Interesting article in the Financial Post on the one percent of the one percent. The thrust of the article is the culling of the list to exclude most of the formerly included on the most favoured list by the top bankers who concentrate now on the best of the best. A new collection of "losers" has been created. Life can be hard and unpredictable. For many years, and still do, I banked with what was known then as The Bank of Montreal. I practiced orthopedics in Lotus Land and was after a time a high earner. Not a super high earner but high enough to count. As a result the bank chose to include me as part of a favoured group to bank in the Main Branch with certain new perks. Time passes, age withers, truth emerges, and earning capacity diminishes as one progresses slowly through the vocation you loved, but one inevitably became less loved than hitherto. I remember a day when I was called by the Main Branch; my branch; producing my embossed check books, ostensibly to meet the new Chief Financial Officer. I felt good when selected for this singular attention. She approached the subject by telling me my relationship with them was disadvantageous to me because of a somewhat higher cost and a advantage was available to me to change my special arrangement. A soft landing. I knew then that I had been handled as beautifully as a patient had been handled by soft surgical hands. My small story has nothing to do with the one percent but it has every thing to do with moving on and moving out and being part of the rhythm of life and liking it. I remember the toughest kid in Kindersly in grade five, wrapping his arm around my neck and taking me down and saying "Ya give!" and saying "Yeh".
!Today is Good Friday. I and everyone I know well has had to carry a cross sometime in their life that would be a pillory to them. Sometimes I have been a bystander and watched the struggle I confess, thinking I'm glad it's not me, or but for the grace of God, it's not me. Sometimes I have been impelled to help carry the cross with them but if you practice Medicine it can be part of the job so it's not the same, or doesn't seem the same. It's convenient to have a role. A bystander or passer-by in Jerusalem, Simon of Cyrene was minding his own business at the time the parade of convicts went by and because Jesus had been roughed up and was falling carrying the cross, Simon was co-opted by the guards to help carry the cross. Matthew says, "As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross." Mark says, "And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross." Luke says, "And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross to carry it behind Jesus." We don't know what happened after he carried the cross, to Simon of Cyrene, having by the grace of God carried the instrument of crucifixion, probably unwillingly. It's a human thing. The centurions are tough and in charge, the crowds passionate and pushy, we all are short of time and have our own stuff to do. And what can I really do? What difference can I really make? It's really too bad but I am just one of many. Simon was not one of many. We hear no more of him but I can imagine. Time and event had thrust him forever, willing or not, into the warp of God and Man!
In my library there are some books that sit, neglected, for no good reason other than a boring title, a should be read example, or just down the list. A good example is From Sea Unto Sea, The Road to Nationhood 1850-1910, written by W.G. Hardy. It was published by Doubleday in 1959 and republished in 60 and 70 clearly for schools. On the flyleaf is a stamped library record that says Arbutus Junior Secondary School. It was clearly brought home by an offspring of mine in the 70's and has sat, wasting away. I say wasting since it has never been cracked open, characteristic of one of the children as well as me and the glue has dried over the years so it has fallen apart as I am reading it now. It is the most exciting and readable book I have ever read as a history of that period of time and clearly has been written by a historian who relishes literacy, racy opinion and scholarly accuracy. If you love your country and want to see its triumphs and warts it will fill your appetite. The period of course is the amalgamation of the federation as we know it except Newfoundland. It is the Canadian experience par excellence. I was so enthused that we have ordered three new books from Amazon for the fifty odd year old offspring that clearly never read it before. We need to look at the long view to counteract the sometime dismal space we are told we occupy today. We can really sing O Canada!
My most vivid of memory is of the three years that I lived in a little town in Saskatchewan from grade ten to twelve.
The vividness of memory is a clue to the importance of that interval in the life of that person, though it is only in retrospect that I can identify it as my coming of age. Nothing external changed during that period but the internal change, I believe in retrospect was enormous and that is why the memory is so indelibly imprinted. It was a happy time. You could say I found my feet. Not everyone can identify a defined period where coming of age is apparent and that is why, if maturation is gradual, the sense is less obvious. The best literature on the coming of age is associated with the drama of Bildungsroman in which the shackles or bonds of dependency are broken and separateness and identity is achieved in a rush. It makes for a great movie or novel but that was not my pathway. That the coming of age is an internal event where the clock is turned forward, is a blessing that is remembered vividly by an old man, kindly disposed to the little town where it happened to occur. I don't believe my psychiatric colleagues ever gave the coming of age period the importance that literature accorded it, to their fault. The genre of coming of age, particularly young men is so embedded in literature that it adds richly to the knowledge of the human condition!
Leaving expressed as "goodbye'; as 'farewell'; as 'au revoir'; have some connotations worth looking at that say more than meets the ear. For instance 'goodbye', said to arise from the archaic 'God be with ye' is I suppose much likely, but the 'bye and bye' means 'some time again' which I find satisfying that you remain surrounded with goodness till we meet in the 'bye and bye'. It meets the likeness of 'farewell' or 'fare thee well', a wish that is a blessing that in usage implies leaving, but that goodness follow you, where ever you go. And 'goodbye' is a sister to 'au revoir' that recognizes that we will see one another in the bye and bye. Each phrase gives more sentiment and good will that is expansed to one another. Be careful what you say!
For Jim's past posts, check out his old blog here: