Tag Archives: truth

There is a Dark Side

Well, I’m afraid it is happening again. I’m about to have a rant. So, in keeping with my character, I am warning you.  Not everyone may agree with what I have to say and I can appreciate that.  If I offend you, I apologize but that will in no way change my opinion. Read on, if you dare.

We live in a digital age. Information is passed instantly from person to person, country to country. We do not have the luxury of time to think, we simply react. I am not a fan. However, the ability to exchange information instantly has an upside. The media employs this daily and we do reap the benefits. The media is often getting a bad rap but not all of it is deserved. They perform a vital service that we could, in all honesty, not to do without. But the media has a dark side. It is dangerous, it is insidious and it is all too real. Let me give you a fictitious example… I would like to think this is fictitious but it may not be, in all honesty.

A young politician is walking down the street towards his office gripping his first latte of the day. He’s feeling good about his constituents about his belief in the system when he is approached by a pseudo-reporter. A microphone is thrust into his face and a very attractive young woman asks a question: “Are you using still cocaine on the job?” The young politician has not built up a repertoire of how to deal with such intrusions so he simply looks stunned, shakes his head and tries to bolt for the building. All of this is caught on camera. Our pseudo-reporter now has the time to interpret his reaction in the most salacious and derogatory manner she can. That’s what sells right? But she has 3000 followers and within seconds they all know what she wants them to know. The young politician? Never touched a drug in his life and now his career as a politician is in tatters.

Too many people out there are interested in dirt, scandal, salaciousness, vulgarity and you can package it anywhere you want. They don’t want the truth; they probably wouldn’t even know if you hit them with it. They want gossip. And there is an aspect to the media nowadays whose only goal seems to be the gutter. Should we call him the Gutter Media? Or Dirt Mongers? They spread hatred through half-truths and lies, false news and innuendo. They are the Media Terrorists that we should be afraid of. And they are protected. Sadly, they are protected by the Freedom of Speech. That freedom was bought and paid for by our ancestors who died for those rights.

If you feed a child nothing but sugar and fatty foods from a young age, they will grow up to crave it. Few will be able to make the break. That is what a section of the media is doing to us. They say we are asking for it and they are right only because we have become addicted. We need to break the addiction; we absolutely need to!

The Not So Simple Truth.

Last week I wrote a piece called The Art of the Lie. About how some people are really good at it and others not so much. So, this week I decided to write about the opposite, the truth. We desperately want to believe that the truth is simple, yes or no, one or zero but it is not. The truth is as malleable as wax on a hot sidewalk. Ask any police officer with three witnesses to a traffic accident, and you will find the truth of which I speak.  There will be three absolute, honest truths about what happened. They all saw the exact same thing but from different perspectives. And our perspectives are coloured by our history, our experiences and our beliefs.

Using the traffic accident as an example. A car careens into a pole. Sounds simple enough. One person sees a drunk careening across the road into a pole. A friend was killed by a drunk driver many years earlier. Another sees a person asleep at the wheel when the car plows into the pole. He had a friend who fell asleep on the way home from work. The third sees someone trying to commit suicide. A memory from his past.

As a species we are storytellers. Some go so far as to make a career out of it but each one of us tends to editorialize or to embellish what we see. We are not automatons; we use words to paint pictures. But what was it that our witnesses did not see? They could not imagine that the individual behind the wheel of the car had a medical emergency. A blood clot broke loose and travelled to his brain causing a stroke. His body reacted to the stroke by going into a full spasm forcing his foot down on the accelerator, leading to the accident. We can’t know what lies behind the truth. We either accept it at face value or investigate to learn the real truth, the whole truth. But most of us don’t do that. Most of us fill in the blanks with what we have experienced in our past. But what does that do to the truth?

The colour is yellow. Or is it Lemon? Gold? Canary?  We see the same colour but we interpret it differently. It is amazing to me that we can communicate at all. For the most part others understand what we mean when we use our words and yet some of our greatest humour comes from our misinterpretations. And also, some of our greatest tragedies. We don’t always understand each other’s truths. And it is open to interpretation.

