Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The experiment continues…

For new readers, I am going through old notebooks and posting old writings, some as old as 15 years.

Why?

I don’t recall…I am sure it seemed like a good reason at the time, and now I am just trying to follow through.

The piece below is a poem I wrote when I was 19 and in first year university.

Posting poetry is especially hard, since, like many I am not comfortable with it.

I spent a few years experimenting. Much more while I was in school, since I was reading a lot of it.

I continue to read poetry as I come across it, but haven’t written anything in over ten years. I never produced anything I was particularly proud of.

The poem below was inspired by a man I saw everyday on the Toronto subway. He was always there, no matter the day or time. I decided that, that was how he spent his day, just continually going around the loop, like a modern day hobo riding the rails.

Here it is, for better or worse in its original form, unedited.

Oh, and slightly unrelated, my favorite poem: T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I still believe the line “Do I dare to eat a peach?”. Is one of the best lines I have ever read, for its simple imagery and complex meaning.

Now speaking of inadequacy….On to my poem…


The Circulation of the Dead

 

The wanderer

drifting the streets,

never going forward,

hacking and smoking,

asking for more.

 

He scratches where the hair used to be.

Same jacket for eight years;

Shoes for twelve.

The yellow coat balances;

the shoes are the streets.

 

He is everywhere, looking.

For pity.

The pity they gave to the guy at 7/11.

Sorry, fresh out.

He’ll try again tomorrow.

 

He keeps circling by,

a never ending trip,

smoking his poisoned lungs.

There is no help,

he is already dead.

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Alright, here it goes….

Last post, I said I was going through old notebooks and as an exercise, I was going to publish my finding, no matter how frightening or humiliating. Until I started copying the post below, I don’t think I understood how hard this would be.

It would be only right to start at the beginning. I was given my first notebook at 17, that was fifteen years ago. The following in the first thing I wrote in that notebook. It is a screenplay. Which is odd for a number of reasons. One, I had never wrote a screenplay before. More importantly, I had never read one before, so the format is mostly guess work.

At the time, I thought myself to be an aspiring filmmaker. I soon learned that just because you like movies, doesn’t mean you should make them….I didn’t even finish my film school application. I opted for an English/Creative writing major instead. As I befriended film majors, and helped on their films, I realized I made a wise choice.

This particular screenplay was inspired by a running joke between my high school girlfriend and I. Some how I believed that joke could carry through an entire story….I was 17.

It is very hard to refrain from editing. Very hard. However, editing would defeat the purpose (whatever the purpose may be).

A lot of things bother me. I discount the bad writing and dialogue, I wasn’t surprised by that.

I didn’t like the way I wrote the female character, but maybe it is how a teenager would write a female (not that, that makes it right). I guess I wasn’t the most enlightened teenager. Or maybe it was because I knew the person it was based on, and she wasn’t like that. She was funnier, stronger and probably wouldn’t have tolerated the main character half as long.

Of all the insults throughout, the one or two utterances of the word ‘retard’ stood out. I wanted to remove them, but I wanted to keep it authentic. I wouldn’t use it today, and I doubt I could have justified it’s use 15 years ago, but I used it nonetheless.

I do find it funny how dated certain scenarios are. Remember when you find our characters on the side of the road this is pre-cell phone, at least cell phones in common use.

More importantly, I predicted Die Hard 4.

With that in mind, enjoy and forgive me.

Scene 1:


Scene opens with camera focused on TV. Movie Hudson Hawk is playing on TV. Camera stays on TV for several seconds. Camera pans around to find Jason siting in lazy-boy opposite TV. Jason is wearing white tank-top and boxer shorts. He is completely lost in movie, the look in his eyes shows that he is completely involved. There is a voice-over of Lauren speaking, camera stays on Jason.

Lauren (voiceover):

It has become an obsession. It seems to be all he cares about. I know it is all he can talk about. Everything is Bruce this, and Bruce that…

Scene 2:


Camera cuts to Lauren sitting in a room in a different house. Two of her friends are with her. She continues talking where the voice over left off.

Lauren:

…I just can’t believe Jason is being like this…Argghh…He is supposed to be in a relationship with me, not with Bruce Willis!

Friend #1 :

Ok Lauren, don’t take this the wrong way, but I think Jason is fuckin’ nuts!

Friend #2 laughs.

Lauren: Hey watch it, he is still my boyfriend. He’s not nuts, he’s just a little confused, that’s all.

