Drink and drunk, yes that’s me name…”

By Pat Watson Thursday August 15 2013 in Opinion
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Should we be grateful that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spared the Caribbean parade the distraction of showing up inebriated from “a couple beers”? With its own image problems at least that wasn’t a part of this year’s event.

 

Apparently, Ford was found wandering the streets on the weekend and having been scheduled to make an official appearance at another cultural festival – this time at the Taste of the Danforth Greek festival – he ended up there but not before being caught on video looking and sounding like a man under the influence. “Slurring” is the way news reports describe him.

 

Ah, the modern world’s ubiquitous video recorder.

 

After the fact, the Ford brothers took to their usual game of defence, also known as their regularly scheduled Sunday radio program, to deny the seriousness of the mayor’s activities. There’s a name for that; it is called minimizing.

 

If you are a Ford supporter, or you are the kind of person who feels that Ford is being bullied by news media (Toronto Star, CBC, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Macleans, The Chronicle Herald, The Daily Show, Kimmel, etc.) then you will like have sympathy for this beleaguered individual.

 

Frankly, it’s hard to watch. In many businesses, certainly in government-run organizations, when an employee is exhibiting behaviour related to substance abuse, he or she is called into the supervisor’s office and presented with the option of going through the employee assistance program (EAP). They are provided the means to receive treatment or face being let go if the behaviour does not change.

 

To say that you were just letting your hair down and having a few while you are supposed to actually be on the job is a sure sign of problems. There are people who show up to work intoxicated, but there are consequences, sooner or later.

 

So is there an exception if you are the mayor of the largest city in this country? Is it then okay to show up to work under the influence?

 

There seem to be many exceptions for becoming mayor of Toronto. You can become mayor even if you only have high school level education as in the case of Mel Lastman, or if you are not a university graduate. In Ford’s case, he left Carlton University after his first year there. Imagine the frustration of young people today who are required to have a university degree for even entry-level service jobs. You will also likely need one to apply for a job in the mayor’s office.

 

But, if you just can’t be bothered with that costly endeavour, then why not just run for the office of mayor? Character references are also not required.

 

Many of us have sympathy for people with substance abuse issues. But it becomes harder and harder to do so when the writing is on the wall and the person just keeps ramming into the wall instead of reading the writing.

 

People who work in rehabilitation helping individuals with substance dependency to recover will advise that until the individual ‘hits bottom’ there is little chance that he will have any motivation to begin to get well.

 

So while we wait for any such individual to hit bottom, we carry on as best we can, trying not to allow the person’s untreated condition to get in our way. We may want him to get well, but he has to get on side. In all of these cases, those on the outside watching the train wreck sense that can’t happen soon enough.

 

A note on parenting techniques…

 

Picture it: Sunday afternoon, around the dinner hour, cars are crammed into the parking lot of a popular Jamaican restaurant. The joint is jumping. But what really makes this particular afternoon at this busy locale special is one young lad, perhaps about 12 years old. He was experiencing a life lesson that stunned this observer. Walking back and forth in the crowded parking lot, the young fellow was wearing a sandwich board of sorts. He wasn’t on the job advertising any local business. In fact, the sign hanging on his small frame tells that he had committed a transgression. He had stolen from someone. The sign also states that he is sorry. He certainly looked sorry. I wonder what effect this will have on the lad in years to come. Perhaps this public shaming will impress him to never repeat this misbehavior again.

 

By PAT WATSON

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