Month: November 2011

One way or the other, we have to work together

The world used to be different. Back in the day, Men ruled the world. Men ran companies and both small and large businesses. Men taught school, ran for politics, etc. Men also drove big rigs, school buses, and heavy equipment. It was unheard of a woman doing any of those jobs, most women dare not try to apply for any of those or other men-controlled positions. This was not okay. This would not last, proof of this is all around us.

Today, women have replaced men in most of the above mentioned positions, as well as most others, while men are left to do the remaining ‘man jobs’ that the women do not want. Is this working? I think not. I am all for equality, but shifting the balance from the left to the right is not equality. I think the world needs to work together if we are going to succeed.

In saying this, I am not trying to piss off any women or any men for that matter, I just think that the good Lord made us all equal (well except for a few bumps here and there) so we should share life’s duties together. I think there are just as much husband abuse as there are wife abuse, so why not call it spouse abuse? There are just as many husky women who can work construction as there are husky men. What I am saying as that if we want equality, we should strive for total equality. Just saying!

Why is it that…

Why is it that:

  • Whenever you bad mouth someone, they are usually standing behind you?
  • Whenever you need your keys, they are always in the opposite pocket to your free hand?
  • Whenever you are carrying a heavy object, your nose gets itchy?
  • Whenever you are in a public restroom, there is never enough toilet tissue?
  • Whenever you are in the shower the phone always rings?
  • Whenever you sit down to eat, a damn telemarketer always calls?
  • Whenever you forget to bring along poop bags when you walk your dog, he always does his business on the lawn of the neighbor who is standing outside?
  • Whenever you seal an envelope, you realize that you forgot to put in the most important document?
  • Whenever you have to sneeze, you never have a Kleenex?
  • Whenever you take the day off sick, your boss is always in the store you are shopping in?
  • Whenever you have a report due on a deadline, your brain goes into sleep mode?

tree fellers

Tree sap flew as the chain thrust its way through the rough, wet bark of the biggest fir tree in the area, and in minutes, the once majestic giant dropped to the ground. It took several cuts to get it to fall, but when it did, it hit its mark exactly. The loud thud could be heard for miles, and the sky opened as the limbs from this marvel of a tree crashed to the ground.

The next one was not as easy, as its branches were tangled together like hands in prayer. Several cuts had to be made to ensure the tree did not crash through the roof of the lunch shack, with its chimney blowing black smoke. We had to get this one done before lunch, and with the way this day was going, a hot cup of tea was the only thing on our minds. This tree took the work of three of the best in the crew, as they cut long poles and worked to aim the top of the tree away from the cabin. The wind was not on our side on this day, and as the towering giant made its way to the ground, the top of the tree sled towards the little warm up shack, knocking the step from its base.

Before we could eat, we had to remove all the branches from the road, and from the top of the now broken  step. The timber-jack operator steered  towards the cabin, hooked cables to the top of the tree and proceeded to free the damaged step from its grip. Four of the remaining crew members worked to fix the step, and in less than an hour, a tired and wet crew entered the cabin and ate lunch.

Those Newfoundland loggers were a hardy crew. Tree fellers, as they were sometimes referred to, worked through the driest months of the year, cutting trees, removing the limbs (limbing) or branches and then attaching the cables from a gigantic machine called a Timber-Jack to be hauled out to the road, to be loaded on a trailer and delivered to the local paper mill. The money was good, but the work was very hard. When a person retired from logging, there really wasn’t much he could do, as this life toiled at his muscles and bones throughout his life. Saying that, most of the loggers worked well into their late 60’s, so perhaps this wasn’t such a difficult profession after all.

The work was so hard that during the winter months, crew members bulked up by putting on as much weight as they could and still remain healthy. By the fall of the year, when they could no longer work in the wet cold weather autumn brought, much of the newly added body weight was no longer present. I remember coming out of the woods in late November, weighing roughly 135 lbs, but in the spring when we began working again, I weight anywhere from 175 to 200 lbs. By that fall, I was down to 135 or less again. This may not have been the healthy way to live, but beginning the year underweight often led to a crew member dropping off the crew far before the end of the season.

Most of the loggers were veterans at this job, having started working when they were nothing but kids. My uncle, who owned the operation, started working in the logging industry when he was just twelve years of age. My dad was not much older when he started, and neither were the other men. I admired their professionalism and their loyalty to their jobs, as they worked in the wet rainy weather and suffered the consequences of broken  bones and wounds when things went wrong. I was just a kid at  the time, the ripe age of seventeen, and anxious to learn all the tricks needed to fall trees as expertly as my uncles did.

The tea was extra strong today, but the added caffeine and hot water would give us the extra energy we needed to get through the day. Those days, the weather was cold and wet, and once your clothes got wet, the work got even harder.

The trail back to the landing was muddy and slick, and we had to watch our step as we climbed the hill where we stored our chainsaws. A quick filing of the chain, and we were ready to go again.

Frank, the timber-jack operator waited patiently for us to fell a few more trees, and once we had them limbed, he hooked up and dragged the long poles down the hill towards the landing for them to be sawed up in eight foot lengths and loaded up on the trailer. On this day we would lose a valuable member of the crew, as his tires slipped across the boggy trail, causing the giant machine to tumble over the steep hill. Frank was lucky the old timber jack still had its roll cage, which was the only barrier between the sharp tree stumps and the operator inside. When the colossal machine stopped rolling, the huge wheels spun freely pointed to the heavens, my uncle trapped beneath the big yellow giant. The crew of tired but anxious men rushed to his aid, and using several come-alongs and the tiny J-5, they worked to remove my uncle from the wreckage. Frank let out a loud yell, and then passed out from the intense pain he was suffering. His leg was crushed, and we feared that his back may have been broken as well.

I was amazed at how calm my father was. A man who hated the sight of blood stayed cool and collective, and this showed when he took charge of the situation. Using a makeshift stretcher, the men used what First-Aid training they had to rush Frank to safety, which was quite a distance from the scene of the accident. A two mile walk down the hill followed by a thirty mile ride in the back of a truck, and my uncle was in the safe hands of the oldest doctor in town, who praised the men who treated Frank’s wounds. We all waited patiently outside the doctor`s office, and any onlookers must have thought we were a crowd of hobos, with our sap filled clothing and muddy hands and faces.

The crew returned to the woods after a few hours at the hospital. We didn’t get paid when we did not work, and with the fright we all had, our equipment remained wherever they were when the accident occurred. We didn’t work long today, worried about our fellow crew member and half the day already wasted, we decided to head home.

The ride out today was a rough one. We worried about Frank, who was not only one of our crew, but also one of my favorite uncles. When we arrived home, his wife called to assure us that he had been doing as well as expected, and that he would be out of commission until the spring of the year.This was the life of a tree feller. It was not predictable, nor was it guaranteed, but it was our life, and we fought to keep this life.

We later got a call from the crew boss that if he could not find another Timber-Jack operator, the year would be over for us until he found one.

In this part of the province, hard workers were in abundance, and in the spring, an operator was found. A young man, whose reputation said that he was fearless, almost insane, and that he could climb or descend even a cliff and not shed an ounce of sweat. We were excited to return to work, and on Monday morning, we headed back to the wood lot where we worked.

The work got a lot harder that week, as the young driver arrived from each load much quicker than we were used to. Rushing in the woods this time of the year can lead to more injuries, so despite his constant hurrying us, we keep calm and worked in stride. A few of the younger crew members rushed to please the new operator, and they suffered the consequences. Attempting to run on slippery logs leads to injuries, and they proved this time after time. By the time we finished the week, we were without three more crew members.

I worked in this industry for twenty years. I have lived many adventures in the woods, and this life has given me material for a ton of books, and has given me experiences that most could only dream of.

My Uncle Colin, who owned the operation, called us to his office one day. He informed us that the local paper mill had decided to stop buying pulpwood from local contractors, and concentrate on rebuilding in another location. My family were loggers for as long as I could remember, and as long as my father could remember. Most members of the crew were in their late fifties and early sixties, and they worried about their futures. This news was not good for the community and their families.

Most of the men who worked in the woods, as fellers and as operators knew nothing else. Going back to school to retrain was not an option for them. As a result, most of them left the island for work in neighboring provinces and even in other countries. I was fortunate enough to be young enough to return to school and do something different with my life. The others were not as fortunate. My father worked a few small jobs, most of them demeaning, and eventually retired. Frank, too young to retire, but broken too badly from the accident all those years ago to work anywhere else, ended up on welfare. This was difficult for him, a man working at the same job since he was just fifteen, and now dependent on a government program that demeans a person. This was not fair, but it was a reality they had to live with.

