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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fwd: The Value of Information

                                          The Value of Information

The rain pelted across the old Volkswagen windshield as if it had been sprayed on by a garden hose. The tired wipers complained with a stuttered  uh-uh-uh as they tried to keep ahead of the horizontal liquid barrage of all things blurry through every window.
To say it was dark would be an understatement. Because this dark suffered from black ink that blew sideways trying to knock the little car off the dirt road. Headlights?...Bill remembered he had them before the rain started but was now unable to confirm their existence.
Bill and Tammy were taking,....well,..Buddy home. They didn't know the poor guys name. They were doing a Good Samaritan / Designated Driver thing. They had found him slumped between two cars in the parking lot at the pub they had visited after the hockey game.
Bill had tried to get him back on his feet, but as soon as he had righted him, Buddy folded himself back up like a city map. His folds and creases just didn't look right.
"We've got to take him home Bill." Tammy insisted while Bill was trying to stop the bleeding. Seems Buddy had kissed the side view mirror in his effort to regain his original horizontal format.
It was after two more attempts at verbally insisting and physically attempting to vertically right Buddy that Bill gave in. Buddy was getting pretty beat up by they car they kept trying to stand him beside. A bleeding lip, a bloody nose, and a serious looking scratch which made him look a little like Al Pachino in the movie Scarface.
He gave no name but seemed happy with the temporary title of Buddy. And in his extreme state of inebriation in public Bill could relate as to why he might want to keep his name in question.
"Can you tell us where you live Buddy? Do you know where your house is? Is there someone we can phone? Are you here alone? We'll drive you....."
"45,..3? No 454,..5 Spp pruucee Lane." He sprayed, as he interrupted Tammy. Each number four he pronounced had about fifteen 'Fs' in it and probably about as many 'Fs' again in the fives. At least he cut back on the 'Ps' Tammy thankfully noted.
The rain now started to accompany the already annoying wind as Bill folded Buddy into the back of his space challenger. That is to say his vintage Volkswagen was limited in seating area.
Tammy, now wishing she hadn't worn a short tight skirt,  crawled  in the back with Buddy, holding a now bloody compress against his nose. Bill started the car checked his gas and smiled at Tammy in in rear view mirror as they started into the night.
Bill checked his watch as he turned left on to Spruce Lane. Chinese dentist time he smiled remembering his grandpa had always called 2:30 Chinese dentist time.
Slowly he followed the address to 4541, 4543 and 4545, destination achieved. Bill stopped the car on the road and pulled up on the hand brake. Tammy woke up Buddy with a cheery, almost excited "We're here! We got you home Buddy. Let's get you out."
Bill leaned the drivers seat forward as Tammy poured more than pushed Buddy out of the back seat. Bill wrapped Buddy's right arm around his shoulder and with Tammy manning the left side they made their way through a gate, along a walk, up a ramp and to the front door. Tammy pressed the door bell which started a dog barking in the back of the house, and with each bark it seemed another light turned on. Both Bill and Tammy sensing their job was done, and Buddy was home safe to face the music,  turned to leave before the door could open. Buddy, seeming to admit defeat to a vertical lifestyle again folded himself back down to his city map style just as the door opened.
Both Tammy and,...? Mrs Buddy, let out a little scream which deadened the sound of Buddy's head connecting with the door. Buddy, now much more awake began using and slurring words his former Sunday School Teacher would not have approved of.
Buddy ran out into the front yard. Peed on three trees and back into the house. Apparently Buddy was the dogs name as well. "Good boy Buddy!" Mrs. Buddy said.
No introductions were made as Bill and Tammy were now wet and wind blown and wanted nothing more than to get in the car and head home. Mrs. Buddy stopped them with a heartfelt thank you and wished there were more people like them. She then asked if he had been beat up and robbed. Both looked at each other and feigned ignorance as to his condition and assured her that he probably hadn't been.
"Well thank you again for bringing him home." Mrs. Buddy yelled over the wind as she cradled his head. "He sometimes gets like this when,...? Ya have to love them right? For better our worse."
She stood up gave them both a hug as they turned to go.  Bill had just opened the gate for Tammy when Mrs. Buddy yelled through the weather "Do you happen to have his wheelchair?"

Bob Niles

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fwd: Who Were You Before Father's Day?

                                  Who Were You Before Father's Day?

