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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Be yourself, not a plaster cast Tuesday, September 11, 1973-THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD-5 The self-improvers have been in town, swarming over us They improve themselves by improving us, at a shot One listens to them, suave, easy-talking, sell-improved and, in one case. Irish, and decides against it Have you ever made a study of the women who do com- mercials lor cosmetics, tam- pons (I have asked what these are and have been told not to be perverse) and things and watched onlv their mouths? If not. do so at once Mouths are fascinating and in the case of these ladies tliev are revelations of what the cult of self-improvement can do to the human race. What they have been taught (that is. how to articulate the way every other commercial-lady ar- ticulates) gives them all the appearance of having very big mouths which they use like mechanical shovels: that is. it mechanical shovels opened and closed over pear-shaped things If they leered a little, spit-sprayed in the camera's eye a little, or did just one or two small individual things like this, I would applaud sell- improvement courses. But the self-improvement course How to make the best of yourself is a sort of "intellectual" charm school that will enable you to say all the things you have heard other self-improved people saying at all the dinner parties you have ever attended There is more to life than this Self-improvement courses are courses in confor- tnisin: they are coffee-table lile-styles served up only to people who have spent their lives belibving there wasn't much there to improve and along comes somebody who says he'll sell you a per- sonality, with a corporate guarantee. Children do this all the time and don't have to pay for it. They want to do it because the pressure of their peers requires that they be like everybody else, even some teachers are terrified by the child who is not like all the other children and the child who has decided for herself that she has no wish to be like all the others is a fearsome monster to many teachers. By Shaun Herron, Herald special commentator Like BERRY'S _____rank_____ L 1973 by NEA never thought I'd live to see it our 'amber waves of grain' all sold to the Russkies1" There is a better way yourself. Liking yourself involves you in certain difficulties. Other people may not like you and at once what may be described as a conflict of interest arises. The greatest pressure on us all, through the course of our lives, comes from inside ourselves It is a queer, perverted, twisted, crooked, corrupt desire to be not what we consider ourselves to be at our best, but what other peo- ple expect us to be. How often have you felt, when you are on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, that what you are being told is not what you need to hear but what your advisor thinks you ought to be, or do? And is it not a fact that in too many cases that is what we want to hear, so that we may be acceptable to the people we want to be accepted by9 Life is a long exercise in social blackmail. For what some consider good reasons and what many consider bad. other people are always putting a price on their approval If only you were this sort of fellow, all sorts of doors would Open to you, all sorts of pleasures would be available to you. and the good are as bad about this as are the corrupt It is conformism that leads us into sin. It is conformism that castrates us It is the second-hand life that beckons us because that is the life the people we know or want to know expect us to live and the kind of people they re- quire us to be The answer? Don't need approval Of course, one can't do without it or life would be unendurably arid and lonelv That's why marriage was born A good family is a group in which the people in it-learn what it is to be loved on their own terms. Otherwise love is a great mockery How do I love thee0 Let me count the wavs I don't know why you pick your nose and wear those awful stays but if you love me let me know. I'll show you bow it pays This has become dreadfully serious, which is not at ail what I intended What I set out to do was to suggest that you learn to thumb your nose at the world and at most of the people in it. but in a nice, even an interior way. It is a dread- ful self-betrayal to engage in self-improvement that anyone else can convey to vou or teach you The improvement all wholesome people need, and the only improvement they need, is the achievement of what they themselves con- sider to be their best selves Nobody on God's good earth can tell you what that is. Therefore, the first thing you need to learn is how to laugh at all those who tell you what vou are. Then at those who tell you what you ought to be. Then at those who tell you ten easy ways to get where they think you ought to be. In short, vou need first a strong sense of the ridiculous and if you have it you will come to the conclusion that most ol the huffing and puff- ing the human race has done and is doing is a great bloody waste of time. Next you must include in this sense of the ridiculous a sharp awareness of how preposterous it is to care what other people think ol or say about you. Indeed, it is important to find a great deal of your fun in life laughing at what others think of vou Most of what we think ol one another is false: most of it is based on false informa- tion and the conclusions we arrive at are almost all based on false expectations of what we have the right to expect I mm other people or what they have the right to expect Irom us There is far more fun in life trying to find out what somebody else really is than there can ever be in trying to make them what you think thev ought to be The richest symbol of human independence is five fingers, rampant, on the end of a nose. The meaning of this heraldic declaration is if you will enact the gesture and follow me the thumb pointing to the sell as the heart of the matter the first two fingers pointing upwards in that time- honored gesture of "the same to you. Jack." and the next two fingers pointing like defensive spears at all who would invade your secret places to improve them, that is, make them like all the other charm-school products, the cosmetic man or woman, the made and not created plaster cast Book reviews Crossing the Pacific "La Balsa: The longest Raft Voyage in History" by Vital Alsar with Enrique Hank Lopez (Reader's Digest Press-Dutton; 219 pages, distributed by Clarke, Irwin and Com- pany The reader doesn't get far into this book before he is thinking of the famous voyage of seven men on the raft Kon- Tiki Then he discovers that it was that voyage which in- spired this one Vital Alsar wanted to show that well- selected balsa logs were capable of covering twice the distance the Kon-Tiki floated. This would lend credence to the theory that Huancavilca Indians used to make circular voyages from Peru to Polynesia and back. Fiimi Credit Life Insurance. WeVe made it easy to get because if s very important to have. There was a time you couldn't get life insurance protection when you arranged bank loans for your farm business. But at the Commerce, we changed all that. And, we made it easy to get. So when you're pre- arranging your credit needs for the coming year, think about Commerce Farm Credit Life Insurance. Commerce Farm Credit Lifi Insurance is optional. The cost is low, just a year for every coverage. And if you're under 60 years of age, up to life" insurance coverage is available with no medical required. Also, you can get as much as coverage if you qualify. Ask your Commerce manager about Farm Credit Life Insurance today. We've made it easy to get, because it's very important to have. CANADIAN IMPERIAL. BANK OF COMMERCE Four men one of them a Canadian floated 8.600 miles on La Balsa from Ecuador to Australia in 1970. This account by the leader of the adventure is an absorbing one. almost as good as the one bv Thor Hyerdahl about the earlier voyage onn Kon-Tiki I am not convinced that this remarkable voyage proves In- dians made such trips It did prove that a certain kind of balsa log retain their buoyancy over long distances and that rafts can be con- structed capable of quite sophisticated navigation But one thing the ancients lacked was a chart with the location of treacherous reefs Even with a knowledge of where best to sail, the raft only narrowly averted disaster several times Other things were proved to my satisraction. however The men on this raft, like those on the Kon-Tiki. demonstrated that it is possible to survive from the food available in the sea They also showed that close quarters for a protracted period of time do not need to result in deteriora- tion in relationships. Two rules rigidly adhered to in this connection are of great in- ferest avoidance of personal criticism and physical con- tact Apostles of sensitivity training will be aghast at that but Vital Alsar thinks those no-nos were necessary for sur- vival Besides the four men there was a kitten on board His sur- vival was something of a miracle and became a source of inspiration to the men All lovers of cats will find the story of the kitten; in- terwoven with the rest of the narrative, heart-warming. If Indians of long ago actual- ly made these long and dif- ficult voyages they are to be pitied because they lacked the support of those wonderful people, the ham radio operators of modern times. All ham operators ought to read this book and bask a bit in the warm glow of pride over the vigilance of their associates in guiding and guarding the men on the raft on their lengthy voyage. I enjoyed this book and com- mend it to all those who appreciate sea stories. This is one of thebest of the genre. DOUG WALKER Access to the Queen's shores By Eva Brwster, local writer COUTTS No matter what your views on the British monarchy, it does bestow benefits on its people regardless of social rank or wealth. Whafdelights the most is the fact the Queen owns the shores of sea and lakes within the British Commonwealth and no individual can therefore buy or possess any of our beautiful beaches which, by Royal decree, should be accessible to all. Unfortunately, like many time-honored rules, this one left loopholes too not foreseeing the greed and selfishness of future generations. Since we last visited B.C two years ago, there has developed an alarming trend- Miles of the most beautiful lakeside land has been, and is being, bought up by syndicates, speculators, development agencies, in- dividual groups of people from different provinces of Canada and wealthy America citizens Along the shores of lakes everywhere, "Private "No Trespassing." and "Keep Out" signs are appearing in ever increasing numbers While none of the new land-developers may own the beaches, they, effectively, make them in- accessible to anybody without wings or can't approach them by boat What happened at Christina Lake is typical of what's going on all over B.C and I under- stand. Alberta too However, this is only one solitary case in hundreds that has caused a public outcn loud enough to reach the press. There, a Grand Forks dentist and a lawyer got together, purchased and fenced off acres of beach property to turn it into a private camping and picnic ground, charging 50 for use of the beach The new owners claim they are not doing any harm to anybody and are "dumfounded" that this "petty little issue" could cause such a controversy over the erection of a six-foot fence round their property. They feel entitled to run a picnic place like any other business and keep out local residents At Kootenay Lake, 10 professional and business people from Edmonton purchased acres of shore land last year for S75.000 and are now going to divide it up into small private lots, each to be rented out at an- nually. It appears, as more and more beaches are being closed to the public, there is a grow- ing demand for such plots by people willing to pay such rent for the privilege ol parking their trailer on a spot bv a lake during their two or three weeks annual holiday In theory, of course, such lots could be a good investment and. on similat divided land parcels, many people have erected perma- nent cabins and houses which they, in turn, had hoped to rent out to other holiday makers during the months they could not occupy their retreats In many cases they lived to regret this expensive folly when their initial ground rent was increased, doubled and trebled year after year or restrictions on sub-letting add ed to their lease contracts These people dis- covered too iate that there was now no way they could repay loans received for building their summer villas nor could they find buyers for luxury houses built on sand without secunh of tenure Such exploitation of people's need for es- cape from stress and strain of city life could be stopped if more individuals objected and voiced their complaints to the provincial governments concerned Adjoining the Kootenay Lake property bought the Kdmonton group is a public beach Here too. private individuals had bought plots and built summei houses to, sub- sequently, try and close the sandy beach to the public Informed of this intent, the B C government stepped in and having built a public car park and access road insisted on free for everybody to this holiday haven This question of access to our beaches may appear to be a small issue in a world so lull of manmade tragedies and natural disasters Yet. one of the greatest joys of being Cana- dian must sureh be our freedom to roam at will through this vast land of ours, i ts forests and mountains, lakes and sea-shores if a number of National Parks had to be closed this past summer because 01 fire danger, we would have had to respect and accept the necessity lor this measure in an effort io preserve and keep intact our natural resources, wild life and beauty for future generations However we should nut to accept without a fight the closing of access to the Queen's shores for the benefit of a few wealthy enough to purchase oui heritage and turn it into private playgrounds REPORT TO READERS DOUG WALKER Read all about it Books brief in "A Skunk in the House" by Constance Taber Colby (J. B. Lip- pincott Company, 144 pages, distributed by McClelland and Stewart Skunks that have been "fix- ed' so that they don't smell niskc very good pets Mrs Colby writes engagingly about the pet skunk. Secret, who liv- ed with her family unlil his disappearance back to the wild state She also manages to put in a bit of a pitch for the skunk