Amazing Intelligence in Animals—the Pig

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”  —Winston Churchill

If you’re like the average person on this planet, you haven’t spent much time wondering what animal will dominate the world once humanity has managed to destroy itself and leave our planet up for grabs for the next best host. In fact, I’ll bet that you haven’t spent even a minute wondering about that!

But, for the moment, let’s suppose that, last night, after you’ve exposed yourself to an hour’s worth of evening news with its threats and warnings and shortfalls about how we’re in danger of annihilating ourselves, you felt a sudden needed a break from all that negativity, so you stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and gaze up at the vastness of the night sky, with its Milky Way and the trillions of other stars winking and blinking back at you—and wondered—if mankind did manage to obliterate himself off the world, what animal would be next in line to step forward and take their opportunity at making the world a livable place, and hopefully, do a better job of stewardship than we did?

If you guessed the lowly pig, you’d be in the right top-ten pick. According to Weird Nature, the pig is seventh in line as being the smartest primate on earth! Pigs have been known to outsmart dogs and considered by many experts to be on equal footing with the Chimpanzee for intelligence.

A male pig is called a boar and a female is referred to as a sow. A group of young piglets is referred to as a drift, and an older group of pigs are called a sounder of swine.

I know, as you’re enjoying your second helping of barbequed pork chop, grilled to perfection on your newly purchased back yard barbeque, the intelligence of a pig isn’t exactly what’s on your mind during that epicurean moment. But, did you know that pigs are considered smarter than dogs?

“It’s when you live in a pigsty that the pigs start to complain about who they have to share with.” —Anthony T. Hincks

And did you also know that the popular belief “dirty as a pig,” is false? Pigs, if given half a chance, are among the cleanest of animals in nature. Weird Nature claims that a pig, even beginning with their young piglets, will refuse to defecate anywhere near the area where it lives or eats. That’s better cleanliness than many of our other domesticated animals!

Pigs are social animals, living complex lives, and readily learn from each other through observation. They will often try to “work to outsmart each other,” adds Weird Nature. Pigs can be trained to perform numerous functions and tricks, and just like a dog, have been used in stage performances to show off their learned talents.

In their eating habits, pigs can be classed as “opportunist omnivores.” In other words, they’ll generally eat what’s available. The diet of feral pigs is mostly plants and tubers, bulbs, mushrooms and even grass. Feral pigs will also steal eggs from ground nesting birds and will eat lizards and other non-mammals.  Farm pigs that are allowed to live a natural life feed mostly on corn, rice and wheat, or whatever the farmer has available for them.

Similar to dogs and a few other mammals, pigs love to play in mock fighting with each other, and are excellent at walking through mazes to claim their prize at the other end of the maze. They can even manipulate a joystick, or on-screen cursor similar to what chimpanzees can do.

So, the next time you bite down on that perfectly barbequed pork chop, give thanks to the intelligence that you are eating!

“Our difficulties in understanding or effectuating communication with other animals may rise from our reluctance to grasp unfamiliar ways of dealing with the world.” —Carl Sagan

Me and Mortimer—Chapter Six, “Gone Camping”

Well, like I promised, I put my foot down and insisted the family go campin’ with me up at Pine Lake instead of goin’ to Marine Land. The wife didn’t wanna go campin’ with me—sez she’s not one to rough it and sleep outdoors in a tent—Hmph! I guess, like most delicate women, she prefers shopin’ malls and sidewalks instead of fresh air and nature! And the kids—’specially the kids—they didn’t want to go campin’, no way! They had set their heart on visitin’ Marine Land on Vancouver Island, and no amount of persuadin’ or bribin’ on my part could convince them otherwise!

Sheesh! Kids, now-a-days. They just don’t have no appreciation for nature anymore! Anyway, like I said, I put my foot down and told them, it’s my way, or the highway! Even threats of lowerin’ their allowance wasn’t gonna persuade them otherwise.

Turns out, when I gave them that kind of an ultimatum, they preferred the highway. So, come late Sunday night, when I was packin’ my pup tent and fishin’ gear into the car, I decided to give them a final chance: enjoy nature, or eat smog in the city.

