I penned most of this column eight years ago, however with all the anger and violence going on of late, it seemed a good time to run it again.
Like many Canadians my morning ritual now includes enjoying my second or third coffee while on the internet looking for local weather reports, news, emails …
My morning coffee breaks use to involve a cigarette, cup of java, and a newspaper. Radio was played in the car to and from work, then news on TV at the end of the day. Now-a-days a cell phone, tablet or laptop does it all. I love it!
Online information is quieter. It’s also available when I’m ready – not ‘on the hour’. I probably like that best. On the other hand the information comes with a lot less research, lot more anonymous critics, and little accountability or sensitivity.
Reading headlines recently on various local websites and channels was an exercise in depression and dismay. Like many I admit to being flabbergasted by the irate Kelowna woman berating City Council for painting a crosswalk in rainbow colours and demanding that it be repainted. Clearly an angry and intolerant soul she quickly fuelled a debate on Castanet and elsewhere with her demands and venom.
Her profoundly disturbing diatribe, mean as it was, paled in comparison to the off the wall, relentless bombardment of insults and foul language spouted just the day before by a Conservative supporter on national television. The clip of the arrogant, rude, nasty man verbally attacking news reporters with profanity and slanderous comments rocked even veteran journalists such as myself.
Somewhat dumfounded by the sea of anger and negativity I shook my head at the apparent wasted energy of some folks.
I sat down with the computer prepared to respond with shots and stabs of my own until I read a brief comment, also on Facebook, by well known local newsperson Marshall Jones. His wise words saved me from joining the modern day version of a witch burning.
Jones wrote, “I’ve been asked a dozen times today if we are doing a story on the mindless ramblings of some random woman who has a bigoted opinion about rainbow sidewalks. I see news orgs piling on just for pageviews and controversy for controversy’s sake. I see people sharing this sh**. My answer is no, we are not doing a story on it. Random fools with unfounded opinions is not news and I’m a little ashamed this is what passes for discourse. This is not representative of my city just because a couple of websites think this is worth sharing with their readers.”
Granted, Jones’s retort has its own caustic taste, however the point he makes is sound. Ragging on or publicising someone’s angry vileness hardly serves any valid purpose other than to perpetuate the problem.
Ironically a few minutes later I found another online posting by another journalist and good friend. Sean Connor posted this titled Tips for Men. For sake of space I have deleted a few.
- Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
- Be conscious of your body language.
- Stand up to shake hands and give a firm hand shake .
- Nothing looks more badass than a well tailored suit.
- Never hit anyone unless they are a direct threat.
- Learn to wet shave.
- Shave with the grain on the first pass.
- Take your hat off in a house.
- Compliment her shoes and open all doors. It is still considered polite.
- Brush your teeth before you put on a tie.
- Never wear a clip-on tie.
- Call your parents every week.
- If you aren’t comfortable fake it. It will come.
- Keep a change of clothes at the office.
- When you walk look up and straight ahead, not at your feet.
- Nice guys do not finish last. Boring guys do.
- Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.
- Learn personal responsibility. Bad things happen it is your job to overcome them.
- Do what you need to do because complaining will not speed it up or complete the job.
- Never stop learning.
- Don’t change yourself to make someone happy unless that someone is you.
- If your are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room.
- Buy a plunger before you need a plunger
- Never lend anything you cannot afford to lose.
And I will add another six:
- Smiling is contagious so see what kind of positive energy you can spread every day.
- Keep smiling every day because not only does it make you feel better – it confuses and annoys the hell out of folks who do not like you or wish to remain negative.
- Lose graciously win humbly.
- You ALWAYS have a choice. In everything you do or experience you ultimately make a decision. The choice may not always be easy – but you always have one.
- Forgive yourself, once you have filed the lesson – lesson learned.
- Let death sit on your shoulder and be your adviser.