The Good Ol' DaysT. SHER SINGH
Thursday, July 19, 2012
There are a thousand causes being fought for today.
But, are we making any progress, or the opponents of change right in claiming that all the advances being proposed or implemented are not correcting any wrongs, they’re merely feeding political correctness?
They lament the passing away of the “good ol’ days”.
It may be worth comparing those good ol’ days with these we live in now, to find the answer.
I recall my first full-time job in Canada 36 years ago. In Toronto. With a leading financial institution. In the choicest office location in Canada - the penthouse of the tallest and most prestigious building in the land. Lavish and opulent. The hustle and bustle of big money at work.
I was a junior clerk in the internal audit department. Ensconced in a large, open office with a dozen others, most of whom were men. One of them, Dave, was at my level of seniority, which was rock-bottom. Nevertheless, he seemed to rule the roost.
As we plodded through facts and figures, daily/ weekly/ monthly reports, and pursuant errant digits hither and thither, Dave would loudly proclaim his opinions on life and set the tone for the day. The others - including the department manager and his assistant - followed his lead.
I was still new in Canada, still hungrily sponging in images and impressions of my new environment.
“You’re from India, eh? But you’re not like those Indians who come down here from the reserves up north, eh?“ The whole gang would burst into giggles, and take it upon itself to educate me about Canada’s natives.
This is what I was told about them: they’re drunks. Dirty. Criminals. Permanently on the dole. You could see them anytime in the gutters everywhere in town. Never to be trusted.
“They deserve to be locked up somewhere far away and forgotten,” seemed to be the general consensus.
One of the clerks, Julian, was often the focal point of the banter. Dave announced one day, to no one in particular - as Julian left the office for a coffee break - that Julian was a Jew! That’s it: with no other accusations. With oh so much scorn, though. I had never known a Jew. Everybody harrumphed and rolled their eyes, warning me of unknown dangers.
I then began to notice that no one ever spoke to Julian. He came and went quietly. The manager would leave files on his desk, and pick them up later when he was gone. The assistant would leave memos on his desk every morning, and ignore him thereon. He never joined our group on our Friday lunch-out, or on the Wednesday evening of skating at the Terrace. Or the after-work visits to the old Jarvis House pub.
If I tried to talk to Julian or walked over to his desk, Dave would suddenly appear by my side and whisk me away on some urgent errand.
One day, while Julian was away, the topic turned to Julian’s sartorial choices. It was the general opinion that the fact that Julian was always well-dressed was incontrovertible evidence that, 1) he was a “stinking-rich Jew”; and 2) he was a “homo”.
Sightings were reported from time to time of Julian cavorting with other “homos”. If I protested that Julian was happily married to a gorgeous young woman and had a child, the quick answer was: “Sure. It’s a front. Those guys know how to hide the truth, eh?”
Women fared no better in our office. Every attractive female employee entering our office - ranging from the coffee-lady to the President’s personal assistant - was greeted by a shout from Dave across the room: “We’ve heard you’re wearing no panties today, eh?” or something similar. He’d walk up to her then and follow her into the Manager’s office, insisting on a confirmation or denial. The office would explode in guffaws.
Not surprisingly, our office did not see many women come through. And Nellie, the lone female in our office, would sit through it all, grim-faced, seemingly engrossed in work.
What was amazing about all of this was not that Dave did what he did, but that the entire office, both floors consisting of about 200 employees, not only condoned it, but also joined in. It was considered so much fun.
Those were the “good ol’ days”.
Since then, the Daves of this world have been muzzled. And are being educated and sensitized and civilized. Those who aren’t or won’t or can’t have had to crawl back into their holes and stay out of sight while it is light outside.
But when the lights go off, they crawl out and scream “Political Correctness!” They want you and I to believe that we are now into the bad times, and whine and pine miserably for those good ol’ days!
Conversation about this article
1: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), July 19, 2012, 1:41 PM.
A lot has and can and will change.
2: Morrissey (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), July 19, 2012, 5:32 PM.
The "good ol' days" reminds me a lot of the TV show, "All in the Family ... Archie Bunker was their guru.