Again, they stubbornly chose smog over fresh air! So, come Monday mornin,’ I just started off for Pine Lake all by myself!

Of course, nobody told me that it was a long weekend so there was more campers at the lake than ants in a anthill! I had to drive around for a while, but finally found a spot that was a bit distant from the lake itself. The ground was a bit soggy from last night’s rain, but my pup tent had a waterproof floor, so I wasn’t gonna get wet sleeping at nights—at least I hoped not to get wet.

I just got my tent up and settled down when a guy with one of those god-awful dirt bikes, snortin’ noise and exhaust, comes roarin’ down the trail, almost on top of me, not slowin’ down or carin’ about my safety, and splashes mud all over me and my tent! I jumped up and was gonna grab his bike and throw it in the lake, but he was too quick for me.  He just goes roarin’ off, laughin’ like a insane hyena that had just escaped from the zoo, sprayin’ more mud in my face on the way out.

I forgot to pack some extra water for washing, so I had to walk all the way down to the lake to wash off the mud. Of course, it was dusk and the sun had just set and the night air was gettin’ cool, so after washing myself, I shivered all the way back to my tent where I had forgot my towel. I lit my small camp stove, and it gave me enough heat so I could stop shiverin.’

What a way to end my first day campin’!

I was woke up early next mornin’ by a bunch of noisy crows squabblin’ over some smelly thing they had found near a tree stump. I threw a stone at them and they scattered. I tried goin’ to sleep again, but couldn’t, so since I was awake anyway, I thought I might’s well get dressed and try some fishin.’ Trouble was, a dozen other guys had the same idea, and all the nice spots were already taken. So, again, I had to move up a ways over some slippery rocks before I could get into an area of water that I thought might hold some fish.

Lucky for me, I caught my first fish in less than half an hour of casting! But, now I had a problem. No use me catchin’ more fish, ‘cause I could only pan fry and eat one fish and I didn’t want to quit and go back to my tent so soon so I released that fish back into the water, and baited my hook with a new worm and kept on fishin.’

That was a mistake! Noon came, and I had not caught another fish! A guy just down a bit from where I was fishin’ caught four beautiful, nine-inch-long lake trout, so when he packed up and left I took his spot, hopin’ I’d have the same luck as he had.

Three o’clock, and no luck! The fish just wasn’t biting for me today, and I was startin’ to get a bit tired, standin’ like this in the water in my waders, so I just packed it up and walked back to my tent. Lucky for me, I was smart enough to pack some extra grub—just in case—so I opened a can of Spam and had it for supper, pretending it was a lake trout that I had caught. To help with the taste, and make me feel  better, I even imagined that I had fried it in butter, lightly salted and turned to perfection, over my camp fire.

Evening was turning out to be just perfect. There was no wind, and the lake was calm and smooth as glass, reflectin’ all those nice evening colors of the sunset. God just don’t make more beautiful evenings than like tonight!

But, that nice evening didn’t last long. A bunch of young punks, closer down by the lake itself, decided to have a party! I could see them haulin’ out cases of beer and settin’ them next to a huge fire they had built out of dead tree sticks the lake had washed ashore.

My hunch was right. By midnight, them punks was hootin’ and hollerin’ and makin’ more noise than a bunch of howling banshees at a family reunion!

I guess somebody musta complained to the cops about them, ‘cause it wasn’t long after midnight when two park rangers came by and sorta busted up the party and ordered the punks out of the park.

I started walkin’ down to the punk-party-that-was to add my complaint to the park rangers, but it wasn’t necessary. By the time I got down there, the punks were already on their way out. But, talkin’ to the rangers, I did find out some news I was glad to hear. Remember me tellin’ you about the guy and his dirt bike that nearly ran over me? Well, turns out that he hit a fallen tree just a bit past me and my tent and he and his bike went flyin’ and tumblin’ down through the brushy slope, nearly into the lake itself! He ended up with a broken collar bone and a broken ankle. And I didn’t have to throw his bike into the lake. When he hit that fallen tree, that tree did a better job on his bike than I could have even imagined!

