"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Monday, 27 September 2010

Stirring The Pot

Traveling down my childhood memory lane hasn’t been all bad. For instance, the memory of dinnertime and especially after dinner with one of my great-grandfathers evokes pleasant smells (his favorite pipe-tobacco) and sounds of arguments, and laughter. The grandmother I grew up with (his daughter) loved a good argument, and she was in her glory at these gatherings.

Grandad was a devotee of the Toronto Telegram, a newspaper that died somewhere around 1970. I think he cried, especially since its demise meant that he would have to get his daily information fix from the much-hated Toronto Star (some sort of political affiliation thing). He read the paper cover to cover every day, and studied much of it.

After dinner, we would sit around the table, Grandad would go through the pipe lighting ritual, and casually mention something he had read about that week, usually with a contentious twist. He would sit back and listen to what would inevitably result; “the discussion”. As a child, it was my duty, at pain of removal, to keep my opinions to myself, and my mouth closed. I was expected to observe and learn. Mostly what I remember is his undisguised pleasure in the chaos he usually managed to unleash. He loved to ‘stir the pot’ as he called it.

Every group of friends should have such a talented person in it, but such people are too rare these days. Everyone has an opinion, and most people, you can tell, are not really listening to others. They are busy thinking about what they are going to say when it is their ‘turn’.

Anyhow, on a totally unrelated topic, a friend sent me (the guy behind the façade) an email of witticisms. Within, was the following, a "gem of wisdom" he could never suspect would be read so deep at so many levels by me.

(reaching for my pipe and matches)

“Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.”

 Have a good week!


  1. Halle,

    Grandfathers and pipes...I still have all my grandfather's smoking paraphernalia(pipes, pipe stand,tobacco pouch, lighters) and my granfather would also stir the pot from his sacred spot at the head of the kitchen or dining room table.

    As for the Telegram, I used to deliver that paper when I was a kid.

    What passes for debate or interesting conversation today in most circles seems to be about celebrities and "me, me, me"


  2. A ditto to you and to penny although in my case it was the grandmother and my parents who debated and argued and discussed all of the time. Having a conversation was an art form when I grew up.

    Today no one wants to debate anymore, it is really sad. Instead as Peggy says it's all about me me me and nothing about the this amazing world we live in.


  3. I stand in the background with my great big spoon, ready to stir the pot. Unlike your grandfather, I don't like stirring the pot just for the fun of it. I gave up beating my head on the brick wall a long time ago...lol.

    My grandfather used to sit in his easy chair back in his bedroom. Every now and then we could hear him all of the house as he declared "Well, I'll tell ya..!" I never knew exactly what he was thinking, but he was definitely perturbed about something.

    People who stir the pot today almost always paint a bullseye on their back, leaving themselves open to slams, slurs, lies,and innuendo...but almost never honest debate. In decades past, a good debater could actually change peoples' minds. Today they become yelling contests because everyone is just trying to stir the pot...lol. :)suzi

  4. Oh my gosh!! I'm soooo releived!

    When I read your tag line I thought, "Oh crap, what now?"
    I love it when I'm wrong! Which is quite often.

    Some love to stir the pot just because they are holding a spoon! Others like to stir the pot because they are held firmly in negativity. Which is sad.

    Myself? I just put the lid on, and let it simmer. Let me know when it's finished, okay?

  5. Well LeAnne, while I was writing the title it did occur to me that you might find it intriguing.

    Glad you are okay BTW. You never know when one of these posts will take on a life of its own! For me, it is part of the enjoyment of blogging now. I know that not everyone will read into my words what I intended, and that is okay.

  6. We too had the post dinner stir the pot. When my father was a child, his dinners were followed by 30-40 minutes of Rosary reading. He knew that he could not subject his young family to any religious content, and so our 30-40 minutes was focused, like yours, on the events and issues of the day in our world as described by the paper.

    Fortunately, we kids were expected to pipe up, chime in, get it right, get it wrong, probe for weakness, thrust for winners, challenge orthodoxies, smash idols, the whole shooting works.

    At the time, I sometimes felt as though we were missing something great on the tube, or the twilight game of road hockey just outside the front door, but now would not trade a moment of it.

    Whateverthehell happens after all of this life, suspicious of concepts of heaven as I am, a part of me is hoping there is a crappy formica top kitchen table with familiar faces and a spare chair there.

    Thanks for the reminders.

  7. My dad, who is getting on a bit now, still does this. We buy him a subscription to the Economist for Christmas every year. No pipe though, for which I am very grateful.