Sunday, September 22, 2013


Yesterday was the perfect day for busking twice.  From 9 o’clock a.m. until 1 o’clock p.m. I strummed and harped at the Farmers’ Market.  The temperature was chilly and the wind was brisk.  Several times many vendors’ wares set sail in the morning winds.  My neighbors’ chuckles and comments kept me smiling the whole time. (Busking betwixt Dallas and Annette (SASKATCHEWAN HILLBILLIES) and Angela Latta (ANGELA’S HOMESTYLE ORIGINALS) warms me no matter the climate, both weather and consumer, of the market.)

From 3 o’clock until 4 o’clock I strummed and harped at MIKE’S INDEPENDENT FOODS.  Busking there is always a pleasant experience.  The wind had gone down and lots of shoppers stopped to chat about everything (e.g. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee performing live at Saskatoon in the 70’s) and nothing (phatic chat after chat about the weather).

At both buskspots the term YOLO was debated, and at both buskspots, neither discussion was prompted by me.  When I busk, I never solicit conversation, but I do partake when invited.

YOLO, the acronym for You Only Live Once, is the new mantra for emerging and young adults.  (I’m thinking this notion of YOLO really began with CARPE DIEM, a literary genre meaning seize, grasp, or enjoy the day -- see Horace, 23 BC.)  Since then we’ve had such inspiring expressions on our listening charts as Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf) and Born to Die (Lana Del Ray).

Having a morbid fascination for other people’s pain, I cannot imagine YOLO without thinking about the death impact on human behavior.  I mean, really, one cannot have YOLO without having YODO (You Only Die Once).   

This is simply another of the YIN and YANG Chinese philosophy(Pictured in the header of this blog entry, YIN is the black side with the white dot; YANG is the white side with the black dot.)

Keeping in Yin and Yang, death is the price we pay for living. 

FACT:  We do not need to fight death – We need to enhance our life (Mario Garrett, 2013).
FACT:   If life is a contest – then YODO will forever win over YOLO.
FACT:  As bleak as YODO may seem, it does force certain values toward YODO.

We can enhance our lives; we can regard life as not a competition; we can make our lives meaningful.  We can do all these things to give value to the finite time we reside on this planet.

How can we enhance our lives? 
To begin, where we are is where it’s at.  This includes where we live, what position we are in our family and society, and what kind of condition our physical and mental conditions are in. 

Where we are is where it’s at is a downhill ski logo.  Metaphorically, it simply means (is this a contradiction?) to appreciate anywhere you happen to be.  For example, the nearest alpine skiing location for me is Fernie, British Columbia, and eight hour drive; though, I can ski downhill at Mission Ridge, just a one hour drive.  Mission Ridge is not a mountain, but it is a place to sharpen my downhill skiing.

We really do not have much to do with our chronological family placement, but we do have control over our behaviors and attitude toward such.  If you’re regarded as the leader of your siblings, demonstrate some respectful leadership.  If you’re a follower, demonstrate some respectful followership.  (I’m not stating that the eldest is the wisest, I’m just giving examples of some traditional and cultural patterns of our nuclear families.)

Toward our physical health we can contribute in significant fashion.  To put it simply, GET MOVING.  Research insists that exercising on a regular basis and eating healthy foods whenever possible and practical, will enhance your life.  Such behaviors may not add years to your life, but they will certainly add life to your years.  Though cliché, it is true.

How can we regard life as not a competition?
This is not easy.  It is not easy to behave under the condition that some people are not better than others.  It is easy to say – It is not easy to play. 

Living the philosophy that some people are not better than others does not seem to be fostered in any of our major systems, including our school system, our sports system, our work system, our social system.

In both our public and private school systems, students are graded according to academic achievement.  These grades are traditionally signaled by a percentage system of marks.  Oh yes, all children are deserving and have smarts in all sorts of areas but, the only areas that are counted in school are the grades, which are really, a competition among the student players.

Typically our sports systems operate on win-loss scenarios.  Practically any time one team (in any sport) plays against another, there is always a team that wins and a team that loses.  Sometimes there is a tie.  Teams are measured according to the win-loss columns, which are only determined through competitions.  Individual sports operate in a similar/exact manner.  I’m thinking the main difference between recreation and sports is that the competitions are referred to as friendly versus non-friendly.

In our working system, everyone has a boss.  Everyone is accountable to someone higher.  And one can only get higher by climbing the ladder of career success; the higher the rung on the ladder, the higher the pay, the higher the power and prestige.  Getting to higher rungs typically involves job competitions, pitting one employee underling with another.  Dog Eat Dog is the unofficial motto in most of Corporate America.  And when I read about the employment structures in other places on the planet, that unofficial motto is prevalent.  Humans behave the same no matter where they live.

How can we make our lives meaningful?
We can make our own lives more meaningful by simply realizing that our life goals are not to win, but to continue to learn and perform and enhance our physical and mental abilities.  Life is not about the win and loss columns. Life is not about acquiring the most toys. Life is not about gathering the most followers.  Life is about each of us, our uniqueness, and the joys of being near and around us.  Life is about being the master of our personal destinies.

It could be, of course, that we really do not have to make our lives meaningful.  The pleasures life will bring to us in spite of ourselves are not to be ignored, children and grandchildren being the most precious examples.

Our life paths are own doings, are truly ours to design and travel.  Generally speaking, we can choose to do whatever we want, whenever we want.  We can be fishmongers or warmongers.  We can be paean singers or poetasters.  We can live Annie Oakley in Augean Stables or we can work to make the world a more generous, a more sparkling, a more forgiving, a more non-polluted place.    

And I guess all of us are really buskers in all of this regard!

Ah, YOLO … be it a mantra or buzzword, or even a cultural sensation, or YODO, it does not matter because …

I cannot die -- it would ruin my reputation! (Jack Lalanne).

My Chaucerian Parade has but four members marching, all middle-aged and seemingly middle-class women purportedly representing the Regina Water Watch.  The Regina Water Watch is a Canadian Union of Public Employees sponsored political group that is against sewage treatment policies of the current civic administration of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (my permanent residence).  I busk not for political adventure.  Twice now, once at Value Village on my regular Saturday busk, and now, today, after the Saskatchewan Roughrider football game, the Regina Water Watch has been socially intrusive toward my buskspot.  At Value Village, two women of the Water Watch stood on either side of me as bookends, pressing their Vote Yes posters into the faces of my consumers.  This afternoon, two different women from the Regina Water Watch  attempted to stand beside me during my busk at game end at the East Gate exit. I did politely instruct them to move, and they did.

Here is my spin: 
The Regina Water Watch seems to be a group of women with some theoretical concern about the ownership of public water waste and sewage being financed by private (corporate), rather than public (taxpayer) sources.  They appear and seem to be pleasantly disgruntled home-bodies with nothing much academic to do.

This may be quite an unfair judgement, but ... this is what I do know about them in their relationship to me, as a busker.

Fact:  At least four female members of the Regina Water Watch do not know the unwritten and commonsense rule of the buskerhood -- Don't busk beside a busker.  

No comments:

Post a Comment