Why Is This Happening To Me?! (1 Minute Read).

Why Is This Happening To Me?! (1 Minute Read).

Got soaked in the rain? You are probably a natural wet t-shirt model.

Got dumped with the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line? It’s definitely them. 

Got cheated on? No biggie. It’s good when the trash can take itself out. 

Can’t get to work on time? Real work only starts when you get there, since you are the most competent employee. Everyone else has breakfast while waiting on you.

Car stalls or gets a flat tyre in the middle of a traffic jam? Your embarrassment threshold instantly levels up. (+100 points). 

The boss always picks on you at work? Someone has to do their job for them or their incompetence starts to show.

Coming down with the virus? That wet T-shirt contest probably wasn’t a great idea.

Broke before pay day? Try falling in love again with all the stuff you bought after your last pay day.

Failed an exam? It’s hardly the same as failing at life. 

Lost your luggage at the airport? The fashion police seized it because your sense of style was probably a public hazard. 

Your students think you are a boring teacher? It’s fine. Their parents don’t get paid to hear their criticisms of their upbringing, so they send them to a much more qualified individual.

You’ve come to the end of your favorite blog’s post of the day? All good things must come to an end so they can begin anew another day. 

The Treadmill Analogy: Another Bad Comparison. (30 Second Read).

The Treadmill Analogy: Another Bad Comparison. (30 Second Read).

While going through my paces on the treadmill this week, I heard something fall with a loud bump behind me. As I turned around to take a look at what was happening, I realised I immediately had to turn my attention back to what was taking place in front of me on the controls. 

In the moment I turned around, I no longer had my eyes on my goal of burning calories. But more importantly I felt as if I was losing my balance; running while looking back is a bad idea. If you think about your life as running on a treadmill, then looking ahead and staying focused will ensure you get to your goals. However, if you keep looking back at the distractions of your past, you run the risk (literally) of stumbling and falling off your path. 

The key to burning calories and achieving all you want in your life is not breaking your momentum. Once you get warmed up, keep your stride, get into a rhythm and never look back. Momentum will always push you forward, dedication will push you further and a clear vision for your life will take you beyond your limits.

Ignorance Is Not Defense For Ignorance. (1 Minute Read).

Ignorance Is Not Defense For Ignorance. (1 Minute Read).

I wrote in an earlier blog post, that some people love to defend their ignorant ways with equally ignorant behaviors and attitudes. In such circumstances all logic, clarity and wisdom are overwhelmed by the onslaught of bitterness, prejudice and stubbornness. 

Dealing with ignorant people is a painstaking task. However, if left to their own devices, such individuals become dangerous, destructive and deluded, as all that matters to them is their selfishness, narrow mindedness and survival in a world they do not care to comprehend. 

It takes patience, not force, to make ignorant people see the flaws in their world views. It calls for knowledge, not vilification, to tame and retrain a lost mind. It requires understanding, empathy and some amount of love to dispel the thick clouds of negativity and falsehood which weigh heavily on an ignorant heart. 

It may be difficult to begin the process of getting an ignorant person to see the fallacies in the defense of their ways. They only know of one way to think and one way to live. Any attempt to change that will be seen as an attack on their fragile self esteem and image. However, without becoming ignorant yourself, you can effect positive change in the life of another human being. I typically see ignorance as a childish attempt by a misunderstood individual to seek attention from the world. At the end of the day they are people just like you and I and everyone deserves redemption, even if they may curse, kick and spit on your offer the first time around.

Worst Analogy Ever? Life Is Like A Subway Sandwich. (5 Minute Read).

Worst Analogy Ever? Life Is Like A Subway Sandwich. (5 Minute Read).

Over the years I’ve tried various Subway sandwiches with a multitude of combinations of toppings and dressings, just to find the perfect sandwich. If we imagine our lives to be sandwiches being prepared and each sandwich is a new stage in our lives, then the toppings and dressings are the chosen circumstances, situations and people we allow to hop along for the ride. 

