Courier columns; Rollin’ on the River with Mark Taylor

I had a female caller contact me at work looking for somebody named Mike, but it became clear she had the wrong number. Normally, I don’t mind that stuff and sometimes I even like to string people along but in this case I didn’t. The issue I had was she told me to “have a nice week.” It was only Tuesday at noon at the time and I felt it was just too much pressure to put onto somebody. I don’t mind “have a nice day,” but this was just too much. I was only two-and-one-half days into the week and I got this laid on me. I think that this was uncalled for, but I tried to get through this whole ordeal. Just be careful out there; don’t put undue pressure on people; especially fragile people like me.

I read the editorial written last week written by the Editor Krisi Marples on rumours. She had been presented with information in a meeting that was simply not true. I have lived in this area a lot longer than she has and would like to offer up some suggestions on how to navigate through the jungles of Charlotte County and the rumour mill. It has been my experience that unless a story starts with, “Somebody was saying,” it is virtually impossible to determine if it is true or not. Plus, if there a second disclaimer supplied, “I forgot who told me now,” it is probably even more reliable. I’ll never forget all the times I saw Peter Mansbridge do The National on CBC and say these very same words. It’s definitely something worth noting when a possible news story may get presented to you.

The other part of the editorial deals with questioning the sources from material you are reading. It was my late great hero George Carlin who said, “Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question everything they read”. Krisi mentioned that people with certain agendas can produce material that is favourable to themselves. Such is the case with the recent story about the Chicago Black Hawks sex scandal.

I’ll give you the Coles notes but back in 2010, a player was assaulted by one of the team’s coaches which was dismissed at the time and buried until recently. The fallout has been a lot of high-paid help has been let go and calls for a change in culture in hockey and really, in every walk of life. It all went down during their 2010 Stanley Cup run and the feeling was a sex scandal would be a distraction on the team and to deal with it later. The perpetrator was allowed to continue with his job and even assaulted another staff member in the three weeks that followed the first allegation. The point I’m trying to make is the team commissioned an investigation into the allegations and a 107-page report was released.

The key word here is “team” and it ties in with Krisi’s point of looking at where the information comes from, and in this case, the team reporting on its own conduct. Beware when you read that a man attempting to walk around the world drowned today or a baby was born pregnant. There could be underlying factors of why it was being reported. I’ll never forget the time when I was in a bar and there was a dog sleeping in a doggy bed. After a few minutes, he woke up and told the bartender he was a cat. The bartender replied, “Yes, pal, you are.” The dog got up and walked out of the bar. I was in disbelief and said to the bartender, “Wait, that guy is not a cat!” The bartender looked right at me and said, “I know but sometimes you just gotta let sleeping dogs lie.”

Mark Taylor is a long time Courier columnist whose views on life and living are usually unconventional and definitely outside of the box. He’s a true Charlotte County boy who has the right to remain silent, but not the ability.