It’s something I’ve always wondered about… do assholes know that they are assholes ?
At breakfast after playing Saturday morning hockey I posed this question to my friend Dave G. He immediately looked further down the table and re-directed the query to one individual in particular.
“I don’t know…. Chris???
I know…I know. I apologize for the use of that crude term. I don’t even like to use it myself. Years ago a wise old gentleman told me that he doesn’t like to compare that most essential part of the human anatomy to a jerk. But my Saturday morning hockey and the post-game breakfasts do serve as a salve to my soul after living in this world all week long. Most of us are 50 plus years of age, the younger players don’t usually join us for breakfast. They probably don’t want to waste their time with people who still receive daily newspapers on their doorsteps and have landlines.
Ahh.. not me , of course! But those of us now receiving Canada Pension Plan deposits in our bank accounts now seem to feel wonderfully liberated when it comes to speaking the truth… as we see it. And if our editorializing might hurt the feelings of one of our peers, well, that’s his problem. We’re all far too beholden to our egos anyway. One of the guys has his own electrical supplies business, owns a fleet of classic cars and who I’m sure could sell it all now and spend the rest of his days basking in the sun on Club Med cruises. But watching him move on the ice reminds me that what most of us hear from others is a long list of our weaknesses, errors and blemishes. “Hey, Jacques,” I ask Mr. Electrical Supply as he comes gasping back to the bench,”you should get yourself a Handicapped sticker for your windshield.”
As my wife says, “You are emotionally stunted, David.” I don’t even know if she thinks I have any redeeming qualities at all.
But the thing is, most of us in the Breakfast Club realize that the world has moved on without us, but instead of being bitter, it is instead served up as a good story. For instance, a couple of years ago when my youngest (daughter) was still in high school she belonged to this organisation called ‘Link.’ Their goal is, I don’t think even they know exactly, but it’s supposed to link up the senior Grade 12 students with the young Grade Niners just entering high school. Anyway, I suspect its true value was another notch on university and scholarship-seeking students’ resumes. This particular incident happened right in the middle of the compassionate, socially just, gender- fluid years of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal Ontario government. My daughter walked to the front of the room and in her direct way asked the curious class, “What pronoun do you want to be known as?”
The Grade 9 boys blinked in confusion and stared at her. After several seconds one of them raised his hand.
“What’s a pronoun?” He was genuinely curious.
“He, she, they… there are quite a few of them now, my daughter informed them as only a young, confident and morally and socially-just young university aspirant can be.
“Well, I’m a he… aren’t I?” asked one of the confused young males, looking up from his cell phone for maybe the first time since he entered the class. Sounds like this 14 year old could be a future member of the Old Guys’ Breakfast Club.
Oh, I’m not a complete dinosaur. Young people seem a lot more tolerant, kinder and gentler than we did at their age, at least until they get on social media. But even when I was young I held a grudging respect and admiration for, ahem, older folks more plainspoken and direct speech. My grandfather, an old farmer, had an abandoned wee dog wander up to his kitchen door one morning in 1962. He became his constant companion until he died fourteen years later (the dog, not my grandfather.) His name throughout all that time ?