My New Reality…

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” – Gaylord Nelson

Not sure what woke me up this morning, the construction, the heavy pounding of the rain (will this winter ever come to an end) or the sharp pulse moving up and down my arms like a 12 string classical guitar with all 12 strings out of tune.  Today is definitely a three pill day, narcotics be damned.  Growing up in a hospital you adopt the philosophy of better living through chemistry early.  On the upside I’m waking up.

Got a lucky break late morning with a few hours of sunshine so used the time wisely and hit the Save-On.  So I am well stocked in anticipation of the next four days of rain.  I have started paying more attention to the weather reports and less attention to the news (with the exception of the BC election) these days.  I know during the rainy time my body behaves like a badly tuned and out of sync garage band.  But again at least I woke up which is more than two good friends did in the last week.  Rest in peace Liz and Lance, your time is done and your suffering has past.  My condolences to their loved ones.

I have been putting a lot of thought into the CBC story I had shared recently.  I put so much thought into it I contacted the author, CBC’s Donna Carreiro.  More on that contact to come…meanwhile her article actually woke me up.  I started thinking of my own situation and did a bit of my own research.  My descent into wheelchair dependence was gradual with the biggest part happening after moving to BC.  A whole new set of medical professionals to get to know and me working from the assumption that the fallout of polio was understood.  For the record, I do not have polio.  Polio is a virus that runs its course, does its damage and then it’s gone.  The damage done is the outcome of polio, the residual is not polio.

No medical professional ever mentioned post-polio to me.  I was aware of it but with limited knowledge.  The closes medical rational I ever received for increasing wheelchair dependence plus symptoms like quicker to fatigue was the “strains of a life time of walking on crutches”.

gainpainThe idea that my medical team (I call it a team but it’s really a pathway of referrals so that health “administration” can call itself a system) wouldn’t understand polio never entered my mind.  When you’ve lived your entire life with polio you think everyone knows, you know the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees”.  This is the problem with assumption rather than critical thinking.

When I think about it I knew few people of my generation in 1967 who were aware of the devastation caused by Spanish Flu.  Fifty years later why should I expect those generations behind me be anymore aware of a disease we basically eradicated in Canada fifty years ago.  Some realizations can be painful but needed to avoid future pain.  I have now come to grips with the idea that post-polio has played a role in my advancing decrepitude.  After over forty years of fighting for inclusion and acceptance the posts have been moved and I have to adjust.  Welcome to the my world of accommodation…unfortunately I have watched while the BC Liberals have slowly eroded a good chunk of the advances made. Continue reading “My New Reality…”

And Yet We Judge!

As a user of Facebook, Twitter and many of the social media venues available today I see a wide variety of expressions.  To me nothing is more important than the ability to express ones self.  That does not translate into the right to denigrate others or make outrageous statements because you disagree with the ideology.  I will fight almost to the death over someones right to their belief with the understanding that my support is not dependent on my adoption of that belief.  The same way I don’t expect everyone to adopt my belief system.  I use social media to share my beliefs, not recruit converts.

Anybody who is familiar with any of these social media venues knows full well how atrocious some expression can be.  Lets face it with Twitter you only have 140 characters, not words, to make your point.  People get quite creative when it comes to getting their message out.  This is how slang happens.  According to a recent article in Time Magazine Merriam Webster in 2014 has added 150 new words to their collegiate dictionary and this includes additional definitions to old words.  Oxford Dictionary updates their online content every three months to include new words being used or words with additions to their definitions.

Our language is changing however this should not be a surprise to anyone.  The English language has been evolving (some would say devolving) for centuries.  I suspect if Geoffrey Chaucer showed up today he would need the assistance of a translator to maintain a conversation.

Will Smith's insight on emotional control
Will Smith’s insight on emotional control

So when I see my generational language police start commenting on how poorly the newest generation entering the workforce speak simply because they have adopted the current slang  of their peers I question.  Who are we to judge?  No wonder twenty year olds want little to do with the over fifty crowd.  The one’s in that demographic have often told me they are being spoken down to “all the time”.

This flashes me back to when I was that age.  I have a hard time imagining where our language would be if social media had existed.  Words like “cool”, “groovy”, “far-out”, etc. drove my parents nuts.  Those same words defined that generation.  They didn’t make us stupid, uneducated or lazy.  Most of my peers adopted the philosophy contained in the attached picture of Will Smith.  This didn’t make them renegades or outcasts, just a generation of people who were going to write their own rules or modify the existing ones to work for a changing world.

The same people who were condemning our language habits were also telling us how this “rock and roll” music was devil music.  As a generation we just wanted to be part of a community we could relate to.  We used or created the slang of the day.  I didn’t have somebody sitting there telling me “cool” was a weather term or that “far-out” was a descriptor of distance.  I was adopting terminology that made me a part of that generation.

I don’t mind the grammar police pointing out that I should be using “their” rather than “they’re” in context or the difference between “then” and “than”.  But I’m not going to judge somebody because of their desire to use terminology that is important to their generation.

Before you use social media to judge remember where we came from.  We are all part of a bigger community and as long as we segment ourselves we will have tragedies like the recent attack on Charlie Hebdo.  If we don’t start respecting each others role in the community we will just continue to perpetuate an environment rife with discord.  You want to correct my grammar fine but don’t ridicule me because I use the slang of a generation.

Just one man’s opinion!