Punk It

When I was 15 or so, I was invited to a rather unusual birthday party. It was an impromptu, spur of the moment invite from a fellow I barely knew. But I was curious, so me and a couple of friends checked it out.

We heard music blasting a block away on a chilly spring evening and approached the ‘birthday house’ with trepidation. It was music I had never heard before, loud, angry and screaming!

We were escorted into a basement crammed with colourful characters. There were a few mohawk hairdo’s, body piercings, neon dyed hair, and strange attire.

This was Punk.

The birthday was a high energy, loud celebration that was fury, not joy.

I wondered what everyone was so mad and unhappy about, especially at a birthday party. But I couldn’t find out, I couldn’t talk to anybody, the music was louder than a rocket launch.

The fellow who invited us pleaded with me to stay at least until the cake was served.

Suddenly, the music was silenced and people burst into the traditional Happy Birthday song. I was relieved to hear the familiar tune, and happy to see smiling faces. But it was only a fleeting reprieve. A candle less cake arrived, coated in a sickly green icing with cigarette butts stuck in it – among other things.

After a polite refusal of cake, my friends and I hightailed it out of there, convinced that once the music started back up, police sirens would not be far behind.

Fast forward to today. I read a book about the 1980’s punk scene (We’re Not Here to Entertain)and according to the author, boy, was my perception wrong. To tell the truth, I really didn’t have much of any kind of opinion, other than punk was weird, unquestionably hostile and more than a bit scary, based on that single episode in my life. I never gave it much thought after that.

My teenage world was the total opposite of punk. I didn’t understand their rage. But it appears that they were disaffected youth, just like my somewhat hippie upbringing – mad at our leaders, disappointed with our government, upset with events in the world, terrified by the nuclear war threat, sickened by environmental issues, unloved by parents and peers, and feeling powerless. Punk rockers screamed their hostility, while I quietly squirrelled it away. They rebelled and I surrendered.

I could never be like punk rockers, I never fully embraced hippie rebellion either, but I have a new respect for their ‘in your face’ resistance to an unfair and often corrupt system in which we must live, navigate and ultimately, survive.

A New Way of Thinking

Recently I completed an on-line course on Environmental Law, and once again, I am blown away. I am trying to pursue subjects that I had zero or little interest in for various reasons and I highly recommend you try also.

I had no understanding of the legal process and held uninformed opinions and prejudices about laws, lawyers, etc. I thought legalese was gobbley gook that only those who could endure years of study were able to understand. That part is true, it is gobbley gook and it does take years to fully grasp it, but for a good reason. Laws have to be very precise and have universal meaning, that is, to enable identical interpretation the world over and be effective. This is what good lawyers and policy makers do, they look for weak areas, to exploit or remedy. And good institutions work hard to ensure they can enforce what they are assigned to do, in this case, to legally protect the environment. Judges ensure that all players in the game are following the rules to the letter.

But there is so much more to law than mumbo jumbo. This was a fascinating course for two reasons. First, an understanding of how laws work, the institutions developed to uphold laws, what judges really do, and how all this is applied to real world cases. And it examined some shocking environmental issues and abuses. Interesting enough. But the second, and greater value from this course was developing a new way of thinking.

When I left the administrative secretarial work force and became a medical secretary, it was as if I left earth and landed on Pluto. Everything was entirely different. They spoke a strange language. Office procedures were entirely foreign. Oh sure, you still operated a computer, typed and answered phones, but this was a whole new and much higher level of being, doing and thinking. When you first work in the medical field, your head goes tilt-tilt-tilt.

And this is what this course did for me. It took me to a whole new way of thinking. I had to not only change gears, but change vehicles.

So if you really want to expand your present awareness, to learn how to understand, analyze and interpret the world around you, take a course, read a book, sign up for an experience.

It not only adds to your knowledge, but it’ll shake up your opinions and beliefs. It’ll expand your world view. When it comes to what you think you know about life, the universe and everything, you might just find you had it all wrong.



It is a long time ago now, but I remember this photograph well.

At the time this was taken, I was an avid photographer, to say the least. I took pictures of everything, and in return, people took many pictures of me, perhaps in revenge! I made photo albums, those horrid self stick pages, good grief! And I would add captions that proved to be, sometimes, unpopular.

The above, with that caption, set me up for mockery.

At the time I was stunned by the backlash, because I was in no way trying to be pretentious, at that age, I didn’t even know what that meant. I was just simply stating a fact. Sure, I had lots of creative interests that I wanted to pursue, but I was a writer first and foremost and I didn’t doubt myself at all. I never questioned it. It was an activity I did every single day. I wrote hundreds of stories. I thought everyone else knew who they were too and should just say so.

Yep. Pretty pretentious!

That was the day I started shrinking from who I am. Over time, my real self was nearly totally eroded by the well meaning and maybe not so well meaning direction of others. As a result, I was miserable most of my adult life. I never successfully integrated into any field of endeavour, failed at every employ and relationship I had, and was LOST.

If you can remember who you are, live it. It is not that it is never too late, but why spend any of your precious time and life trying to be something you are not. My adult life was just one big embarrassment because I was a jagged square peg trying to fit into round holes.


In all the years I’ve been around, all the years I’ve struggled and been frustrated, I have come to the conclusion that luck is probably the most important ingredient in any success story.

Luck supersedes most everything else, because without it, all else you do is null and void.

You can work your ass off and never be recognized or rewarded. You can strive until hell freezes over and not be one iota closer to your goals. You can have limitless talent and go nowhere.

You can pray and say hail Mary’s, light candles and be a regular church and God devotee and your hopes and dreams may never materialize.

You can subscribe to all the courses, read all the books, make vision boards, meditate, buy lotto tickets, network, brown nose and smile till your face falls off and not be one single dot closer to your hopes and desires.

You can use lucky charms, have a Patron Saint medallion, rub your fingers smooth on rosary beads or in my case, have Jiminy Cricket sitting at my computer screen grinning, and all you have is more things to dust.


Because luck has not kissed you.

Some people do jack shit all their lives and because of luck, have everything.

Oh how I wish I could tell you otherwise!

But that is life.

Oh to be Ferris Bueller!

Yeah, I’m a bit bitter about this.

I can tell you truthfully, whenever something great has happened in my life, I marvel, because it came about in such incredible ways, that I really had not much to do with and can take no credit for. Needless to say, I haven’t had much of it, but the few notable examples cause me to be awed.

I believe things are this way to prevent us from taking credit for our success and being egotistical jackasses about it. And to just piss us off.

So what to do?

The only thing you can do is be happy. Oh groan, how trite! But I am telling you the truth. Do what makes you happy. Be yourself.


I watched the movie Across the Universe again last night. If you love Beatles music, and are somewhat nostalgic for the 1960’s, and remember the turbulent times, this is a movie to see. It is lavishly produced with startling imagery, and of course awesome music. Over the years I have revisited this movie many times, I do enjoy it, but there is one small detail that has irked me since day one.

Isn’t it funny how one stupid thing can bug you?

So I’m going to say it here, and maybe it’ll stop bugging me.

I love Mr. Kite and the interesting visual effects of this part of the movie, but in reference to the song lyrics ‘…lastly through a hogshead of real fire…’ the movie has an actual pigs head. No! A hogshead is a large barrel, not a pigs head!

It has annoyed me for years.

There. Got it out.