Friend #1:

Lauren honey, you’re kidding yourself, that kid has lost his fuckin’ mind!!

Lauren starts to get upset. Friend #2 moves over to comfort her.

Friend #2:

Hey, Lauren…Look don’t listen to her. Look, what you really need to do is go talk to Jason. Tell him how you feel. I’m sure he will understand.

Lauren wipes her eyes.

Lauren:

You’re right…thanks. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll just go over there now and talk to him, tell him how I feel, yeah, and then everything will be find. Yeah…yeah thanks a lot.

Lauren gets up to leave, camera follows her, then moves back to the two friends.

Friend #1:

You know…She is losing it too.

Friend #2:

Hey, leave her alone, she’s in love.

Friend #1: Yeah. In love with a fucking psycho.

Camera fades to black.


Scene 3

Camera is back on Jason’s TV. Now the movie playing is Die Hard. Camera pans up above the TV, there are stairs. Lauren comes down the stairs into the room Jason is in. She moves beside him. Jason does not look at her he stays involved in the movie.

Lauren:

Hi…sorry to…uh…just to stop by like this but…uh..i think we need to talk.

Jason ignores her, she knees beside the chair.

Lauren:

Well actually I need to talk. You need to listen…Could you please listen to me?

Lauren becomes frustrated that Jason stills ignore her. She gets up and moves in front of the TV, blocking his view. The causes Jason to make his first move, as he strains to see around her, but to no avail. He begins to get angry.

Jason (angrily) :

Could you please move away from the TV…Please!

Lauren stands firm.

Lauren:

No! Not until you listen to me!

Jason (yelling):

Get the fuck out of the way…Please!!!

Jason throws some crumpled up garbage he had at Lauren. Lauren, startled and a little upset moves and goes to sit on the couch on the other side of the room, she sobs quietly. Jason ignores this and is again emerged in the movie. The camera stays on Jason and fades to black. Camera fades back in and it is the final moments of Die Hard, the credits on the TV start. Camera pans around to Jason, who is calm now. He turns the TV off with the remote control. He turns to face Lauren, who is still sobbing.

Jason:

Ok, so…you had something you wanted to say?

Lauren (confused):

What?

Jason:

There was something you wanted to say, what was it?

Lauren (angry):

You have some nerve you know that?

Jason:

What the hell are you talking about?

Lauren:

You know something? You are fucking crazy!

Jason (raises voice):

Hey! Don’t you ever call me crazy, ok?!

Lauren becomes emotional.

Lauren:

What is going on with you?

Jason gets up and goes and sits with Lauren. He puts his arm around her, consoling her.

Jason:

Nothing. Looking, I’m sorry for yelling at you. I think we have been neglecting each other too much lately. I think I know what would make us both feel better. Why don’t we go to my bedroom and….well you know what i mean.

Lauren looks at Jason, first confused, then angry.

Lauren:

What? Are you joking?

Jason:

No, why? What’s wrong with that?

Lauren:

Well, nothing. But just now doesn’t seem like the right time. Like, why would we wan—…oh…oh!…Oh my god!

Jason:

What?!

Lauren:

You are sick!

Jason:

What?! What are you talking about?

Lauren:

Every time you watch a Bruce Willis movie, you want to have sex right after!

Jason:

No! That has nothing to do with it!

Lauren stands up, rather disgusted.

Lauren:

You’re lying…uhh…I gotta get out of here. I think I’m going to be sick.

Lauren starts to leave.

Jason:

No Lauren, wait! Where are you going? Don’t go.

Lauren:

I just can’t deal with you right now!

Lauren runs out, Jason stands up.

Jason:

Lauren…wait…

Jason sits back down on the couch, he grabs a book on the table and leans back.

Jason (laughs):

And she says I’m crazy.

Jason pulls the book to his face. The book is a Bruce Willis biography. The camera zooms in on Bruce’s face on the book cover. Fade to black.


Scene 4

Camera fades into a school yard. Lauren is sitting alone on a swing. She is obviously upset. Jason comes up from behind her and grabs the swing next to her. Jason is still in a tank top and boxers.

Jason:

I thought I would find you here….Mind if I swing with ya?

Jason gets no response, Lauren doesn’t even look at him. Jason sits on the swing.

Jason:

We uh…Were not cool, are we?

Lauren, crying, barely tilts her head to look at Jason.

Lauren (angry / crying):

No Jason, we’re not fucking cool!

