Why Don’t The Assholes Die?

This Saturday my husband and I will attend a memorial service for a man we worked with earlier in our careers.  He was forty seven.

In the last five years five young men we worked with at that same company have passed away.  Some from disease, others from sudden fatal accidents.  With the exception of one, all men had children. Some as young as two or three years old.  They left behind spouses, parents and colleagues who cared for them deeply.

Without exception all five men were great guys.  Kind, hard working, decent men.

Why don’t the assholes die?

Have you ever noticed what happens when a young person passes away traumatically.  If the media is involved they interview their friends and family.  The reaction is typically predictable?  “They were always smiling and happy.  Everyone liked them.”  Have you ever heard anybody say “Ya, he was a total jerk.  Mean to everybody he encountered.”

Happy pictures are shown.  Happier times are remembered.  Making it all the more devastating.

Why don’t the assholes die?

Now when I say as assholes I don’t mean the guy who cut you off getting onto the highway this morning.  Or the woman who didn’t pick up her dogs business at the park yesterday.  Not even the boss who fired you just because he thought that he could get some young hot shot to fill the position you’ve given your heart and soul to for five years.

I’m talking about those people in your life that give you consistent aggravation.  Ones that go out of their way to make your life more difficult simply because they can.

Why don’t those assholes die?

The five men that have died in the past five years were not that person.  They were funny redheaded goofballs.  They were gentle hockey loving fathers.  They were guys who always “knew a guy” who could help you out.  They were wizards with Christmas lights and skateboard ramps.  They were work colleagues who boosted you up instead of climbing over you.

They weren’t assholes.  And yet they died.

 

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An English woman, a Scot and and an Irish woman walk into a pub

moving truck

An English woman, a Scot and and an Irish woman walk into a pub. No really, they did and it’s not the lead into a bad joke, it’s how I researched this post.

For as long as my husband and I have known each other (17 years) we have been talking about moving. We love living on the West Coast but, for my husbands work, opportunities are pretty limited here. First it was Memphis, then Boston, then Seattle and now Ottawa. Or maybe Seattle again. None of these discussions have come to fruition yet but it could happen any day and I want to be prepared. While I completely support him and his choice of work, I have never lived anywhere other than the North Shore of Vancouver (other than a couple of years working in Banff) so it’s safe to say that I’m a bit apprehensive of loading up the moving van and starting over. With a young daughter.

So I asked some friends who have made big moves with children to meet me for a drink so that I can get the skinny on what it takes to move, not just to a new city, but to a new country.

(This is where the joke line comes in)

I have to say, I got a bit more than I bargained for though.  The conversation ran from moving to kids to traditions to religion to shopping and sports and back to moving. As I struggled to keep up with three different accents and three different stories, I got some great insight into what moving with a family is all about. But I also got a bit of a lesson on what it means to be an ex-pat. Each of these three women has moved from the UK to Canada either for work or for a better family lifestyle. “If we didn’t have kids we would still be living in London.” And make no mistake “I am going home (to Scotland) to die.” Clearly they love their home land.

Moving to another city within North America may seem like a momentous change for me, but realistically not a lot would be different. Perhaps some differences in local terms may pop up. For example, on the West Coast you spend the summer at the “cabin” but in the east you spend the summer at the “cottage”. Really, a first world issue. Moving to anther country can bring vast differences. Religion, while for some an important part of life in Canada, is woven into everyones upbringing in the UK. One of my friend’s son hasn’t been baptized yet and she thinks that when her mother finds out that she may just stick him in a sink full of water just to make sure he’s covered.

“You have to do what you have to do”.

While life in Canada has its traditions, hockey for example, nothing can compare to the rich traditions of the British isles. It’s what one of my friends misses the most if she stops to think about it. “Shared history” is something that can not be reproduced when you start fresh in a new place. A ceilidh, I learned, is a traditional social gathering which usually involves Gaelic music and dancing. And telling somebody to “stick it up your jumper” is not a term of endearment. John Lewis is a store not a person. And real hockey isn’t played on ice, it’s played on a field of grass.

“Moving from the UK to Canada was less traumatic than moving from Scotland to England”. So, I learned, it’s not really about how far you move but how different the area you move to is from what you are used to. Yes, things will be different and you will miss the “shared history” of where you have come from but if you go with reservations and close yourself off, it can be horribly lonely. If you go with an open attitude and are willing to put yourself out there and meet people and experience new things, then it becomes an adventure. Especially with kids.

“They will be looking to you for help in adjusting and if you are anxious, then they will be too.”

As usual I have gone into writing this post with one thing in mind and come out with insight into, not only that subject, but far, far more. I have a new respect for these women who have let behind a comfort and history in order to move their families forward. I know that if it comes to that, I will be able to do the same. The Best Thing in Life is having inspiring women to help you along the way.