Monthly Archives: February 2017

Hump Day: Make a new stat holiday one that really says “New Brunswick”

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017
Moncton Times & Transcript

Make a new stat holiday one that really says “New Brunswick”

It’s that time of the year again when New Brunswickers turn green with envy toward our Maritime neighbours in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, both of whom have statutory holidays this month.

While New Brunswickers worked our fingers to the bones for 20 business days this month and were forced to drink our own tears for sustenance, the three other Atlantic provinces only worked for 19.

What a bunch of slackers, eh? Instead of being jealous, perhaps we should pity their laziness and lack of work ethic. It was Family Day in Nova Scotia. Oh, puh-leeze! We’re just coming off Christmas and umpteen snow days when people were forced to spend time with their families. As if we need more! Family Day? More like Waterboarding Day.

Not to be outdone, it was Islanders Day on Prince Edward Island. Wow! Islanders Day. Did they pay a consultant big bucks to come up with that brainchild? I can just see the conclusion of that report: “For all these reasons, we recommend naming the new February statutory holiday Islanders Day. Please see the attached invoice for $1 billion for our services.”

I think they’ve had more snow days than New Brunswick this year. Did they need another nap to re-energize from their previous ones?

Not that I’m bitter. It’s not like I work from a home office and the only holidays I truly get are statutory holidays. There are no such things as snow days for me unless the power is off. Here at Brian Cormier Ego and Light Trucking World Headquarters, we’re open nearly round the clock for clients – not like those other Maritimers who need a February holiday so that they can soak their unnaturally soft and un-calloused hands in lotion.

We New Brunswickers are a bunch of tough old birds. Yes, we are. So, while we’re at it, why don’t we just get rid of those other pesky holidays, too?

Christmas and Boxing Day? Let’s just buy everything online and take some random Tuesday evening in December to open the gifts. Good Friday and Easter? Sugar is bad for you! Delete! Victoria Day? Oh we all know it’s evolved into a meaningless long weekend. Begone!

Canada Day? Don’t you know where you live? Here’s a map! New Brunswick Day? Here’s another map! Labour Day? September is busy. No need for a day off. Thanksgiving? Save a turkey’s life and go to work instead. Remembrance Day? OK, even I’m not touching that one. We can keep Remembrance Day.

OK, so we’re left with Remembrance Day and that’s it. Shouldn’t that be enough? Otherwise, we should all be out in the fields picking weeds for salads like our parents tell us they did when they were young – or spending our time walking to school uphill and waist-deep in snow in the middle of July. Come on, where’s your Canadian spirit?

Wah! Wah! Wah! There we go, crying again.“We want another holiday!” Holiday, shmoliday, I say!

For the sake of argument, though, what should we call our new February holiday if the powers-that-be smile upon us and grant us one? Family Day is too boring. Maybe we could call it Islanders Day, too, just to annoy our friends across the Northumberland Strait. Don’t get your Anne of Green Gables pigtails in a knot, Islanders! I’m just kidding.

If we're going to establish a new February holiday in New Brunswick, let's celebrate something worthwhile - like immigrants, first responders or volunteers... not potholes. Make this new holiday mean something!
If we’re going to establish a new February holiday in New Brunswick, let’s celebrate something worthwhile – like immigrants, first responders or volunteers… not potholes. Make this new holiday mean something!

Pothole Day? We could set up booths in malls selling greeting cards with photos of bent tire rims on them. Indoor Winter Housefly Day to celebrate the houseflies which inexplicably show up in our homes in February? Please Don’t Move Away Day where we spend the day begging people moving to another province to change their minds? It may not be much of a population growth strategy, but it’s better than nothing.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind Smell a Black Marker Day – and I don’t mean those new non-toxic ones. I mean the deadly ones from when I was a kid – one sniff and you forgot your own name for a week.

But seriously, how about Immigrants and Refugees Day to celebrate diversity, or Multicultural Day? Perhaps First Responders Day to thank those who show up when we need them most? Volunteers Day to honour the thousands upon thousands of New Brunswickers who give of their own time to others?

