OK, it’s a new year and everyone seems so serious these days. Call it the lack of sunlight from the dark days of winter, the string of negative news items that have dominated the press in recent weeks or after-the-holiday blues, but I’ve noticed that people just seem to be in a bad mood.
To top it all off, Facebook keeps asking what’s on my mind so I thought maybe this week I’d tell it what I’m thinking.
Taking all of that into consideration, I’ve decided to take a decidedly lighter approach to this week’s column by writing about things that have made me go “huh?” in recent weeks.
Don’t get me wrong. Lots of serious news also make me go “huh?” as well so it’s not all fun and games. However, while examining the world around us, we’ve also got to appreciate the light side of things.
For example, I recently went “huh?” while shopping in one of the region’s larger retail stores and discovered, all in the same isle, Christmas items, and products to celebrate Valentines Day and even some items for Easter. Now, if that’s not getting our wires crossed or confusing the seasons, then I don’t know what is. No wonder the years seem to go by so quickly.
I go “huh?” each and every time I walk into a grocery store and see the rising price of food. Not sure how one can afford to eat. Enough said.
I went “huh” when I turned the calendar just over a week ago and it said 2019. Whatever happened to 2018? Did I blink and miss it?
I go “huh” and usually throw in an extra “whoa” when I read some of the personal stuff that people post on their Facebook pages. Whatever happened to the days when people took care of their personal problems in private? Seriously. It’s like people are begging for sympathy or something and just so you know, some things are better left in private.
I go “huh?” every time I hear of someone else getting in trouble because they’ve been caught posting inappropriate comments or pictures on Facebook or on some other social media platform. Seriously, folks, in this day and age of instant and mass media where it’s impossible to do anything without leaving an electronic footprint, you’d think people would know better. There is no excuse for poor judgement and if anyone makes inappropriate posts or send offensive texts, then they deserve whatever fallout they suffer.
I really let out a big “huh” the other day when I realized that the world would be observing the second anniversary of the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump on January 20. Yes, it will be a full two years since Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America and what a time it has been, one filled with controversy, confrontation, ultimatums, threats, intimidation, innuendo, violence and that was just in the first day of him taking office. My “huh” comes not so much at the fact that he’s still in office, but more to that fact that he was ever elected in the first place.
And to those who say they don’t pay attention to American politics I say, “huh? Really?” To anyone who really thinks that what Trump decisions and actions don’t have any affect on our lives here in Nova Scotia, I say, think again. We’ve already seen the negative impacts of his presidency and he’s only been in office for a year. Remember the position Canada was in over the new free trade agreement? We can only hold our breath when we think about what the next two years might hold.
I go “huh” every time I hear that nearly five million people in Canada — that’s one out of every seven individuals — currently live in poverty. Poverty is a widespread issue across the country and the world, but vulnerable groups such as people living with disabilities, single parents, elderly individuals, youth, and segregated communities are more susceptible. The effects of poverty can be expressed in different aspects of a person’s life, including food, security, health, and housing. Surely, in a country as affluent as Canada, we can do better than this.
So, during the recent holidays, I spent the time getting caught up on the newest season of
The Curse of Oak Island
and after watching all the episodes to date, the only thing I can say is “huh!” I’ve read a lot over the years about the mystery that surrounds Oak Island and while I always believed that there was something unusual about the island that’s located just off the coast near Western Shore, I admit to being somewhat sceptical of most of the theories that had been put forward about what type of “treasure” was buried there.
However, I will say that during this current season of the TV show, they are putting forward a compelling case that there is certainly more to this mystery than many of us may have been willing to accept. While no one has offered one simple explanation as to what was or wasn’t buried on the island or who may have put it there, the evidence they’ve found so far during their explorations should certainly be enough to make even the most staunch critics and cynics go “huh.”
So there you are. In a world where doom and gloom controls the everyday agenda, we also managed to put a light spin on the table. There is a lot of negativity in the world today, but I think it’s important to also maintain your sense of humour, or at least that’s the view from here.
Vernon Oickle was born and raised in Liverpool where he continues to reside with his family. He has worked for more than 30 years in community newspapers on the South Shore and is the author of 28 books.