Well, the rest of the week at the lake was pretty quiet. I did catch a few fish and ate them for my supper—I like ‘em best when they’re fried in butter and with a bit of salt on them, so the week wasn’t entirely wasted.

I guess I could mention to you about a little incident that happened on Thursday. Thursday, just before noon, I had caught my fifth lake trout of the week—a real beauty, I might add, only this time I wasn’t gonna be silly enough to throw it back into the water and keep on fishin’ like I did on Monday. No sir, not this time! “Once fooled, shame on you. Twice fooled, shame on me,” I always ses.

I unhooked the fish from my line and carefully laid it on a rock outcrop in the water just behind me and kept on fishin’. Well, not even a minute later—with my luck, wouldn’t you know it—and quicker than a politician can deny he said somethin’ stupid, a sea gull swooped down and snatched that fish off the rock, and before I could turn and grab it back, it and my fish was gone!

“I hope you choke on it!” I yelled and shook my fist at that departing thief. I was so upset I just spit in the lake and quit fishin’ for the day. Lucky for me, I still had one can of Spam left, so I had that for supper!

Lookin’ back over the week, it was disappointing. I got a rash on my arms from all those mosquito bites—and, of course, forgot to bring insect repellant with me to stop ‘em from bitin’ me. I tore a long rip into the seat of my pants from a branch I accidently fell against, so after that, I had to watch that I didn’t expose my backside to anyone I met on the trail, and I accidently spilled into the water the remaining can of worms that I was using to bait my fishin’ pole. All told, I was havin’ a bad week, so decided it was time to get outa here!

When I arrived back home late Sunday night I found my wife and kids had their travel bags all packed and ready to go first thing Monday mornin’.

“You had your holiday, now we’re having ours!” she bluntly told me, without so much as askin’ how I enjoyed my campin’ trip.

“—Oh, and here.” She passed me a postcard that the mailman had delivered to the house. It was from Mortimer.

“Welcome back to work on Monday!” the card read. “I missed our arguments!”

Sheesh!”

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Microplastics

It’s when plastic takes on a life of its own that the food chain will be disrupted.” —Anthony T. Hicks

Sundays are usually a quieter time when I can relax and reflect on the metaphysical things in my life—the moral and spiritual side of living that give value to my being here on earth.

Today, my thoughts turned to the dangerous role microplastics are starting to play in my life. It’s still not quite mainstream media yet, but it’s getting there. One reason, I suspect, why “big media” is still dragging its feet on exposing this problem is because big business—which big media is part of— will be a big looser if we ever start to cut back or replace plastics.

But, I wonder, is all this “ignoring the problem” by media a way of hiding the “wolf in sheep’s clothes?

First, what are microplastics, and why are they dangerous? According to Wikipedia, microplastics “are small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment … the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classifies microplastics as less than 5 mm in diameter.” There are two classifications of microplastics: those that we are purposely creating—Primary Microplastics, like small pellets that are used in packaging and air blasting, or “scrubbers,” used in hand cleansers and facial scrubs.

I’ts when we go fishing for plastic that we wonder where all the fish have gone.” —Anthony T. Hicks

One danger that microplastics pose in their use in air blasting as “scrubbers” on machinery to remove rust and paint is that they are repeatedly reused until they are so small that their cutting power is lost. In that use, they become contaminated with heavy metals that are a health hazard to all living mammals.

Secondary Microplastics are the product of the natural breakdown of plastics in nature—on land and in the sea—as small as 1.6 micrometers (0.00006299 of an inch) in diameter. These microplastics, as they are ingested through our food, are so small that they can easily penetrate stomach or blood vessel linings and enter the body at will, entering our vital organs, where our body can’t control their presence, thus wreaking all manner of havoc.

So, what can I do, personally, to help alleviate this problem? I can start using cloth shopping bags when I go to the grocery store. When I buy a single item in a store, I don’t need the cashier to place it into a plastic bag for me to carry out when I can just as easily carry it holding it in my hand.

When available, I can buy bulk items like cereal, other food mixes and the like, instead of spending a lot of extra money paying for packaged boxes of the product.

