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You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone

“Just let them sit in the [expletive deleted] sun.”

One of the best magazines, now sadly gone was The Old Fart: A Magazine for Curmudgeons, about Curmudgeons, by Curmudgeons.

I didn’t appreciate it when it was around, because I wasn’t an ‘old fart’. I am now and I miss the magazine’s sharp wit. Isn’t that the stuff of life? What was it Joni Mitchell wrote: “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone”?

Of course, today’s youngsters wouldn’t understand because they’re too busy putting up parking lots (that’s an allusion to the above quote, but hey does anyone teach literary terms anymore).

The title of the song was Big Yellow Taxi, but that won’t make sense to them either because they have adopted Uber and Lyft, somehow convincing themselves that these ultra rip-off companies are somehow part of a ‘sharing economy’. What are these companies sharing?

Well, it sure isn’t their wealth, or the drivers’ risk, or their automobiles. Come to think of it, they aren’t sharing anything. They are just sucking back the money, affording drivers ridiculously low wages, assigning them all the risk and fighting every possible regulation intended to protect drivers and passengers.

Sharing, I don’t think so. Progress, I really don’t think so.

Lots has been said about ‘old farts’, not much of it particularly complementary. The Irish-American author Frank McCourt once said: “Just let them sit in the [expletive deleted] sun. But the world won’t let them because there’s nothing more dangerous than letting old farts sit in the sun – they might be thinking.

Same thing with kids – keep ‘em busy or they might start thinking.” Too late, Frank, too late – you’re dead and I’m thinking.

Personally, I think there are few groups that are more misunderstood or stereotyped than us old farts. We are very different. We are universally accused of being grumpy – we’re not!

We simply have got to the point in our lives where we don’t have to explain ourselves to anyone, thank you very much. Neither do we have to be particularly apologetic.

I am a breed of curmudgeon who doesn’t long for the mythical ‘good old days’ – I think feminists are on the absolute right track, the LGBTQ+ community is just fine as far as I am concerned, I support First Nations activism and I think climate change is real and dangerous.

However, I have no patience for stupidity. Can you believe that in the second half of 2019 there are people who actually believe the world is flat? Really! They have conferences at which they pontificate about NASA’s conspiracies, domes over the earth and other asinine drivel, and they have a following.

This is not alternative thinking – it is stupid. Does it matter? You bet. It dumbs down society. Instead of advancing to the next step of scientific and technological progress these dopes are like an anchor because when we add to their numbers the anti-vaxxers, and Goopers, and all the other ridiculous forms of quackery littering the landscape, along with the legion of conspiracy theorists, we have a significant lead weight attached to our forward progress.

Next on my list of stupidity is this whole anti-immigrant/anti-refugee nonsense.

We have had the most ridiculous lies, half-truths, combined with outright bigotry and xenophobia aimed at people who have made Canada a richer, more interesting and much healthier society.

This particular brand of stupidity is damaging, hurtful, cruel and just makes me burn.

Then, of course, there is our governments’ seeming need to enact studies on everything rather than actually doing something.

Therefore, Attawapiskat still doesn’t have fresh water after four years of Liberal rule.

And don’t look to Sheer and the Conservatives to find a progressive bone in their policy bodies either.

Water, housing, education, health care and the respect that derives from being valued and fully participating members of the national landscape are not subjects that need study.

De Beers hauled over $2.5 billion in diamond profits out of the Attawapiskat region, and the people who should have been joint partners realized 0.5 per cent in Impact Benefit Agreements (which are essentially compensation for being shoved off their traditional lands).

And by the way, neither did De Beers pay more than a pittance in federal or provincial taxes. There was nothing in the way of any lasting benefit for anyone except, of course, the De Beers industrial coffers.

Finally, and then my old fart rant will mercifully end, I am sick and tired of the disgusting show that is question period in Ottawa. I’m even more sick of the parliament hill reporters who think this appalling mess will not, cannot and/or should not change.

I – you – we are the government and this is the time allotted for my Member of Parliament to ask questions on our behalf. It is not a joke so why do we allow it to be treated as such?

Questions should be asked seriously and the speaker should demand they are answered seriously. Making a mockery of our questions is to make a mockery of us. Just wait until the writ drops.

These political elites of all parties will be only too happy to meet with us, to rub shoulders and listen to our opinions.

Lots of luck trying to get hold of any of them two weeks after the election results are announced.

Email Doug Thomson

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