Well. Not for us Canadians. We celebrated Victoria Day this past Monday. We did all the things. We went for bike rides and walks. We went to parks and flew kites. We cleared Walmart out of every single package of hamburger buns so that certain procrastinators and their families had to use bread. Which gets soggy and gross and is not a good substitute (I've heard). We saw fireworks displays. We did all of this, most of us with only a vague understanding of what the day meant. (Queen Victoria? Someone always asks. Uh sure, whatever…so do you want one hotdog or two?)
Memorial Day is quite different. As we Canadians tend to know American history just slightly better than our own, we know that it is a day to remember those who died in active military service. There are a lot of people who would argue against having Memorial day cookouts and celebrations, saying that it is supposed to be a day of mourning. I get that...on the one hand? On the other hand, I would say (treading very carefully...) that it really doesn’t even have to be one or the other. It can be a celebration...of the freedom that their lives and their sacrifice provided. Said the person who is not even American. On a topic no one was even debating. (I'll see myself out).
So, I should probably lighten up a bit because this is a humour blog. Generally - death, war, and making light of ultimate sacrifice is not super hilarious.
Mostly it's because this post is kind of about being overly sensitive and I’m not sensitive enough. I'm underly sensitive (also, I make up words). I just don't take things seriously enough. "I'm the kinda guy that laughs at a funeral" (I’m also the kinda guy who will throw in a little known line from a Bare Naked Ladies song when I'm nervous about things getting a little heavy).
I do try to be more sensitive. My sister is an great example for me. When you talk to her, you have to remember that funny rule about pitch – like with Chinese languages - and say it in just the right tone. If you say Come on over! (excitedly…smiling…happy) it’s all good. If you say Come on over. (regular voice, normal face) she will assume you that you are probably lying, you probably hate her and you definitely don’t want her to come over. It’s okay, I still love her sensitive little psyche (kinda hope she doesn't read this post, though). My other sister is a little more like me and we literally have laughed at a funeral. (wish I was just referencing the song now).
I’ve also learned how to deal with the overly sensitive from my dog. If I happen to move the ottoman 4 feet to the left? Her whole day is thrown off. She glares at me while she does a few accusatory circles around the “new” spot. How dare you, she snarls (well, she snarls anyway. The “how dare” is implied). She will eat her food that day, but her body language says, I’m only eating this to keep up my strength because I’m planning to kill you in your sleep. If you come within a few feet of where she is hard at work on her 23 hour nap, there will be an unmistakable low growl. She will periodically come over, flop down, and demand you rub her belly but she will have an air about her. If you stop for even one second, she will look at you like, oh. Nice. First the ottoman and now this?
Some good boot-camp de-sensitivity training is the internet - specifically that little comment section at the end of pretty much anything that gets posted. Especially in Youtube. My advice would be to do a "cover" of a popular song. If you can’t sing or play an instrument, all the better – the training will happen very quickly. Just post it and watch as complete (virtual) strangers absolutely butcher you. You will be fascinated by the disproportionate viciousness. The sadistic manipulations of the f word. You will come out stronger. (or it will kill you, you know…one or the other)
It’s not just Youtube. A foodie blogger posted her family's meatloaf recipe. I felt myself bristle when she wrote “just like your Mom used to make”…oooh. Not good. She was walking right into it. People are surprisingly sensitive when it comes to the way their own mothers made meatloaf. It raises hackles. Here’s how it went down.
Ketchup in a meatloaf recipe? That’s disgusting. My mother would never do that.
That’s because she doesn’t know how to cook – everyone puts ketchup in their meatloaf.
That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard…you put ketchup ON the meatloaf when it’s done. Both your mothers are morons.
Are you calling my mother a moron, idiot?
No. Just a moron. You’re the idiot.
Excuse me, meatloaf for brains? Why do you hate women?
Are you calling me a racist?
Do you not have a soul?
Okay, I may have taken some liberties with the exact dialogue, but let’s just say things escalated way too quickly for it to be about meatloaf. I'm a little worried about society in general – if there is that level of hostility out there. I held back my suggestion of chili sauce or even tomato paste as I feared for my life.
Personally, I feel extremely lucky. The comments on my own blog are the best. I barely have to pay people anything to say them! (I’m kidding. It's actually quite pricey…but it's worth it) (I’m kidding again…I kid a lot. Because it’s a humour blog. In case you haven't heard me say that eleven thousand times).
So! Have a great long weekend! Go get your GRILL ON!
Get your grill on and um...(quietly now) take a moment to think about the real reason for Memorial Day. On that note, try not to be too "overly sensitive" at any non-Americans giving helpful hints on how to treat a national holiday as if she has any clue (go ahead and quiz her on Victoria Day if she annoys you too much).
But seriously. Get the grill on already! Don’t make meatloaf. Just trust me on that one.