Recycling plastics as much as possible is another major way in which we can reduce the amount of plastics in our landfills.

Pick up garbage (that’s mostly made of plastics) irresponsible people discard along pathways, sidewalks or roadways and deposit them in proper garbage disposable units.

Organizations have sprung up that are devoting their time and resources to plastics cleanup, both on land and in our oceans, and my deepest respect and admiration goes out to them for the responsible work of planet-earth stewardship that they have taken upon themselves.

However, just to satisfy our goal to clean up other people’s garbage is not going to save us from extinction! Humanity has to wake up, and each one of us has to take our share of responsibility to restore Gaia to her original, pristine “Garden of Eden” state that we found her in when we first came here.

With a little thought, it’s easy to find more ways to cut back on the use of plastics, but plastics are so engrained in our way of life, it would be almost impossible to completely remove them—at least not in our immediate future.

According to The Independent, global plastic production has increased dramatically. Between 2004 and 2014, the amount of plastic production rose by 38 percent!

The United Nations reports that “[this] is the most dangerous environmental problem facing the world today.”

“Millions of tons of tiny debris from plastic bags, bottles and clothes in the world’s oceans present a serious threat to human health and marine ecosystems,” warns the Independent.

Unless we do something, collectively—and soon— I must ask, who do you think will be the next dominant species on earth after we’ve annihilated ourselves? The Cockroach—again?

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Freedom of Religion

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”—Albert Einstein

Some people can get quite upset when the topic of religion comes up, claiming it to be the biggest superstition that has ever plagued us. I can’t blame them, because I’ve also had some bad experience with so-call “religious” people, so I know how they feel. But in all fairness to the topic, there is—or can be—a world of difference between religion and spirituality, and the various opinions between the both. An incident in my life where I had a run-in with a “religious” person comes to mind.

My first wife and I were considering divorce. My wife’s local Bishop called us in to see if there was a chance at reconciliation. My wife went first into the Bishop’s office, I was standing in the hallway, waiting for my turn to see him. Oh, I should mention that, at the time, I considered myself a devout atheist, and I certainly was not a member of my wife’s church.

While I was standing in the hallway, waiting my turn to see the Bishop, a member of that congregation approached me and started spouting off the advantages of being a Christian—of his faith, in particular. As I kept showing my increased resistance to his claimed “advantages,” he kept getting more forceful in his demands that I needed to “repent” and follow his Jesus: that his religion was the only true religion, and if I didn’t get baptized and confess all my sins before his God, God would punish me, just like he will punish all the other wicked sinners in the world who don’t get baptized into his faith—by throwing me into a pit of hellish-hot fire to which I would be doomed to  for all eternity!

The guy wasn’t aware that I was still in the military at the time, physically quite fit, and certainly not averse to a good fight! Had not some other members of his congregation come and led him away from me, that little runt was rapidly coming “that close” to receiving a very bloody nose for his “missionary” efforts!

“It is one thing to have a ZEAL for God and another thing to have a SEAL from God” ―George Ifeanyi 

Sadly, it is this kind of religious attitude that too many people with feelings of exclusionist zeal have to anyone who is not of their faith, and it is this kind of zeal that not only separates them from the rest of humanity, but also from the true Gospel that Jesus the Christ tried to bring to the world.

I think Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees’ question, as to which the greatest commandment is, quite aptly replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God … and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.” (see Matthew 22:35-39). And as if to finalize his point, Jesus added, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:40). In other words, if what you are doing does not comply with the first two commandments, you’re not teaching,  nor living, the Gospel.

Mankind has been visited by true prophets, under the guise of many names, from very ancient times to more modern understanding that we have towards religion and spirituality. Unfortunately, with the exception of the most historical prophets, they have been stoned, crucified, or burned at the stake!

What is it with people: they refuse to accept happiness—and, in really, that’s what true spirituality is about: happiness. Happiness’ only religion is that physical organization that administers compassion, love, charity and understanding—in other words, joy, to mankind. All other religions are false religions!

