I wrote the post below several years ago. Unless we are hunting – with a valid and very strict hunting licence – we aren’t allowed to carry guns in my country. I admit, I was feeling a bit smug at the time that I wrote this: until quite recently, you didn’t hear about inner-city gangs (we do now) and you didn’t mourn the loss of eight (!!!) police officers in the line of duty in six months, as our country has been mourning since just yesterday. You didn’t hear about mass shootings either, but the world seems to have been rubbing off on what I used to consider my gentle country and unfortunately, they now happen here, too. Nothing though, compares to the regularity of mass gun shootings in the United States and nothing compares to the dreaded, unthinkable School Shooting. Those two words should never have been paired: I cannot even imagine having my children go to school every day in such a context and my heart hurts for each and every family that has ever gone through such a horror. I will always maintain that no guns = less violence. Unless you are putting food on the table, I do not see the need for owning a gun. Ever. But I have lived long enough to understand that money and corruption rule the world. People will debate; people will argue; people will protest. But money will always win…
It was an amazing day: my Dad’s first cousins were coming back to visit my home province and we had planned on meeting – for the very first time.
As a kid who grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else, it came as a bit of a shock to me, to end up living my entire working life in a big, indifferent city. I am an introvert, though, so despite the culture shock, there was a great deal of appeal for me, being absolutely swallowed up in a big, anonymous crowd. I think that people who love to sit and quietly think for hours may have fewer issues with big-city obscurity.
Nonetheless, I never did shake the part of me that had grown up in a place where most folks knew one another. Looking as much like my Mom as I do, even as a kid, I never went anywhere without being told: “Oh, you must be Y_’s daughter!” There is something very comforting about being in a place where, as the song goes, “everybody knows your name”.
I remember so clearly the very first time I voted. I was 19 years old and there was a municipal election going on in my home town. I was attending university, in another city. It was the first year that I was eligible to vote and when a person I knew from home approached me to tell me he was taking students’ votes by proxy, I excitedly told him that yes, I would be happy to cast my ballot.
The only problem was, I knew none of the people running and I knew none of their platforms (indeed, I doubt if I knew then, what a platform was). But voting was such an important part of ‘being a grown-up’! I had no idea what to do. As I stood there, studying the list of candidates, I was woefully unprepared to make any kind of rational decision.
I clearly remember how awesome I felt, coming home for a visit after my first quarter-term at university. I was nineteen years old and in those few months, I had magically learned absolutely all there was to know about life. I was ready to change the world. I was particularly scholarly and knowledgeable with regard to the handful of Psyc 101 classes I had attended up to that point, which had provided me with great insights into my parents. I quickly set to work to teach them everything I knew, knowing how happy they would be that I could ‘fix’ them now.
When I was a kid, there were hardly any fast-food restaurants in my small home town, and none of the multi-billion-dollar franchises that have made the fast-food brand so famous. I joined a swim team when I was 14 years old, and one of the high-lights of our out-of-town swim meets was heading to McDonald’s for a Big Mac and a milkshake after the competition was over. It was a rare treat and we all looked forward to it. Continue reading “What’s Happened to the ‘Fast’-Food Franchise?”