Goose Snow Cone

Content warning: this post contains discussion of mental health.

I first heard Aimee Mann’s music in the film, I Am Sam, which starred American actor Sean Penn as a single father with an intellectual disability, at risk of losing custody of his daughter. The soundtrack is made up entirely of covers of Beatles songs; Mann sang “Two of Us.”

Next, I heard Mann’s music in Magnolia, which writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson said inspired the film about the interplay of seemingly random interactions among strangers, all facing life difficulties, many catastrophic, all seeking healing, hope and redemption.

The American signer-songwriter Aimee Mann started as co-founder of the 1980’s new wave band ‘Til Tuesday. Her solo career began in the 1990s and her songs often feature people tormented by sorrow or other challenges.

In an interview with writer Melissa Locker for Elle magazine, Mann tells how “Goose Snow Cone” was inspired by a friend’s cat, whose picture she saw on Instagram while on tour in Ireland. She tells of feeling lonely on tour and feeling homesick seeing the cat’s image.

I’m not sure where I first heard the song; it may have been KEXP Seattle. The song comes from her most recent album, Mental Illness (2017). The chorus, “Gotta keep it together when the friends come by / Always checking the weather but they wanna know why / Even birds of a feather find it hard to fly” came to mind today as in Canada it’s Bell Let’s Talk day. It’s a day where the corporation donates five cents for every text, call, tweet or TikTok video using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. At the time of writing, nearly 130 million interactions have been made with the tag.

There is some controversy about the initiative, though. Bell is facing criticism for not “walking the talk” as numerous employees have called out the company for not supporting them, and for toxic workplaces. Many believe the program is nothing more than a public relations stunt. I’m a little torn, as I see it as part of their corporate social responsibility, though I agree it does provide them with a lot of publicity for a modest investment. That said, the money raised is significant, though obviously not enough to make a substantial difference in Canadians’ mental health.

Many people are speaking out against Bell. I hope they will hear these folks and address the claims people are making against the company. No public relations program can be effective without honesty and accountability to those it is meant to help, so Bell must take any doubts seriously and be upfront with Canadians.

All that said, I feel the real problem is that Canadian governments have been too focused on lowering taxes and cutting programs to do that. If you’ve been here a while, you will have read similar words from me. Many people, especially the most vulnerable in our society — our elders, Indigenous people, people living in homelessness, and those with chronic illnesses disabilities, are often forgotten. Corporations with profit as their primary motive cannot be relied on as major funders of help for those in need.

Within all this, mental health has been a casualty of government indifference, too. And this is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing massive disruptions to the flow of community, leading to isolation, loneliness and income insecurity.

I’m fortunate to have my sweety, family, friends… many people care about my well-being. Not everyone has that.

Let’s all pledge, not just for today, but every day, to reach out and check on someone who may be lonely.

If you are in crisis and need help, there are places you can call, text or chat to get help:

In Canada:

Crisis Services Canada
Dial 1-833-456-4566
24 hours a day, seven days a week

Crisis Text Line
Text Services (powered by Kids Help Phone, serving adults): Text 741741

Kids Help Phone
Text Services: Text “CONNECT” to 686868 (children and youth)

Youthspace.ca (NEED2 Suicide Prevention, Education & Support)
Youth Chat (6 pm – 12 am PT): http://www.youthspace.ca
Youth Text (6 pm – 12 am PT): (778) 783-0177

If you need urgent medical help, contact emergency services, by calling 9-1-1 or the emergency number for your community.

In the United States:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Dial 1-800-273-8255
24 hours a day, seven days a week

If you’re thinking about suicide, are a Veteran in crisis, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the United States.

If you need urgent medical help, contact emergency services, by calling 9-1-1 or the emergency number for your community.

* * *

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here.

Here’s the video for the song from Aimee Mann’s official YouTube channel:

Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of AZLyrics.

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