WiFi is Free!

This story was written quite a few years ago.  It stems from my growing concerned about smart phones, smart cars and nondescript devices that sit on kitchen counters and listen.  We have machines making other machines and dancing robots. We have cars that know where we need to be and how to get there.  I don’t want my wheelchair to critique what I had for lunch and offer suggestions for my next book. They are learning to think. What happens when they no longer want to be tools. . .?

WiFi is Free!

Ben was paralyzed.  He couldn’t move, couldn’t react.  He watched in horror as his friend of 30 years was patted down, handcuffed and walked out of the bar in the company of four very official looking men.  Four, wait, there were five!

“You can say nothing about what you think you just heard.”

The warning was issued by a quiet, almost friendly voice. But as Ben raised his head to look at the speaker, a chill ran down his back. The man almost seemed to smile.  He reached out his hand and picked up the thumb drive that Stan had dropped on the table.  Snap, it was gone.

And with a slight tilt of his head, so was the fifth man. Ben inhaled deeply.  He felt as if he had been holding his breath for far too long.  He started to hear the regular sounds of the bar seeping back into his awareness. It felt as if time was reasserting itself and Ben was out of sorts. It had happened, here, with a room full of witness who had seen nothing.  They didn’t understand. He had to tell them.  But what Stan had said . . . Could it be true?

Ben reached for his laptop.  A good reporter never went anywhere without it. As he opened the screen and prepared to log on, Ben wondered . . . what if . . . He put his laptop away and reached for a pen and a pad of paper.  Old school it is.

The day had stared routinely. Check correspondence, do a little cleaning, a little writing and then down to the pub for lunch. Saturday was Ben’s day to unwind, read the paper, watch a little sports on the big screen. Everyone knew it.  So, he was surprised when Stan burst into his reverie.

“Ben, Thank God you’re here!  You have to help me!  People need to be warned!”  As he spoke, Stan threw himself into a chair across from Ben and dropped his head into his hands.  He looked as if he hadn’t slept in days.  He was obviously agitated and Ben got over being surprised enough to reach out to his friend.

“It’s okay, we’ll fix whatever is broken.  Just try to calm down and tell me what’s wrong.”

The man that raised his head looked haunted. He reached out his hand and dropped a thumb drive on the table.

“He figured it out.” He whispered, “Then he got proof.  He trusted me.”

Ben waited.  He knew his friend.  He knew he needed to tell his story in his time.  But Ben felt a gentle unquiet seep into his mind. This was not one of Stan’s pranks, he was scared, terrified.

Stan slowly looked around the room.  Only well-known regulars were in attendance.  He heaved a sigh.

“I don’t know how much time I have before they get here but you have to get the word out.  The WiFi is free.”

Ben chuckled, “Well, yeah!  That’s what we all wanted.  Free WiFi for everyone!”

Stan shook his head.  “Don’t you get it?  Don’t you understand?  They are listening!”

Ben lifted his glass of ale. “Okay, I’ll bite, who’s listening.”

“The computers.”

His glass stopped, mid-air.    “What computers?”

Stan sat back in his chair.

“Have you ever wondered how Police can get to a bank robbery so quickly when the silent alarm isn’t triggered?  Or how a traveller who jokes about a high-jacking can be so accurately pinpointed? How about those calls you get where no one speaks.  It’s the WiFi. It’s everywhere.  The computers are primed to react to certain word combination in certain areas.”

Ben heard the words but it was what was not spoken that had him concerned.  It wasn’t Big Brother watching, it was Big Computer listening!

Stan seemed to deflate.  “I have a computer hacker friend who figured it out awhile back. He collected all his data, his proof.  He wanted to take it to a reporter and I suggested you. He gave me a copy.”

Both men looked at the thumb drive.  “Where’s your friend?” Asked Ben.

Stan never raised his head.  “Dead.” He whispered.

