One of the great things about Homo sapiens is our ability to make whatever is happening to us right here, right now The. Most. Important. Thing. Ever. Doesn’t matter if it’s a recreational hockey game for middle-aged (though still spry and youthful in appearance) Homo sapiens, waiting for one’s reusable travel mug to be filled with a free-range soypuccino, or a bunch of somewhat random Homo sapiens converging for the sole purpose of singing together…it’s the ability to prioritize what’s happening in the present above all else that sets people apart from the rest of this world’s inhabitants.
In the ever-changing mental list of “things good and bad” that most us keep, “tension” usually ends up on the not-so-good column…which is unfair because, in reality, there are many good things about tension. Tension keeps bridges bridging, and raindrops dropping…not to mention it’s what had you on the edge of your seat when Obi Wan Kenobi dueled Darth Vader as Luke and Co. tri to escape (yah, dating myself here), it kept you from going to the bathroom for all seven-minutes and forty-seconds of the 2010 Winter Olympics men’s hockey gold medal game overtime period, and it makes resolution of the slightly out-of-sync background rhythm and wandering time signatures in Coffee (of the Sylvan Esso, not the free-range organic soypuccino, kind) oh so satisfying.
This past Monday I had the pleasure of participating in “Food on the Public Plate: Lessons from Canada, US and Denmark”, an event put on by Nourish and hosted by the MaRS Solutions Lab.
It was a chance to share the work UHN’s Energy & Environment Team has done looking into local food at UHN, assessing hospital readiness for climate change’s impact on food, as well as some of the existing and planned gardens we have.
(apologies to Dr. M and practitioners of the Dental Sciences everywhere…it’s not you, it’s me…really)
In general, when it comes to knowing and not knowing stuff, most people would rather be in the know…however, there are more than a few things that…well, nobody really needs to know about…if you know what I mean.
So, it was about a year ago that I started, after a 10-ish year hiatus, cycling to work again (aka re-cycling?)…and while I’m still not at the point of cycling around town for day-to-day living (I’m more of a walker) or hopping on a bike when travelling (aside from the occasional beach ride to get ice-cream), I have over the past few months collected a number of random thoughts and observations:
(apologies to Argonaut, Rock, Wolfpack and sports fanatics everywhere)
According to a random GoogleTM search (because, you know…the internet never lies), the average “top” ice hockey slap shot contains around 163 joules of energy. Which (because, you know…energy is energy is energy) is the same as around 0.0454 watt-hours. And because nobody, even long time energy type people, really knows exactly what a watt-hour is, is enough to keep one of those high-falutin’, energy efficient LED tubes we’ve put in all-over UHN going for around 9 seconds.
Put another way, that means accidently leaving just one of those high-falutin’ lights on overnight is the same as wasting over 5,000 Auston Matthews slap shots…Which. Can. Not. Be. Allowed. To. Happen (because, you know…if the Leafs are gonna go deep, we need more Auston).
One of the benefits of getting older (aside from the abundance of reading glasses in a seemingly endless variety of styles and colours…not!) is that if one pays enough attention along the way, one just might learn something. And one thing I’ve learned while studiously avoiding eye contact with the reading glass displays that seem to inhabit every single checkout line in the city…is that stories are important.
Stories are how we express ourselves, how we learn, how we relate to others, how we empathize and share…all bundled up in a package that, at a minimum, hopefully entertains, but at its best inspires and motivates. And the beauty of stories is that even tales of ordinary people trying to do mostly ordinary (though sometimes amazing) things under mostly ordinary (though sometimes extraordinary) circumstances can make the world a better place.
Like a stand-up comedian telling of his everyday ups-and-downs in a way that can be simultaneously funny and poignant… sometimes without a single word being uttered…