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The Importance of Engagement

I am not what you would call “easygoing”. I do not “go with the flow”. I can not just “get along”. So when my wife asks me what movie I want to watch on Netflix and I say I don’t care, she doesn’t really believe it. There are rare occasions when I don’t have an opinion. Or more precisely, when I choose not to have an opinion. That occurs well after a normal person would recognize they’ve had more than their recent fair share of “their way”. But as irritating as Captain Particular can be, I think what frustrates my wife more than anything else is my sometimes passive disengagement.

As Naomi scrolled through the myriad of options on-screen on a recent Saturday night, I was thoroughly immersed in my phone (and no my regular readers, I was not playing Candy Crush). When I finally looked up to see the credits starting I could see that she had picked A Fault In Our Stars to watch. Unless you are a twelve year old girl, I expect that you don’t know that the film is a tearjerker about a pair of teenage lovers with terminal cancer. Having previously been dressed down for playing with my phone during our last movie night, I knew that web surfing was out of the question. I was required to watch.

I will say that Fault In Our Stars was not a technically bad movie. It was a number one grossing film when it opened and was by all accounts a commercial success. It was also, perhaps one of the most dreary and depressing movies I’ve ever seen. My wife knows me better than anyone. So in choosing this particular film I questioned whether “Date Night” had morphed into “Teaching Jamie A Lesson Night”. Message received, and about an hour in I took solace that at least she hadn’t selected a Holocaust-themed movie (which she knows I absolutely hate). Then, I kid you not, two scenes later the star-crossed lovers visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

So the specific takeaway point from Cancer-Holocaust-Movie Date Night is that I should never ever check Facebook when picking what to watch on Netflix. But perhaps the broader, more important, point is that I should make every effort to be engaged with my loved ones.

I don’t think you’ll have much difficulty being engaged with this issue of Tonic. The science supporting best-selling book Wheat Belly, has been challenged recently. We give author Dr.William Davis an opportunity to respond (at. p.32). Health and Wellness industry experts Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant explain the problems in quality control of Canadian natural supplements (p.29). Rod Macdonald has some tips on how to master your inner voice and get beyond the negative self talk (p. 49) and Lisa Cantkier discusses healthy eating with celebrity chef, Mark McEwan (p.30). As always if you want to discuss this note or anything else in this issue of Tonic, please feel free to contact me at jamie@tonictoronto.com