Jason:

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Lauren:

Gee…What tipped you off, was it the yelling, or the crying?

Jason:

Alright, you made your point. So, talk to me. What’s wrong?

Lauren:

Oh, now you want to talk, eh? Now that Bruce isn’t around?!

Jason:

What is that supposed to mean?

Lauren:

Jason face it already, you are obsessed with Bruce Willis. You care about him more than you care about me.

Jason (frustrated):

You know that’s not true.

Lauren:

Oh isn’t it? Think about it. The only time we really talk is when your talking about Bruce. The only thing we ever do is watch hi movies, and the only time you want to have sex is after we watch those movies….At first I didn’t really pay attention to it, but the longer this relationship goes on, I’m realizing that your not in love with me…Your in love with Bruce Willis.

Jason is stunned and almost speechless.

Jason:

No. No….no that’s not —

Lauren:

Jason. Think about it for a sec. For once, listen to me. You have an undeniable, unhealthy attraction to Bruce Willis.

Jason becomes flustered.

Jason:

But…but, I’m not gay. You know that…Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Lauren:

Of course not. And I know you are not gay. But for you I think it’s more than that. You seem to have some profound feelings for him. You have to come to terms with it. I can’t explain it, you have to figure it out for yourself.

Jason becomes very upset. Lauren tries to comfort him.

Jason (emotional):

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what I’m feeling…Arggh..I’m so confused…So what does this mean for us?

Lauren:

I don’t know honey. You know how I feel about you. You have to go figure out how you feel.

Jason nods in agreement. They stare at eachother. Camera zooms in on them, and then fades to black.


Scene 5

Camera fades into Jason walking down the street. Camera is in front of Jason and follows him as he walks. Jason is obviously still very emotional. After walking for a while he stops and sits on some steps outside a building. He buries his head in his hands and starts to cry. Jason sits there for a while, then wipes his eyes, stands up and walks away. Jason walks a short distance to his house and enters. He goes to his room, opens a dresser drawer and pulls out a bottle of whiskey. He sits down and pours himself a tall glass. He downs the glass and does this several more times.


Scene 6

Camera fades back in to find Jason sprawled out on his floor, the bottle now empty. He is motionless. There is a knock at the door. Lauren’s voice comes through the door.

Lauren:

Jason?….Jason, are you awake?

The door opens, Lauren comes in. She looks down with a shocked look on her face.

Lauren:

Oh my god! Jason!

She jumps down beside him, shaking him. Trying to get him up.

Lauren:

What did you do to yourself?

She manages to wake him up. He is very groggy.

Jason:

Uhhhh…what the fuck…what the fuck are you doing?

Lauren:

What the fuck am I doing? What the fuck are you doing? What the fuck is this?

She waves the empty bottle in front of him.

Lauren:

What are you trying to do, kill yourself? This isn’t going to help matters.

Jason:

Oh just leave me alone will you. You told me to go looking for answers, well I did. And I didn’t find shit. Now I’m more confused then when I started. At least before I didn’t know I had a problem. You’re the one—

Lauren:

—Hey! Don’t blame me for you being fucked up.

Jason stands up and slowly finds a chair.

Jason:

Well you’re the one that brought all these problems to my attention. I was perfectly happy just living out of my basement, watching Bruce Willis movies, and fucking you after.

Lauren looks as if she is about to cry.

Jason:

So apparently these things are a problem, and thanks for sharing that piece of fucking information with me. Now I’m depressed. Yeah I went out and got shitfaced, just because I needed to get away from all this crap for a while.

Lauren:

Please stop yelling at me.

Jason stands over top of Lauren.

Jason (yelling):

I wasn’t fucking yelling at you! I was fucking talking to you! Now I am fucking yelling at you! Can you see the fucking difference.

Lauren is not crying heavily.

Jason:

Fuck!

Jason sits back down, and now he also begins to cry.

Jason:

I’m sorry…I’m so sorry.

Lauren gets up, wipes her tears and puts her arm around him.

Lauren:

Jason you need some help, and I’m going to help you get it. It’s ok. I forgive you.

Jason:

I can’t go to a shrink.

Lauren:

You need help.

Jason:

No. No I know what I need.

Lauren:

What?

Jason:

I need to see him.

Lauren:

What are you talking about?

Jason:

I need to go meet this man.I need to talk to him. It’s the only way I will know.

Jason stands. Looks determined.

