Jack Brezina: Not a great start
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | January 18 2018|
The New Year’s baby is going to be a teenager before I set down my trenchant observations on 2018.
You see, I have some leftover business from 2017 to deal with first. Sadly, I had to cancel my order for the Lamborghini. The pension windfall I was counting on was a bit beneath my expectations.
You’ll recall that last year I received notification from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan that, because of my age, I was entitled to a payout based on the single day of supply teaching I had done back in April, 1975 while residing in Cochrane, in northern Ontario.
I had been forced to contribute $2.44 to the pension plan way back then, and promptly forgot about it. They couldn’t tell me over the phone how much to expect, as it was outside of the parameters of their computer program, but hinted I would not be disappointed. Well, the jackpot arrived in the mail in mid-December. My hand trembled as I tore open the envelope. After 43 years of that $2.44 compounding itself, the gross payout was … wait for it … $66.63! Not the windfall I was expecting, hence the cancelled auto order. In fact, not all of that $66.63 was mine. The tax payable was $6.66, leaving me with $59.96. So, while the anticipation was entertaining, the final outcome was perhaps a little bit of a letdown. No fancy car … wild vacation plans grounded … there goes the mink.
But, as with the $20 bill you find in the pocket of the jacket you haven’t worn for a year, it is a bit of an unexpected, year-end bonus, for which I am grateful.
Now onto 2018 and two resolutions of consequence that I have undertaken, both of which are already tattered by events of the first days of the year. This year, I wanted to embrace winter more and learn to enjoy the season that truly defines this country. Unfortunately, the embrace was actually the other way round as old man winter wrapped his steely tendrils around me and asked, “how do you like me now!?” I don’t recall such an extended period of searing cold and wind that descended on us at the start of the year. The weather certainly tested my Canadian mettle and made me rethink my proposed love affair with the white season.
My second resolution was to limit myself to just 15 minutes of Trump a day. Whether it is reading the papers, watching TV, listening to the radio or simply attempting to have a conversation with friends, any topic about the president quickly sucks all the air out of the room and leaves my head hurting. The master manipulator and his acolytes have mastered the domination of the 24-hour news cycle. The effects quickly spill over into daily life, where any interaction includes a Trump focused segment that can be interminable if you let it. There are more important things in the world and our community to discuss. And besides, he is not my president. But, why, oh, why, does he seem to mesmerize us so? I’ll leave it to history to unravel this Gordian Knot, and in the meantime endeavor to enforce a 15-minute Trump cordon sanitaire.
So, in retrospect, the tiny payout at the end of last year, doesn’t look so bad when compared to the days of 2018.
Happy New Year everyone!
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.