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So, anything new, folks?
That’s my twisted new opening line I’m using these days when reaching out to everyone during these times. But that is my “human behaviour” in the face of adversity, which will be the topic of my next blog you’ll find here or on our team Facebook page next week. That blog will focus on providing the life experience I’ve dealt with when faced with adversity that some can’t even imagine…..
For now, though, this week’s blog is focused on the current Human Behaviour we’re witnessing throughout the spectrum – social media, online, the news, the politics and even face-to-face interactions.
Before I get rolling into this, anyone who knows me well, knows I’m somehow capable of fitting seven “F-bombs” into a three-word sentence. Normally when I write these blogs, or anything for that matter, especially when I’m passionate about the subject, I have to review the piece in its entirety and “reword” some portions to exclude the heavy use of profanity for public and professional domains.
As you may have seen in my last blog, I basically finished the message with my inaugural blogging “F-bomb” as I felt it was required to send home the message. So, as a disclaimer, like we all hope with our current monthly payments, I’m putting a “pause" on my politically correct way of polishing my writing for the short term. But, let’s face it, I’m sure the kids at home and even the tightest-of-asses out there have slipped out a “fuck” or two this week…..
Back to the topic at hand – Human Behaviour when faced with a crisis. And, at quick glance, it’s evident that some are rapidly shedding that persona of “Canadians are too nice”. We are beginning to see the true nature of people as we begin to recognize this duration of self-isolation is going to be a lot longer than expected. Some people often think I’m an asshole because I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don’t pull any punches. But I'm getting a little worried that I’ll no longer be recognized as such in today’s climate while people begin to surpass me, in spades, in pure assholeness.
I’ve broken this blog down into categories as it’s important to review each one individually. The unfortunate part is, by the time some readers get to this, there may be an even greater number of categories that have surfaced where people continue to devolve into animals, while others become angelic with their efforts.
Fear Not – The Self-Righteous Have Arrived!
Where, oh where, would we be without the wonderfully self-righteous? They always know what’s best for everyone as they hold themselves in such high regard while belittling the masses. Just how we would ever know how wrong we are at making our own personal choices without these morally superior people telling us?
Like everyone, I’m actively following the news these days. My days used to be more business news categories, any major city/provincial/federal government announcements related to housing and a glancing blow at the other “blood thirsty, click-bait” headlines to see if there’s anything entertaining to enjoy with my morning coffee.
But, now, holy shit. As we know, every single article is about COVID-19, or somehow “stretch-goal” related to it. The real story starts when you get to the end of the article as the comment sections are alive with the self-righteous. And their incredible use of hindsight to demoralize anyone else in their wake is simply impressive.
We all know NOW that those returning home from outside Canada have a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place. But when our Prime Minister looked directly at Canadians abroad and said, “it’s time for you to come home”, there were none of these protocols in place. Was it a mistake to do that without having tougher restrictions and mandatory requirements in place before sending that message? Of course it was, but we only know that NOW. As I mentioned in my “We’re All Doomed” blog, governments are trying their best to stay ahead of this while still keeping peoples’ civil liberties’ in mind. Therefore, these aren’t “mistakes” at the time, they were the flipping of a coin in a fast-paced environment that bounced the wrong way.
So, as a result, a ton of Canadians did what they were asked to do by their leaders. (I elected to not use a “boatload” of Canadians in that line out of sensitivity for the now destroyed cruise industry.) They did exactly what they were told to do only to return to the onslaught from the self-righteous. They’re being called “selfish” for going on a vacation or living abroad during harsh winter months. They’re being told, “they should’ve known better” when they got on a plane to travel before any travel advisories were put in place. They’re being ostracized like lepers upon their return home when people say, “they just came home but I saw their kid in their own backyard building a snowman” well before the message changed from “stay home and don’t come in contact with anyone else” to “do not leave your house under any circumstances”.
But those are just the lighter fare of the unusual dish of non-Canadian being served up. Some commenters have been adamant that these returnees, at the behest of government, be placed in warehouses at the airports under military guard. Seriously. One commenter even went as far to say, “they should be chained to their toilet for 14 days”. Wow. You are truly a self-righteous asshole.
I get it. We NOW know that travel is likely responsible for the introduction to Canada. How else does anything get from China or Europe or the U.S. into Canada? But the border wasn’t closed until well after the first introduction and all we needed was one.
As we’re discovering during this, every action we take today, we don’t see the reaction for 10-14 days. Therefore, the current skyrocketing of cases in Canada can likely be attributed to everyone that was asked to return home at once, funneled into tight spaces on planes, sat in cattle-call line ups in customs, and then headed out into Canada to find their way home from the major airports – taking connecting flights, spending overnights in hotels, driving or taking cabs home and stopping for gas, food, to say “hi” to the grandkids along the way, etc.
Again, we’re all acting and reacting daily to the everchanging landscape, but it seems the self-righteous commenters online and in social media have had this all figured out for quite some time – using heavy condescension as though this is the 7th time they’ve gone through a worldwide COVID crisis. It must be so nice to be so much wiser than everyone else while hiding behind a fake name passing judgement on others without knowing their full story.
Yet, ironically, these people could easily be community spreaders with no symptoms as they’re lined up at Costco to buy their 15 year supply of toilet paper…..
But, to be fair, you can’t have books lined up on the mantel without a bookend at each end keeping them in place. The self-righteous aren’t only those that live in the shadows online behind fake account names, they’re also the jackasses that were ignoring the health officials and governments’ requests of going into self-isolation upon returning home.
These people definitely fit the high & mighty persona. They come back on a crammed plane, funnel through customs without keeping their distance from others, check off the box that they “acknowledge they have to self-quarantine” and head home. Instead of following the advice, they drop their suitcase and head out to the bank, the grocery store, stop in to see the family and then head over to their buddy’s garage for a couple cold ones to have a few laughs about their trip.
These beauties are the ones who have transferred this from a battle of travel cases to now a battle of community spread. These are the people that have the 70-year-old from Florida, who goes straight home and isolates for 14 days, being ostracized and lambasted as “selfish” by her friends and neighbours. These people are the ones that have created the mandatory quarantine for travelers and, most likely, the entire country lockdown soon to come as cases continue to spike.
As of this moment, thankfully, the self-righteous are the outliers from the majority. But these bookends seem to be squeezing closer and closer as the days progress. And, as communities begin ramping up their “snitch on your neighbour” protocols, we’re going to see more and more uncharacteristic dissention among Canadians unfold.
Deny, Deny, Deny
This group could also be included in the Self-Righteous category, but I thought it reasonable to give them their own space on here.
“It’s just a flu” or “more people die from the flu” are some of the ongoing excuses we hear from this group. Or, even worse, this is where you see the birth of some of the conspiracy theorists rearing their heads. (Spoiler alert, there’s more on conspiracy theories to come!)
The members of this illustrious group make these comments of denial and then go on to flaunt the recommendations as though they’re invincible to this. They’re young, so they don’t have to worry about it. They’re only going to have dinner and drinks with friends they know well, so all will be fine. We’re even still seeing some in our industry that are claiming “we’re an essential service, so I can still show houses as long as I have hand sanitizer”. Regardless of where they fit in there, they all have a similar mindset - “meh, whatever, if I get it, I’ll just stay in bed for a few days and be fine. Otherwise, it's no big deal”
This is not the flu. Whether it is was constructed as viral weapon is irrelevant at this point. Just cause you’re young doesn’t mean you won’t pass it on to someone who isn’t or can’t handle it. This is not business as usual for anyone – essential or not. This IS a big deal.
I asked the question before, but here’s a few more. If you knew you could end up killing your friend while having a beer together, would you do it? What if there was a chance you killed their kid, their parent, their grandmother or their neighbour by having that dinner party? Would you still go on business as usual trying to make that paycheque if the possibility of death applied to you, your family, your client, their family or the next person that walked in afterwards?
Or, how about a straightforward question – do you feel your actions are necessary or essential enough that you believe they’re more important than the life of someone else?
The deniers are a dangerous group. Very dangerous. Their laissez faire attitude towards this will not only cause a wider spread of damage to everyone else, it will cause this to be prolonged even longer than we are all hoping it will be.
Everyone makes their own choices in life. But the choices you make should never include threatening the life of another person. If you want to continue to not believe it, do us all a favour and stay home for now. When this is all over, we’ll give you the podium to show us how wrong we all were and that this was just a regular flu.
Partison Politics Are Back!
Again, referencing my “We’re All Doomed” blog, we had such a nice stretch of non-partisan cooperation from our politicians. They all wanted to help and support each other to make sure the people saw them as one voice, standing arm-in-arm singing Kumbaya, helping Canadians on a daily basis while they head into battle against that microscopic foe we know as COVID-19.
The Liberals got all parties in the House of Commons to come together to quickly pass the initial relief package they had announced to Canadians. And the parties all agreed to a quick passage based on Trudeau’s announcements to us. Until, that is, the Liberals tried to slide in provisions giving them unadulterated, unfettered and unlimited reach to tax and spend anyway they wanted until Dec 2021.
I’m pretty confident almost everyone in Canada is watching Trudeau’s daily presser. He’s been doing a solid job in the face of this and was gaining some good ground against even his harshest critics. But I’m pretty confident not one Canadian can say they heard him announce the condition that, to get this support package, Canadians had to grant him sweeping authoritarian powers.
Maybe it was just a busy day and he accidentally skipped that page of the prewritten statement he was reading from. I won’t go as far as to say that maybe Trudeau feels “Canadians experienced the announcement differently”, but the information about this attempted power grab was never brought to anyone’s attention until moments before the parties were to vote on it.
Even the staunchest Liberal supporters may admit this was a bad play during a time of such political cohesion. And, whoever authorized this attempt to take advantage of a crisis to seize the House of Commons should be ashamed. Sure, there are probably some Liberal supporters out there that will say, “bullshit, it was the opposition parties that held this up”. If that is your opinion, please let me know the last time the NDP and Conservatives were both on the same page for anything, let alone Singh and Scheer putting aside their utter disdain for each other and acting like teammates. That tells a much different story.
But, again, there are bookends to every mantel. Although Trudeau and the Liberals were wrong with that partisan play, they, in turn, reopened that mixed can of common one-line zingers and finger pointing that politicians love to injest. Scheer wasted no time in using the "we're not giving them a blank cheque" zinger and wagging his finger in condemnation of the government’s response to the crisis thus far as being too slow, not enough, etc. This is not the time for partisan political games whether or not the “but he started it” sandbox rule applies.
Keeping the government accountable is 100% the opposition parties’ duty. And the minority government worked the way it should. But trying to win cheap politic points on the back of one bad play during a crisis and deploying hindsight vision as the basis for your arguments is not.
So, as Canadians, our extremely narrow window of non-partisan politics and cooperation of the parties may have come to an abrupt halt. But at least we had some unity for a brief moment that may offer a glimmer of hope that the post COVID-19 Canada might be non-partisan.
The Expert Disagrees
Oh, the media. Not unlike politicians, they actually looked like they were realizing everyone was on to their schtick before this shit hit the fan.
After fueling the HYSTERIA-20 I talked about in my previous blog, causing widespread panic and mass hoarding of supplies, they seemed to settle into a more “keep the peace” approach. Not sure if they were instructed to do this from the governments or not, regardless, it was the right play. They toned down the rhetoric and started asking people to be conscious of washing their hands, they repeated story after story that the supply chains for food and essentials would not run bare to halt the rush on panic buying and, most importantly, they started to emphasize the portion they were burying in their stories that, for most people, symptoms are mild-to-moderate and they will fully recover.
Now, with self-isolation being so widespread in Canada, it's even nicer to see the positive news stories they’re sharing – people singing from balconies, messages of positive support in windows for neighbours and people enjoying socializing together though messaging platforms. All really good stuff to help people realize not every Canadian has turned asshole.
But, the bi-partisan reporting was short lived. We’re now seeing the media headlines turning back to fit their narrative. They’re now back to finding these “experts” from the deep corners of the web that agree with their storyline. They’re back to not asking the tough questions of some leaders, while taking anything another says out of context.
Nothing gets the press more excitable than the leader to the South. And, for some bizarre reason, many Canadians feel the need to be fully engulfed in these discussions and waste their lives arguing about it.
Trump has horrible hair, definitely sounds like an idiot often (whether in person or on Twitter) and does not at all know how to be politically correct.
On the flip side, he’s not a politician. He doesn’t pull punches, wears his heart on his sleeve and and doesn't care who's tree he rattles. He doesn’t avoid questions by regurgitating the same canned response over and over and often answers them so bluntly that the PC crowd see it as offensive. There are definitely cases where it is warranted, however.
Because of his directness with responses, he gets absolutely impaled by the media who doesn’t like him. He makes a stupid comment, off the cuff because he’s not reading from a script, and trips over his own feet without the preprinted help. The CNN’s of the world pounce on it and take full advantage of the one sentence out of the two minute response to alter the context and amplify it to suit their message to help sell commercial slots for "The Situation Room". Yes, some of it is justified, but not of all it should be believed as fact based, unbiased journalism.
