Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hump Day: Giving up on ‘funniest home video’ for a shot at old age

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

My mother was babysitting my eight-year-old ‍nephew recently, as she often does when my sister works overnight or other shifts outside of his school hours. On this particular day, my mother was downstairs and my ‍nephew was upstairs in the bathroom filling a long-forgotten water toy he’d found somewhere around the house. Everything was peaceful. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Then the screaming and hysterics started from the upstairs bathroom. My mother says they were so bad that she was half expecting to see his severed arm lying on the floor. She went right up to see what was wrong. Would she see blood-spattered walls and Satan standing in there with a machete?

What she found was a little boy with a wasp under his shirt – although my mother only found that out later when my ‍nephew was able to string a few words together between screaming and crying. Neither the boy nor the wasp was in good enough shape at that moment to be able to tell my mother what was going on. My ‍nephew was apoplectic – one stage above hysterical – and well on the way to having fireworks fly out the top of his poor little head.

Meanwhile, the wasp was in the bathroom somewhere and my mother was frantically trying to figure out what in the heck was going on. Eventually, she saw that he wasn’t going to die or anything, but he was just completely out to lunch and couldn’t explain what happened. Finally, he lifted up his shirt and my mother noticed the sting on the upper left-hand side of his chest. Ah, that explained everything!

Eventually, he calmed down enough to tell her what happened so that she could help. I think she put some salve on it and made up a story about how it would make it all better almost immediately. As most little kids do with their grandmothers, he believed it and the two little doors on top of his head that had opened up for the fireworks shut themselves. They’d have to wait until the next meltdown.

My mother couldn’t find the wasp and went downstairs after soothing my ‍nephew back to a point where he could breathe again and his eyes were back in their little sockets. She never did find the wasp, that is until she put her hand through her hair after feeling something moving and found it there. Well, let’s just say she’d had enough of that bugger by this point and he’s now gone to that big wasp’s nest in the sky.

Shortly afterwards, my ‍nephew called to her even though he’d calmed down. He was very upset about the location of the sting and was extremely concerned. As I mentioned earlier, the sting was on the upper left-hand side of his chest. Since he’d heard enough to believe that one’s heart is on the left side, he thought he was a goner. (Technically, it’s in the centre of the chest, but be believed it was on the left.)

“Will the sting poison my heart?” he asked, teary-eyed and wondering whether or not he should go into full-tilt hysterics again. My mother assured him the sting would not poison his heart and that he would be fine. Unless someone is allergic, which he wasn’t, one bee sting is little more than just a temporary – yet painful – annoyance.

Eventually, the pain and fear subsided and my ‍nephew did what children have done for thousands of years, headed back outside to play with eyes red from crying – at least for a few minutes until all was forgotten and he could concentrate on playing with his friends again.

Now, when my mother told me this, I’m not so sure I could have resisted the opportunity for a viral video opportunity. Evil Uncle Brian here may have just told him that the sting did indeed poison his heart – ‘You’re going to be with Jesus now…’ – and then I’d record the ensuing TNT of hysterics. Five minutes later – after I had my winning video for America’s Funniest Home Videos – I’d tell him I was just kidding and everything would be forgotten, that is until 35 years from now when he would visit me in the nursing home and smother me with a pillow. ‘Who’s gonna see Jesus now, eh?’ he’d ask. ‘The correct answer is you, old man.’ Some people have no sense of humour.

Of course I would have never done that to him. Just because Evil Uncle Brian thinks it, doesn’t mean Evil Uncle Brian has to do it.

Hysterics must run in the family, I remember when I was about 10 years old, we were visiting family on P.E.I. when I got stung by some sort of creature at my aunt’s house. Well, let’s just     say that I flipped out and showed up at my aunt’s door looking for what would surely be an immense amount of pity and soothing. Now, she lived on a farm, so unless you showed up crying with a horse’s hoof print on your forehead, she pretty much thought you’d live. She had no time for city-slicker basket cases like me.

I got read the riot act to calm down, she slapped some dirt on the sting and then sent me on my way. ‘Excuse me, dear auntie, where’s my pity party? Where’s my cookie? Where’s my kiss on the forehead? Evil auntie!’

In the country, unless they find you with your head caught in a combine or with only your two feet sticking out of a hay-baling machine, you’re good to go as long as you put a little dirt on your boo-boo. I guess that’s why my mother didn’t join in with my ‍nephew‍’‍s hysterics. That aunt is her sister and they both grew up on the farm. No hoof print on the forehead, no big deal. Put dirt on it and move along. Words to live by.

This week’s giveaway: The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Magic of Thinking Big
This week’s giveaway is copy of The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. Leadership guru Robin Sharma says this book is “Uber-practical. Tons of value. Great concepts, like ‘Go Through Life First-Class.’ Every student, teammate and human being should read this book.”

Publisher’s description: “The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods, not empty promises. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction – but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there.”

To enter your name in the contest, follow the instructions in this week’s newsletter. To subscribe, please fill out the form in the right-hand column of my website. The deadline for entries is Sunday, June 1, at noon. The winner will be chosen by random draw.

Congratulations to Sandra Wallace for winning last week’s giveaway, a copy of John C. Maxwell’s The 22 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

UPDATE: The winner of The Magic of Thinking Big is Valerie Roy! Congratulations!

Hump Day: A little happy dance can make you feel better any day

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I was at a hardware store the other day when Pharrell Williams’ ‍Happy came on over the building’s sound system. If you’re not familiar with Williams’ hit song, it’s been all over the place in the past few months and has spent the last 20 weeks or so on the Billboard singles chart, much of that time at in the number one spot or in the top 10.

Basically, as you can tell by the title, ‍Happy is a song about being… ‍happy! Its cheerful tune and positive lyrics have gotten more than a few people out of bad moods. There are parody videos, tribute videos, cover videos and lots of others of people just dancing to the song.

There’s even a 24-hour-long video version of the song featuring Williams and other contributors dancing and lip-syncing around Los Angeles (www.24hoursofhappy.com). To say the least, the song has become a phenomenon.

But back to the hardware store. It goes to show how deep a song has permeated popular culture when people feel they have permission to dance in public when it comes on. (That’s a good thing, by the way.) As soon as the song started playing over the sound system, a little boy of about four years old started dancing his little heart out. It was pretty obvious he’d seen all those videos of people dancing to the song. Meanwhile, his father took one look at him and instead of scolding him and telling him to behave, he joined right in and started dancing, too!

Ah, you really know you’ve done something good in the world when people start dancing in public the minute they hear your work.

There’s another entertainer out there who does much of the same. His name is Spandy Andy (born Andy Rimer), an Alberta-born street dancer who busks in many areas of the world. His motto is Keep It Tight and Bright. ‘Tight’ because he obviously keeps himself in shape and likes to promote good health – and his love of spandex. (Comes with territory if you’re dancing for a living!) And ‘bright’ because of his penchant for colourful costumes that will make you squint – and smile.

You can check out his blog and videos on his website at www.spandyandy.com. One of his performances at St. Kilda Beach in Australia went viral after being uploaded in mid-2012 and currently has nearly six million views. His goofy grin, infectious laugh, positive attitude and sunny disposition would even put a smile on famously dour old Queen Victoria’s face if she were alive today.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a number-one-selling Billboard artist like Pharrell Williams or a busker like Spandy Andy. If you’re an entertainer, what a compliment it must be to see people smiling, clapping and dancing just by watching or hearing you.

Would someone please bring Spandy Andy to New Brunswick! Australians shouldn’t have all the fun! HubCap Comedy Festival… Dieppe KITE International… Shediac Lobster Festival… are you listening? He’s a family-friendly crowd pleaser!

Of course, we can’t rely on others to make us ‍happy. Sometimes we just have to decide to be ‍happy. I read a really great quote by author Mike Dooley the other day: “Know what’s missing from most people’s lives? The realization that nothing is missing from their lives.” That’s actually pretty profound. It’s not to say that there aren’t always pleasant things to come, but sometimes we’re in a pretty good place and don’t always appreciate it. Perfection is not possible in anything. I certainly don’t mean we should just ‘settle,’ so to speak, but often we’re not as bad off as we think we are.

Most people can literally decide to be ‍happy. It doesn’t just fall out of a tree. You don’t find it on the sidewalk or in a pile of leaves. Everyone deserves to be ‍happy, so if there’s some big ‘thing’ in your life that is making you unhappy, either accept it and decide to be ‍happy or fix it once and for all. It could be your house, your job, your body, your marriage, your business situation, your income or what have you.

None of us knows when we’re going to die. Some may have a better idea than others due to personal health circumstances, but overall we’re never sure of exactly when. There are always hardships. Always. Being optimistic about the future and grateful for what you have can always go a long way no matter what the situation. As the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.” We have to be resilient or life would just be unbearable, no?

Deciding to be ‍happy may seem a bit too simple to some. Maybe. Maybe not. But what’s the alternative? I find that constantly negative people just suck the energy right out of me, don’t you? If Jesus himself would suddenly appear on their front lawn and make international news, they’d complain because he landed in their flower bed. We all know people like that. Maybe some times we’re a little like that ourselves.

Now, I certainly don’t mean to give anyone the impression that I walk around with a permanent grin on my face all day. I don’t – and if I did, I’d have more than a few people wondering where I got those great pills that I’m on.

But boy oh boy, could we all lighten up a bit and stop whining about our lives, the government, the media, the schools, the roads, our aches and pains and the like. We all have the power to change our lives – each and every one of us. If you’re not there yet, though, in your own journey, at least do yourself a favour and listen to Pharrell Williams or watch Spandy Andy for a few minutes. Like a crack in a dam, sometimes even the tiniest of smiles can eventually cause a flood… of happiness.

This week’s giveaway: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

John Maxwell - 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

This week’s giveaway is copy of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell, who will be in Greater Moncton for an all-day leadership event on Tuesday, Sept. 16. Recently, Inc. magazine named him the #1 leadership and management expert in the world!

Book description: “What would happen if a top expert with more than 40 years of leadership experience was willing to distill everything he had learned about leadership into a handful of life-changing principles just for you? It could change your life. John C. Maxwell has done exactly that in the new 10th Anniversary Edition of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”

To enter your name in the contest, follow the instructions in this week’s newsletter. To subscribe, please fill out the form in the right-hand column of my website. The deadline for entries is Sunday, May 25, at noon. The winner will be chosen by random draw.

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Monik Richard, who won a signed copy of 10% Happier by Dan Harris.

UPDATE: The winner of this week’s giveaway is Sandra Wallace!

For all the tea lovers out there!

This is a little ditty about tea by Yorkshire Tea in the U.K. Very clever! I don’t often have the patience to watch videos from beginning to end, but I did with this one. And now — of course — I really want a cup of tea! Enjoy The Tea Song!

Yorkshire Tea