So, just imagine it’s your birthday. You’ve unwrapped all your presents - wondered just when you’ll ever wear an eight-foot long orange and black barrel-striped hand-knit scarf from your aunt - and all that’s left are the cards, fanned out in front of the birthday cake with its nowextinguished candles.
You see an envelope with your mother’s handwriting on it, that familiar cursive that could only come from one hand.
Inside the card, a $20 bill - like always - and then more of that gracious, perfect handwriting: “Hope you have the happiest of birthdays, sorry I couldn’t be there this year. All my love, Mom.”
But more: beneath the message, a strange block of text: “Mom has been supporting the development of excellence in all her children, even Kevin, using her patented ‘Guilt trumps everything’ technology and her well-known long-term strategic policy, ‘Mom’s Tide Floats All Boats,’ where she is careful not to love any one of her children more than any other.” OK then.
A toot on the self-promotion bugle just isn’t exactly the sort of congratulations you were expecting.
But hey: maybe Mom is just taking a page from the Premier Dwight Ball government handbook.
Tuesday, Premier Ball issued a congratulatory news release to a team of students from Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic and Northeastern University in Boston. The team had just scored a remarkable second place in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Speed competition in California, a competition that saw the team best virtually every other competitor in the original field of 1,200 competitors, aside from the Technical University of Munic.
Part of the release is extremely worthy of mention: “Members of Paradigm Hyperloop attending postsecondary school in Newfoundland and Labrador include Adam Keating, Mark Comeau, Nick Warren, Jeremy Andrews, Michael Duguay, Rowan Meaney, Liam Maher, Liam Cadigan, Darryl Day, Matt Lane, Kyle Genge, Stephanie Adey, Nicola Duffy, Matt Hickey, Steven Kennedy and Jack Chapman.”
Congratulations indeed - the team deserves all of that recognition, and more.
Too bad the news release didn’t end after that line. No, the next line was sure to be treasured by everyone involved in the significant achievement perhaps it’s even worthy of framing.
“As outlined in ‘The Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainability and Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador,’ the provincial government is committed to re-setting the provincial innovation agenda by developing a long-term strategy to expand the pool and capacity of Newfoundland and Labrador’s economic wealth generators, innovation and growth-focused businesses.”
While it’s all well and good for the provincial government to be talking innovation, you have to wonder why they need to ride on someone else’s coattails to make the point.
Simply put, Premier Ball, this is not your day.
It’s possible to congratulate someone for a job well done without turning it into yet another opportunity to pat yourself on the back.