Jason:

I need to find Bruce Willis.

Fade to black.


Scene 7

Cut to Jason and Lauren in the driveway. Jason is throwing luggage in the car. Lauren is frantic.

Lauren:

What the fuck are you doing?

Jason:

Packing.

Lauren:

Packing for what?

Jason:

My trip.

Lauren:

Oh, your not not serious about this stupid quest to find Bruce Willis are you?

Jason:

Yes. Yes I am.

Lauren:

Now I know you are crazy.

Jason:

No, for the first time it all makes sense. I know what I have to do.

Lauren:

You’ve lost your mind. What do you think you’re going to do just walk up to Bruce Willis and say, “hi my name is Jason, by the way, I love you”. What the fuck are you thinking?

Jason ignores her and continues packing. Jason gets in the car and reverses down the driveway and into the street. He stops, rolls down the window.

Jason:

Well…Are you coming or not?

Lauren just stands there for a minute. She shrugs her shoulders and runs and jumps in the passengers side. They drive off down the road. Fade to black.


Scene 8

Cut to inside of car. Camera is in backseat, panning back and forth between them as they talk.

Lauren:

You know this is definitely the craziest thing you have ever done.

Jason:

Crazier than the time we were in Montreal and pretended we were hobos and begged for change while we sang the blues?

Lauren: Oh yeah, way crazier.

They laugh.

Lauren:

Oh shit!

Jason:

What?

Lauren:

I don’t have any clothes, or even a toothbrush.

Jason:

Well, neither do I.

Lauren:

What is in all those bags back there then?

Jason:

Bruce Willis movies.

Lauren:

What? We don’t even have a VCR.

Jason:

I know, I just like having them close to me.

Lauren:

Whatever. But without clean clothes, we will stink.

Jason:

Well, we’ll stink together.

Lauren: Agreed! You know, this trip might not be so bad after all.

They smile and hold hands. Fade to black.


Scene 9

Cut to the outside of a convenience store. The car pulls up. They both get out, Lauren slams her door and is yelling

Lauren:

You fucking psycho!

Jason:

Calm down.

Lauren:

I will not calm down! We are not even out of town yet, and you are already driving me crazy! For Christ sakes, we can still see your house!

Lauren motions to Jason’s house, which is not far in the distance.

Jason:

I’m sorry, ok. Let me go into the store and get some candy. Then we can get back in the car and start over.

Lauren:

Agreed!

Jason goes into the store, Lauren gets back in the car. A moment later he reappears with a bag, gets int he car and drives away. The camera follows the car in the distance. Fade to black.


Scene 10

Cut to car parked on side of the road. It is early morning. The door is flung open. Jason crawls out, stretching. Lauren follows.

Lauren:

I don’t know how much longer I can deal with this.

Jason:

 I know. Don’t worry, we are half way there.

Lauren:

Halfway where?….Where are we going?

Jason:

To LA.

Lauren:

LA? Oh Bruce Willis is there now?

Jason:

I assume. He is a movie star right?

Lauren:

You assume? You assume? We are driving across two fucking countries on your fucking assumption?!

Jason:

Uh, yeah. I guess.

Lauren, very angry, begins to attack Jason frantically. Eventually knocking him to the ground, she continues to beat him.

Lauren:

You guess?! You fucking guess?! You better do better than fucking guess!

Jason tries to restrain her.

Jason:

Calm down….I’m sorry.

Lauren collapses on Jason sobbing.

Lauren:

This is insane. What am I doing.

Jason:

Let’s go get some waffles.

Jason helps her up and into the car. He gets in and they drive away. Fade to black.


Scene 11

Camera fades into the car. Jason is driving. They are playing a game.

Jason:

Last Boy Scout.

Lauren:

Trainspotting.

Jason:

Hmm…Get Shorty.

Lauren:

Uh..Young Guns.

Jason:

Star Wars….A New Hope.

Lauren:

Encino Man.

Jason:

No. I don’t think so.

Lauren:

Why not?

Jason:

Because the category is movies that don’t suck.

Lauren:

Then why does Encino Man suck?

Jason:

Paulie Shore…And Brendan Fraser are in it.

Lauren:

Right…sorry.

Jason:

It’s ok. I’m sick of this game anyway.

Lauren:

So, how far do we have to go?

Jason:

Don’t ask me, your the navigator.

Lauren:

Says who?

Jason:

Says me, when I said “Lauren, you’re the navigator.”