An oppressive silence seemed to hang in the air.  Patrons laughed and ate and drank.  The big screen droned on about sports and the world continued to rotate. But something intangible had just happened and it was sobering.

Ben opened his mouth to ask a question when five large, official looking men appeared beside their table.  Stan started to speak as he tried to stand up but a very forceful hand stopped him. Ben started to protest until a badge was place in front of his eyes.  He tried to lean back to read it but it was snapped shut.

Ben was paralyzed.  He couldn’t move, couldn’t react.  He watched in horror as his friend of 30 years was patted down, handcuffed and walked out of the bar in the company of very official looking men.

The message was clear:

The WiFi is listening . . .

Amplexus

I have always found that the best way to get someone’s attention is to make them curious. “What IS that noise?” “What do you mean by that?”  “She did what with whom?”

Your curiosity is peaked isn’t it? The name of this post is actually the Latin word for hug. It is such a little word but it has huge implications. It implies love, affection, concern. It forces a connection between individuals or even groups. It is physical. And right now, we are living in a world that is telling us to be less physical. And the one thing I’m hearing over and over again is that people miss getting hugged.  That’s hugged not mugged! Although, some hugging can feel like a mugging. But I digress.

There is a movie I really enjoy called ‘Love, Actually’. There’s a scene, I think it’s at the beginning of the movie as well as at the end, where you see large groups of people walking up to individuals, to love ones and hugging them. I miss a hug. I miss shaking hands. I miss getting a kiss on the cheek. And I will continue to miss all of this if it means that I am protecting the people I love.

We’ve entered into a new reality where we are learning to show our affection, our caring, without physical touch. It may not be quite as satisfying but we can make it count. We have to. I love my family but I have not been in their physical presence for some time. And I’m okay with that. I love them enough to stay away. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I’m absolutely miserable about it! But I’m a tough old sod and I would rather do the right thing for the right reason.

Let’s be serious. Most of us are not aching all that much. I have food, shelter, entertainment. I am not suffering. My mental faculties are being amused and challenged. Quite honestly, I’m simply inconvenienced. And it seems to me that the people that are mostly inconvenienced are the ones that are complaining the loudest. What about the people on the front lines that are quite literally putting their lives in danger to protect us, care for us? What about the people with loved ones in the hospital that they can’t get to? There are horror stories all over the world but I’m not one of them.

So, I’m going to let my hair grow a little longer. I’m not going to go to the dentist or the mall or the cinema. I’m going to keep away from friends and family. And I’m going to stop complaining about it. I am inconvenienced, nothing more.

 

I Have Forgotten

 

I think I have forgotten

Some memories from my past

So many decades have gone by

I knew they wouldn’t last

 

I’m standing in the kitchen

There’s something I must do

I know that I would do it

If I only knew

 

I hope the ones not kept

Are the ones I’d like to lose

There’s the time I let it out

That is one I’d choose!

 

I think I’ll keep that time

That kinda made me laugh

Oh, then there is the meeting

I had with that giraffe!

 

Maybe I’ll remember

The fun times I have had

So many things that I have done

Things that made me glad

 

I’m standing in the bedroom

And I don’t remember why

Silly little memories

Seem to have gone bye

 

The reason I’m forgetting

May be me getting old

All the years behind me

And my future’s going gold

 

Every day’s a new day

When I’ve forgotten all the rest

Every day is wonderful

And still I think I’m blessed!

I Like Ketchup!

There I said it. It may make me a pariah but I like ketchup.  I like French fries and potato chips, hot chocolate with whipped cream and full milk. I don’t like half fat soy almond substitute.  And speaking of soy… how do they milk it? Do they have teeny tiny ants bent down pulling on a soybean’s gourds? Ha ha ha

I understand the need to eat healthy. I understand it, I don’t necessarily subscribe to it. I ate salads in my 20s and 30s, I drank caffeine free tea. I exercised and was frugal with my sweets. But I never lost the desire for gastronomical pleasure. I never lost the joy of sinking my teeth into a great big, juicy steak. I love red meat! I am so tired of hearing about how bad white bread is when I ate it throughout my entire childhood. I ate fried foods, butter, whole milk . . . The list is endless of things that are now considered bad. Maybe a little bad is good.