“I care how I feel and it is my desire to feel good.” —Abraham Hicks

Happiness is manifested spirituality. When a person finally finds happiness, they instinctively will kneel to its dictates because of their positiveness. Only happiness can grant to its adherents the power to embrace a lonely person and tell them, compassionately, that they are not alone: that they are loved and cherished, like all of God’s creatures are loved.

Hell, and damnation. What a primitive, barbaric concept!

Only those who have found Happiness have the power to lay down their guns and embrace all cultures and beliefs of the world: that all of us are equal in the eyes of God.

What a wonderful world this would be if we would forget our pride and personal grievances, and kneel, in humble submission, to the true Spirituality of the Universe:  Happiness, and make that Spirituality our Religion!

“My path is about joy!” —Abraham-Hicks

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Pigeons

“I don’t mind being a symbol but I don’t want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I’ve seen what pigeons do to them.”  —Tommy Douglas

A few years ago, someone abandoned a pair—one male and one female—Mourning Doves in our neighborhood, and they found their way to my bird feeders. Without even a glance back, they set up shop near my feeders and, today, I have counted an estimate (they move around so much so that I can’t get an accurate count) three dozen Mourning Doves that visit my feeders and their nesting places have spread out to cover most of the area in our small, urban town!

My doves are bluish-grey in color and have a distinct black ring around their neck. Research says that there is a difference between a dove and a pigeon, but they share more in common than differences, and in the case of their intelligence, there is no difference.

Doves and pigeons have been raised as pets by humans for thousands of years and were widely used as subjects of sacrifice to appease the gods and were even employed as message carriers before government postal services replaced them. They are also considered a delicacy in the food isle. If you’re any kind of food connoisseur, you’ve eaten pigeon meat! And who hasn’t gone for a walk in the community park without a bag of popcorn to feed the pigeons?

On the other hand, they are also famous for ‘disgracing’ statues and other public monuments by pooping all over them and are referred to by many as “flying poop machines!” Some folk who really hate pigeons have even gone so far as to accuse them of being dirty and spreading disease. However, this has proven to be untrue. No evidence has been found where pigeons have been responsible for spreading disease, no worse than in any other clean, animal species, but, on the other hand, pigeons have been listed among the top ten species as having super intelligence!

“Pigeons are among the most maligned urban wildlife despite the fact that human beings brought them to our shores and turned them loose in our cities – not something that they chose.”  —Ingrid Newkirk

According to Dr. Becker, in her Healthy Pets, states, “In a classic test of basic intelligence known as the “string task,” pigeons selected the correct string (the one attached to food treats) up to 90 percent of the time. Even more remarkable? The pigeons aced the test “virtually” using a computer touch screen.” In other studies, pigeons have shown remarkable skills in being able to learn abstract mathematical rules. In fact, according to Dr. Becker, “[pigeons] are the only non-humans other than rhesus monkeys with [that] ability.”

In other studies, as reported in Science Daily, “Pigeons can remember large numbers of individual images for a long time, e.g. hundreds of images for periods of several years.” And “Pigeons can be taught relatively complex actions and response sequences and can learn to make responses in different sequences.”

And, who hasn’t heard of the Homing Pigeon with their unique ability to learn routes back to their home from long distances? This homing behavior is different from migratory birds that recall fixed routes at fixed times of the year, although there is some belief that the same mechanisms may be involved. So, salute the pigeon, and the next time you take a walk through your community’s park, armed with a bag of popcorn to feed the pigeons, think of them as being more than just “flying poop machines!”

“My father fought in World War 1 and single-handedly destroyed the German’s line of communication. He ate their pigeon!” —Frank Carson

Me and Mortimer, Chapter five—”My Wife is Still My Boss!”

“Sheesh! What a week!”  I had to work ‘till nearly seven o’clock last Friday night to get all those files put away, and my wife would come and check periodically to make sure I was filin’ them right! When I finally was done, and could go home, I was so tired I didn’t even want supper, nor watch any television. I just went straight to bed. Workin’ overtime—and especially not gettin’ paid for workin’ overtime, is downright torture on a fella’s constitution!

