There are some things in life that do not fluctuate.
Unfortunately, the price of oil is not one of them.
However, I have noticed that even as the needle hovering over the price of oil remains fairly steady on “low”, dropping only slightly to “really low”, some things stay the same.
The sun still rises in the east. The days are getting longer. And, Toronto Maple Leafs, no matter if they win or lose, will have loyal fans such as myself forever.
And as there has been in the past and there will be in the future, there are two camps of people; eternal pessimists and eternal optimists.
Sometimes the pessimists will invade the optimists’ camp and take great delight in shooting off their little ‘ain’t it awful’ arrows of doom and gloom.
Pessimists always seem to know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody else who knows stuff the rest of us wonder about, but don’t know for sure.
And they also know people who have told them, probably with their right hand on the Bible, that things are only going to get worse. And to make matters worse it seems their circle of acquaintances seem to only include people who have been laid off, are about to be laid off, or never even got hired in the first place to get laid off.
Ain’t it awful.
While I agree entirely that Alberta is a boom and bust province where the streets and the roads are paved with black gold in the boom days, I refuse to believe that Albertans must succumb to a self-destructive world of “ain’t it awful”.
If you want to cry about how taxes go up and snow removal is non-existent (and not because we have had minimal snowfall) and mail delivery is slower than watching paint dry, no one will stop you.
But, guess what? Nothing changes, life goes on.
I do believe when the price of oil is low and Albertans are facing layoffs and an economic downturn, it is time for all of us to become innovative and creative and not waste even one moment of time whining about it.
A few months ago, the majority of Albertans exercised their democratic right and voted in the NDP government, and not by just a little bit, but by a landslide.
Whining and crying over the way government in power is making decisions now is a little bit like crying over spilled milk. We need to get over it.
I was raised in the ‘50s and ‘60s by a single dad. In those days it was a Social Credit government here in good old rural Alberta.
But, it didn’t make a lot of difference to us.
We were poor, actually, some would say we were dirt poor.
I didn’t really feel poor, although I’m not exactly sure how a poor kid is supposed to feel. I just kind of knew it.
We didn’t talk about it much, but I’m quite sure that if the price of oil had risen to a $100 a barrel, we would have still been poor.
My dad sold insurance to farmers, often bent over the rim of a tire tractor to write up the policy. His finesse as a salesman kept bread on the table and allowed us to stock up on sardines. We ate a lot of sardines, it seemed. It also gave him time to hunt for all the misplaced Bambis out there and always it seemed there was at least one who was not fortunate enough to dodge a speeding bullet and met his demise. In the summer he fished.
I didn’t really like fishing, but I liked my dad and I liked hanging out with him. I remember him; the way the skin around his blue eyes crinkled in the corners and the way he tucked his violin under his chin when he was about to play a tune.
And I do know that to this day I’m grateful for those memories and I’m also grateful that my happiness has never been solely based on how the wheel of economic fortune spins in my world.
That being said, the present reality does not paint a bright economic picture for many Albertans right now. And my heart goes out to those individuals who have been given their pink slips, many with very little notice.
But, realistically speaking, nothing is as permanent as change, whether it is good or bad.
And, necessity truly is the mother of invention and creativity!
Treena Mielke is editor of The Rimbey Review and is a columnist for Black Press.