I am in a very different line of work now, but I will always have the adventures and stories of the wonderful days I spent working with my father and with my uncles. I tell those stories to my son, and I hope he tells them to his sons when he is my age.

Who we are

“Who are you?” The stranger asked. “Me? Who am I? That is a good question. To what extent do you want to know?” I responded. The stranger looked at me very confused.

When I was a kid, my answer would be quite simple. I could simply respond that I am Ted. But who am I really? Each day I discover more and more about who I am. No, I am  not psychotic. (Well maybe a little) What I mean is that each day I learn more and more about myself, and even more, where I came from.

To say that we are who we are because of where we came from may seem a bit elaborate, but if you think about it, it makes sense (at least to me it does). For instance, a few years ago, I figured  I knew everything about my family and its history. After working to discover my roots, I discovered that my family originally  came here from France, Sailors who jumped ship in what was then known as Acadia, and met and married up with the Mi’Kmaq who lived there. My ancestors became what is now known as Acadians.The Indians taught the newcomers how farm, and to live from the land. I also learned that at some time afterwards, those people were driven from their homes and their land by the English, and the families were split into three groups. One group ended up in Louisiana, and became known as Cajuns. One group went to England, and the other settled in the province of Newfoundland. At this point, I knew that I had a strong French heritage. My family name was LeBlanc (later changed to an English derivative of that name) and there was nothing left to discover.

Further research told me that not only did I have a strong French heritage, I am also 1/5 Mi’Kmaq. That one fifth may not seem like a whole lot, but it was enough that I received my status as a part of the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq Band. With this new status, my family will receive free health benefits and possible business grants, as well as a number of other benefits. What we won’t receive is anything related to land claims. That was part of the deal when someone signed the agreement. We became Canada’s first Landless Band.

When I was a kid, I used to love watching all those John Wayne westerns. I used to cheer for the cowboys, especially when they shot the Indians from their horses. Now I have to go and re-watch all these old shows, this time cheering for the Indians.

The funny thing with this new Indian Status is that it is all the rage here on the island. A few years back, if someone referred to you as an Indian, you beat the hell out of them, now it is a privilege. I guess it is how you look at it. If there were no money or benefits involved, I wonder how many Indians would live here on the island?

So there you have it. The stranger now has quite the answer on his hands. “Who am I?” I would say; “I am Ted. I am part french, part Indian, and part Newfoundlander. I am also part Canadian (but only since 1949, but that is a different story), and I am all mean..so buzz off.” With that, the stranger went on his way.

I hate spell check

I think spell check makes monkeys out of us all. I may have said that before, but I feel so strongly against it, I have to repeat myself. A few years back, I planned on writing my MP (Member of Parliament) about a position in government. The Federal Government was looking for a typist in one of their offices, and since I was already an employee at the college, I was eligible to apply. Our MP’s name was Judy Foote. I carefully made sure the letter was as professional as possible, and I was ready to send it. My co-worker felt that I should use spell check, and as much as I disagreed, I pressed the F7 button on the top of my keyboard, and Presto! my job promotion was history.   When I received the rejection letter, Ms. Foote had a little note attached that her name was Judy Foote, not Judy’s feet, as the word processor changed it to. You can understand my frustration.

Kids these days are not taught spelling. They have all but taken spelling out of our school system. Kids are taught to spell words the way that they sound. I wonder how many of those kids will eventually become writers, and I hate to think of trying to read one of their creations. I only hope texting is not the new English language.

I have just noticed little red underlines in the typing box here on wordpress…I am not impressed. Now off to eat a banana and swing from a tree…Hey, don’t blame me for acting like a monkey, blame Spell Check!

Oh no, not another Don’t do drugs blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We just held an anti drug campaign at the local middle school in the area. I was surprised how much kids knew about drugs.  At the event, we had twenty of so tables, and at each table there was a different activity, all focused on drug awareness. Each group of school kids had to answer questions on drugs, and whenever they get all the questions correct, they receive a sticker. One kid came to my table and he knew everything. When I asked how he knew so much about drugs, he said that it came from all the Trailer Park Boys television shows that he watched at home. If anyone has ever watched the program, they would know that the material in the show should not be viewed by a minor. Hell, even most responsible adults would be offended with the show.

I believe that some of what our kids watch influences their behaviors and choices. Now I would be the first to defend Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes characters. Back in the day, broadcasters took those shows off the air because they worried about the influences they would have on young minds. I for one watched those shows, and I can easily say that I have never once dropped an anvil (where did they get all the anvils I wonder) on my head and walked away. I have also never stuck my finger into the end of a shotgun and watched the shooter explode. I have never stood next to a bomb, and turned black but still walked away with all my parts intact, and I have definitely never stood under a falling rock, and walked away like an accordion. I don’t think those shows influence our drug dealers and users, our serial killers, or our suicidal teens; but I beg to differ with some of the shows on television right now.

One kid said that they learned about drugs from watching crime shows like criminal minds and law and order, again shows aimed at adults. I have to ask if the kids are getting the wrong idea from being allowed to watch shows that are not meant for them to view in the first place.

Shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy try to push the limit to what they are allowed to show on TV. We tell our kids that certain actions are wrong, and they go to their friends and watch (and often re-enact) some of the shows that they are not allowed to watch at home. How do we ensure that our kids are not influenced by those shows when society tells them its okay?

When I was a kid, I was not allowed to watch Welcome Back Kotter at home. It wasn’t because my family didn’t like it (well, maybe it was, Dad thought that watching this show would result in me becoming a ‘sweat hog’) but yet, I was allowed to watch the racist comedy “All in the Family”…go figure. Luckily for me, I didn’t become a racist, nor did I become a member of the Sweat Hogs. I was more of a fan of Walt Disney anyway.

As bad as those shows were to my dad, They were nothing like shows like “The Trailer Park Boys”, a program centered around a family of criminals who live in a run down trailer park, use and sell drugs, drink and drive impaired, and steal from everyone around them. When none of this behavior is shown to be wrong, how do you think this affects the young and influential minds who tune in each week? And even if you choose to monitor your kids television watching habits, how do you monitor it when they visit their friends homes, or when they tune in to youtube and watch the shows there?

I believe in awareness at home. We talk to our son about drugs and the dangers that come with using them. We explain how the drunk up the road got where he is to today. We do our best to personify good choices in our own lives, and hopefully our son does the same. In my household, the term ‘Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t exist.

Report Card Day

Here at the school where I work, students have a carefree lifestyle. They walk around with grins on their faces like they have not a fear in the world, not a fear until today that is.

Today is Report Card day at the high school, and judging from the students’ newest habit of nail biting and the sleepy looks on most of their faces, I would imagine that a great deal of them are a bit nervous to receive the report cards. One student called it Judgement Day.

I remember Report Card day when I was a kid. God! I still get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I am not even attending school. I remember it like it was yesterday (thank heavens it isn’t), as our teachers would sit at the front of the class, as judgmental as could be, staring at those of us who did not do as well as we could. I was always terrified of this part of the day, and every year, on the night prior to this day, I never slept a wink.

One year, when I was struggling in science, my teacher made the mistake of writing the marks in with a pencil (hehehe). What a great report card I brought home. Mom was amazed when she seen that I had a 95% average overall, even if three courses I didn’t do. This evening got worst when mom proudly visited the school to meet with my teacher and was exposed to the truth about my marks. Can you say ouch and grounded for a month? Well at least the report card looked good on the way home on the bus. I bragged to everyone on the bus that I beat them with my marks.

My brother used to make me sick. He would never study, and he always got all ‘A’s’. I would study my ass off and come home with ‘B’s’ and maybe, if I was lucky, a ‘B+’.

School back then was nothing like it is today. Recently, they established a policy that a kid could never fail a test. Nor could a student be given a fail even if they cheated on an exam. Hell, a student can’t even fail anymore. Where is it headed I wonder?

Back in the seventh grade, while I was just 12 years old, we had a student named Kenny. (I will not give his full name because at the time he was a bully and I worry that maybe he is still a bully, and lurking somewhere in the neighborhood, waiting to punch the hell out of me one more time) Kenny failed the seventh grade (and a few more grades) several times, and despite the fact that he was 23 years old, his dad would not let him quit school. We thought the guy was a giant, and he had quite the fun harassing us kids to death. I only realized many years later that he is only 5’3″, but when you are twelve, a twenty three year old guy who is also a bully can easily take you in a fight.

Our teachers were quite different back then as well. Being raised in a Catholic school, most of the teachers were either nuns or priests, so you didn’t want to mess with them. I remember on one occasion, one of my friends got into a fight with a nun…in a mud puddle. (more on that in another blog which I plan to write later)

Back in those days, if you pissed a teacher off, you got the strap. The strap was a quarter inch strip of leather the teachers used to slap your bare hands. On one occasion, I tried making Trudy O’Quinn a set of pony tails with scotch tape. While two of my accomplices held her, I carefully wrapped tape around her hair, and later got caught by my teacher. This not only ended my hairstyling career, it resulted in twenty straps on each hand. When my teacher finished, I couldn’t even hold my pencil. I am glad we got more civilized in the coming years.

I was fortunate in that I learned quickly. I learned never to do anything dumb in front of the teacher. I also learned that teachers got even madder when they swung the strap and you moved your hand, resulting in them hitting themselves with the strap. I also learned never to laugh when this happened.

High School was not a place that worked out for me. I sucked at Gym. I was no scholar, except in English and Literature. I sucked at Mathematics. I graduated from high school with a 55 average, and life taught me better than any teacher. I went back to school after working as a logger for 20 years, and loved it. I went back and did more courses each year afterward, and right now I am planning on doing a few university courses. I hear they don’t use the strap!

The cook, The writer, and the kid

There used to be a time when only moms cooked. When I was a kid, dads went out and worked, while moms were known to be in the kitchen preparing dinner for the kids, planning supper for the dads when they get home, and occasionally catching a glance of television shows like “The Edge of Night” or “As the World Turns”

Things sure have changed. I am among many of my male friends and relatives who are totally responsible for the cooking duties in the household. Thing is, I rather enjoy cooking. Hey, I said that out loud, and no beating. When I was a kid, if a guy said that he liked to cook, he received a knuckle sandwich for lunch from the bully down the street. A male cook was a pansy. Nowadays, the food channel features shows like “Hells Kitchen”, the chef is not someone who bullies would bother, and he is definitely no pansy.

My dad is a great cook; he always was a great cook. In a time when men did not cook, he did. He worked as a logger, but when he was home on weekends, he cooked. I have fond memories of the smell of home baked bread emitting from my home, and how I loved to have the first slice of freshly baked bread, with a scrape of butter and a healthy coating of molasses…mmmmm…Damn Diabetes! Oh well, I still have the memories.

Trial and error; that was my dad’s approach to cooking. “Keep cooking until you get it right” He would always say, and with that, the biggest food critic in the neighborhood would taste his own cooking, and if it was not perfect, he would throw it in the garbage and try again. Since we were so poor, he could not afford to waste food, so I guess that is why he perfected his cooking skills so quickly. He cooked pies, pastries, biscuits, cookies and best of all, his own recipe for cinnamon rolls, which he still makes on special occasions today. My dad was years before his time, and if he were a young man today, he could make a lucrative living as a chef, I have no doubt of this.

I inherited my cooking skills from my dad. So did my brother. We are both cooks in our families, and our spouses and children depend on our daily work to get them through their day. Upon meeting my girlfriend, her first question to me was if I could cook. She said that she hated the kitchen, and if we were to have a relationship together, she would not be cooking. That sounded great to me, as I don’t really like sharing my kitchen anyway.

Each day, I sit at my desk at work and plan what I will prepare once I get home. From baked chicken (sometimes I cheat and cook shake and bake) and all the veggies to homemade pizza and pastas, my spouse and son love to come home to a home cooked meal. My son says that he rather my pizzas than that of the takeout variety, and I will not allow him to get near the frozen, sodium laden imitations of our foods. Tonight I already have my meal planned. Pizza chicken with brown rice and veggies (not to be mistaken for chicken pizza).

Want the recipe?

Three chicken breasts sliced in half, Cheddar cheese (Old or medium old), Pizza Sauce, spices and herbs of your choice, chopped onion,  casserole dish

Line the greased casserole dish with chicken breasts, as if using them as a pizza crust. pour pizza sauce over chicken breasts; add spices. I like oregano, pepper, and parsley. Spread chopped onion and then top with cheese. Bake at 400 for twenty minutes. Easy but good. Thanks Dad!

Here’s your sign back

My car has this incredibly large sign in front that is visible only to idiots and other individuals with severely low intelligence. According to one idiot I spoke to, the sign is of the flashing yellow variety with big blue letters that read “Feel Free to Pull in Front of Me at Any Time and Cut Me Off at Every Intersection”

When I bought the car, the previous owner did not mention the sign, but it is obvious from the small dent in the front fender, the sign was there since the car was first purchased.

The salesman was a nice sort of guy, and he seemed to be half way intelligent, so I guess he didn’t tell me about the sign because like me, he was not aware it was there. I only discovered the existence of the sign a few days ago when some dumb kid cut me off at a dangerous intersection, and then yelled that he had the right of way, despite the fact that he had a red light and I had a green one.

I have taken my car to mechanics who said that they seen the sign, but that they would have to charge time and a half to remove it; idiots. I have considered trading the car in and buying a new one, but my friend said that he just bought a brand new car, and he thinks his car has the same sign. With my luck, I will probably buy another car with a similar sign.

Its not that the sign causes any interference with my driving. Since it is invisible to anyone with even half a brain, I have no problem seeing over my hood.

We were in the city the other day, and I must say, the area must have been swarming with idiots. At every intersection, we had to fight to stay alive, as cars leered towards our little car at high speeds without even a hint of compassion. Some of them must have been real morons, as they even waved while cutting us off; some even appeared to be reading the sign as they nearly ran into us to get a closer look.

If you think your car has a similar sign, bring the car into your nearest mechanic shop. Look for the most dimwitted mechanic you can find, and ask him if he notices the sign. If he doesn’t, he is obviously smarter than he looks. you can also visit your local politician, and ask them to take a look. I would bet money that they will read the sign immediately.

Boobs

Despite getting your attention with the title of this weeks blog, this blurb has nothing to do with any part of the female anatomy, but rather, it is a list of funny (embarrassing) things that I have done in the past that I can sit and laugh at today.

Why choose to write a list of embarrassing things that have happened to me you ask? Well, being a ‘Newfie’, we have the inborn trait of being able to laugh at ourselves. Here goes…

1.  I was at a local department store once, and upon choosing a few pairs of jeans, I went to the change room to try them on. I tried them on and found that I needed a bigger pair, so I left the change room to get one, only to find that I forgot to put my pants back on first. I quickly discovered that I was walking around the store in my boxers when the lady in the Men’s wear department stood and stared at me in shock. (What is wrong with some people? Didn’t she know that is rude to stare at your customers?)

2. Still with the underwear topic, one day my mom phoned me. She said that she was tired of my dad cutting up good jeans to make shorts to wear on hot days. Mom asked if I could go down town and look for a few pairs of suitable shorts for my dad to wear.

With this, I went to the nearest Wool-co store (it used to be Wool-co, then Woolworth, and then eventually it changed to Wall-Mart) where I found the neatest shorts in the store. Three pairs for five dollars, plaid in color (every dad loves plaid, don’t they?) and made from a nice light material. I liked the boxer shorts so much, I bought a few pairs for myself as well.

My dad loved them; he wore them everywhere, including to the grocery store, to the beach, around the house, on camping trips, hell, he even wanted to wear them to church. I must admit, I wore mine almost as often.

The strange thing about people is that they choose to stare at a person for the weirdest reasons. Whenever I went to town, people stared at my shorts. I used to tell them that they could buy shorts like this at Wool-co for under ten dollars, but none of them ran out to buy them.

One day, while my brother was visiting, he gazed at my dad and me, and asked why we were wearing underwear around the house. I quickly informed him that those ultra comfortable shorts were not underwear, but simply the most comfortable outside shorts I ever had. I even had a few pairs purchased for my brother, which I planned on giving him for Christmas next year. Being an employee at Wool-co, he quickly informed me that a staff member mistakenly put the boxers out on the sports rack where many of the shorts were being displayed, rather than in the underwear department where they should have been placed. Boy, our faces were some red when we realized that we were wearing underwear in public.

3 . I think I could tell funny clothing stories all day. Back a few years ago, button fly jeans were the rage. (At least they were the rage here in Newfoundland at the time. They were probably the rage twenty years earlier in the rest of the world, but being on an island, we are cut off from technology, fashion, and other things of the such)

I had visited a local clothing store and found the perfect pair of jeans. I wanted those jeans. Those jeans only came in one size, a 30 waist, while my waist was a 34 (this was a few years ago, as a 34 waist would come up somewhere around my knees right now), but I decided to try them anyway. I went into the tiny change room, slipped out of my jeans, and put those cool button fly jeans on. When I got the last button fastened, I realized that the jeans were too small (DUH), and because I had held my breath to get them on, exhaling was not the best decision. I almost choked. Right away, I began to panic. I could not get the buttons undone. I was in the tiny dressing room about fifteen minutes when I had no choice but call out to the lady in the men’s department. “Could you please help me” I asked. A little old lady in her late fifties came to the door of the dressing room. “What is wrong, do you need another pair” she asked. “No, I can’t get those off, could you help me take my pants off” I said. (I was in too much discomfort to think how this must have sounded)

Here she was, door wide open in the dressing room in a crowded store, lady down on her knees in front of my crotch, trying to undress me. Many of the customers stared over, but it didn’t matter, I had to get those jeans off, and soon. When she couldn’t do anything with the tight jeans, she called another lady over, and the two of them pushed on my waist, struggling to unbutton my jeans. Then the department head came over, and she helped as well. You can imagine how this must have appeared when the store manager, an older gentlemen who had obviously been working at the store far too long, came over and witnessed a young man in his early 20’s, standing there while three of his staff members knelt in front of his crotch, almost to the point of gnawing on the jeans to take them off. The manager came over, and yelled loudly at the workers. “What in the Hell are you guys doing to this young man?” He asked. “From here, it looks like you guys are performing some sort of lucid act on one of my customers, for the love of God, get to your feet and explain yourselves!” He said.

While the workers stammered and stuttered to explain what they had been doing, I bent forward, and all of a sudden, ‘Sproing!!” one of the top buttons flew off the jeans, allowing me to exit the tight denim pants that held me captive for the past hour. I was weak from embarrassment when all of a sudden, all involved started laughing loudly at the incident. I quickly closed the door, put my old jeans on, and exited the store. It has been thirty years since that day, and I faithfully avoid going back to the store.

4. One Sunday morning, I had a bit of a cold, and rather than stay home, I decided to go to church. Being raised Roman Catholic, Mom always encouraged us to go to church, so in this case, I was just being dutiful. Anyway, I sat in the pew, and in front of me was the wife of the richest guy in town. The lady wore a fine mink coat that must have cost a fortune. Just as mass began, I sneezed, and you guessed it, I totally missed my tissue and got her coat. Here I was with my little tissue, trying to wipe her coat without her knowledge, totally afraid of the consequences of her finding out that I sneezed on her fine fur coat. The guy behind me was in stitches as every time I reached out with my tissue, she leaned ahead or leaned to the side. Eventually, I just gave up and left the church.

5. While on the church topic, my sister and I went to church once, and upon arriving late, we put the kneelers down and knelt down, only to discover that my sister put the kneeler down on an old lady’s foot. Being in church, you dare not screech, so she let out a helpless whine. Instead of getting up and apologizing, I sat up quickly, only to discover that I sat on this her husband’s hat. Both myself and my sister burst into laughter, while the old guy shook his fist at us for ruining his hat and the old lady sat holding onto her toes. We quickly exited the church.

5. Still on the church topic….One morning, on the way to church, my brother, who lives in town, asked me for a ride. It was a cold day, so I wore my favorite stocking hat. When I pulled into his driveway, I opened my window to alert my brother that I was waiting for him, when suddenly, my hat blew off. Without thinking, I got out of the car and ran for my hat, forgetting to put the car into park first. When I finally got to my hat, I noticed my car heading for his garage doors, and with just an  inch or two before my car crashed into the garage, I managed to apply the brake and stop the car. My brother came out, furious, yelling “You almost drove through my house!” “What were you thinking?” My reply? “Well, at least I got my hat”. Nothing more was said until we reached the church. We took seats in the middle row of the church, and despite trying to be quiet, I looked over to find my brother down on all fours, cracking up with laughter, and repeating over and over “At least I got my hat”. We laughed so much that eventually the entire church laughed, without even knowing what they were laughing about. The minister, who was an older guy without much patience yelled for everyone to come to order and pray. We left quietly and quickly.

6. Here in Newfoundland, we use a daylight savings time schedule and our fall days are very short. Our autumn mornings are as dark as night, and we only see daylight around 9 or so. I had been working at the local Radio Shack store, and I had to be to work for 8:00 every morning. This was a Sunday ( I don’t have much luck with Sundays for some reason) and I was particularly tired, so after supper, I chose to have a small nap. I awoke later that evening, and glancing at the clock, I noticed that it was 8:00. I sprang to my feet, showered, dressed, and took off down the road to go to work. When I got to work, I was surprised to find the streets abandoned and nobody waiting at the door outside the store. I waited at the door for the boss to arrive, and after an hour, I decided to call him. When he answered, he laughed and told me that it was now 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening.

There you have it, I have bared my soul of some funny things that I have experienced and lived to talk about.