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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


Banner photo
Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Did you have a "safe summer"?

School is back in session, Labour Day has come and gone, and finally the annoying messages on signs in front of schools, churches and some businesses reminding you to "Have a safe summer" have been replaced. Several local schools had "Have a safe summer" displayed out front for the entire months of July and August. One school went further and said "Have a safe summer and don't drink and drive." A church down the road told us to "Have a blessed and safe summer".

When did this become so common? What happened to "Have a fun summer", or an "enjoyable" or "relaxing" one? I don't like being reminded that, if I'm not constantly vigilant, my vacation might kill me. This is, to me, a manifestation of an unfortunate Canadian tendency to always see the dark lining in every silver cloud. We are always looking for reasons to not do things, not take risks, not to be different. And as for summer, just to be on the safe side, don't have fun. Stay out of that swimming pool - it's full of E. coli. By the way, do you know how many Canadians are maimed every year in drunk barbecuing accidents?

Our attitude to our government is a more complex example of this same phenomenon. Let's not get involved - we're Canadians, we don't want anyone hurt. Lets get the government to regulate all risky behaviour to save us from taking personal responsibility for our own safety. How many times have we been told by some level of government that we have to make sacrifices or do inconvenient or unpleasant things as a society because the alternative is not safe, and anyway, if it saves one life, it's worth it? Mandatory bicycle helmets are a good example, or banning perfume in public buildings, or prohibiting peanuts in schools.

We might as well put signs up that say "Don't get too cocky, it could all go to hell at any moment." If I had a sign in front of my house, every summer I'd say "It's only warm in this country for three months of the year - loosen your tie and have a beer, for crying out loud."

1 comment:

Dr. WhoAmI said...

.

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."