The most favorite sandwhich, based on my observations, is the Chicken Teriyaki. It’s juicy chicken with a slightly sweet taste. It’s a great selection, almost like the new phase you’ve embarked on. People love the Parmesan bread, but it’s always a bit hard and crusty. It’s similar to your personality, soft and cheesy on the inside, hard and seasoned on the outside. So we have a juicy main selection on a hard bread to which people let the sandwich artists pile on lettuce. Putting lettuce on a sandwich is always a great choice. It’s fresh, crunchy and very well behaved in your creation. Lettuce is like your best friends and closest family members who know you best. Then you choose the tomato slices. They are large and healthy for you, but also juicy. They go on top your lettuce and chicken. The tomatoes represent the elders and advisors you trust and turn to for help. The juicyness is their influence on your life. Next come the cucumber slices. Hard, cool but completely useless and tasteless in any sandwhich. They are the acquaintances you have around you. You know they are there, but they make no difference to your life. You are then offered sweet peppers. Who eats raw sweet peppers? They are best suited for pizzas, gyros and fried rice when cooked. Sweet peppers are your failed romantic relationships. Bulky, unnecessary, raw and bound to be the first thing to fall out your sandwich. They are followed by pickles. They are the old fears and problems you have not dealt with, but which remain on your mind constantly. Sour, salty, shriveled and cold, they interfere with the flavor of the other things in the sandwich. Next come the onions. They come in different sliced sizes, you get just a few and are tempting to the taste buds. They represent the adventures and fun activities in your life. By now you realise your sandwich is stuffed, but you have extras; pineapple chucks, olives and jalapeños. The pineapple is your ambition. Sweet, juicy and strong. The olives are your dark side. Subtle but weird and unnecessary. Jalapeño peppers! Nice small flavourful slices. They represent your current relationships; hot and spicy. 

Then you have to choose the dressings. Ketchup is always a must. It’s your ability to be liked by everyone everywhere you go. The pepper is also a good choice. It’s your determined spirit and fire to succeed. The mayonnaise makes everything taste good, but is unhealthy unfortunately. It is like your vices. You should learn to cut back. Next is garlic sauce. Watery but flavourful, it’s never truly distinguished in the sandwich when it’s being eaten. It’s like the small victories you make in your phase but which are still insignificant compared to the goal at hand.People love the shaddon beni sauce. It’s too weak in flavour though and adds too much wetness to the sandwhich. This is your failures and how you handle them. They can ruin the sandwich if you let them run amok.

The people who pile on all the toppings and dressings always complain how big, sloppy, messy and wet the sub is when it’s finished. They should be reminded that they chose all the things that went into the sandwich so they themselves are the ones to blame for the mess. 

Truly it is my belief that some toppings and dressings were meant to go with some sandwiches. For example, the bbq sauce will go with the bbq pork, the olive oil will be nice with a salad and the cheese slices are best left for the sausage subs. Who puts cheese on chicken? 

So no matter your phase in life remember to mix and match until you find the right combination. It’s a mess when you try to pile everything on yourself all at once! Your life, like the sub, should be a work of art at the end, not a disappointment you wished you didn’t spend your money on. 

And a note about double meats; take your phases one at a time. Don’t try to conquer your dreams all at once. I once saw a guy try a foot long double meat subway melt sandwich. He could not keep it all down! 

Note To Self: 5 Sticky Notes For Your Day. (30 Second Read).

Note To Self: 5 Sticky Notes For Your Day. (30 Second Read).

Sticky note ideas to help you get through your day: 

1. ‘I will remain optimistic and determined in all that I do.’ After all, a positive attitude ensures a positive day.

2. ‘Smile’. Try smiling  with everyone you meet; it doesn’t cost you anything, but is worth more to them than you can imagine.

3. ‘I won’t stress over the little things and ignorant people.’ Stress drains you of the energy you need to get through your day.

4. ‘Staying true to myself.’ Do not change who you are to please others. Do not let others make you feel bad because of who you are.

5. ‘In awe at the Universe.’ There is so much to appreciate about the world around us. Take the time to bask in the gifts of the Universe.

Bonus Sticky Note Idea: ‘Check the ‘Can’t Help, But Laugh’ blog daily.’ For original content all week long. 

A Carnival Story. (Part 2).

A Carnival Story. (Part 2).

Kepper arrived back at Wappie’s house, staggering in disbelief, yet clutching the evidence of his strange encounter in his hand; the scarlet feather.
Wappie had not returned home and the sun was ending its watch over Pinto Capitan. Lights went on in several houses in the village, but Wappie’s and Kepper’s little wooden house remained unlit and soon became part of the deep darkness which always descended upon the community at nights.
Kepper, after securing the feather, the newspaper pages, the wire and scissors, climbed into Wappie’s hammock and fell asleep waiting on him to return.
He dreamed about his scarlet red feather. It was part of a costume he was wearing, while dancing along the streets of downtown Port of Spain, with thousands of other revelling children. Their mas costumes were resplendent in the warm sunshine and the pulsating, addictive soca music moved their feet, their hands, their mouths and their spirit.
Hundreds of spectators who had lined the streets, waving bandanas and rags, screamed and shouted at him when they saw his feather, as he jumped and pranced in front of them.
Wappie came home to find Kepper smiling clumsily in his sleep in the hammock. As he walked upstairs, he spotted the small pile of mas face making implements on the table, and wondered where the boy had found such a beautiful red feather.

Dawn soon came and Kepper was awoken by the sounds of many voices around him.
When he opened his eyes, he saw Wappie standing by the table, with six other children from the village with him.
“Morning, fadda, go wash yuh face before yuh come here.” Wappie said to him when he approached the group.
The other children laughed at him.
“Wuh allyuh doing here?” Kepper enquired of Nai, the eldest in the bunch.
“Uncle Wappie asked we mudda if we wanted to come make mas face and have a lil jump up by he today.” she replied. “We always wanted to take part in Carnival too, but we never had the chance.”
Excitement welled up inside Kepper’s heart. He couldn’t imagine anything better. Well, his dream was better, but in reality, it was the best that could be done.
He hurriedly washed his face and rinsed his mouth with water from a barrel under Wappie’s house.
The man had made breakfast for him also. As he stuffed down his bake and cheese, he watched as Wappie cut pieces of wire which would be used to make the frames for the mas faces.
Nai and her sisters, Melissa and Ruby, had brought make up and hair accessories to complete their costumes, David, Ryan and Juman came with bed sheets, as well as bottles, pots and pans to make a Carnival raucous.
When Wappie was finished cutting the wire, he distributed the newspaper pages for the children to cut and make the masks. They cut the paper into large egg shapes which covered their faces and then cut large holes for eyes and mouths. They then reinforced the paper with the wire pieces and glue. Wappie also gave them string to tie the masks around their heads, when they put it on their faces.
After fitting the masks, they were ready to decorate them. When Kepper brought out his scarlet red feather, the other children were in amazement.
This prompted Wappie to ask him the question which was on his mind all night.
“Where you get the nice feather from fadda? I thought you were going to take one from yuh fadder fowl. Dat doh look like no rooster feather to me.”
Kepper was not sure how to answer. “I found it in the bush behind the house.” He told Wappie.
“Well dat is the strangest bird feather I ever seen around in this bush.” Wappie replied. The other children agreed.
Kepper was unsure if he should tell them about his encounter with the strange old man, but he really needed to share his tale with someone.
“I was looking for my fadder rooster, when I heard a whistle. I followed the whistle and I found an old man in the bush. He had this red feather in his hand, along with others. He told me I could have any one I wanted, so I chose this one. He said it was a Scarlet Ibis feather and he found it in some swamp, whatever that is. Then he disappeared.”
Everyone listening to his story was left silent. Wappie scratched his head and held up the feather. “From a Scarlet Ibis?”
“The Scarlet Ibis is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.” said Nai.
The other children nodded in agreement.
“The old man said the feather is special.” Kepper said. “I not sure what that means though.”
He took the feather and stuck it onto his mas face. The other children, who were also finished with their mas faces were ready to put them on.
Wappie ran upstairs and brought down a small radio, which he plugged on and turned the dial to one of the popular soca stations. The children then put on their masks, brimming with excitement. When Kepper put on his mask, something truly miraculous happened.

