How many times have we all made a call, had that person not answer, and then heard the following rhetoric:
“_____________(arbitrary name/number)” is not available. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording, you may hang up, or press # for more options. To leave a callback number that you can be reached at, press 5.”
I typed that straight from memory. I’ve heard it nearly a million times. Are we still at the point as people, nearly all of us carrying cell phones, that we still need instructions as to what to do when someone doesn’t answer the phone? Is the leaving of a message procedure so complex that we still require recorded instructions to remind us of the correct protocol? How many people are hanging on like idiots after completing their message, unsure as to what the next step is?
“Well, there, I said everything I need to say. I suppose I’ll just stay on the line now. Yeah, that seems reasonable. I’m sure he’ll be along in no time.”
Do we actually need to be reminded to hang up when we are finished our message?
“Oh, the lady said I could hang up when I’m done, right. Wow, she sure was helpful. I don’t know how I would’ve got through this without her.”
And who needs to press # for more options? What other options do you need after leaving a voicemail? Were you hoping to engage in a game of Tetris, or learn a new casserole recipe or something? You called to talk to the person, they weren’t there, you left a message… what else is there to perform? [note: you can go back and re-record if you weren’t happy with your message, what is this, an audition do-over?]
Has anyone actually ever left a callback number? Has anyone ever had a call back number left for them? Don’t we usually just cover this in the voicemail?
I just think this is one spot where we don’t need our hands held; if answering machines have been around since the 30’s, and voicemail has been around the 70’s… at this point, if we can’t figure it out, we shouldn’t be allowed to use it.
Am I the only one who gets the urge to jump on the baggage carousel at the airport, and ride it through the little car wash door, and see where it goes? Surely, it just goes around in a circle, but can you imagine the look at the baggage slingers’ faces when a person came back out at them?
Making the bed is the multi-seasonal, and sometimes daily, pointless activity equivalent of raking leaves. Name me 2 other activities that you could potentially do everyday for the rest of your life, and not make any progress. At least in the leaves case, a tree only has so many, and there are only so many trees, and you only have to deal with it once a season. But you’ve got one bed, and its got sheets, and it’s going to get messed up, without fail, Every. Single. Day. How many people are you bringing through your bedroom anyway, that would judge your character on the organizational status of your bed? Are these the people you want to be around, anyways?
Hockey (and all travelling sports) alters your geographical predispositions. That is, when you play hockey, you play in a lot of different cities and towns, multiple times over. When you play minor hockey, it’s more likely all the players on the opposing teams are actually from the city that is on their jersey. When you play junior, college, and pro, you get players brought in from all points of the globe, and it makes you question the notion of who the “home team” really is, if you put some thought into it.
Depending on the outcome of an away game, you immediately form unfair blanket opinions of the entire township and its residents upon the conclusion of the game; perhaps even upon entry into the arena. These are all loosely based on premature evaluations of the arena, team, and city. If it’s an old rink, you refer to it as a “barn” from then on. If it’s a small town, and their team is really bad, they become known as “bush-leaguers”, and their town could be any number of variations on the term “dump” or “hole”. The less enjoyable the game due to opposing cheap, dirty, chirpy, and general unsportsmanlike conduct, the more all these prejudices become amplified in a player’s mind. The most common phrase uttered in the dressing room after a road game, without a doubt is, “hurry up and pack your gear so we can get the **** outta here boys!” All further recollections on a city upon a visit will return to “that time we whooped those hack bush-leaguers in this dumpy little town,” or in the case that the results were not positive, something along the lines of, “I hate playing here because this place sucks and they beat the crap out of us.” And the spiral funnels downward…
On the flip side, playing hockey for a town builds an abnormal pride in a city that you have little to no connection with outside of hockey. Generally, the smaller the city you play for, the more you end up loving that place, and its people. I loved every minute of the time I played for Westside (population: 30,000), Creston (population: 5000), Caronport (village status, population: 1000), and Lyon (population: 5,000,000), and I wore their colors with pride.
