Let’s Talk Every Day

January 30, 2019

The great tragedy in the face of an epidemic, is that it takes corporate virtue signaling to spark a conversation when there is an absolute wildfire beneath the skin.

Bell Let’s Talk Day comes around every January, and in its wake follow genuine enthusiasm and all the hot takes. For every person earnestly eager to raise awareness, there follows some edge lord offering burning opinions on the inherent evils of corporate philanthropy.

Let’s Talk on the surface seems to be a genuine expression of helping people in need. Suicide rates are up. We are living in a fentanyl crisis. Everyone and their siblings have anxiety. How many more suffer with their lips sewn shut, unable to cry for help or find a platform to rise on?

Sure, Let’s Talk, but what about tomorrow? What about next Friday at 7:45pm? Sometime in July? The other 364 days of calendar have to matter just as much.

There’s irony in that a Canadian Cellular giant is pioneering this initiative considering the social toll wireless can take. The constant connection and sociological impact of technology and social media is a topic for another day.

Bell, like any Canadian wireless company does not guarantee their retail employees full time hours, and offers them commission as an incentive instead of an assured living wage. Commission sales is an environment where the shrewd and steel willed can thrive, but can leave behind those without a cast iron gut. These are often the ones who suffer mental health issues.

Variations of Bell Let’s Talk and mental health issues are the top six trending topics in Canada on Twitter as of this writing. Let’s Talk is moving people, fingers are clicking keys and conversations are moving forward, guided by the safe and familiar voices of Ellen and perennial stoner pal Seth Rogen.

Yeah, they want to save us from our mind dungeons so we can grin while coughing up for financially bloated cell phone plans and ludicrously overpriced cable services. All to fatten the coffers of CEO George Cope and his empire built upon the bodies of young people struggling to make it on minimum wage plus commission.

But also by increasing their brand awareness, we generate income and advertising for them, they donate to a good cause. Maybe someone comes out of the mental health closet today and takes the first steps towards standing in the sunlight again. Is that not in of itself a win for us all?

The discourse around Gillette’s We Believe campaign pulls similar threads. Does Gillette really want men to be better? Do they just want to sell some garbage razor blades to keep our face clean and inevitably cause stock our landfills with more plastic? Does it matter?

It’s all subjective. Each individual chooses to engage with it and react accordingly. The reality is that whatever Ma Bell’s phantom intentions are, something good will.

Let’s Talk today. Let’s talk everyday. Let’s braid each other’s hair and drink from the cup of conversation until the sun comes up, it’s 5am, and we’re supposed to work today. Share the Bell hashtag, share the counter hashtag. Publish your own hot take.

The healthiest thing we can do is seek out the quiet ones, the individuals we’ve lost contact with, the ones who stopped talking. You never know what you’ll hear when you cut open the strings along lips.

Memory Lapse


The data files corrupt

fast-forward eats the tape

the CD is scratched

from the sky, the sun eventually escapes


time eats the memories

fire burns the photography

supermassive black hole drinks the known universe

the inkwells will dry


keep filling empty pools

spring follows winter fools

All good things eventually collapse

it is in the nature of memory to lapse



we walked over ashen trails

kilos on kilometres, deep

dark woods. we came to

a clearing


it rained ashes, the wind swirled

you had tree trunks for legs that

swept up the black metal casing

of your tower


The gnarly roots grew seeping in

slipping through to your

CPU, as only in deep

dark woods those gnarly roots do


Up, up past your cooling unit

it no longer burned

static on the monitor

bird shit on the power supply


I checked to see if the power was

plugged in. but only found that

I no longer could turn you on

so I sat and waited a while


on an otherwise amicable day

overcast skies filled with ashes

some days it rained. we stayed dry

some days it was sunny. we were sunk


I remember a robot I once met

a patron of planned obsolescence

an antique traveler, in brand new land

I think about how much we are alike now


old rotting machines in

deep dark woods

searching for a clearing

covered in gnarly roots

waiting for rains to come again