Robert Brehl

Robert Brehl

Robert Brehl is a writer in Port Credit, Ont., and can be reached at bob@abc2.ca or @bbrehl on Twitter.

So often we hear and read about the lives of the rich, powerful and famous. Celebrity seems to rule our culture. 

But reflection on the lives of the ordinary, the everyday, the taken-for-granted, is often far more illuminating. If we look beyond the glitz we can see the real stars, the real world, and answers to some of the real questions. 

For some time, we’d noticed several big coolers and baskets by the front door of a neighbour. Sometimes, while walking our dog, we’d see someone pull into the driveway and drop some food in a cooler or basket. 

In a recent column, I mentioned the old biblical warning that money is the root of all evil and that sure set off a lively debate with my wife. 

They say all politics is local and that municipal politics is closer to our everyday lives than any level of government. It’s about water, sewage and garbage pickup. It’s about street-light repairs, safe pedestrian crosswalks and parks where our children can play. 

Ten years ago, a friend took his then eight-year-old son to Buffalo to see their favourite football team, the St. Louis Rams, play the Bills. Both father and son are diehard Rams fans and the son wore a Rams jersey to the game. 

Why do people cheat — whether on their spouse, during tests, playing sports or in business? A recent event amongst friends triggered this question in my mind and nagged me for several days about the psychology of cheating. 

Many years ago, a person named Margaret Wente called and offered me a job at the Globe and Mail newspaper, which I accepted. Many, many years ago, I passed through the Catholic school system in Toronto, elementary school at Holy Cross and high school at Neil McNeil. 

As we celebrate Canada Day we may not have a team in the exciting World Cup soccer tournament this month, but events surrounding it remind us that we’re so fortunate to live here. One news story really drove this point home: people in soccer-mad Africa are being killed by Islamist extremists for watching the games on television. 

Just before Christmas, 1967, then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau famously said: “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

Pope John XXIII’s ascension to saint status, along with Pope John Paul II, sent me on a quest to find some of the new St. John XXIII’s wittiest remarks.