So Beaver Valley, Columbia Valley, Castlegar, Golden, Enderby, Princeton, Spokane, Summerland, Osoyoos, Armstrong, Winfield, Lumby, Mission, Dawson Creek, Nakusp, Kitimat, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, St. James, Cholet; I’m sure you all have good things to offer in your own unique ways, but I don’t like you for no good reasons other than the 20 some-odd players that have represented you on the ice over the years, and/or the few hours in and limited view I had of your town. Your fans may not have been very nice to us either. Also, you’re really far away from where I am, and I blame you for my hatred of long-distance driving. Kimberly; you beating us in game 7 will always sting. Kamloops; you smell. Merritt; your continued support of country music infuriates me. Dauphin, MB; I had to fight when I visited you. Revelstoke, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Sicamous; I hear good things about you from other people, but I’m still not sold. 100 Mile House, I don’t like you because you’re really, cruelly, cold. Don’t make me play games at 6am in the dead of winter, wearing my street clothes under my gear to keep warm next time. Hull, PQ; you were fun to visit actually, but your teams were way better than us. Terrace; you’re cool because I won a championship there. Mont Blanc, FR; it was fun being in the Alps. Vernon; you’re an exception, because you’re where I was born, and where I still have family. And as for Kelowna; well, I’ll tell people I’m from there for ease of geographic explanation (I also have claimed to be from Vancouver when abroad, for the same reason), but I’m Westside till I die.
I’m sure this sounds pretty messed up, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is. Am I sorry for all my prejudice? I probably should be, but I don’t know that I truthfully am. I do think the concept is skewed, but maybe I need some big redeeming moment in each town for me to warm up to them. That or, it may just be hopeless. Gooooo Grizzlies/Thundercats/Clippers!
**Discussion/comment provoking question**: Current or former athletes, what city did/do you hate playing in the most, and why?
Veterans (not of the we-fought-for your-freedom-and paid-with-our-lives persuasion, rather of the we’ve-played-here-longer-than-you-now-do-all-the-work-and-entertain-us variety). They’re simultaneously the nightmare and aspiring dream of every rookie on every hockey team that does, did, or will, exist. Upon deservingly advancing through weeks of rookie camps and finally making the team they were trying out for, the pride in the rookie’s head takes at least a small swerve to fear-town when he is introduced to the 20+ hockey bags he and the other rockpiles will be loading onto and off of the bus all year, as well as the front seat of the bus nearest the bus driver that he will be sharing with another rookie for the entire 8 hour road trip, as well as every other subsequent “roadie” (roadtrip).
Rookies take a lot of punishment. The menial tasks like picking up pucks, lugging gear, filling bottles and so on, are all standard. Other more obscure burdens include dressing up, unhealthy amounts of booze, questionable sexual activity, articles of food put in places they don’t belong, photographs, races, and a lot of other ridiculous activities that lean more towards that dirty word, “Hazing.” It seems like the younger the guys and lower the level, the more borderline the things rookies have to do. Because of some idiot vets that took the ritual’s concept too far and chose to actually hurt and embarrass some rookies (whom, afterwards, decided to speak out against the practice), rookie initiation has been banned all together on some teams and in some circles. I do hope some of the stories are myths; sadly I’m sure they’re not. Being taped up and put in the shower is par for the course. Stuffing as many rookies in a bus bathroom as possible (usually more), and vets generating various requirements for their release is entertaining, if you’re a vet. 10 guys trying to successfully collect and correctly add an unknown amount of pocket change scattered on the floor is difficult at best in a 2’x2’x8’ room which houses human waste. Hockey players also do not begin to smell better as time goes on in closed quarters.
One of the lighter, and more fun veteran policies in college circles require rookies to dress up in full gear (minus the stick and skates) for a day at school; an event known as “The Rookie Olympics.” Let me tell you from experience, taking lecture notes with hockey gloves on is easier said than done. Also, NO girls appreciate the smell you radiate, so you had best avoid any you are hoping to impress. At the veteran’s discretion, penalties can, and will, be called throughout the day for any equipment infractions. If any gear is removed, chinstrap undone, helmet and visor not properly affixed, or a veteran command is disregarded, minor or major penalties may be assessed. Penalties add up, and then will be paid for later at practice. Lunchtime activities in the cafeteria may include races while attempting to not spill trays holding 20 tall plastic cups of water, or the fetching of meals for veterans, or for anyone a veteran chooses (generally the more embarrassing the better). Situations like this one are usually even supported by teachers, and you may see a professor or two get in on the action. Every team’s got their own stories, so just ask a hockey player you know to tell their tales of rookie-dom.
There are disputes on when veteran status can be claimed. Some claim the second the last game of the year ends, you’re free. Some claim upon return after the Christmas break. My personal opinion is that you forfeit your rookie status the moment you show up for camp the next year. I feel that you must re-enter and resume the cycle of the season before you can be deemed a veteran. It’s a testament to those who weathered the storm, and still come back for more. Of course, the second time around they get to be the giver, and revel in glory all year long.
