Politics of Living. Forget about the rest.
|EDWARD OZOG PHOTO|
|Roses, the kind of flower that has nothing to do with this new category of mine.|
If this optimism sounds a little out of character, chalk it up to a few days in wonderful Newfoundland. People are so nice. It reminds me of people in Mexico (minus the drug lords) and in Colombia (apart from the ones who want to kidnap you). I suppose being in Newfoundland brings out my true self who still lives somewhere in North Ontario, where folks are also damned nice.
If your teeth aren't aching yet, read on because this trip helped me decide about an idea I've been pondering for some time. It could be tricky, and I can't say I haven't been warned. When I wrote about driving from Mexico City to Toronto with my cats in the back seat, Don Macpherson, my friend and Quebec columnist for The Gazette, told me I had a one-story limit on cute stories, and I'd hit it. Any more cats or their ilk and I'd forfeit my right to the proud title of political journalist and morph into a sentimental sap. O horror, O Kurtz, O, Don. Really?
But I say you only live once and I'm going ahead with an occasional blog category - very occasional - in which I'll write about decent things people have done for me or others. I've always believed doing something good doesn't count if it's not done existentially which, I suppose, contradicts the meaning of the word. (BTW, loved Gore Vidal's sniping in the June issue of Esquire that Norman Mailer, who liked to say, "It's existential," died "without knowing what the word meant." )
Growing up, a good deed existed only in and of itself, in a black hole as it were, and not for the sin of spiritual pride or some other nonsense. And, although this again rather negates the meaning of existential (I know, Mr. Vidal, but mine is a strange family, like everybody's I reckon), it was important one didn't ever speak of having done something nice.
But let's throw my childhood rules away, although I am the recipient and not the doer of the following examples:
- My vet in Mexico City once took my failing cat into his own home for the care he needed so I could cover the war in Colombia for another week. (Whoops, Donnie, I'm out-of-control.)
- An old man once hobbled across a field at dawn in Chiapas, carrying sweet black coffee for photographer Pete Power and me. We'd been trapped overnight between Mexican army lines and the Zapatista rebels and the old man was the most beautiful sight in the world.
- Last week at Sun Valley Foods, a young girl, maybe 11, surreptitiously picked up a couple of mandarins I'd let roll onto the floor and intended to pick up. (Yeah, right.) She didn't think anybody saw her.
Small stuff, but life-affirming.
When I talked to blog editor Aneurin Bosley, he said my idea mirrors our very popular Feature, Acts of Kindness. But we agree: how can there be too much of a good thing?
|This isn't our Flower but it is a meerkat - under a heat lamp for some reason, in Australia.|
Besides, my idea differs. It's called FlowerPower, not after distant fads of the 60s, but the late great Flower of Meerkat Manor. As with any other post, I invite comment. Plus, from time to time, I will post a blog using accounts - short ones - of experiences of readers sent directly to my email address.
A few rules, however. Please don't:
- Tell a story to demonstrate "everything happens for a reason."
- Describe how somebody found "closure".
- Misuse the term, "hero". When in doubt, don't, just like taking off that extra piece of jewellery.
- I'll remember other rules as we go along. It's all very arbitrary, but only for my postings. Your comments are your own.
Go crazy. Or not.