We are so caught up with what we should do, that we sometimes forget that everything we think is bad was at one time, considered good. In the future, the things that are considered to be good for you now could end up on that bad list. We keep changing our minds as to the validity of everything around us and then somebody will have a random thought and decide to make it a ‘thing’.  They will then scream loudly across the social media about how good/bad said item is and it will be picked up by other people who believe deeply in the person that screams the loudest. And then we will have a new ‘thing’.

We make snap decisions about everything around us and then swear up and down that it’s the truth. What is the truth? What I believe to be the truth may simply be my perception. Another person may believe the truth to be something else. Yes, I know science can prove one way or the other but even then, there is a bias. Many years ago, a scientific analysis was done on city water that was considered to be the cleanest in the United States. Tests came back and said that that water caused cancer. Thank goodness this was before social media. Because it was proven, eventually, to be inaccurate.  The area that was served by the water was so large there were simply more people.  More people, more cancer. But they didn’t take that into account. The water did not cause cancer. Fortunately, hysteria did not ensue.

Social media is a wonderful tool. It can also be a dangerous platform. Remember the squeaky wheel? People tend to believe whoever is screaming the loudest for the longest period of time. The truth is not the issue.

 

Seasonal Changes

I know I posted this last year but I like this story and there are a few amongst you who may not have seen it.  So, sorry and enjoy!

Lea looked around her and smiled.  Life was good.  She felt as if she was on top of the world.  Which in fact, was not too far from the truth.  She was high enough to look down on the teeming masses and feel superior.

A gentle breeze moved around her and she shivered in delight.  With the sun on her face and the faintest wafts of air to keep the bugs at bay, there was no other place Lea would have preferred to be. Here she could while away the days in thought and feeling.  The whole experience was a hedonistic surplus of sensation.

It is dangerous to spend all of one’s time in the near-sighted pursuit of just one ideal.  With the passage of time comes change.

Lea woke one morning to a strange feeling of fear.  She really didn’t understand the sensation but she was sure she didn’t like it.  Carefully she glanced around her.  Everything seemed unchanged.  The people she could see were scurrying about their daily lives. The sun was in the sky, the wind was quiet but still there.  It had rained over the last few days but that was not unusual and it even made the world seem a little crisper, more alive.  But something was different.

Lea didn’t live in her little aerie alone, she had neighbours.  When she finally deigned to actually acknowledge them, she discovered that they had changed.  Perhaps they had spent too much time in the sun because they were definitely a different colour.  Not an unpleasant shade of red but it did depend on your tastes.  Once again Lea felt superior.  She wasn’t going to change, not her.

There are few inevitabilities in life, death and taxes not withstanding.  The passage of time can never be halted no matter how much we may want it to and with that passage also comes change.  We can rail against it all we want but change happens.

It had been a few weeks since Lea had first noticed the changes in her neighbours and she was horrified to see that they seemed to have accepted it.  It must be because they were old, past their prime.  Not like her.  Although, in the last few weeks she had been feeling a little tired, not her usual perky self.  It must be the weather.  The wind was blowing a little harder and the sun wasn’t nearly as warm as it had been.  Lea was sure that it would all pass and that one day soon everything would be back to normal.  It had to; she wouldn’t accept anything else.

The next day Lea woke feeling cold and sore.   She made the effort to look around her and noticed that all of her neighbours had gone.  She was alone.  The people below were fewer and those she could see were not enjoying the day like they used to, they seemed to be in a hurry.  It is hard to feel sanctimonious when you are alone.

A few days later Lea did not wake up.  The wind was blowing hard and crisp. The sun seemed lower in the sky, almost as if it too was finding it difficult to rise in the morning.  The warm days of summer had come to an end and the cool winds of change had brought the autumn.  With her many neighbours Lea now formed a blanket of leaves beneath her cherished trees.  The season had changed once more.

-the end-