Those are just a few of the excellent things we could honour with a new February holiday. If we’re going to do it and really, I’m all for it, let’s not pick some generic reason out of a hat. Let’s make it mean something. Let’s make this new holiday be more than just another day off.

(Note: The published version stated that Newfoundland and Labrador had a holiday in February. This was an error and has been corrected for this online version.)

Hump Day: Humility is great, but tooting your own horn is OK, too!

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
Moncton Times & Transcript

Being proud of one’s accomplishments is often frowned upon as being un-Canadian. We value humility. It’s best to let others brag about you rather than brag about yourself.

With the arrival of a particularly boastful leader of the country to the south of us, the ability to be humble has never been so valued, I think. While constant bragging and arrogance obviously appeal to some people, it’s always turned me off.

But you know what? Sometimes we do have to be our own biggest fan. How else do people overcome adversity – whether it be minor or major? How does someone who grew up in extreme poverty become financially stable? Obviously, they had to think they were personally worth it in order to acquire the gumption to overcome it.

If you quit smoking, obviously you feel you were worth it enough to do so. The same can be said for achieving weight loss, reducing high amounts of debt or correcting other reversible health issues. At some point, we have to respect ourselves enough to make ourselves a priority. Everything else must come second while we focus on something that will make us better – either physically or psychologically.

We’ve all been told not to boast. Of course we shouldn’t! We all know someone who’ll tell you their every achievement whether you like it or not. Have you ever sat down with someone and immediately regretted it after having to suffer through a half-hour one-sided conversation on what a tremendous person they think they are? We’ve all been there.

Recently, I hesitated about posting something online about how proud I was of a particularly achievement, specifically what I call ‘The Purge of 2017’ in which I emptied my primary living space of clutter. I finished the enormous first phase of the project over the weekend and still can’t believe I did it. (Subsequent phases will involve the furnace room and garage.)

I received many congratulatory comments on it. I even received several messages from people who said that I’d inspired them to do the same. My enthusiasm was motivating them. As I provided my garbage bag count to the landfill (over 50!) and my various donations of ‘stuff’to charities, more and more people chimed in – and more people thanked me for encouraging them to get down to work themselves! Yeah, just call me Oprah Cormier!

The first day of a diet is the worst. The first workout session of a new exercise regime is the hardest. The first day without booze or drugs must be unbelievably difficult. Whatever your first step is in that journey you want to take, it’s well worth it. For me, that first garbage bag was the worst one to start. Then, I just went crazy. Now, I find myself walking around my tidy house in disbelief – and with a ton of gratitude and pride that I took on the project.

Yeah, I’m going to say it again, I’m proud of myself! It had been driving me crazy for years. And you know what? I’m not going to be a typical Canadian and be all humble about it. It was hard work, both physically and mentally. It was time consuming. It was also worth it – oh so worth it! I’d do it over again in a second.

It’s OK to be proud of oneself for accomplishing something. It’s even OK to talk about it – at least up to a certain point. I’ve talked about ‘The Purge’ enough for now. Now, it’s time to tone it down and move on to other things.

But it’s a fine line to walk, isn’t it? The line between being proud of something in a good way and then driving everyone crazy by never shutting up about it. My clutter has taken up enough real estate in my mind, physical space and conversations. Now, it’s time to move on. Yeah, I’m proud about it. Now, shut up and move on to something else, like getting cheese-grater abs in time for Speedo season this summer at the beach!

Being confident in oneself means you have to be proud, but it doesn’t mean constantly talking about yourself. Let others do that. It’s OK to accept compliments. We all act like we shouldn’t, but an honest and heartfelt compliment is always nice to hear and we should be thankful for receiving them.
The only thing worse than getting a compliment, after all, is never getting a compliment.

Humility is a beautiful thing but sometimes we just need to toot our own horn a bit and be proud to do so. Happy accomplishments encourage others – and there’s nothing wrong with that!