When I have times like last week, I think my wife can be a worse boss than ol’ Jason, my Straw Boss. Sometimes she can be sweeter than a Baskin-Robbin ice cream—’specially to the kids, but when she sets her mind on something, she can demand more respect that her will be done than a muleskinner’s bullwhip on a long haul! And on top of her bein’ my temporary boss, she gives me a warning that I gotta get every piece of that filing done before five every night or no supper and no television!

At first, I tried to convince my wife on my view of things regarding filin’ all those files, and why I wasn’t filin’ them all the time. Like, I sez to her, “what’s the use of filin’ all them files when, in the mornin,’ someone’s gonna come down from the office and take back one or two of them files ‘cause they needs them again that day. I know it don’t happen often, but I remember it has happened,” I tells her, “so I figure, “why bother filin’ any of them in the first place?”

My wife just scowls at me. “Very funny, but no cigar!” I don’t see her laughin’ so why’d she say it was funny? Then snaps, “Get ‘er done, or no supper!” Then turns her back to me and goes over to chat some more with Mortimer.

Oh, and I also gotta tell you, she’s been comin’ in to my office here in the Maintenance Shed real early every day—about three in the afternoon, to make sure I get all the filing done. Sheesh! As if I need someone to tell me how to do my work. Who’s she think I am? Still a kid?

She’s also been getting’ friendly with ol’ Mortimer. When she’s not watching me file, she’s chattin’ away with ol’ Mort about all kinds of things. Last Tuesday Mort even took the time to show her how to properly—at least that’s the way he calls it— sharpen a lawn mower blade. Hmph! As if my sharpenin’ wasn’t good enough for her. Mind you, the way I figures it, a lawn mower blade don’t need sharpenin’ more than once every five years—and we’ve only had our new mower for not even four years, so why’s she taking Mort’s advice instead of mine?

And speakin’ of lawn mowers, I gotta tell you what Mort did last Wednesday. That absolutely took the cake and made me so mad! Mort’s been brownnosin’ to the boss for quite a while already to let him take every Wednesday off so he can go over to some of the senior’s homes in town and cut their lawns for them. Personally, I think it’s just an excuse to get an extra day off of work every week. Anyway, what he does on his day off is his business, but what really got me mad is that he offered to come over and also cut our lawn on Wednesdays! Sure, maybe I don’t cut our lawn as often as it should be cut, and sometimes I have to bribe my oldest kid to cut the lawn for me, but as head of the house I demand that I don’t need no welfare—’specially from Mort! And to make my point even more clear, I like dandelions in the lawn. They’s pretty little yellow spots of sunshine, that add color to my lawn.

Of course, as usual, my wife wouldn’t listen to my superior reasoning, so I just gotta swallow my pride and let ol’ Mort come over every Wednesday and cut our lawn! Sheesh! What an insult!

… Oh gosh! I see by the clock that it’s after two already, and my wife will be here any minute, so I gotta take a few minutes off from talkin’ to you and do some filin.

Be back in a minute.

——————-

There! That’s all done for another day—I mean, the filin.’ There weren’t many files—only about a dozen, so I finished early. My wife even complimented me on the good job that I did. I feel proud of myself!

Because I finished early, and she had some shoppin’ for groceries to do so she could make supper, she didn’t stay around ‘till five like usual, but left early. that gave me a few minutes to myself here in the office to just catch my breath and relax before I can go home. Mort’s still outside replacing some light bulbs in the lamp posts on the company’s parking lot. He uses the company’s cherry-picker to lift him himself up high so he can reach the light fixtures, always careful to strap himself in to the bucket with a safety harness.

Chicken! Thinks he’s gonna fall or something. He tells me he straps himself in all the time ‘cause it’s the company’s safety policy to do so. I still think he does it ‘cause he’s clumsy and scared of falling.

