Tuesday 15 October 2019

Poor Parenting!

Incompetent parents and Rapacious Lawyers.

The parents of two children in Canada filed a legal notice against Epic Games that likens the hugely popular game to major narcotics.  They claim that the game ‘Fortnite’ is as addictive as cocaine, morphine, fentanyl etc. They are being encouraged by money hungry lawyers to launch a class action lawsuit. 

   "Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists - they really dug into the human brain and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible," Alessandra Chartrand, a lawyer with Calex Legal, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  She went on to claim that the merchandisers of the game did all they could to make the game as desirable as possible (isn’t that what every manufacturer does with their product?) and that the poor parents who came forward said that if they knew it was so addictive they would never have let them start playing the game or at least they would have monitored it a lot more closely!  They went on as though they had no role or responsibility for any of this, when they were clearly the enablers. 
   A word about these parents.   After fifty-five years of general practice I know a thing or two about this topic.  I would have been able to identify the syndrome when the family brought the kids in for their pre-school check up or for their immunizations.  When some families came in to the office, it quickly became apparent that the kids were the boss, not the parents. I remember one mother giving her three year old her cell phone to shut him up so that she could talk to me.  I remember the kid throwing the phone (a considerable upgrade from the one I was using) across the room. I remember saying “he’ll wreck the phone” and the response,”it’ll keep him quiet for a while!!” I remember I used to keep my kids civilized by giving them a slap on the bum when necessary!  Not often, but when it was necessary to prevent them from running into the ongoing traffic, both literally and metaphorically.  
    Ah yes, I am proud to have been ‘politically incorrect’ for much of my life.
    So, I would say to the ‘Fortnite Suers’: “look at yourself, you bought them their the games, or at least sanctioned them and failed to control their use.  If you didn’t recognize that they were spending hours gaming everyday you are either incompetent or indifferent or both. Or maybe just glad to get them off your back. If you did recognize it and failed to stop it you were worse than incompetent.  Perhaps it took the smell of litigious wealth generated by some rapacious lawyers combined with the relief of shifting the blame for your negligent parenting to the gaming company."

The parents case:
"They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth. In our case, the two parents that came forward [said], 'if we knew it was so addictive it would ruin our child's life, we would never have let them start playing Fortnite or we would have monitored it a lot more closely."

Ms Chartrand likens the case to a 2015 class-action lawsuit against big tobacco companies that accused the firms of not doing enough to warn consumers of the addictive nature of smoking. No comparison!

   Let's see if our legal system will continue to reward inappropriate behaviour.  I'm afraid I already know the answer!

Thursday 10 October 2019

Parking in Toronto - a cautionary tale!!

Parking in Toronto - A cautionary tale!
    A few weekends ago we went to Toronto to spend a couple of days with some family who were visiting from the other London.  We know them well and looked forward to catching up on all the sort of family news that we ex-patriots often miss.  We booked into a hotel that we know and that is fairly central.  As  Irene and I were only staying overnight, the plan was to chat away for a couple of hours in a large foyer area behind the hotel and then go out to dinner.  My daughter and son-in-law live in Toronto and since there were four visitors and four of us we were taking two guests in each car and heading out for the restaurant. 
    Parking in Toronto as in most big cities is a nightmare. The underground parking lot for the eighteen story uptown hotel we stay in is huge being shared as it is by the hotel, the public library, several businesses, banks and a myriad of other establishments.  It burrows underground for four stories, in extremely tight corkscrew turns and every time we have stayed there part of it is under construction.   The exits are hard to locate and open into several different buildings and several different streets.  I always have great difficulty in locating my car no matter how carefully I document the letters and numbers that are supposed to lead me to it. 
   Bill, on the other hand leaves his car on a side street across from the hotel.  He has always parked there and seemed to find a place relatively easily.  So much so that I have contemplated parking my car there to avoid the inconveniences of negotiating the parking lot.  Fortunately, I have never done so.
    After innumerable coffees and chats we decided it was time to head out to the restaurant where we were dining.
    "I better come down to the parking lot and help you find your car," said Bill considerately.
    "Thanks," I said, happy that the big city guy was going to help this country bumpkin to find the car.  Or so I thought.
    We burrow four levels underground sand emerge in a metal concrete cemetery the size of two football fields.  All the directions I had so carefully recorded are totally meaningless.  We walk around and around to no avail. There is not another human being in sight.  Just as we are beginning to despair a young woman pulls into one of the few parking spots available in that huge jungle.  We walked towards her careful not to appear threatening.  (After all two old fogies advancing on a young woman in a deserted lot.).   Fortunately she was unperturbed.
   "We've lost our car," said I. "I thought I had this lot mapped out.  We have no idea how to find it. Can you help us?”
   I showed her the map I had drawn on a piece of paper.  She looked at it and laughed. “I’ve been parking here for five years, your map isn’t too good but with the letters and numbers I have an idea where you might be.  The easiest thing will be for me to take you there.”
   She did.  Thank’s Ma’am, or we might be still there!
   “Okay,” I said to Bill. “I’ll meet you up front where your car is parked and we can load up the two cars.”

   With considerable difficulty I wended my way up four very tight spirals and eventually merged into the street.  I pulled up outside the hotel where my three passengers were waiting, loaded them into the car and waited for Bill and his three passengers to draw up in his car.  We wait and wait -no car, no Bill. Eventually he appears leading the other three.
   “Stan, I left my car just over here, didn’t I ?  Or was it around the other side of the hotel? I can’t find it.”
   “You left it just over there.” I pointed.
   “Well, then it has been stolen.” he said.
   I got out of my car and we crossed the street to a row of parked cars where we thought he had parked his car.
   “Unless it has been towed ?” he said anxiously, “but there isn’t any no parking sign, is there?”
   “No”, I said, looking around carefully.   Then I saw it!! A very tall light pole extending almost to heaven.  Right near the top was a postage-stamp sized sign that read: No parking 3pm -5pm.  It was barely legible to these old eyes, but there was a sign so no basis for appeal.  Instead of just ticketing the car, the miserable SOBs towed and ticketed the car leaving no notification of where it might be towed to.  It was getting late so we called a cab to take the carless group to the restaurant, and poor Bill spent the dinner time on his cell phone trying to track down his car, which he eventually did.
   Cost of car retrieval: the towing company charged $300 to release the car, the City of Toronto added a parking fine of $150.  


Parking in Toronto - A cautionary tale!