Not Newsworthy

Museum of History - 05/05/2020
Museum of History – Gatineau 05.05.2020

Did you know that I am the only Canadian over 60 with C.O.P.D. (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) who chose to leave his part time job for a period of 3 months when his place of work was re-classified as non-essential? That day was April 9th, 2020.

To be fair, the diagnosis of C.O.P.D. is pretty much assigned to anyone who has been a lifetime smoker, which I am guilty of.

My questions is, “Is this a story and am I really the only one?”

The reality of my choice is that I may not have a job to go back to because my actions were not seen as a leave of absence. I was offered to be laid off but was informed that doing so would allow the company to call me back at any time. This information was given to me by the company. So I could have been called back in a day or two, a week or weeks, months and possibly not at all. Who knows? What was clear to me was that I was not willing to have any company choose when I should return and I wanted wait for the experts to inform and perhaps guide my decision as things progressed.

From my perspective, this part time job was my lifeline as much as any full time job. It fed me and kept my bills paid as I worked on photography just as I’ve done for decades. I do however have the added benefit of early C.P.P. which gives me an extra $300 or so a month. 25 hours a week has been enough to do these things.

I believe that the decisions we make as we get older should change. Ideally they should possess some knowledge and at least a hint of wisdom. Does it make sense for a man over 60 to hold onto a minimum wage job and give the control of that risk to a company?

As my brother would say, “Everyone has a right to their own opinion, even if they are wrong.” There is only one answer to my question, and I left that job. Any other decision would have been fear based or based on the things that we’ve been told such as “Never quit a job.” etc… I ask that you do not torture your children with such antiquated garbage thinking.

Short story long, ( “Yes I wrote it that way on purpose and ‘No” I do not use Grammarly.” ) what I wanted from all of this is for people to think that there is perhaps more out there, more situations and challenges that other Canadians may not be aware of or have not even considered.

I’ve sent a smaller, less painful version of this story a while back to The Ottawa Citizen ( twice ), two members of parliament in West Quebec ( because I live in Gatineau now ) and the CBC. I get that they are all bombarded at this time but I do wonder what they think. Maybe I’ll try Global News next.

Thanks for reading.

Rick Carroll


Wellington Street - Ottawa 07/04/2020
Wellington Street – Ottawa 07.04.2020

Like many cities around the world, the streets are quiet. Gone is the weaving and dodging on busy sidewalks, the endless chatter and the inescapable noises that we’ve become familiar with. Still, the truly fortunate have someone to hold.

Rick Carroll

National Gallery

National Gallery of Canada
National Gallery – Ottawa 25.2.2020

I’m often stopped by tourists in downtown Ottawa and asked where they should go and what they should see. At some level, perhaps delusional, I feel like the ambassador to Ottawa, my hometown, and I am always honoured to assist and direct to the best of my ability the people who travel here. Typically within seconds I rhyme off a list of places, a list that always starts with The National Gallery of Canada.

Rick Carroll

All Lives Matter

Wellington 007 - Ottawa 201?
Wellington Street – Ottawa 201?

This is one of my favourite photographs. Unfortunately the original file sits on a damaged hard drive.

When I first heard of the movement “Black Lives Matter” I thought “Ridiculous!” Of course Black lives matter. My issue here is that such words and often the creation of groups or communities in reality, segregate.

Rick Carroll

An Audience of One

In this day of social media, this time framed within an unrelenting need for likes, success and acceptance, I think that most would be hard-pressed to find people who actually live what they truly believe in at any cost.

As Socrates put it: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Carl Jung, perhaps less brutal, wrote: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Jung then went on to say:

“The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self. You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself. Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation.”

True loneliness however is not an end product of being alone. As Jung put it:

“Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important.”

I believe that the most important thing that anyone can do in one’s lifetime is to meticulously search their soul for understanding, identify the why’s of their actions, understand their fears, act on solving what they are capable of and accept and be at peace with their limitations. Clearly, the direction of a boat is better understood if one has at least some knowledge of the winds, currents, terrain and of course the boat itself.

Out of all the knowledge available for acquisition, self-knowledge is by far the most important. Without it, we cannot be authentic.

Rick Carroll