funky stank you’re feeling and scenting is all you.  

It’s OKAY to be sad about this crummy December. It’s normal to feel depressed that you can’t get together with your friends and family. It’s completely copacetic to regret not being able to share your traditional holiday goodies, dinners, spiced egg nog, and kisses under the mistletoe. This is.. yes, it’s a terrible year. It’s the Grinchiest Christmas ever.  It’s “The Year Without a Santa Claus” nasty. And that was pretty nasty, even by 1974 standards.

It’s the pits! It’s the most awfullest awful! It’s the terrible, horrible, no good, worst December ever! It truly is!

There are restaurants, businesses, and the people who work them who were counting on salvaging this year with a massive influx of sales, and that’s not gonna happen. There are millions of people in the U.S. who were counting on their elected representatives pulling out the stops and getting them something… anything! … to get them thru the last of this year, who are already struggling, frequenting food banks, and praying that they are not evicted on January 1st.

All of this is for real happening, while you can’t get your hair done, a new holiday picture, or hang out at the mall. You can’t go to the gym, and when you go to the library, all the staff are wearing masks and they look like they hate you for wanting more books that they’ll have to disinfect before anyone else can read them.

What is this, 1918?

So it’s one hundred per cent okay to be sad, bummed out, depressed, angry, frustrated, and feeling out of control. Even if you’re a grown up, and supposedly the person in charge of the family emotions. Maybe even ESPECIALLY if you are that person.

Wallow in that mud! Splash in the acid of your anger! Put on your steel toed boots and kick the curb! Throw something you have always hated against the wall, until it breaks and you’re finally able to put it into the garbage can without guilt! You are ALLOWED to feel all of those emotions. Not for hours – that would be counterproductive. But for .. I dunno, what’s good for you? Five minutes? Ten minutes where you stomp and fume and yell into your pillow? Cuz even grownups are allowed to do that, you know.

And then, once you’ve let off some of that steam, cast your mind back to Christmases past. Like last year, when maybe you realized that you’re tired of doing all the shopping, wrapping, decorating, planning, cooking, and prepping. Remember the Christmas when you were totally broke, and felt guilty about not being able to shower your loved ones with gifts? Remember the Christmas when someone else was broke, and didn’t shower YOU with gifts? What about that Christmas when you lost your job? Or your relationship was breaking down? Or someone you adored was in hospital and you didn’t know if they’d make it? Or maybe a time when it was you who didn’t know if you’d still be around to ring in the New Year.

Remember all the years you couldn’t find that special gift, even though you battled through the frenzied crowd of shoppers at the mall, and you had a huge blister on your ankle, and then, overheated but starting to get cold, waited way too long for a bus to come? Remember when you gritted your teeth and swore that if you heard one more chorus of “Silver Bells,” you would start lashing out at passerbys with a sharpened candy cane? Remember all those years when politicians claimed that their opponents were bent on stealing Christmas? Remember that year when you were working so hard on making everything perfect for the holidays, that you nearly drove yourself into a nervous breakdown, and then found yourself just losing it on the very kids you wanted to gift with a wonderful day, and then hating yourself for losing your temper when all you really wanted was for them to have a special memory? (Oh, they’ll remember it. They’ll remember it long after that expensive toy is dust.)    

Remember the big holiday feasts where those relatives that you only saw once a year, showed up and  you remembered why you only saw them once a year? Remember how the kids tore through all the presents you’d given them, on Christmas morning, and then whined that the one present you’d missed was the one present that mattered? Remember how you swore that next year, next Christmas, there’d be a ceiling on what was spent on gifts, and it would be stress free, dammit! Or else!

Remember trying to remind ourselves the Seussian truth, that Christmas can’t be bought? Christmas lives in the heart, not the wallet.

What I’m trying to say is that there have been crummy Decembers before, and there will be crummy Decembers to come. As much as we would love every holiday season to be picture perfect and suitable for framing, it’s the rare one that hits all the high notes properly. And if we look really hard, there’s nearly always someone in the vicinity who’s hiding their tears and a broken heart behind their Christmas smile.

Stuff happens. Always has. Always will. Yes, we are all in agreement; this particular holiday season wins the Worst Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Diwali/Las Posadas and Chinese New Year ever. EVER.  Combined! It does. We all agree.

So be angry. Be sad. You are allowed to feel that way. Watch an old movie and blame your tears on Clarence getting his wings. It’s okay.

Because, at the end of the day, Christmas is really about spending time with the people we love and cherish the most. It’s not about the presents. It’s not even about the food. It’s not about one-upmanship. It’s not about arguing with Great Uncle Bert who is never going to stop being a bigot, so why get your stomach in a knot?

You are allowed to be upset that this holiday season will not fulfill all of your own hopes and dreams. You don’t have to say that it’s about the kids. Sometimes it’s okay for YOU to be the sad child.

At least for a few minutes.

Then it’s back to adulting.

Unless you can find an adultier adult. Cuz adulting is hard. That’s why it’s called adulting, not childing.

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Happy Ho Hos! Merry Crimble!  And Assorted Seasonings to you all!