Lauren:

Right….

Jason:

Grab the map out the glove box.

Lauren:

Ok.

Lauren opens the glove box, and retrieves the map. 

Lauren:

We are going to LA?

Jason:

Yeah.

Lauren:

And where are we now?

Jason:

Fuck if I know. Look for the little arrow that says ‘you are here’.

Lauren (sarcastic):

Funny.

Fade to black.


Scene 12

The car is parked on the side of the road. Lauren is inside. Jason is looking under the hood.

Lauren:

What’s wrong with it?

Jason:

How should I know?

Lauren:

Well your the big strong man, who can fix anything, aren’t you?

Jason:

Fuck off.

Jason touches something part under the hood.

Jason:

There, try it now.

Lauren tries the engine, nothing happens.

Lauren:

Still nothing.

Jason:

Hold on.

Jason touches something else.

Jason:

How about now?

She tries again.

Lauren:

Nope.

Jason gets mad, and slams the hood.

Jason:

Fuck!….What are we going to do now?

Lauren gets out of the car.

Lauren:

I dunno. I guess, get a tow truck.

Jason:

Yes, I will now use my Jedi mind powers to bring us a tow truck…we’re in the middle of nowhere Lauren!

Lauren:

Don’t yell at mem

Jason:

Well don’t say stupid things.

Jason sits on the hood and ponders the situation.

Jason:

Ok, look. It’s probably only a few miles to the next town. We’ll just walk there, and get help.

Lauren:

A few miles?

Jason:

Yeah, like three tops.

Fade to black.


Scene 13

Six hours later. They are walking, Lauren collapses. 

Lauren:

Jason, we have to stop, we have been walking forever.

Jason:

It’s only been like fifteen or twenty miles —

Lauren (yelling):

You said three! You said three fucking miles!

Jason:

Calm down, it can’t be much further now.

Lauren:

Oh, can’t it? Do you even know where we are?

Jason:

Somewhere in the southern states.

Lauren:

Gee…thanks for pin pointing it.

Jason:

Ok, we will sit and rest for a while.

Lauren:

Thank you.

Jason:

Stick out your thumb and look desperate, maybe we’ll get a ride.

Lauren:

Yeah right.

After a few minutes they sit on the road, with their thumbs out, looking pathetic.

Fade to black.


Scene 14

They are still sitting on the road, cars are driving by, no one is stopping.

Lauren:

Jason, that is like the 100th car that has past.

Jason:

I know, I know. Somebody will stop.

After a few minutes, a car stops. Jason goes up and talk to the driver.

Jason:

Can you tell me how far it is how far to the next town?

Driver:

Do you see that hill just over there?

Jason:

Yeah.

Driver:

It is just on the other side….Come on, get in, I’ll take you.

They both get in the car. Fade to black.


Scene 15

Jason and Lauren get out of the car. The car drives away and leaves them on the sidewalk.

Lauren:

Well I am glad to be out of there.

Jason:

Yeah I know right, I think I had all the Vietnam stories I could take.

Lauren:

Let’s find out where we are.

They approach a local passing by.

Jason:

Hi there, can you tell us how far it is to LA?

Local:

(laughs)

Jason:

What’s so funny?

Local:

You know LA is on the west coast right?

Jason:

Well, yeah.

Local:

And right now you are on the east coast.

Lauren & Jason:

What?!

Local:

Yeah, so I would say a few thousand miles.

The local laughs and walks away. Jason and Lauren are left stunned and angry.

Lauren:

How the fuck did you manage this one?

Jason:

Me?! You were the fucking navigator!

Lauren:

You were the driver!

Jason:

Yes well, obviously I drove, so that took care of my part. Your part was navigation. So how the fuck did you manage this?

Lauren:

I must have been looking at the map wrong…

Jason:

I fucking guess so!

Lauren:

What are we even doing, this is retarded.

Jason:

Retarded? Your the one who made me face this, and realize that I had to do this.

Lauren:

Well, maybe I was wrong

Jason:

You weren’t wrong. Don’t you see? My life has been leading to this.

Lauren:

How pathetic is that. Your life is leading to meeting a two-bit actor?

Jason:

Shut the fuck up right now! I don’t care how upset you are. If you ever refer to Bruce again as a two-bit actor, I will put your fucking teeth down your throat.

Lauren:

Well, that would at least show that you care.

Jason:

What is the supposed to mean?