Anyway, I got these few minutes all to myself … sure quiet with nobody else around … Did I tell you that I got a week’s holiday comin’ due me next week. It should be two weeks holiday with pay, but ‘cause I’ve only been with the company for six months, all they’ll give me is a week. I’d like to go campin’ during the holidays up at Pine Lake—maybe get some fishin’ in, but my wife wants to take the kids to Marine Land on Vancouver Island. Should I put my foot down and insist, as head of my house, that what I say, goes? Sometimes I think I should be more of a man and insist on things be done my way!

I can’t get over a feelin’ there’s something I forgot to tell you about what happened between me and Mortimer last week … Let me think …

… Oh, gosh darn, now I remember what it is that I almost forgot to tell you about. It’s the reason why that little runt—straw buss, Jason, couldn’t fire me last week. It’s all really quite simple. You see, my wife’s best friend’s sister, Gertrude, is married to the CEO of this company, and between the three of them women, they convinced the CEO—Arnold, to hire me—and to keep me employed as long as I behaves myself and don’t do nothin’ really bad.

Personally, I think ol’ Arnold’s a bit of a whimp, knuckling under to his wife like that, but that’s his business. Of course, my wife also had to agree to make sure I don’t do nothin’ that would get me fired, so that’s why, this week, she’s sure put her foot down on me, and that’s why the CEO overruled the Straw Boss’s decision to fire me.

All I can say is, this business of my wife bein’ my boss better end soon!

“Sheesh! What a life!”

 

 

A Sunday Chat with Myself—responsibility

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” — Winston S. Churchill

On the 22nd of March, 2018, I watched a Dr. Oz TV show where he and his guests were discussing the problem of so many doctors committing suicide due to being overstressed by trying to keep healthy an increasing sick society. Of course, Dr. Oz is an American show, was dealing with American issues. However, I doubt that it’s much different here in Canada.

Our health clinic where you go to see your doctor is located next to the post office. When I go to pick up our mail, I often can’t find a parking spot in front of the post office, because most of the stalls are taken up by overflow parking at the health clinic. I drive around to the back of the post office to our Town’s public parking area, searching  for a parking stall in the public parking lot—same thing: most of the “up close” stalls are occupied by clinic patients. Frustrated, I often feel that the worst thing our Canadian federal government ever offered its citizens was free health care. Hear me out before you start sending me hate mail.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” —Herophilus

On occasion when I need to go to a drug store, usually to buy my health supplements, I often have to stand in line. This wouldn’t be a significant point to ponder, except that, in a town of not much over 3,000 people, we have four drug stores! Doesn’t that raise an alarm bell that we’re not taking proper care of our health?

I know there is a need for hospitals, doctors, nurses and drug stores in a modern society, and Canada should be very grateful for these fine institutions. For example, one can fall and break a limb, come down with a contagious virus, be in a traffic accident, or have some other physical health issue that is beyond one’s control, and we are so blessed to have these medical facilities nearby. But shouldn’t we be taking at least some responsibility for our general good health?

Unless we have some other serious health issue, pain is generally a sign our body is telling us something is wrong. Wouldn’t we be better off if, when visiting a doctor, we talked to her or him to find out what could possibly be causing that pain in our body, rather than demanding a pill to just mask the pain?

Smoking, excess drinking, unwarranted drug use, improper eating habits are lifestyles well within our personal control. It shouldn’t be up to the doctor to “cure” your bad health practices with a pill—nor should it be the taxpayer’s responsibility to fund such a wrong mindset!

Society has turned teaching moral values to their children over to the school system. I’m not for religion being taught in school, nor moral values. That’s a parent’s responsibility, and if there is a diverse opinion as a result, all the better. It makes for a rich, colorful community, and that’s good! In fact, it’s healthy! Schools are for teaching students the so-called “Three Rs”—reading, writing, and arithmetic, plus social skills to prepare them for adult life.

To further our abandonment of responsibility, we’ve now left it up to law enforcement  to manage our behavioral patterns that make us a safe society. What’s next? … Oh yes, now we’re totally turning over our responsibility for our health to the medical profession and drug companies.

“Doc, gimme a pill. I need a fix!—Oh, and send the bill it to the taxpayer, eh?” We’re so wrapped up in our own self-gratification and irresponsibility we can’t see our possible annihilation as a species that we’re heading for.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates