Why be good

An old man in Indiana named Glenn was once asked at a church meeting about his religion. He replied, “When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, that’s my religion.” Now, Glenn’s words of wisdom probably wouldn’t have spread much farther than Indiana if Abraham Lincoln hadn’t heard him speak and later repeated Glenn’s words to describe his own moral compass.

Altruism as a concept isn’t very old. The word itself didn’t exist until 1851 when the French philosopher Auguste Comte coined it based on the Latin word alteri, “others,” but the act of giving may go back to the beginning of time. “When I do good I feel good” is something most of us can relate to.

A good deed does make us feel better. A smile of thanks after you’ve helped a person lift a stroller off a train, or the gratitude in the eyes of a beggar when a few coins land on the bottom of their paper cup, will make you feel like a good person.

And most of us want to be good people. It’s the definition of “good” that varies.

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It’s all good

Believe it or not, I do remember the moment I read the April 1997 issue of the Rolling Stone magazine. I was traveling on business – if you consider government employees’ travel as business – in Newfoundland in Canada. I had just checked in at my hotel in St. John’s and hadn’t had time to finish reading the article on the plane so fighting off the jetlag, I picked up the magazine again.

And this is what I remember: MTV’s trend watchers said that the next big thing would be “good”. Not just a good thing, but that being good, instead of bad, would be the next megatrend in pop. They said they could see signs of the pendulum going from the dangerous Madonnas, and Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” towards artists and movies that represented goodness.

I remember it because it surprised me and because I hoped it to be true. Because I considered myself a good guy, a nice guy, and for once, I also wanted that to mean that I was cool as well.

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Column: Fear of traveling

For a fearful person, there can hardly be a worse place than the airport. An airport offers a concentration of people – and fears. There are the crowds, the closed spaces, the impending airplane ride. Public places mean lots of germs and lots of strange people. Foreigners who do not speak your language are everywhere.

For many of us, there is the common fear of buying a cup of coffee and realizing at the register that you do not have enough money and cannot speak the language – and are naked, too.

But mostly, airports are happy places.

Happy landings!

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Almost (Hall of) Famous

A few months ago, I wrote about the world and people behind the scenes at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s resource center, to be included in the Hockey Hall of Fame Treasures book, which will be out in November. While surfing aimlessly today, I saw that you can already pre-order it.

Do it.

I’ve worked at a few World Championships with Matthew Manor, the photographer who shot the artifacts for the book, and I know that the boy can shoot.

I may post my chapter here a little closer to the launch.

The Montreal edition

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Hey, hey, hey. Here’s a piece I wrote for The Hockey News a while back. It’s about this Swedish kid with a Finnish mother and an Iranian father, and, well, he plays hockey. He’s pretty good, too.

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