Lauren:

It means that you care more about a foolish pipe dream than you do about me!

Jason:

It’s not a —

Lauren:

–Stop. Now, this whole trip has been a choice. You choosing between me and Bruce. You can either have someone that you will probably never meet, and doesn’t give a shit about you. All he is, is just a face on a screen. Or..Or you can have me. Someone who is real. Someone who is with you and loves your more than anything, more than I probably should.

Jason:

I can’t…I can’t —

Lauren:

–No. I’m tired of waiting. You decide now.

Jason:

……

Lauren:

Fine if you’re not sure, I can’t do this anymore.

Jason:

But —

Lauren:

No..I’m going to get a room for the night.  And tomorrow I am getting a plane ticket home. You can stay here and chase your dreams if you want, but I don’t want anything to do with you anymore. I can’t be with someone who loves their fantasy with someone more than their reality with me.

Lauren leans toward him and kisses him on the cheek.

Lauren:

Goodbye Jason.

She turns and walks away into the distance.

Jason:

Goodbye Lauren.

Fade to black.


Scene 16

Fade in. Jason wandering the streets. He is obviously upset. A man runs by, hits Jason and causes him to stumble.

Jason:

Whoa. Watch it!

Man:

Sorry man.

Jason:

What’s the hurry anyway?

Man:

Oh, big autograph signing at the theater downtown.

Jason:

Oh yeah, who’s there?

Man:

Who’s there? Haven’t you heard? It’s Bruce Willis dude! He is promoting Die Hard 4!

Jason:

You are fucking kidding me….?

Man:

No bro, it’s the truth, I swear it.

Jason faints. Fade to black


Scene 17

The man is over top of Jason slapping him in the face.

Man:

Hey, wake up?

Jason:

What?…What is going on?

Man:

You ok? Come on, I’m going to miss him.

Jason:

Miss who?

Man:

The Bruce, of course.

Jason:

That’s real! I wasn’t dreaming!?

Man:

No, No..it’s real.

Jason:

Take me to him.

They get up and start to run. They go through a parking lot, and come upon a large line.

Man:

Wow, that is weird luck. You coming to look for him all the way from Canada. Wow, I thought I was obsessed.

Jason:

Big line. Let’s try and make our way to the front.

They cut in line and eventually make their way near the front.

Man:

We’re really close…can you see him…Jason…can you?

Jason:

Oh my god….there he is….This is finally it.

Man:

What are you talking about?

Jason:

What am I going to say…What am I going to do…

Jason remembers. A voice over of Lauren plays.

Lauren (voice over):

…This whole trip has been about choice…you can have someone real, who is with you and loves you….You have to decide.

Jason:

I’m sorry Bruce.

 Jason steps out of line and walks away. 

Man:

Jay, where ya going? Your going to miss him….What’s more important than Bruce?

Fade to black.


Scene 18

Fade into a hotel room door. A hand appears and knocks. The door opens to find Lauren, who begins to smile.

Lauren:

I didn’t know it was raining.

Camera pans around to find Jason, soaking wet and smiling.

Fade to black.

The End.

Written by: Jason Mailhot

I know, I know….I said I would write one of these blogs each week…and well lets just say I haven’t completely fulfilled that commitment. I never knew this parenting thing would take up so much time.

So really if you want to blame someone, blame my daughter. She is 18 months old, what the hell else does she need from me, right? I’m pretty sure I have already taught her everything I know. Everything.

Then there’s my wife….I barely have time to breath after all the things she expects out of me. Things like, showering, eating actual food and even getting out of bed…The nerve.

Of course don’t forget society…Don’t even get me started on those unrealistic expectations!

Anyway, in between all of the hectic demands on my plate I have been able to write a couple things. I started to write some entertainment articles at the site http://www.newsforshoppers.com . They have tons of insightful articles on a range of topics, plus many features with helpful tips for consumers.

