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A Few of My Favourite Things

by Stephen Lautens


November 12, 1999

I don't want to get a reputation as a whiner. You know ­ that relative no one wants to sit beside at family dinners because they're always crabbing about something. The room's too hot. Movies are too expensive. Global warming. Tax cuts. My last haircut.

And even though I have a lot to crab about this past week ­ like my cell phone being stolen and my friendly phone company telling me it will cost twice as much as I originally paid to get another ­ I refuse to be a sour puss.

Instead, I'm going to count my blessings and think about the things that put a smile on my face:

1. Getting three green lights in a row. Is there anything that makes you feel more like all is right with the world than hitting a string of traffic lights just right?

2. That flavour powder movie theatres now have for popcorn. And they let you shake it on yourself. It's the best invention since talking pictures.

3. Taking my Grandfather to the Exhibition. My brother and I do it every year, and my 85-year-old Grandfather walks our feet off. We always stop for a smoked meat sandwich and he tells great stories about how he broke up fights as an MP during the Halifax riots.

4. My dentist (who has drilled more holes than Shell), when she finally gives up and says: "Everything looks fine. I'll give you a polish and you can go." I hate going to the dentist, but it's part of being an adult. My father always told me to look after my teeth and my feet.

5. Finding that your purchase is on sale when you get to the cash. You've already committed to paying the higher price. For some reason, an unexpected break feels better than forty percent off.

6. Taking the car in for a loud rattle, and being told that it sounds like something mysterious (and expensive) like the flywheel. Then finding out it was just a loose clamp and they fixed it at no charge.

7. Discovering that you've paid a utility bill twice, and now you have a credit sitting on your account for next month.

8. The chipmunks at the cottage, who provide a full day's entertainment for three bucks worth of peanuts. And they'll let you pat them if you're quick enough.

9. Anything that breaks while still under warranty, and you know exactly where the bill is.

10. Restaurants that will let you trade in your side salad for French fries at no extra charge. While we're on the subject of food, chocolate milkshakes and Italian cooking are right up there too.

11. Finding a 20-dollar bill in the pocket of a pair of pants you haven't worn since last Spring.

12. Meeting a Quebecker who tells you about how much they love Canada, and how they can't understand why their province wants to separate.

13. The sweet smell of sunshine on cedar trees or Fall leaves.

14. Politicians who 'fess up to a mistake or lapse in judgment without first going through a week of trying to deny it or shift the blame.

15. Roadside vegetable stands. They make you realize how much we're missing by eating fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, sealed in plastic, or grown for maximum durability.

16. Finally, I like people who always seem to have a smile on their face, and are not constantly grousing about every little thing that bugs them.

After all, that's the job of a columnist.


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