The following story is part of a new feature, the serialization of our columnist Wayne Weedon’s fictional work, Schizophrenia. Wayne is a brilliant writer whose style consists of simple declarative statements that stick in your mind as he leads you through an intricate web of circumstances to reach the lesson he set out to teach.


Chapter 2


“…it is not the strongest who survive,
it’s the most adaptable.”


Pregnant and deserted by her lover, a young girl moves in with her grandfather. When the baby boy is born, the grandfather agrees to look after him so his granddaughter can go to work. Despite the age difference, the relationship between the boy and his great-grandfather was more like two siblings than that of an adult and child. As this boy grew into a young man, he loved to look back and tell stories about his great-grandfather, whom he always called “Pops”. 


I asked Pops, “Yesterday, you told me salmon die after their eggs are laid and fertilized. I can’t see how that would work with humans. A human baby cannot survive without their parents.”

“That’s correct. Thousands of salmon eggs are laid but most do not survive to maturity. Humans have evolved much more than fish, and the more an animal has evolved, the more dependent the offspring are on the parent for survival. It is the parent’s job to nurture and teach the child how to survive and thrive long enough to become independent. It is only then when the parent’s job is done.”

“What about me, my mom goes to work, and I never see my dad.”

“That’s where I stepped up to the plate. I’m acting as your surrogate parent so your mom can work. I am being a responsible adult. That’s the thing with life, one must adapt. Richard Dawkins is telling us, it is not the strongest who survive, it’s the most adaptable. The species which can easily adapt to changing environments will survive and evolve and move up the evolutionary ladder.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you’re still around.”

“So! What are your thoughts about everyone being schizophrenic?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking about it, and I realise I spend a lot of time as an Adult. Do you think I’m a little bit too serious?”

“Well, you do let your Child out on a regular basis. And I think that’s a good thing. Humans are the only animal which has a well-developed Adult, and this is why we can clearly think and plan our own future. Many people do not think about their future because they let their Child run the show. They just want to have fun and never accept responsibility. Scientists such as David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins point out how unique humans are in comparison to other animals. 

All mammals have the ego states of Parent and Child, while most behavioural scientists believe humans are one of the few species who clearly have an Adult, and this is why we are among the few animals who can choose our actions. Other animals go by instinct and what they have learned from their parents. Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist, while in a Nazi concentration camp, came to realise, when a guard pointed a gun at someone who reacted from their Child or from their Parent, they did not live long. Dr. Frankl decided he would react from his Adult. He knew the guard was not in control; the guard could point the gun all he wanted, but Dr. Frankl had the last word; he could refuse to do as the guard ordered and risk being shot, or he could choose to comply with the order. Dr. Frankl chose to willingly follow orders. And, more importantly, he chose to treat the guard, not as a demon, but as a fellow human being. The guard appreciated being treated respectfully, and this is probably why Dr. Frankl lived long enough to be freed from the concentration camp. Dr. Frankl thought things out rationally, from his Adult, and he clearly understood, we do not have to do anything, we choose what we do. However, we must remember, when we choose our behaviour, we also choose the consequences which are the results of our actions.”

As long as I can remember, Pops would tell me that walking stimulates conversation, and we would regularly go for a leisurely walk. Often, as we walked, we did not speak while we both were enjoying our surroundings, sometimes commenting on someone’s flower garden, lovely lawn, or their Christmas lights. Pops often stated, “Most people fret about the past and worry over the future but just don’t look around and appreciate what’s right in front of their nose. They never learn how to appreciate and enjoy the moment.”

Pops, while getting up from his chair, suggested, “Let’s go for a walk.” 

It was a beautiful day in early June. We strolled along the sidewalk, ending up by what everyone refers to as a lake, but which is actually a man-made retention pond. We sat on a bench facing the water with the traffic behind us. Some geese were swimming over the smooth, glass-like surface. The sun was warm on our backs as we sat in silence, each of us with our own thoughts. 

Pops spoke up, “The Canada Goose is an interesting creature. They spend winter down south and come back here in early spring, often before the snow and the ice have left the lake. They want to get their eggs laid as early as possible, so the goslings are mature enough to be able to fly thousands of miles in the fall. These geese are on a very tight schedule.”

Pops continued, “Across the lake, can you see those geese grazing? Do you notice, when they are eating grass, one of the adults is always on the lookout for predators? The male and female take turns, raising their heads up and constantly looking around as the others enjoy their meal. That’s how geese manage to survive, they take full responsibility for the safety of their offspring. These goslings, when their turn comes, will also pass on the same knowledge to their own brood. It’s all very interesting.”

Pops often tells me how answers to life’s problems are always in nature.

“Canada Geese, you know, will mate for life. Once geese choose a mate, an unbreakable bond is formed. The two geese never part from each other’s sight. It’s fun to watch them return to their nesting site in the spring where they will immediately begin building a nest so the female can start laying eggs. Strangely, the eggs are not laid on the same day, however, they will all hatch on the same day. How does this happen? It seems, the goose who is sitting on the eggs, knows how to regulate the temperature of the eggs. Incubation is slower when the eggs are on the cool side. Once all the eggs are laid, the goose will cuddle over the eggs to warm them up to speed up incubation, and then they will all hatch on the same day.”

As usual, I marvelled at the knowledge Pops had which is the result of his constant reading, not just fiction, but also scientific books and a lot of history. He is curious about everything.

“If you watch the geese, you will see that the male will relieve the female on the nest so she can stretch her legs, flap her wings, and graze. They work as a team with the one object in mind, get their brood ready for the fall flight down south. One might say they are perfect parents.”

We got up from the bench and continued with our stroll, “Geese mate during a very short time in the spring, but at no other time of the year will they have sex. Humans, like monkeys, baboons, and some other primates, have evolved up the evolutionary ladder and no longer need to follow instinct. Humans have chosen to turn the sexual act into a leisure activity, a pastime, a competition, and a game, rather than a way to continue the species. And this has resulted in all kinds of problems. Just like overindulging in candy or alcohol, many people overindulge in sex. It has come to be a game of fun, fun, fun, with no consideration for consequences. Many humans are consumed with getting as much sex as they can get and having as many sex partners as they are able to. It is usual for these sex maniacs to abandon responsibility for any children they may have. Possibly, some of these people, who are both male and female, may learn a lesson from our Canada Goose.” 

I could clearly see where Pops was coming from. He was anticipating what I would hear and see at the special meeting we would be having at school. He didn’t point fingers and call anyone names, but his message was, even to me as a young boy, quite clear. He did not agree with what was happening. He believed the school was infringing upon private family matters. 


Next Month: Schizophrenia, Chapter 3: The Outcome

Wayne Douglas Weedon is a Manitoba author who writes a combination of fictional and factual stories, essays, and novels.


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Wayne Weedon : Schizophrenia (1)

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