Assuming you can pull yourself away from all of life’s insanity, check out my first article here:

http://www.newsforshoppers.com/superheroes-wage-war-dc-vs-marvel-spills-over-into-tv/36726462/

Thanks for the support – Be back soon….Hopefully. Jay Follow – @FredThePeacock

Picture this : I am hard at work on my “husband to-do-list”, aimlessly moving things from one end of the basement to the other, blaring 90s rock in the background and somehow thinking I am making progress. I think to myself, ‘it’s a little damp down here’. My head spins around and I my eyes catch sight of the dehumidifier in the corner. I think to myself, ‘well, my wife is going to ask my anyway’…so I climb over what was once the pool table (now a home to various boxes, tools, and useless man toys). I make my way over the comic long boxes, still hoping my wife doesn’t really know how many are down here. I am in reach of the dehumidifier when I straddle a dishevelled cat post and stretch my hand past every single item we thought we needed in the moment but ultimately decided it would be best suited to be in a corner of the basement for the past seven years. Once I got past our past discretions and swung my leg over, I had both hands on the dehumidifier and smiled as if I was Indiana Jones replacing an idol with a bag of dirt. That euphoric moment quickly turned into Indy in a pit of snakes as I lifted the machine, took a step, cat ran by, tripped me and the long promised dehumidifier (which had to weigh 50 – 60lbs if I am being realistic, 80-90lbs if I am being hyperbolic). It fell. All of the weight landed directly on my big toe. That toe shattered like the hopes and dreams of all the children who have ever had hopes and dreams. Then was a long moment of disbelief followed by a long silent scream.

Have you ever broke a toe? It leads to the most magical dance, as you call upon the the spirits of the hopping, toe stubbing gods to make the pain go away. When that fails you start breathing like a overly expressive woman in labour, as if you are going to suck the broken bone through your body and spit it out your mouth and grow a new one like an earthworm without a head. Finally, when all else fails you result to little league softball triage as you walk around in circles quoting your coach in your head – “walk it off…walk it off”. Then when you realize your little league coach was an idiot, you walk upstairs and tell your wife that you are also an idiot.

I went three days without medical assistance, because, yes I am that much of a badass. In case you forgot I had a broken frickin’ toe. In this time the toe had filled with blood, nail was black and green, and my ability to put weight on that foot was seriously lacking. So I sucked up my none existent toughness and drove myself to the hospital.

Now before I talk about my hospital experience, let me note that I am in Canada. Being a Canadian I am entitled to free health care. Trust me, I know how lucky I am. When I bitch about my treatment, please forgive my ironic tone as I recount my experience. Regardless of my thoughts of my medical treatment I know am and head and hands above the majority of the world and am grateful for it and do not take it lightly. That being said, it is all I know and while it might make me a worldwide jackass, I still invoke my privileged right to bitch.

I drove to the hospital at 10pm on a weekday, thinking it would be slow. I sat down in triage and noted the sign above me that said the triage nurse will see me within ten minutes of arrival. Forty minutes later I saw the triage nurse. She concurred the blackened toe was broken and they would need to take an x-ray. I was then regulated back to the waiting room. In said room I watched children walk in with heads busted open, rednecks with missing thumbs and elderly ladies who “thought the end was near“. Now I wasn`t sure if she was just talking about her own lifespan, or perhaps she was a prophet and was doing us the kindness of letting us know that we were about to shuffle off this mortal coil. Either way, as I surveyed the room I realized my swollen, discoloured appendage was pretty far down the totem pole. I got up, limped my way out of the land of misfit toys and drove home.

I returned the next morning. Thinking that even injured people must have jobs, my wait would be shorter. I was incorrect. After thirty minutes the triage nurse said I needed x-rays. Thanks. Back to waiting room. One hour. Nurse calls my name and the name of ten other patients. We are taken to a different waiting room called the “green zone“. We were not give an explanation, but I found myself trying to remember the plot of a Matt Damon movie I may or may not have seen. One hour. Nurse calls my name. I am in am in a room! I have traded ten year old magazines for tongue depressors and gauze. One hour. Doctor comes in. He tells me I need an x-ray. Yep, thanks. I am told to wait for nurse to arrange said x-ray. Thirty Minutes. Nurse comes in and asked me to limp to x-ray. Sure. Guess what? X-ray has a waiting room! Thirty Minutes…..Alright this has dragged on long enough, I won`t test your patience as mine was….Lets just say I waited a while longer before I saw a doctor again. Guess what? Toe broken. The doctor then proceeds to drill four holes in the nail of my big toe to drain the blood. Did I mention that the slightest touch to my toe hurt like a blazing branding iron on a sunburn? Cue hyperventilating pregnant woman.

Three days and six hours later I have a diagnosed broken toe that is still as ugly as a toothless hooker on a Sunday morning, and a limp to rival Terry Fox (Yah! Canadian pop culture reference!). One thing has changed. Painkillers. I now had them. And then I had beer. And then……Wait…What was I talking about?

