Equal, Right?

again from Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven!

order of business: retraction. Oh man, my face is numerous shades of red after
last week’s Coconut Chronicle. Somehow I completely mixed up the birth order of
Prez’s siblings. #1 Bro is, in fact, #2 Bro. The real #1 Bro lives in Victoria,
not Red Deer…and we haven’t ever visited his house either. Bad Prez, very
bad Prez! So, a gabillion apologies for my disorderly conduct – can you please
forgive me??!!

complete, let’s move on. 

been thinking about equality a lot lately. It all started with our ever-rising
loonie which reached par with the U.S. dollar for the first time in 30 years.
For many Canucks, this seeming financial equality has created a surge of pride.
We’re as good as you are! Nya Nya! But our strong buck is not all good
news. A large segment of our population benefits from a strong US dollar,
notably those in the tourism industry. The majority of royalties Prez and I
receive from the movie biz are in US funds – those little pink cheques used to
make us cheer; now they’re just like the blue ones…sigh. And it’s not so much
that our dollar is strong as it is that the US dollar is weak. So are we equal?

we’re not the same, and not just where our currency is concerned.  

the hubbub when Canada declined the invitation to the little party in Iraq? We
were practically labeled as traitors across the line. (Well, at least they
didn’t rename Canadian Back Bacon as ‘Freedom Back Bacon’ or some such thing). But
all political arguments aside, consider this, the current population of the US
is estimated at 303,056,304, the current population of Canada is about
31,612,897 – only a difference of about 270 million people. Heck, the state of
California alone has more people than all of Canada! (Look at a map and
consider that fact for a moment – mind blowing, eh?). A lot less people means a
lot less tax dollars, which means a lot less money in our budget, which
means no trillions of dollars to throw away fighting a war the majority of our
population doesn’t agree with anyway. Besides, exactly how much help were our
handful of troops supposed to be over there? (Not that I feel we have to make
any excuses for our lack of involvement in that debacle!)

We are a
big country with a proportionally small population; it’s easy to forget that…no
matter how much we try to puff ourselves up and act as big and cool as our big
brother to the south. Hey, get real; does anyone even know the name of the
Canadian Idol winner? Does anyone care?? Didn’t think so. 

But I
like being small, I like Canada just the way it is. Sure we live in a big
shadow and sometimes we feel unappreciated but our global contributions are
every bit as important as our #1 Bro’s. Our relationship may feel unequal but
we are the U.S.’s biggest trading partner, and our little maple leaf flag
patches help American backpackers around the world sleep well at night.

I must
admit, though, it is sometimes frustrating being the one in the shadow, the
wind beneath the wings, the good woman behind the great man. BJ and I know all
about this. BJ and the Ripster are partners in their business, Peak Freak Expeditions. BJ does, (by my standards), all the really hard work. She is the
one who answers the floods of emails, built and maintains the website, (a
website built on dial-up internet no less!), handles all the logistics and
money, makes travel arrangements, deals with legal mumbo jumbo, does the taxes
(YUCK), does the PR, etc., etc. etc. Her job is never ending, often not a lot
of fun, and it is a big part of Peak Freak’s success. But, inevitably, it is
Ripster who gets the spotlight. He’s the guy who climbs Everest; can you find a
bigger shadow than that?  

while BJ and Ripster are equal in each other’s eyes, and both know how
important each of their jobs are, and appreciate the work their spouse does, to
the general public the guy who climbs the mountains is the star of the show.

Well, it’s hard to outshine the Prez, as most of my regular Nutters know. In
the stunt biz, he was almost 10 years my senior, naturally talented, did lots
of big gags on feature films, and doubled a score of well known actors. Prez
has what we call the “Wall of Shame” here in Shagalicious. It’s a wall of
selected action photos from his stunt years. There he is getting hit by a car,
flying through the air on fire, skydiving, pipe-ramping a car – wow. Ever
sensitive to my feelings, he tried to make a “Wall of Shame” for me, but I
quickly took down those three, not-so-exciting photos and put them back in the

And then
there’s the whole sushi thing. Those of you who’ve attended a ClubFred sushi party
know all about Prez’s antics and the delicious dishes he serves up. After he
loaded up on Albacore one summer in Ukee, we hosted untold numbers of sushi
parties. I would spend most of the day cleaning the house, shopping for
ingredients, setting the table, prepping various menu items, making sure
everything was perfect. In short, I’d work my arse off. Then guests would
arrive, Prez would slice some fish, slap it on some rice, and everyone would
rave. “Oh Prez, that’s amazing!”, “Wow, Prez, you’ve done so much
”, “This sushi is fantastic, you should be a professional chef!
(OK, he does a lot more than slap fish on rice, but you get my point). Of
course, I would also be the one who cleaned up the gigantic mess with nobody
fawning over me. “Wow, Princess, how do you get these glasses so sparkling
” Sigh.

Are we
equal? If he always gets the limelight while I only get lime-scented dish soap,
can we be equal?  

perhaps not in the eyes of the world, but definitely to each other. Prez has
always been my #1 fan, and I love that he has fallen off buildings and taught
himself to prepare fabulous sushi. And now that I’ve begun to experience some
success with my writing, I’m also beginning to feel the light on my face. I
know any success I have wouldn’t be possible without my husband. Whether we are
standing in the shadow or in the spotlight, we are always standing together.

Are you in the shadow or the spotlight?

p.s. – At the risk of giving the Ripster even more attention; he and ESP Tim will be featured on the Discovery Channel show "Guinea Pig" sometime in January (Jan.8th, I think – I’ll get the details from, BJ, the brains of the operation).

next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

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2 Responses to Equal, Right?

  1. Cindy says:

    Just to clear up a little misconception … the U.S. doesn\’t have trillions of dollars to spend fighting a war either … our idiotic president is cashing checks his tax payers can\’t back.  I don\’t know anything about economics but this could be the cause of the weakness of the dollar.  The fact that almost all of the countries in the world refused to get involved in Bush\’s folly could not pursuade a majority of Americans that it was a horrible idea.  I\’ll stop there before I go into full rampage mode.
    I feel I\’m more in the shadow … in fact … a lot of times I feel downright invisible. 

  2. Kristene says:

    Hey Cindy – My apologies if I inferred the U.S. was actually able to afford those trillions of dollars! I know very well that is not the case, and, yes, I\’m sure that has quite a bit to do with the weak dollar. I heard a statistic which stated that for the amount of money the U.S. has spent on the Iraq war thus far, every child in America could have been put through Harvard – crazy. No, don\’t get me started either…LOL. I feel for you, I really do.Step out of the shadows!!! You don\’t belong there. Cheers.

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