Back in Canada, most are cognizant of the fact that the mainstream media (CBC, CTV, TorStar, etc) are left in their partisan leaning. They don’t ask the tough questions of left leaning leaders and occassionally it seems like they even lob in some soft questions for Trudeau to knock out of the park for soundbites they can use on the evening news. Then they purposely avoid including any potentially critical responses from other parties that may not fit within their storyline. Although, when it’s a party on the other side, they’ll always seek out that opposition party member or that “expert” for their comments.
But, on the other bookend, we do have the right leaning media as well. It was almost shocking to see Toronto Sun posting positive stories about the Feds at the onset of this. But then the door opened a crack with the aforementioned Emergency Bill draft release and they quickly devolved into their old ways of skewering Trudeau and the Liberals for every decision ever. Like the left media, they find the right leaning "experts" to disagree with the goverment directives, just like we see Fox down south when they can always find an “expert” from some “no one knows where the hell it is” school or organization that confirms everything The Donald said was 100% accurate.
I’ll repeat what I said before, wouldn’t it be nice to get factual, unbiased news? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the media hold all our parliamentarians to account, regardless of party stripe, and force them to directly answer the hard questions without the usual dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge and regurgitation of the scripts? Wouldn’t it be nice if opinion pieces weren't being portrayed as actual "news" stories?
Possibly, in time, we'll be able to look back and analyze whether the lifespan of this chaos could have been shortened had the media stuck to reporting the facts and forced the politicos to look us in the eyes and directly answer the questions truthfully. For now, only the self-righteous know that hindsight will prove this in the future.
COVID-19 WAS THE SECOND SHOOTER!
A week ago I was saying, “come on, you can’t seriously believe this shit” with the conspiracy theories that have been popping up. Now, I’m already numb to the amazing stories that are surfacing.
Why don’t we just say COVID-19 was the director of the fake moon landing? And COVID-19 is the offspring of Bigfoot and Lochness. Maybe COVID-19 was responsible for flattening the Earth. Did you know, if you listen to COVID-19 backwards, it's a message from the devil?
No, those aren’t real ones I’ve seen, but I won’t be shocked when they come out.
Some of these conspiracies are blatantly absurd. But some require some thought and investigation to refute. And these are the most dangerous.
There are too many people out there that digest anything they see on social media. Some are more careful than others, but some simply hit “share’ the second they find something that is HUGE and people must know! And, in our current state, the number of people on social media has exploded exponentially adding to the danger.
Here’s a theory for everyone – don’t worry about it right now and just do your part by staying home. When this is all over, there will be a ton of analysis, finger pointing and blame going around. There will be investigations and there will be ramifications for how this started and how it was handled. Will we ever hear the complete story? Probably not.
The reason there are conspiracy theories is based on what we’re being fed from the powers that be that often leaves gaps in their story. Whether it’s for “national security”, to avoid being seen as not politically correct or just because there is an underlying issue they don’t want to share with us, The Great Unwashed, to protect their own asses, these become flashpoints for these stories to take off.
Add to this the fact that some people have too much time on their hands (especially these days) to create websites, edit video clips into one and write long, vaguely detailed stories that try to connect all the dots (such irony as deep as I'm into this currently), there is too much bullshit fueling additional bullshit, that fuels bigger bullshit and then people ending up inhaling a pile of shit and think it smells great.
Moral of the story – we’ll find out some of the answers for all this after the fact, but don't add fuel to the fire by giving these any legs online. You can rest assured that the self-righteous probably already know the outcome, the politicians already know it’s the other party’s fault and the media knows not to ask their favourite about it, while railroading the “other guy” about it.
DRUNK HOMESCHOOL TEACHER FIRED
Like others, I’ve scrolled far more than I ever have through social media these days. But there is so much stuff getting posted, it’s hard to keep up. And I’ve been adding to the pile more frequently than usual as well.
I have to acknowledge the IMPRESSIVE, hilarious memes that are being created. Honestly, hats off to the beautiful minds out there who create these pieces that tickle our funny bone while we’re scrolling through all the other noise. I’ve actually been brought to tears laughing hysterically at some of these. Bravo. And thank you for the relief.
Then there’s the positive messages of support for everyone involved. And the posts of assisting politely in spreading the word. And the messages of love, compassion and care so that no one thinks this is only their cross to bear.
But, of course, these are still open platforms where two of the previous groups are running rampant – our conspiracy theorists and the self-righteous. We see these conspiracy posts spreading like wildfire thanks to people doing no research on what they’re sharing. And then the self-righteous, not exclusive to any specific post, telling us how wrong we all are.