There was a bright flash of light, and he suddenly found himself wearing a costume designed to look like a Scarlet Ibis. He had bright red plumage all over his body and a slender long black beak. He flapped his arms like wings and the feathers opened out in a great span. He looked around at the other children. They too were dressed in complete Carnival costumes, designed after various animals found on the islands.
Nai’s costume looked like an emerald green Hummingbird. Melissa and Ruby were dressed as yellow and back Kiskadees. David’s costume was that of a neon green Iguana with a long swishing tail and long claws. Ryan’s costume was that of a large golden fish with a huge tail and bright blue eyes, while Juman’s costume was made out of a black, brown and striped furry material, making her look like an ocelot.
Wappie stood holding his head in amazement, as the children were transformed into Kings and Queens of Carnival in their perfected costumes. He had no explanation for the sight before his eyes, as they jumped and pranced to the infectious soca music being played on the radio.
Kepper was in all his glee at the occurence. The children ran after each other, laughing and parading in their costumes. The thought briefly crossed Kepper’s mind that the scarlet red feather had anything to do with what had happened to them, but he was too filled with joy to care. The commotion brought the other villagers out to see what the children were doing and they too were lost for words over the unfolding spectacle.
They joined them in the revelry. Young and old came out on that Carnival Saturday morning to enjoy the mood and atmosphere. Carnival had come to Pinto Capitan. The children could not get enough of their happiness. Other children also joined them in their home made costumes and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves all weekend long.

When Carnival Tuesday night arrived, the children begrudgingly took off their costumes and went home. They would be heading back to school on Wednesday morning. What a story they would have to tell to the other children in the school!
Kepper walked back to his litte shack alone that night. His father had still not returned home, but he didn’t care. He had gotten his wish and more than he had hoped for. He carefully plucked the scarlet feather out of his mas face and placed it inside a book for safekeeping. He then took a bath and went to bed, where he dreamed he and the other children were playing in their costumes in the forest, while the strange old man looked on laughing and smiling at their contentment.

The next day at school, Kepper laughed the most in his life. The Goodman boys who had returned home late on Tuesday night, did not have great tales of their Carnival experience to share with their friends. Their aunt Betsy, had served potato salad to her visiting family members on Friday night and everyone fell ill with food poisoning. They spent the entire Carnival weekend in bed, watching the Greatest Show on Earth on the television, while the real action passed along the road right in front their aunt’s house.

The End.

A Carnival Story. (Part 1)

A Carnival Story. (Part 1)

Kepper said goodbye to the boys as he approached the track which led to his house in the small village of Pinto Capitan. They paid little attention to him. They were too excited about the great plans they had boasted about in school all week.  Devon and Kyle, twin brothers, and Sean, their cousin, were going with their parents to see mas in Port of Spain on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. They marched up and down the school that week, talking about their aunt who would be running a food stall around the Queen’s Park Savannah and fabulous claims that they would be staying in her house, which is situated along a street in the capital city, where they could see all the masqueraders parade and jump and dance to their hearts’ content. They showed off their dance moves to their classmates, just to add more drama to their story. Kepper rolled his eyes for what seemed like a million times that week at them. The Goodman boys were lucky he thought, but their luck didn’t mean they had to turn into gleeful, show-offy, big-shots.
Keeper had only been to Port of Spain once in his life and it was during a time he would rather not remember. He had never seen a real life Carnival masquerader. The children in his class who were not as fortunate to see the two days of revelry, costumes, colours and action up close and personal, took it in on their television sets. Unfortunately, Kepper didn’t have a TV at his home.
Even as he approached his little wooden house at the end of the track, he could hear the Goodman boys’ boisterous laughter. He sighed heavily. If only he could see the mas. If only he could dress up in a Carnival costume and play mas and chip and dance to his favourte Soca tune. If only.

When Kepper pushed the door to this house open, he instinctively knew his father was not at home. He would probably not be home until later that night, Kepper thought to himself. It was nothing unusual for the 10-year-old to be left alone by his father who spent his days trying to find work to make money and then spent his nights spending it on alcohol. Kepper dropped his book bag on the floor and walked back out the door. It made no sense to stay alone in the house by himself.
He walked over to Wappie, his neighbour’s house, where he found the man under his house lying in his hammock, reading a newspaper.
On the front page, there was the bold headline ‘Fantastic Friday Fiesta’, with pictures of crowds of people at various Carnival fetes and parties. Kepper sighed louder to get Wappie’s attention, as he sat on some bricks stacked on top one another.
“Wuh happen fadda?” asked Wappie, folding the paper and resting it on the ground. Kepper shook his head.
“You ever play mas Wappie?” the boy asked.
“Yeh, a long time ago. That’s when I used to live close to town. Boy, all now, Fantastic Friday evening, you cyah find meh. I in some bar or liming by a pardner or something.” he replied. “Then J’ouvert morning we feteing and in a band Carnival Monday and Tuesday all over town. Those were some bess days.”
Kepper was now angry with himself for asking Wappie anything in the first place. He had hoped his response was also as depressing as his current situation.
“Everybody know about mas and Carnival and I dunno nothing.” Kepper said.
“Well that’s cuz yuh young still.” Wappie said.
“Buh, Devon, Kyle and Sean young too and dey going town this weekend for Carnival!” he exclaimed.
“Lawd, dey going to stay with dey aunt Betsy ent? Boy, I dunno how she does manage to make money for Carnival nah, she food does taste bad. I buy food by she one time just out of courtesy. Not me again.”
Kepper burst out laughing when he saw the look of scorn and distaste on Wappie’s reminscing face.
“Boy, not everyone privileged to see mas til they get older. But, that don’t mean you cya enjoy yourself at home.” Wappie told the boy.
“How yuh mean? I doh have no TV to see mas on.” Kepper said.
“Fada, I doh mean TV. I mean, make yuh own mas and play yuh own Carnival.” Wappie said with a smile.
“Make meh own mas?” Kepper asked with interest.
“Yeh. Wuh de hell dey teaching allyuh in school? You mean allyuh doh make mas face and put on and have jump up in school!?” Wappie exclaimed in disbelief.
“Well no. De principal say dem ting is devil ting, so she doh let we do anything like dat.” Kepper replied sadly.
“Daz sad. Anyways, we could make a mas face for you. D ting is, I doh have any cardboard or paper to make it with.” said Wappie. “I have a scissors, some wire and I bound to have some glue in a draw somewhere.”
“We cya use the newspaper?” asked Kepper, looking down at all the colourful pictures on the daily.
“Yuh know, that could work. But we go hada use plenty layers or it will be flimsy.” said Wappie as he opened the papers and pulled out all the pages with the most colourful pictures and fonts.
He got up from the hammock and went into a small room. He brought out a small folding plastic table and opened it out in front of Kepper. He then went upstairs to find the scissors, wire and glue.
As Kepper arranged the newspaper pages, he looked closely at the pictures of some of the Carnival costumes. Most of them, even the ones worn by men, had feathers in them. Wappie had not spoken about feathers and he wondered if they could be used. When Wappie came back downstairs with the scissors and an old tube of glue, Kepper asked him if he could put feathers in the mas face?
“Yeh, it would look even prettier with the feathers.” said Wappie as he struggled to take the cap off the glue tube.
“I feel this glue geh hard. Wey yuh go get feathers?” he asked Kepper.
“I’ll go pull a few off meh fadder rooster.” he said smiling.
“Bunty go skin yuh alive if you interfere with he chicken.” Wappie said, still struggling with the glue cap.
“Is ok. He ent go even realise.” said Kepper.
“OK.” replied Wappie. “I going by d shop to see if they have glue. Doh stay long getting the feather. It getting dark already. Remember, yuh doh really need it.”

