Andy Rooney was the curmudgeonly voice of discontent whose weekly segment on 60 Minutes was a must see when I was growing up. Whenever I get particularly grumpy and irritated by little things, I imagine his saying, “have you ever wondered?”, so channeling my inner Andy Rooney here is a quick compilation of lessons I think we should all take heed of and a couple of hashtags that might just catch on.
Listen to your mother
Have you every wondered why your mother told you not to go down the stairs in the dark? Well, this is why. This is the x-ray from five months ago that shows you in black and white why this is excellent advice no matter how old you are and yes that is my ankle/leg. I should probably add, don’t forget to wear your glasses they really do help you to see. I would also suggest that when the paramedics offer you drugs, take them because there is no prize for taking Advil when there are much more efficient options on the table. I will also never be so arrogant to say after someone has been hurt, “well it is just a broken ankle” and if anyone ever says to me “break a leg” I suggest they do so from a distance that is longer than my good leg. #motherknowsbest
Memes on Facebook
In our hyper-connected world where we all have access to unlimited sources of news from media outlets worldwide, why is it people think I am going to be swayed by a pithy political meme that that lambastes one political candidate or party? If you are going to decide who you support based on an anti-Trudeau, Harper, Trump, Clinton, Holland meme you really do not deserve to have the franchise. Yup, I said it and if you are going to put that kind of simple minded crap out there, don’t get your knickers in a twist when you get called out. Fact checking isn’t really that difficult and when in doubt go to Snopes.com or any of the other hoax-busting websites out there. The same goes for the type Amen posts to show that you are against a litany of terrible behaviours, events, and diseases. Learn what click bait is and avoid it and if you can’t, please don’t share it. Think of these posts like you do someone who coughs in public during flu season- no unnecessary exposure to viruses. #sharingisnotcaring
Can’t Touch That
Not so long ago I was walking a friend’s dog down a busy street in Ottawa. This dog is by breed and temperament a working dog who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Grimm from Harry Potter. While she went into a store, I waited on the sidewalk with the pooch and a couple of people approached and asked to pet the dog and I said, “he isn’t my dog and I would rather you not”. Most people heard me and said how beautiful he was and walked away except for one man who ignored me and leaned in and asked, “does he bite?” “Yes, of course, he does” I replied because as far as I am concerned that is the only proper response in that situation. It is like the difference between can and may when making a request. Why is it so difficult to understand that a dog has a limited number of arrows in his communications quiver. A dog can’t say “hey man back off” but he can change his head and tail position, raise his hackles, show some teeth, growl and if all else fails he can even bite. People forget that no dog is going to engage in a Socratic debate, so it really does behoove the person asking the question to listen to the response whether it comes from a human or the dog himself. In this instance, the man came back to me a few minutes later and said that I did not need to be so harsh. I had to restrain myself from saying bite me. I blame the abundance of cute animal videos that populate social media, they somehow make people forget that animals are actually animals no matter how cute.#notadisneycharacter
When in Doubt – Don’t Comment
I don’t know if it is because I have been less mobile than usual and have spent more time online than before but I am astounded by the comments left by people to stories in the news. Families who have lost children in terrible accidents are excoriated for being negligent parents and there are demands for retribution as if having your child injured or killed isn’t punishment enough. Just this morning someone shared a heartbreaking Facebook post by a young mother whose son had a habit of undoing his five-point seatbelt harness in the car. The little boy had been reprimanded in the past but he believed that he was a super-hero and did not need any kind of earthly protection. He unclipped himself, there was an accident and he was killed instantly and the trolls came after the bereaved mother in droves demanding to know how she could be so negligent and wanting her surviving children removed from her custody. Just because you have been so graced as to not have something terrible happen to someone you love, don’t think for a second it is because you are somehow more special or a better parent, you are just a bit more lucky. Even freedom of expression has its limits. #saynothing
A Dog’s Life
We are a dog loving culture and the online word warriors are not shy about imparting their wisdom. Just look at the number of people who lost their collective minds over pictures Prince George feeding his dog some ice cream. While maybe not very nutritious I don’t think the dog’s health was seriously imperiled. Keep in mind most dogs if left to their own devices will eat excrement and drink out of toilets and puddles. As you can probably imagine, I also have strong views on terms like fur baby, rescue dog and hashtags like #adoptdontshop. I have a dog, I did not rescue her, she was not lost on an ice floe or in any kind of real peril, she was simply abandoned and needed a new home so I went through an adoption process, plunked down my credit card and bought her. The last time the groomer referred to Winnie as my fur baby was the last time she groomed my dog. I don’t think my quick biology lesson was appreciated. If after this dog is gone I may go to a breeder and get a purebred Golden Retriever, I really like their personalities and I won’t be shamed into doing otherwise. And yes that is my dog Winnie enjoying an ice cream in celebration of the 9th Winniversary of her adoption. In case you are concerned, she gets one vanilla ice cream a year and first dibs on whatever falls on the floor. #icecreamforall
Have you ever wondered why people feel a need to make the comments they do online? Do you still read the comment sections of online media? Is the increasing lack of civility in our culture the new norm?
To quote Andy Rooney, “Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done.”