I especially love the assholes who throw out comments like “what are you doing? Quit being selfish. You’re supposed to be in Canada, and you’re supposed to be social distancing! Get home now and quarantine for 14 days!” Upon further review, most of us saw that it was a “TBT” (Throw Back Thursday) post of the poster golfing in Arizona from 2018.
Folks, we’re in this for a longer haul than you’re being told. We’ve got to stay positive, supportive and lighthearted in these domains we all “share”. We have to ignore the self-righteous from telling us what’s best for us and we have to avoid letting conspiracy theories gain any momentum.
Rather, share with everyone that you've now had your 9th diet cheat day in a row.
I AM NOT CHARLES MANSON
So, in an effort to get fresh air and get some exercise, I try to go for a good hike every day. I find it so valuable for peace of mind. A chance for me to be alone with no COVID-19 opinionated news, no conspiracy theories scrolling by my eyes and no comments from the self-righteous making me want to reach through the screen.
I head out with a bottle of water in one hand and my phone with my favourite playlist in the other. I hike at a good pace and often come up with the stuff you're reading now, not even realizing my hike is done sometimes. And, up until two weeks ago, I’d pass the usual suspects that I shared the path with that I’d see at the same time every day with a “how’s it going?” or “good afternoon.”
Now, the path is busier with more people getting out for exercise. But, now, with social distancing, people are almost jumping into the bush or into traffic just to stay away from me. I approach people, keeping my distance, of course, where I give the usual greeting only to have them looking at me like I’m a serial killer. But not just me, everyone is looking at everyone like this.
I get it. I’ve been “hoarding” razors lately. (aka – why waste time shaving these days?) I understand I’m a little scary looking to begin with. But the switch flipped with COVID-19 and now everyone is scared shitless of each other. It's ok for us all to have our spidey-sense up these days and be way more cautious than we normally go about our daily lives. But no health official has said you can get infected by saying, “good afternoon” and I highly doubt there are any cases of community spread that were caused by smiling at someone.
Take some deep breaths, at least six feet away from someone, and get back to being the overly polite Canadians we are. You know the saying - smiles are contagious, but it's the good type of community spread we need right now.
STEPPING ON UP!
Fear not - t’s not all despair and assholeness that is ramping up. In the midst of all this, we’re also seeing the absolute best of Human Behaviour shining through.
We’re seeing exhausted health care professionals continually finding their second wind. We’re seeing the supply chain workers punching in without knowing when they’ll punch out. We see the cleaners willing to put their hands on and into areas that most of us wouldn’t even consider getting within two meters from these days. We’re seeing businesses stopping their profitable product production lines to completely shift gears to make affordable products for everyone. And this is only a short list of all those doing extraordinary things for all of us.
We see the people, mentioned before, on balconies singing to their neighbours, we’re seeing people volunteering to help those far less fortunate than probably anyone of us reading this, we see the young delivering groceries to the elderly, we see people helping people that used to not. We’re seeing cities turn into communities again.
These people have never lost their Canadian way and I know we’re all grateful for that. But the best way to show gratitude is to do our part in keeping this country unified.
I AM CANADIAN
Folks, we’re all coming to the conclusion that this is going to linger a lot longer than we all originally thought. This is going to cut deeper than we probably ever could’ve imagined. But we’re all going through it.
And things will get worse. People will start to feel too isolated, people will be getting cabin fever and people will start suffering from mental issues. People will begin feeling the economic fallout. And things on the worldwide web, news and social media will likely start to take a hard downward, negative turn as all these things take hold.
But that doesn’t give any one of us the right to be unCanadian.
Whether you’re old or young, whether you lean politically left or right, whether you've traveled or not, whether you have a room in the house specifically to store toilet paper or not, whether you agree with me or not – the danger to our health and the eventual economic struggles are for real for all of us.
Let’s get back to what the world has always thought of us instead of getting pulled into their webs of division.
Let’s get back to saying “sorry” for anything, even when someone else was in the wrong.
Let’s get back to being supportive of each other in a time of need instead of judgmental about decisions we made before things happened when only hindsight can confirm we were wrong.
Let’s get back to smiling at each other and saying, “how’s it going?” without acting like we’re each carrying a grenade with the pin pulled.
Let’s show the world how Canadians can always pull together as a nation to limit the damage.
Let’s put out the kindergarten field trip rope so everyone can grab on and find our way out of this together.
Let’s get back to being teammates because we’re all on the same team.
True North Strong isn’t just for us to come together for NBA playoff runs.
Stay home, stay healthy and stay Canadian.
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