Kepper walked back to his house, as Wappie threw on a jersey and set off for the nearby shop.
When the boy walked around to the back of the house to the chicken coop, where his father Bunty, enslaved a few scrawny chickens, he did not see the rooster.
He fetched a small bucket of corn seeds from under the house and threw the contents into the coop. The chickens scampered over each other to pick at the measly grains.
Kepper sighed at the sight and was about to walk back to Wappie’s when he heard a strange whistle. It came from inside the overgrown forested area, which bordered the village of Pinto Capitan and which served as the backyard of his house.
Kepper, familiar with the forested area around his house, followed the sound of the whistle, which was high, clear and sweet. It was cheerful to his ear and he imagined what great bird made the strange call. It was unlike anything he had ever heard before from the various species of bird he had seen in the forest.
As he made his way cautiously through the trees, being very careful of where he stepped, he spotted a figure walking ahead of him. He stopped dead in his tracks. His fear of the jumbies of the forest suddenly gripped him. The figure turned and faced him. It was an old bearded man, cloaked in a tattered and torn piece of cloth. He carried a bag over his left shoulder and in his right hand were a multitude of feathers, of varying shapes, lengths and colours. Kepper became especially spell-bound by one particularly long, scarlet red feather. It was similar to the ones he had seen in the newspaper pictures, but this one was radiant and perfect.
A million things ran through Kepper’s mind. Chief among them was ‘why was he the only thing not running?’ The old man walked toward him. Just then, they both heard the whistle. The old man looked up at the trees and his eyes searched this way and that for the bird which made the call. He then whistled to it. The bird whistled back.
Kepper looked on in amazement as the man and the unseen bird communicated with each other. The next thing he heard, was the rustle of leaves and a flutter of wings and a beautiful brown bird flew down from the trees and landed on the old man’s shoulder.
Kepper was as dumbstruck as the times his teacher called upon him to recite his multiplication tables. The man greeted the bird in a soft whistle, then turned back his attention to Kepper.
“Do you like the feathers?” he asked in a slow, raspy, yet kind voice.
Kepper nodded. He could find no words. They had ran off with the other things in his mind.
“Well, why don’t you take the one you like the most.” the man offered, extending his arm with the feathers.
Kepper hesistated, but he knew he wanted the scarlet red feather. It would defintely make his mas face look genuinely real. He really wanted to experience a little part of Carnival and be joyful like the people in the pictures he saw.
Never, taking his eyes of the man, he reached out and gently pulled the feather out of the man’s grasp.
“Ahh, a nice selection. A feather from the Scarlet Ibis. Very special. Very beautiful.” said the man with a smile and a nod. “I found it in the mangrove swamp this morning, as the birds left for their feeding grounds.”
Kepper had no idea what a mangrove swamp was. He too was capitvated by the radiance of the feather, but managed to say ‘Thank You’ to the stranger.
The bird on the man’s shoulder started whistling again, drawing Kepper out of his stupor. The man whistled softly to it and it flew up into the trees.
Kepper looked at it flying away high above the leaves and branches until it disappeared. When he looked back down, the old man was gone. There was no sign of him.

To be continued…