When my Mother and dad with three children moved from the prairies to Vancouver in the fifties my father was very short of income. He worked in the daytime as a telegrapher at the CNR station, 8am to 5pm. To make ends meet he took another job. This is what he said in his memoir: "I worked in the Vancouver Herald for a short while to supplement our income, selling subscriptions over the phone. About fifty of us were in separate cubbyholes, and were given a sheet out of the phone book. You called each one with a sob story about paying for a crippled children's Easter Bunny bus and the like. You got 15 cents for each subscription sold and the manager got 5 cents for all subscriptions sold by the fifty cubbyhole occupants. The hours were 5 pm to 9 pm. I got home at 10 pm and ate. I caught the bus at 7am next morning to go to my regular job. I made 15 dollars a week selling subscriptions." Every time I answer a "telephone pitch" I can't help thinking about my dad, coping as best he could with an income shortfall. I am ambivalent about the boiler rooms and the hardship of the telephone sales person because of my dad. We are called to value connectedness and avoid judgement. We can't really say we are able to walk in anyone else's shoes. I say to myself, "Just shut up and do your best!"
Down the harbour from us is a large vacant acreage that is a graveyard for the black tailed mule deer that live on Lotus Island. These small deer have no predators on the island so they live where ever they want and die where ever they choose. The graveyard is a grassy plateau adjacent to the harbour and seems a nice place to end up. Largely at the initiative of the dog we see collections of bones from time to time, but one day when all the grandchildren were here, they found a trove of skeletal remains in good order that lent itself to reconstruction. We carefully and forensically collected the remains and toted them back to the old picnic table with the objective of wiring a new creation. The vulnerability of unburied bones to the resurrectionist was clearly on display. Puppetry no less. The bones remained on the table for a month. Some rearrangement and manipulation happened but no stringing up occurred. All of us felt immobilized and in part it was the interference with the values that they live where ever they want and die where ever they choose. So who are we?
For Jim's past posts, check out his old blog here: