Accidental Activist

Random Thoughts From An Aging Brain

I do believe in the power of positive thinking, that you make your own luck in this world, and that a good friend, a full stomach and a warm blanket are all you really need.

By Ben Bull
Published March 19, 2007


My kids are at that age right now, where they always seem to be asking me, "Why?"

"Why can't I play outside, Dad?"

"Why can't I watch Family Guy?"

"Why do I have to go to school today?"

"Why? Why? WHY?!"

I can't complain. I was the same. In many ways, I still am.

I am never satisfied until I know all the answers, until something really makes sense. It's for this reason that I don't believe in God, or goblins or ghosts or fairies...

It's for this reason that I do believe in the power of positive thinking, that you make your own luck in this world, and that a good friend, a full stomach and a warm blanket are all you really need.

On the subject of looking for answers:


Many of my friends are religious. Like Andrew. Andrew is cleverer than me and way more grounded. He's also a believer.

I find this very curious. "Why do you believe all this nonsense?" I ask him, whenever I see him. "Don't you need proof?"

Andrew then patiently explains to me that there are many parts of the bible he does not believe – the creation of the earth, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, the bit about the Red Sea - but the rest, he tells me, "is all good."

"So what makes you believe the rest?" I ask him again. "Why don't you question that?"

"Because I have faith," he replies, strangely. "That's why it's called 'faith'."

I don't think much of this answer. It seems more like blind faith to me.

One time, at school, we had to do these 'faith based' exercises. The teacher made us stand in a line with our eyes closed. We then had to fall backwards into the hands of a classmate.

At least that was the idea.

"It's about trust," the teacher assured us, "and faith in your fellow man!"

My 'man' was a woman - well, a girl anyway - and I didn't trust her at all. Every time I looked back she was busy checking her nails or staring at her feet.

"Pay attention!" I shouted, "I don't want to get hurt."

I fell back. I got hurt.

And that's all I know about faith.

Happy Birthday (?)

Last Wednesday was my birthday: 39. What can I say about this? Not a lot, thanks for asking. I'm not particularly thrilled about it, that's for sure.

I've spent the past few weeks looking back at my 20s and 30s, wondering where it all went. I've also spent a lot of time contemplating my list of non-achievements:

Where did all these good times go?

I realized, of course, that they hadn't gone anywhere. They were still in my head, right where I left them – where they've always been. I suppose that's the problem.

Perhaps my 40s should be all about turning my dreams into reality? We'll see.

Back To Nature

By the time you read this I'll be standing on the top of a mountain in the English Lake District - breathing in the scenery.

It's time for my nature fix. A few years ago when I was heading to a meeting in North York, I pulled off the 401 and hopped over a bridge. As I whizzed by, a piece of graffiti caught my eye. It said, simply: "Remember Nature?"

The question took me by surprise and forced me to slow down and look around. As I stared out at the ugly expanse of warehouses and roads, and sidewalks it occurred to me that this had probably all been farm land not too long ago.

You wouldn't know it now, but I bet there was even a little creek still running under that bridge.

It's hard to remember nature sometimes. We've made a right bloody mess of so many parts of this planet, but there is still a lot of beauty to be found.

I believe that, as humans, we all need to feel nature's warm blanket around us from time to time, in order to stay sane. I'm going a little wacky right now myself, but I know the Lakes will see me right.

I'll see you when I get back.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By MVA (anonymous) | Posted April 04, 2007 at 18:03:38


"Why were we born Mom/Dad?"
Mom and dad's reply
"Well, hmm what's your take on it?"

" well I think it may in fact be in order to live peacefully and grow in harmony, love one another as best as we possibly can, and find an industrial fleet of robotic savages and take them out before they destroy the space shuttle and my assistant Robo who are now hidding in my snack pack of pudding!"

....and in fact the proof (truth) to life may in fact just be in the pudding! But then again who knows for sure.

Hope you have a great vaccation

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