There is also contention on who can be declared a rookie. General school of thought is that if it is your first year on the team, and/or your first year in the league you are currently playing, you are a rookie. But there are loopholes. For example, if you’re playing on a college team, and you happen to have a player who used to play pro, and is technically coming DOWN to your team, then this player is generally exempt. On a technicality, he is a rookie, but good luck to anyone brave enough to attempt enforcement. Many professional leagues require you to play a minimum amount of games in the league before you can make more than the rookie salary cap. In this case, it may take several tours of duty to shake to rook off; players not able to stick on higher teams might be in it for the long haul.
Unfortunately, sometimes the message that gets sent to rookies through their initiation is that they are neither liked, nor wanted, on the team. Though sometimes this is actually true, most of the time it’s not. As a general rule of male bonding in a team environment, guys feel the need to humiliate or verbally abuse the guys they like. So, in theory, the worse you get it, more accepted you are. It sounds bizarre, but trust me. Unless of course, you’re just a real douche. The obvious fact is that the new players are talented enough to make the team, likely younger, perhaps faster, and are all necessary for the long-term success of the squad. But because they’re green, they’re rough around the edges, and they require development in the on-ice environment they are going to be physically punished in throughout the season. They are going to get chirped, beaked, mauled,and rail-roaded by opposing teams. This is where there off-ice development comes into play. The methods used in this form of team bonding are a little askew, but If a veteran can loosen up a rookie to the point where he can get comfortable (whilst dancing a fine line and not get cocky), within his circle of teammates, then he will inherently become a better player on the ice, and become more effective for the greater good of the team. Everybody needs everyone out there. Players play better when they feel at ease. When an opponent has you in the mind, you might as well not even dress. But if you’ve handled the in-good-fun abuse from your own team, built up some callous against verbal assault, and have learned that these same guys are going to stick up for you in battle when the other team wants to take you down a few pegs, you’re going to be a leg up.
In the end, rookie or vet, you’re all on the same team, and all working towards the same goal, so you better be on the same page. Men remember experiences most vividly. In an odd way, rookie initiation bonds teams closer together, because they do it to each other and no one outside the team, and every player has to do it. Thusly, a subtle line of separation from everyone else gets drawn, binding the participants tighter. If rookies do their best to take it in stride, and veterans do their best not to take it too far, Rookie Initiation can be one of the best stories a player gets to remember, and one of the most enjoyable practices they get to dish out when they finally reach veteran status.
Discussion/comment provoking question: If you are or were a hockey player (or athlete of any sport), what is your best or worst rookie initiation story?
I was in the Safeway on the corner of Richter and Bernard in Kelowna the other day when I noticed, conspicuously placed on the bottom of the doors was the above sticker, notifying those who saw it that the store was being monitored by Acme Protection Systems, Ltd. My immediate thought was, of course, HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM WILE E COYOTE? Why do people continue to buy products from people dumb enough to name their company after people who supplied a cartoon Coyote with ineffective, often defective, and always deadly products for catching a roadrunner? Why would you, as a business owner who could choose any name in the world, want that stigma attached to your products? Is it worth the nostalgic reference? I can just hear the Safeway manager saying to himself, “You know, the company I want to trust the millions of dollars worth of product and property in this store can only be safe in a company called Acme. That makes sense to me. Let me get my name on this contract right away.“
The Marketplace IGA in Glenmore recently supplied me with evidence of the
engagement of one of most epic battles of our time. Yes folks, the people at General Mills have taken their flagship product of Cheerios into head-on warfare with Toucan Sam and his mighty Froot Loops. Apparently, the Honey-Nut, Multi-Grain, Frosted, Apple Cinnamon, Yogurt Burst, Berry Burst, Oat Cluster Crunch, and Banana Nut Cheerios varieties have not been able to corner the market on the very lucrative colored-circle-shape-cereal gravy train that ever lovable/possibly high (have you noticed how much sniffing he does? Always following that nose of his…) tropical bird king of Kellogg’s has monopolized for so long. Just you wait for the unauthorized biographies and movie rights from this one…
Kelowna’s Capri Centre Mall recently supplied me with this gem in the men’s washroom. Yes, you are seeing it right, there is a paper cup dispenser IN THIS VERY PUBLIC WASHROOM. Apparently so many people were running in, cupping their hands under the tap, trying to corral a mouthful, that the big-wigs that make the big decisions around there decided to put a stop to the whole thing. Instead of installing, say, a drinking fountain, this must have been the next logical cost-cutting step. I knew there was some reason those guys were in charge…
And last but clearly not least, Calgary’s Centennial Arenas, home of my sworn enemy Mt. Royal Cougars, has been working ever so diligently to install a new wheelchair ramp to improve the arena’s disabled accessibility. At completion, the ramp will allow disabled spectators to enter the arena without having to navigate the stairs– they just have to figure out a way over the brick wall at the end of the ramp.
