Say hello to Randy Norris, a new voice on guelphspeaks.ca
Posted August 27, 2015
(Editor’s note) – We welcome Randy Norris to the GS writer’s bureau to add new ideas, opinions and experiences for our viewers comments and enjoyment. When I started guelphspeaks.ca, some four years ago, the intention was to encourage other writers to contribute to the blog. But a funny thing happened on the way, called an election. In 2014 there was a polarization of political positions and recruiting new voices became difficult.
The election outcome was satisfying to most people and change was self evident.
The welcome mat remains for those with a point of view, a story to tell of their life experiences and to capture the writing talent unique to our great city. Our editorial policy is that GS is a politically centrist blog open for copy from left and right. Regular viewers already know about the editor’s posts on local civic government. That will not change. Expanding the ideas and commentary of others will bring other points of view. Record numbers of viewers are dropping into the blog every day. It is a recent surprising increase that reflects that the blog is open 7/24 and postings go on Twitter and Facebook.
The editor reserves the right to edit copy for publication on the blog. Copy length should be limited to 500 words. Interested? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Randy Norris
Last week, the force behind this column suggested that he and I should talk. I was flattered when Gerry Barker offered me the opportunity to write for this blog. Obviously, I accepted.
I wouldn’t have accepted just any offer. If the Globe Mail called and was looking for a disabled, balding, cranky guy whose well on the way to looking like an older John Candy, then I’d be their man. But I haven’t received the call.
Thank goodness Gerry ignored these characteristics and invited me anyway.
Two weeks ago, I had my 65th birthday which is certainly reason enough to be reflective. I saw many mistakes, pain, terror, sprinkled with a dash of regret. At the same time, I saw joy, love and gratitude for just being alive.
Sounds like a marriage of 42 years doesn’t it?
There’s one thing, however, that’s the basis of everything I am and that’s experience. I’ve put a few miles on myself. Some good, some bad.
I flunked out of community college at 20 and then wondered around in the distractions of a self indulgent time.
I panhandled and looked the part of a generation that was going to change the world. Meanwhile my father, the barber, fretted about my long hair.
I went back to school and completed a diploma in social work, and then worked with traumatized kids. Immediately after this, I completed degrees in Psychology, Public Administration and Planning.
I’ve tried to keep this part of myself from everyone since there is such a thing as too much education.
I’ve worked as a short order cook, delivered newspaper copy to Robertson Davies, publisher of the Peterborough Examiner, while working in the circulation department. I worked as a restaurant busboy and dishwasher, short order cook, swept the floors in a pool hall, orderly in an old age home where I happened to meet and marry my wife. Don’t ask.
In addition, I’ve been a student painter, night watchman, factory press operator, research assistant, real estate appraiser, land development manager, land use planner, government environmental planner, academic counsellor and sports columnist.
At risk of being accused of writing by the pound, I’ll stop now. Suffice to say that I fell into most of this. Life is a funny thing sometimes.
Gerry and I talked about many aspects of my experience and he has encouraged me to share my experiences and my opinions with you, the viewers.
I intend on doing just that.