My Dad never got the chance to say good bye to me. I had so many more questions about his life before he became 'Lame'. His brain cancer had mercifully taken him quickly with little pain. One day he was my not so old Dad and then the next day he was a guy that looked like my Dad but in a hospital bed. An unresponsive memory with just a blank stare.  He was that guy for just a few days, and then he left our lives forever.
It was five days before Christmas 1996. A day in history I'll never forget.
I know many of us share that day. The last day and memory we will ever have of a parent. No more new memories to build or old ones to discover. We now just have to rely on the old dusty ones backed up by black and white and poorly coloured out of focus photos in old photo albums. Awkward poses, frozen in time on Kodak Kodachrome film. The not so, but at times all too distant memories that leak from the corners of our eyes. We are the lucky ones who have had that Mom or Dad that will be greatly missed, because of who they were.
We were lucky enough to have a parent live long enough to see their grandkids. One that stuck it through all the teenage crap we could throw at them, and have them love us through it. We were the fortunate to have a parent that sacrificed what they wanted to do, to drive us to ball practice. Parents that cried with pride at our wining trophies. Moms and dads that treasured the ashtrays (and neither smoked) we made them at school for Mother's and Father's Day. For all the races won, 'B's on report cards, graduations, weddings and new births, all of life's big and small victories either a mom or dad were  there to celebrate with us.
They were that mom, and or, dad that gave up everything they wanted to do so that we might have a better life. And we would show our thanks by constantly referring  to them as 'Lame' and real 'Buzzkills'!
We for years (from age12-22 yrs. for many) were embarrassed by our slack jawed, khaki wearing, mini van driving source of paternal care givers. The very people who gave up their cute little sports car and motorcycle to buy that minivan, because it was safer and more practical  for my siblings and me. They, who moved from their warehouse loft in the city to the suburbs, so we could have a house with a yard. And who then fought traffic every day back to a now second choice job in the city.
We, by birth made them lame! Mom was going to fight big corporations! But got a less glamourous job, or quit work altogether so she could have more time with her kids. Dad gave up his cool job and had to stop wearing jeans and rock-n-roll tee shirts in exchange for his so uncool khakis in an unfulfilling job to feed and put a roof over, his all to many times, ungrateful kids.
The very couple that use to stay up late, talk over big issues and eat weird food in exotic restaurants. The two starry eyed lovers who went to art galleries and plays and walk the city till the wee hours in the morning. Your future source of embarrassment who went camping, toured Europe and made big plans. Your parents.
 But big plans were put on hold. You and your siblings changed your mom and dads lives. A change where they chose to become lame, and one that they were willing to make. But it was never suppose to become permanent. But dad died before he got a chance to write that novel, and mom, she never got to act on the stage.
Moms and dads choose to become lame for the sake of their family. They want to set rules by example and display good common sense so that they in the first 20 years of your life will set you up for the next 60.
And how do we thank them? Well, in our early years we mostly don't. We make them feel sad for the lives they lost, and take every opportunity to YELL them so. But, if lives persist and kids and parents don't kill each other we have a Mother's and Father's Day once a year on the calendar. It's a sad notion that they would be worthy of only one day of our gratitude. It's sad because we are now parents ourselves and now realize our lives are 'Lame'. We are now the 'Buzzkills' to our kids and now appreciate what a sacrifice it took to get here!
So this Sunday, Father's Day take a moment and high five, bump fists, shake hands, hug or just phone him up, let him know how cool he was to turn lame for you. It's not common in the animal world for the males to hang around after conception but you appreciate him for not killing you so that Mom would naturally want to replace you with your younger brother Dale. Maybe if you ask him he'll tell you about what life was like before he became lame. What the war in Korea was like. His Sit Ins, demonstrations and peace marches. His and your Moms cross country trip to Woodstock. Maybe he'll show you some cracks and wrinkles in his life that you'll both laugh at.
Find out who was the man, and what he changed and gave up to raise you. I think you'd be surprised of how lame he's not. But do it while he still can. You never know with old people. They have a habit of disappearing.

Bob Niles

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fwd: Save Water Shower With....

          Save Water, Shower With..........

'Save water shower with a friend' read the bumper sticker of every teenaged boy's custom, bedroom on wheels, van in the 1970s. It's not that we were short on water it was just a weak invite to help the environment  and fulfill some pubescent boys dream.
Today,.. here, and especially in other parts of North America it's almost a plea. We need to conserve water.
"Shower with a friend?" my wife repeated, wrinkling her forehead and nose like she smelled something bad at my request. "Have you looked in the mirror big boy? You come out of the little shower downstairs with an H and a C on your butt cheeks even when you're alone. We both get in there the water would just start filling up around our middles and we'd drown!"
And so it was with a harsh dose of reality I went outside and removed 'that' bumper sticker from the mini-vans bumper. Maybe now the principal at my grandkids elementary school will stop giving me the evil eye every time I pick them up.
But it's getting dry people! Not California dry, but,'s so dry

- Rivers are starting to squeak going around the bends.
- You can now fold your clothes right out of the washer.
- Baptists are now converting to Catholicism.
- Fishing is now done from lawn chairs with slingshots.
- North and South arm of the Fraser River run on alternate days.
- Dogs are marking their territory with chalk.
- The city has closed down two swimming lanes at every pool.
- Crooks are siphoning from radiators not gas tanks.
- Kids water parks are shut down and are now modern art exhibits.
- RCMP are looking into the Senates misuse of bottled water.
- Local government has announced a water pistol buy back scheme.

Bob Niles

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fwd: My Blue Box is Better Than Your Blue Box! Until...

                        My Blue Box is Better Than Your Blue Box!

Mom! The neighbour took my Blue Box! .....Mom?
She's not answering. And why should she, I'm a grown man. But last time I had this type of, he took my lunch (blue) box, problem I was in the schoolyard. I'd talk to the guy about it, but conversations in the past have proven fruitless. It's like we're talking two different languages. And we are. I asked friends what I should do and they just laugh at me. Nobody understands! They all think I'm nuts, which gives great pleasure to my wife and validity to her analysis as to my mental state of mind.
"Just steal his!" They say. Problem solved! I have his! I want mine! Mine's new, it's the only nice thing that I was proud of carrying to the curb. My garbage cans are,...well garbage! I've been trying to throw one of them away for the past eleven years! Do you know how hard it is to throw away a garbage can? My green bin (on permanent loan from the city) needs an oil change. Oh it has oil, but I'd like a change. It looks like a greasy, oily backyard smoothie is all stuck to the sides after every garbage day. And the smell! Not my proudest moment wheeling that baby to and from the curb. But my Blue Box was new!
I had gone to the city works yard to look for cool stuff to bring home when bright blue boxes caught my eye. 'I use to have one of those!' I joked to a guy in an orange safety vest, 'but I ran over it on the lawn several years ago'. He questioned my driving ability  and then told me to get a new Blue Box from the pile. And since he had a safety vest, and since I thought he worked there, and with some position, I took one. And, a new yellow plastic bag for paper as well.
Back home I show the wife my new Blue Box, yellow bag and the paint I picked up to paint the north side of the house. All for less than 30 bucks from the works yard I bragged. And here don't blow my good thing! She thinks that every time I go to the city works yard it costs money to drop off stuff and steal, I mean take stuff back home. It frees up a lot of weekends her thinking this, and gives me an extra allowance to spend on Monday Night Football at Boston Pizza (which she has been mislead to believe goes year round).
She give me the 'Aw Huh' in a dropping breathy tone that any married man takes for 'Good job Honey! I'm really proud of you! You get an extra pork chop tonight!'  And so it was that I, spurred on with her positive affirmation, and in my best handwriting, wrote my address on two sides of the Blue Box with a giant black Magic Marker. It is now MY Blue Box, branded forever, or until the black ink fades away.
'So how did it wind up next door?' you ask. Well, every week it's a race between my neighbour and myself to bring in each others curb side trash canister arrangements after pick up (because we're both 12yrs. old). And he cheats! Sometimes he's waiting outside for the trucks. I think it's only fair that shoes can't go on till the truck has the material on board, and then you can go outside. But he doesn't understand English rules, and I think takes great delight in beating me to the curb. It's only when the trucks catch him on the toilet or he's out of the country that I win. And it was at a time when he was away, out of the country, and my defenses down that he obtained my Blue Box.
His kid took it!
I go out for the Blue Boxes and ones gone. Mine! His old sorry, cracked, faded box is there upside down with my new yellow bag under it but mine is nowhere to be seen. It shows up next week next to his old sorry one that I now have. So now, I have to be the adult about this and handle it properly, says the wife.
Now to be fair his kid probably made an honest mistake, he was just helping out mom while dad was away. He didn't see my fine penmanship of my current address and just took the best looking box. Honest mistake, because everything next door looks better than anything I have this door. Oh maybe my driveway would look better if I swept it everyday like they do. Or if I had a gardener prune my possies periodically. Or if my house was 50 yrs. newer or if I had a complete driveway made up from just one material, my house and yard would equal his in beauty. But, it is what it is. Home crap home.
I'll just wait till both boxes are emptied next week and then do the old switch-aroo. But guess who came back from China? Speedy Gonzales! And he makes the same mistake as junior! 'Oh look my boy got me a new Blue Box!' he must of thought,.. but in a different language.
"Okay next week, I'll get it next week." I comfort myself. I mean it's just a Blue Box, I don't really own it. I didn't pay for it, but it was the one thing I had over him. I had the better Blue Box. Two more weeks pass and my Blue Box still resides one door down. I make light of it to the wife and pretend its just a silly Blue Box. But it's more. It's something with my address on it. Its my brand!
If and when I ever get my Blue Box back, in an adult fashion, I'll never take it to the curb again. I'll just make 39 trips to the curb from then on, knowing that in my house I have a better Blue Box than him.

Bob Niles
(grade 6 mentality and apparently holding)