Is it possible that the CFL could gain more popularity if they simply built stadiums that allowed fans to sit closer to the field, like in the NFL and NCAA? Why does the CFL make its attendees sit 50 feet away from all points of the field? You can nearly get field-side seats for American games; and the atmosphere shows its appreciation. Don’t CFL games look rather poorly attended on TV, comparatively?
How happy are horses to be out of the common workforce? If horses are able to communicate with each other the way we are, I’m sure the elder horses have been passing down stories for years to the young ones about how they used to have to haul EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME until cars were invented. Oh, and they also had to fight in wars (well, carry people into some sort of big fracas the horses didn’t understand the meaning of, and maybe die for some reason). And take people everywhere. We still make them run as fast as they can in a circle so that people can make money off them, and trot people around in carriages and trail rides from time to time, but I’m sure the reduction in labour over the last 60 years has been more than acceptable.
Boys wear blue, girls wear pink. Everybody knows this. For some reason, some “men” recently got this strange notion in their head that it’s ok for them to be wearing pink. For every guy challenging the status quo by telling people their shirt was “salmon” colored, there were another two drinking dark ale, making fun of them. And so they danced.
Somewhere along the lines, it got really popular to support Breast Cancer research by wearing those loopy little ribbons, adorned with the color pink. An incredibly aggressive promotional push led to pink clothing, pink sports jerseys, pink sports equipment, and everything else you can think of lambasted pink all in the good name of supporting and funding research for the cure of Breast Cancer (please don’t get me wrong, I am in full support of curing the disease).
This has led to a loophole in the equilibrium of gender coloring. Now, all those male fuchsia flirters trying to be edgy are able to hide from masculine scorn behind what has become an immunity idol of wearing the color most commonly associated with femininity; pink. Who in their right mind is going to make fun of someone supporting cancer research?
The only male I can give a non-cancer-related-wearing-pink free-pass to is Bret “Hitman” Hart, who did just fine with it, always wearing an equal amount of black with pink.
I ordered a Lemonade with my lunch the other day at Boston Pizza. The glass came equipped with the lemon-wedge adorned rim. Immediately upon squeezing my lemon into the lemonade, I wondered, doesn’t this seem a little overkill?
What’s so bad about intending a pun, anyways? Why must everyone disclaim “No Pun Intended,” once they’ve spoken one, making it clear that they didn’t mean to do it? You can make a case for the stinkers, and the “Grandpa jokes,” but is it really that bad to insinuate a little humor into your speech patterns, now and then?
From time to time, everyone needs to take a taxi. Perhaps you’re going to the airport, too drunk to drive, or have other reasons. One question I have is, where are you supposed to sit? TV and movies make it seem obligatory to sit in the back seat. I think in some larger cities, the driver actually sits in a glass box of sorts for protection, and back seat is your only option. Is it so crazy to grab for the handle of the front seat?
Lets work with 5 seat cab theory; that is, 3 seats in the back, one shotgun passenger, one driver. If you’re riding with an equal amount of people to seats ratio (in this case, 4 total), then it seems obvious. If you have 3, you have the option of a back-row bunch-up, or sending one to the front to allow a buffer zone for the cheap seats. If you have 2, it would seem awkward to sit one in the front and one in the back, so I would say you gotta both bunk in the back. But what about the solo act?
If you head directly to the back, then you conform to all social presuppositions on the subject. You then also indirectly insinuate that your cab ride is serving an “a to b” purpose; in that social interaction with the driver is not something you’re going to initiate (perhaps this is fine with you). However, this may cause the driver to talk to you more, in hopes of earning a larger tip (not applicable to Asian cabbies). It may also lead to a very silent, and awkward drive.
If you select the front seat, you’re likely comfortable sitting unusually close to someone you don’t know. You’ve indirectly broken the social code norm, but now you’re not sure how to behave in the position. You feel obligated to talk and to maintain conversation; but at least you can do so face to face, rather than face to back. You can also keep an eye on the meter to mentally calculate what you’re going to leave on top.
Good points on both sides. So what do you do?