Friday, May 17, 2013


I have to own up to it.  As I age, distraction is exacting revenge. I wonder if it hasn’t been dormant, biding its time like an inexorable telemarkerter who knows that, at some point, I will be home.   In the heyday of my self-control, it trusted its ultimate destiny.   I would weaken one day, or maybe my life would ease a little, and it would fill the vacuum.

So worrisome is this penchant to follow whatever enters my head that I decided to do something about it today.  I tracked the actions my impulses generated.

The first domino actually fell yesterday morning, on the way to the office, as I listened to The Morning Edition.  Sheila Coles and callers commented on the ad campaign run by the Toronto Vegetarian Association: Why love one but eat the other?  I’d been thinking about the story all day and evening, and decided this morning that I would put those thoughts to paper.  Here’s what followed.

  • vegetarian ad campaign
  • influence of the media
  • cultural norms
  • social responsibility
  • double-edge sword
  • condescension
  • being "deared"
  • terms of endearment
  • sincerity versus taraf
  • taraf in Iran
  • Betty Mahmoody's Not Without My Daughter
  • check YouTube for film
  • Twitter says Elijah Harper has died
  • check Radio-Canada website
  • home page article on translators of Dan Brown’s Inferno

Here, a small victory.  The white arrow in the center of the circle on the Dan Brown videoclip calls me.  I slap my fingers not to press play.  Vestiges of my self-control bail me out, and I wait.  Later.  After all, my project beckons, more of a clarion call than a siren song.

Setting up the document and getting my papers in order, I remember the link to the At Issue clip on the Mike Duffy Senate scandal that Peter Mansbridge tweeted this morning.  I had successfully resisted it then.  Not so now.  I weaken.

Self-discipline, why have you foresaken me?  Where have you gone?  All through the long hours cooped up in my room studying through high school and university, through the mountains of student work I commented on, through the endless course preparations, through thesis work in the wee hours of the night, you were my best friend.  When I was a teen-ager, you helped me withstand cheering on the Montreal Canadiens until the third period.  I would dash downstairs, join my father by the radio or the TV, riding the waves of encouragement and lamentation with him.  I even managed to forego  entire first halves of Rider games, duty prevailing until the third quarter.  How did that ever happen? 

I bet I have used up my lifetime’s reservoir of self-discipline.  Been, there, done that, closets full of T-shirts.  Enough.  No more.  Now, I indulge my randomness, treat it as an investment,  tag along for the ride, and see where it will take me.

I had an incredibly rich morning, thanks to Sheila Coles and the vegetarian ad campaign.  True, the project simmered on the back burner.  In a bizarre twist, however, the flavours blended, and when I came back to it, divergent pieces dovetailed into direction.

Stay tuned—in the morning's randomness, there’s fodder for more stories.


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