Making History

That’s what we do, you and I. We make history. We also report history. Our lives are made up of minutia. We brush our hair, we do our laundry, we eat, we sleep, we work, we create history every day but not one that needs to be recorded. And sometimes, just sometimes, we are part of that which does need to be remembered.

But do we remember it correctly? They say that ‘history is written by the victors’. That was true at one time but now we have Instant Replay everywhere. Chances are our piece of history is going to be on YouTube somewhere. And we can’t escape that. Is that good for history or bad?

I once made the quip that memory is the ability to edit our lives. We all do it. We want to remember the good and temper the bad. I think that’s just human nature. But what about the times before cameras were everywhere? Did our history books get it right? I’d like to think so but there were no recording devices. We have people writing history from their memories about their opinions, their side. And that’s where I question whether or not truth is related in history.

Nowadays people go to the movies for their history lessons. Movies are made to make money. There is always a ‘based on a true story’ or ‘inspired by events’. Actors, Producers, Directors and the hundreds of people involved in making movies don’t do it for free. It can be a lucrative business. To that end they make changes to accommodate their narrative and often for financial reasons. And now I’m going to have a little rant.

In 2012 the movie Argo was released to widespread acclaim. It won several prestigious awards and it was a lie. I am Canadian and proud of my country. On November 4, 1979 the United States Embassy in Tehran was attacked and most of the Embassy staff were taken hostage. Six avoided capture and were protected by the Canadian Embassy and then ambassador Ken Taylor. He got them out of the country. It’s a Canadian story usurped. And that’s the history that will be remembered because it’s on the screen. And it angers me.

Oh, and one more thing that really irks me: Director Ben Affleck didn’t even thank the people that actually did the deed. He should be ashamed. I hope history remembers this part.

 

So how do we trust history when it is fed to us as entertainment?

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A Kernel of Truth

 

A kernel of truth

From your lips I expect

Instead I am hearing

Of a Colonel you decked?

 

That notwithstanding

I asked for your word

So please be forthcoming

And say what you heard!

 

You swear it’s a bird

That doesn’t make sense

Why would a fowl

Jump over your fence?

 

Lady I’m here

To deal with a crime

So lose all this nonsense

And stop all the rhyme!!

Would you like fries with that?

 

When I was at University I was in a Theatre Arts Program.  I was often told that studying drama was setting me up to be a great server. Those friends who were not in my program were convinced that my only skill would be asking customers at MacDonald’s if they wanted fries with that. Hunh!

Now I have the greatest respect for good servers, waitresses, waiters. Whatever the current label happens to be. A restaurant with mediocre food can be saved by great service. I like good food but I love great service.

I have received great service, good service and really, really bad service. The former will have me returning to the restaurant and recommending it. The latter will have me telling everybody I know and making very sure the information is passed on. I have been known to call the restaurant in question and respectfully voice my concerns. That of course means I can never return, no matter how good the food is. Sigh.

And of course good service is not only to be found in the culinary world. It is found on the phone, in the malls, even on the highway. You might say that good service is a direct result of good manners. I like both. I have reached an age where I expect both. Honey, I’ve done the good service routine, now I expect it in return.

After 30 years as a civilian with a police department, I have dealt with a lot people on the phone who were irate at their interactions with police officers. The fact that they broke the law and endangered others was immaterial. Those calls could sometimes be quite fun. I do have a twisted sense of humour.

More often than not it was simply a case of someone not understanding the system of law-enforcement. Their fears and concerns we’re at the root of their animosity. Taking the time to explain everything to them usually turned things around. And that was my job. I felt a great deal of satisfaction when I could allay someone’s fears.

It’s exactly the same in the world of service. I like to see people who take great pride in what they do and they do it well. I have seen some fabulous servers at McDonald’s. Just because someone else is turning their nose down at you should not diminish the pride you feel in doing a job well.

And then there are those who seem to take great pride in ruining my meal. I don’t want some obsequious dandy hovering about my table wringing their hands. I want a little pleasant banter or at least polite conversation. Keep your eye on my table in case my hand goes up. Don’t neglect me but don’t check every two minutes to find out of my meal is satisfactory. Especially when I have a mouthful of food. If you treat me well, I will tip you well. I’m that kind of patron.

I once went into a very high-end restaurant for lunch with a friend. We were out on auditions and feeling very full of ourselves. When we calculated how much money we had to pay for lunch we forgot the tip. (neither of us had a credit card) We just had enough to cover the bill. We were embarrassed so we snuck out. No, no! We left the money on the bill and then left. Unfortunately my friend realized he had left his book that he had just purchased on the table. Tail tucked between our legs we went back. Could we be anymore humiliated? Apparently we could. We explained the situation and hoped would get out without any fuss but the maître d’ summoned our waiter. We had to go through it all again. Hands wringing, eyes tearing, we apologized. Humbled, humiliated and deflated. We got his book back and we were told not to worry it was an honest mistake. Lesson learned.

Did I mention we were studying acting?