MUSINGS, MAY 5, 2018


     Is the world in the worst shape ever, or is it just that modern communications are so efficient that we know everything that’s happening?

     When will journalists stop letting politicians get away with calling spending “investing?”

     Do most people pick a favourite contestant when watching Jeopardy?

The NHL’s Most Despicable Player

     At the time of his retirement it seemed doubtful that the NHL would ever see a more despicable player than Sean Avery, but it has; the Bruins’ Brad Marchand.

     Marchand is more despicable than Avery because Avery’s antics were mostly just immaturely despicable, but Marchand’s are downright dangerous. (Google “Marchand spears” and see how many different hits you get). And many of Marchand’s odious offences, such as slashes to the backs of legs, surreptitious spears, and cowardly slew-footing, take place during stoppages in play. Wednesday’s Tampa/Bruins game was a case in point.

     A replay showed that while players were standing around waiting for the linesman to get ready for a face-off, Marchand, with no provocation whatsoever, poked his stick in Alex Killorn’s face. Referee Wes McCauley, inappropriately, merely reprimanded Marchand, who should have been penalized for at least unsportsmanlike conduct. Granted, the poke was fairly light, but it was an upward thrust, and had Killorn chosen that moment to move his head even slightly he might have lost an eye.

     The incident not only reinforced Marchand’s reputation as a reprehensible blight on the game of hockey, but it also highlighted the mystery of why referees don’t call more penalties on this miscreant. On Wednesday night, including the poke in Killorn’s face, I counted five obvious Marchand infractions, only one of which resulted in a penalty. He did get a misconduct in the last minute of the game, but by then all his havoc had been wreaked.

     Marchand has been suspended six times and fined a number of others. He’s not just a repeat offender, he’s an incorrigible continuous offender. If the league doesn’t start calling all penalties on this disgusting reprobate, the odds are overwhelming that some innocent player is going to end up paying a terrible price.

The Triangle of Success

     There is a triangle of success. The left side is knowledge; but we all know knowledgeable people who don’t reach their potential. The right side is the skill required to apply the knowledge; but we also know people who are both knowledgeable and skilled but still fail. Those are the ones who don’t master the base of the triangle, which is attitude.

     Our attitude is the only factor in life over which we have complete control. No one can affect it unless we let them. I once asked a very successful, and always upbeat, colleague what the secret of his success and happiness was. He replied, “Every morning when I get up, I pretend there’s a clothes rack of characteristics at the side of my bed, any one of which I can choose to wear that day. I always pick a positive attitude.”


     Dale Carnegie liked to tell the story about a man who arrogantly strutted up to a lectern in front of a huge audience, clearly intending to show off his superior intelligence and knowledge. After a truly abysmal performance he slunk humbly down the aisle and out of the auditorium. Mr. Carnegie observed that had the man approached the podium the way he left it, he might have left it the way he approached it.

An Early Morality Lesson

     I was a teenager with a lot to learn when I started to work for TransCanadaPipeLines back in the 50s. My first boss was Gerry Hutchko, an accountant from Winnipeg who had recently moved to Toronto. Gerry would have been in his early 30s at the time and was married with two small kids.

     One night Gerry took me along to a stag party (my first) being held for a fellow employee who was getting married. Around nine o’clock the party organizer called for attention and announced that the strippers would be arriving any minute. Gerry said to me, “It’s time to head out, Lyman.”

      Gerry stopped to thank the host, who asked him why he was leaving when the “girls” were about to arrive. Gerry said that he had to get home.  “Why,” the host sneered, “because you’re afraid of your wife?” “No,” Gerry replied, “because I love my wife.”

MUSINGS, MAY 12, 2018