This is Not the Blog I Intended to Write; The Change of Heart Began with the Discovery of a Poster from my Comic Debut in London; “People Who Need People”; Not Me: Rothman’s “Becoming You” Quoted at Length; Comic Debut a One Night Stand; Poignant Defined and Illustrated by the Death of a Friendship; The First Marriage Under the Syphilis Clinic in By Gone Edmonton; Finally the Pictured Poster

Yesterday evening I got totally  prepared for the blog to be written today, doing massive amounts of online research into dealing with the social injustice that surrounds us all – what guidance had Allah provided? When and how to speak out and under what situations is it permissible to remain silent? An answer was found.

But this serious topic was usurped by something totally, entirely playful. Accidentally discovered a photo of a framed poster of my one, and only,  stand up comedy routine. I fired it off to my Computer Guru Chris with the following subject line. Photo for Tomorrow’s Blog.
Me: And you did not think I was a comedian.???? Hahaha

Woke up this morning (incidentally after a bad dream) to this.
He: I would have LOVED to see this Alexis!!
Me: You are so sweet!! My Vancouver cousin was visiting me in London at the time because we were going to Scotland to unearth our ancestors. I sent her this photo asking her if she remembered. She said yes. In a later email I asked her to testify, under oath,  whether I was funny or not. Not heard back from her. Hmmmm. I came across this photo of the framed announcement accidentally, not planning to write about it but with your ‘encouragement’ I shall. It does fit with an article found in the New Yorker magazine, a study about how some people change from their childhood selves and others remain the same over their whole long lives.

So first you will hear of the article and then in a later blog you shall perhaps hear of my  2015 (I think) self. I have, rather drastically, changed since then. I look the same, as the poster shows but that is the only resemblance. I did, by the way, make the posters, using the assistance of the Covenant Garden Apple Store, sought  permission of the store owners up and down Kings Cross to display them.. I cannot imagine myself doing that these days. In those days I guess I was one of those people who need people.  Of course, I googled those words.  You must too, as there is a beautiful rendition of the song by Barbara Streisand. Here are the lyrics
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world
We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children
Lovers, very special people
They’re the luckiest people in the world
With one person
One very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world
With one person, one very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world.

I no longer think that way – I am convinced that people who need people are the unluckiest people in the world.

More about that later, Onto “Becoming You”  by Joshua Rothman. His well-written, incisive and illuminating article appeared in the October 10, 2022 magazine edition of The New Yorker. Its subtitle is: Are you the same person you were as a child?

Rothman takes as his fundamental premise a study first conducted by a New Zealand psychologist, Phillip Silva during the nineteen seventies which subsequently ‘folded into related studies in the UK and USA “ and so describes how about four thousand people have changed during the decades.”

The article must be read in its entirety but these two paragraphs found on page 24 summarize the two different approaches to life.
“The stories we tell ourselves about whether we’ve changed are bound to be simpler than the elusive reality. But that’s not to say that they’re inert.  My friend Tim’s story in which he vows to change forever shows how much stories can be laden with value.  Whether you perceive stasis or segmentation is almost an idealogical question.  To be changeable is to be unpredictable and free; it’s to be not just the protagonist of your life story but the author of its plot. In some cases, it means embracing a drama of vulnerability, decision, and transformation; it may also involve a refusal to accept the finitude that’s the flip side of individuality.

The alternative perspective— that you’ve always been who you are—bears values, too. James Fenton captures some of them in his poem “The Ideal”:
A self is a self.
It is not a screen.
A person should respect
Who he has been.

This is my past
Which I shall not discard.
This is the ideal.
This is hard.”

This also from page 24. “Martin Heidegger , the often impenetrable German philosopher argued that what distinguishes human beings is our ability to take a stand on what and who we are; in fact we have no choice but to ask unceasing questions about what it means to exist and about what it all adds up to. The asking, and trying out of answers is as fundamental to our personhood as growing is to a tree.”

But back to me and my self-described Comic Debut. It was a one night stand, so to speak. I was hilariously funny (if I do say so myself) but as I describe, “It felt like I was prostituting my sense of humour”. I was not paid, so it was whoring for laughter. But if money were involved, it would make it even more desperate, strained and would involve giving away something I value above all my other traits – my sense of humor. Am I glad I did it – stand up in front of Pub people in London? My goodness, yes! I had always dreamed of being a stand-up comedian but after that one night, I was just glad to be me. Most people do not follow their dreams – I have and do. Trust me, some of them, many of those dreams,  turn into nightmares – but I still have me, and I am glad to be me.

This daring quality, of trying on different selves, is borne of my NOT being a person who needs people. This shall be illustrated. Warning! It shall be poignant, which is evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret. Its appropriate synonyms are: touching, moving, sad, saddening, affecting, sorrowful, painful, distressing, disturbing, heart-rending, heartbreaking, tear-jerking, plaintive, upsetting.

I had a very close friend, met in California. Our friendship was of long duration, over thirty years (if memory serves). I was close to, not only her, but her extended family – I was considered one of the family actually, and was proud to be so. However, when I gave up my California identity and moved to London, I changed. She and I were having brunch on one of my return visits. She plaintively said:
She: I want the old Alexis back.
Me: I do not think the old Alexis is coming back.

I thought about this interchange – analyzed it and tried to find a solution. These are not the exact words, of course, as it was about four years ago.
Me: The old Alexis is not coming back and our continuing friendship is just too painful for both of us. You, yearning for the old me.  Me,  yearning for you to love the new me. It is not going to work and both of us will suffer. We need to terminate our friendship.

She did not respond, we have never seen nor spoken to one another again. Of course, it is a loss but hopefully both of us will remember the good, in fact, great times we had together. If I was a person who needed people we would both be unhappy, not the happiest people in the world.  The song suggests that romantic love is the answer – there is seldom one special person. Those of the Islamic faith believe there is only one special God, and that is more than sufficient. I have found that to be true.

My goodness, what a serious way to end a blog about my comic debut. In case any of you are confused – Dryburgh is my birth name. Changed my name upon my marriage in 1967 (I think). I The marriage was a civil ceremony taking place in Edmonton, where I now reside. It was a very small ‘affair’. The ‘ceremony’ was held in an old building on Jasper Avenue, subsequently torn down. The office was on the second floor of that building,  just above the Syphilis Clinic. The ‘bridal party’ then went to have a drink at the Hotel McDonald. The Hotel Mac is still there, much renovated. I stayed in it a few days when first arrived back in Edmonton. A word of advice to all – don’t. For identity purposes I will need a marriage certificate to show how a Dryburgh became a McBride. I will go to the Statistics Office at Unity Square, fill out a form and pay some money.  Some things do remain the same I suppose.

The Hotel Mac treated me poorly. But revenge is a dish best served cold. They do not honor their reservations and make up stories about why a 79 year old woman had to be moved. Although there would be no problem now – probably empty as their are no play-off hockey games taking place at Roger’s Center – straining the capacity of all downtown hotels.
More about that situation later. I recently was able to exact my revenge upon the Chateau Lacombe. Do not stay there either. I was billed in October when my aborted stay took place in May. I called the charge fraudulent and it shall not be paid. A slight inconvenience – a new credit card will be issued with a new number. But I did need a change of credit card anyway – the old one  getting worn out. After all of those hotel problems decided to get an apartment rather than hang out in hotels. I love my inexpensive apartment. I am living happily ever after (or for quite some time).

Now you get to see the announcement of my comic debut.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *