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Minnow in a Puddle

June 5, 2011

WARNING: Contains Profanity and Gratuitous Bitchiness

Folks, I’m seriously thinking of packing in this whole WunderNutbar enterprise. Too much Nutbar, not enough Wunder.  I feel like I’m a fake and that this is all a crock o’ crap (in the immortal words of Wayne Gretzky).

I mean – seriously. In Grey Bruce, things are what they are. The GBHS / CMHA / Grey-Bruce Community Health Corp. monstrosity – whose Byzantine set-up makes no sense even to those who work within it – is what we have to work with, and is not going to be modified in any respect come hell or high water. The authorities are wedded to the system as it stands: hell, they spent a lot of precious time and money devising it!

Alternately, there is no activist nucleus in town, and for someone like myself who is purely an ideas man, I can not accomplish the change I wish to see without the partnership of someone more on the ball, and who knows how to work the system in such a way as to make the system change itself.

I’d love to take on the system. Not at the highest level initially, but working my way up. I can’t. My shrink despises me. I have no GP. I have no therapeutic resources. Every protocol in place has been jammed in firmly by the various governing and administering bodies – the Health Corporation, the LHIN, the Ministries. Without a critical mass of vocal opponents to the status quo – here, in Owen Sound, with whom I could not just protest, bitch and moan, but work and take direct action – I can’t do shit.

But I’m not an organizer, I’m a mouth. The type of loudmouth schnook that those in power just kind of ignore. Nobody gives a shit about the foil-hatted lunatic with his bag of cans, declaiming in the park. I, for one, however happen to love former Mayoral Candidate Ray Botten’s tactics. The man has been known to chain himself to benches and camp out at City Hall in the cause of homelessness. In Toronto or the Golden Horseshoe, this gets shit done. Yes, you can mob city hall. You can run around naked. You can publicly embarrass people in power. You can find people who are willing and able to protest shit and start letter writing campaigns and be present, vibrant, visible and upsetting. There is an underground press. There are people – younger? university and college students? – with resources and skills who will undertake campaigns and see them to fruition. (Now, of course, Botten has another agenda altogether: he is always promoting the rather controversial church of which he is a member. Still…. Cojones. Plus, his fellow congregants give him a built-in support system and micro-lobby group – which, if better administered, could be effective. Yet what does he accomplish? Word on the street and in the office, not much. If he can’t get anywhere, then who can?)

This town doesn’t give a flipping fuck about poverty and homelessness. Doesn’t give a fart in a windstorm about health, and least of all about mental health. Yet this County has an unemployment level that’s through the roof, a mental health and addictions profile that makes it the shame of the Province; and as a city Owen Sound is – and I’ll say it again – principally the service hub for people needing retail,  Social and Community Services. People mostly don’t live here. People come here to get sick; to get drunk and stoned; to get their kids into CAS and drug programs; to dry out; to buy shit in stores; to get jabbed by dentists and cracked by chiros.  We need subsidized housing, we get a dumbass rec centre.  We have no actual homeless shelter – even the afternoon drop-in space can’t keep itself going.  The Good Food Box doesn’t do free drop-offs.  WE HAVE NO FUCKING DOCTORS.


Since I started this enterprise, I’ve accomplished jack shit.  All my life I’ve always known what to do, never how to do it.  This is no different.  I’m about to say fuck this noise.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandy Naiman permalink
    June 5, 2011 8:27 pm

    Don’t give up, Richard.

    Words matter. Your words. You’re so brilliant.

    Change is tough and it takes time. People naturally resist change, but you must keep talking AND writing. Thinking. Working.

    I’m so crazy-busy right now, but we MUST talk. You need community. A team. People who share your vision and your mission.

    Just keep writing, Richard. You’re an activist. It’s a lonely life, but you are making a difference. You are so right about what you’re doing but change is the toughest thing to accomplish.

    Just hold on and KEEP WRITING. Maybe you should consider a new place, a different place. Maybe you need a break.

    Let us talk, okay?

    I love you.


  2. June 6, 2011 12:35 pm

    I was going to leave a lame comment on it taking only one person to make change but I myself have been feeling the AGGHHH of desperately wanting change and feeling like I am in a vacuum of baby poop – not not regular poop but nasty smelling big stech factor baby poop.

    Instead what I will say is that I think there a lot of individuals out there who are wanting change and wanting to make a difference and we are all out there in isolation, so we need to start connecting more. I believe that one of the most fundamental things that needs to happen is for their to be a local press (not the Quebecor monopoly) – I would love to get connect with others who wanted to start online/print local activist paper/Web Show – similar to NOW in Toronto.

    Maybe if you want we could grab a coffee and talk about ideas/people etc that could further develop connections between the people in our community who want to make this a great place to live for everyone who lives here.

    Just a thought – I don’t know. And I know I am babbling right now. Probably because your post echos my feelings in many ways.

    It’s worth fighting for though Richard it really is I just think we (people who want to see positive change) collectively need to work together more. I think having a zine online, print or both would be a great start. I’d be in – we just need a few other people too start.

    Take care of you though and big hug full of support.

    PS next time you do a poetry slam type of thing you have to let me know as I heard about your Meaford gig like almost the moment you went on and I was so disappointed as I would have loved to have gone.

    • June 6, 2011 6:38 pm

      Thank you so very, very much, Karen.

      I totally hear what you say and I do want to take you up on it. Let’s arrange something!

      And I promise to keep you better informed on my readings — such as they are now. There is actually a Facebook page devoted to DeMentos, where I’m supposed to post. Why bother, I say to myself….

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