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Did you ever end a day thinking, ‘gee, that’s really not how I thought today was going to go’. I had one of those days recently. One of those life altering events happened to me. You know the kind, the ones that always happen to someone else, but never to you. Not as serious as cancer or getting hit by a bus full of choir students doing there best rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World. Yes, it wasn’t that bad, but it was worse than farting in a library or calling out the wrong name during sex. So what is left on the list of things that always happen to someone else…how about “being let go”…Yes, I have recently found myself unemployed, by no fault of my own mind you. Apparently I was expendable (and not the cool Stallone badass kind). Now, I have a point of contention with this, as I find myself quite pendable. Though of course, I was not consulted on the decision. You think I would have a say…nope. So after I heard the news,had a few drinks, smoked a few cigarettes (and I was doing so well….) told my wife, had a few more drinks….I sat on the edge of my bed and thought to myself…’gee, that’s really not how I thought today was going to go’.

I now find myself in an interesting position. I find myself in the long line of people who have found themselves unemployed over the last couple years. Everyday previous, I got up kissed my wife and daughter goodbye and left for work. Would you like to know what I did the day after my employment status was deemed expendable? Nothing….Or as close to it as humanly possible (turns out if you actually do nothing, you actually die). I resided myself not to think about the previous days events, and enjoy a nice, relaxing day with my family. It wasn’t easy, and in retrospect I probably failed miserably, but I did my best to let the rage and sadness go, if only for a few hours. I sat on the edge of my bed that night and thought to myself… ‘gee, today was a lot better than yesterday.’

Do you know what I did the day after my nothing day? I freaked the fuck out. I don’t have a job. You know a job…? The thing that keeps lights on, paid for the laptop that is writing this, fed the dog and daughter, (the former who could actually stand to lose a few pounds). The job that gave me somewhere to go everyday, made me responsible for something outside my family and established me as a functional member of the community. Most importantly it was the job that allowed my wife to stay home and do the much more difficult job or raising our child. All those things that were seemingly fine yesterday, are now in jeopardy, because of the job….Or lack thereof.

You know what the really funny thing is…I mean besides the thought of me walking into a dark, decrepit basement doubling as a black market hospital, carrying my own kidney in a styrofoam cooler with a six-pack on top to keep it cold…The REALLY funny thing is I didn’t even like the job to begin with. Actually I hated it. Actually I thought it was sucking out my soul through a crazy straw. But I did it for years. And I did it well. I did it for all the reasons above. It did it because it gave me the ability to take care of the things that were really important. I don’t regret that one bit, it was worth it. If circumstances were different I would still be there, because what it afforded me far outweighed what it took from me.

The circumstances aren’t different. My life has changed, and all elements affected due to the decision of someone I probably have never met.Now what? Another job, that’s the easy answer. Work my way back up. The problem is I tend to take jobs I can do well, but don’t necessarily want to do. That’s life I suppose. I am sure the majority doesn’t get to do what they really want. And I am sure a great number of people do jobs they hate, simply because it is necessary. My problem is that I don’t really know what I want and my fear is there isn’t something I really want. I feel that my professional life will be filled with jobs of necessity rather than personal gratification. That being said, I like to believe that a capable, driven person with reasonable goals can achieve them through will and tenacity. Coming up with the goal is the hard part…Ok maybe the ‘reasonable’ goal is the hard part. I am guessing that a world revered cat burglar with a high moral code, quick wit and a dashing smile is unreasonable? Do you have a better suggestion? I would settle if someone would pay me to do this, but that doesn’t seem to be happening either…Unless you are reading this and you want to pay me to write self indulging, occasional funny, often repetitive dribble…In that case, may I ask, how do you take your coffee?

Maybe I should get used to that question.

I don’t really know where I am going. Remember back in school when they asked you what you wanted to do? Teacher, doctor, lawyer, lion tamer….none of them really seem to fit. I’m 31, I got some time to figure it out…Worst case scenario we can learn to read by candle light…And kids don’t need to eat everyday right? God knows the dog could skip a meal.

 

Thanks for the therapy….the cheque might bounce though.

 

 – Jason

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Have you ever dared go back and read what you wrote, oh so many years ago? Ever dust of that journal, try and stick the old faithful 2.5 inch disk into the nonexistent drive, or crack open that old school exercise booklet? You are cringing aren’t you? I can feel the gut punch and the always descriptive groan. But…there is a but…If there wasn’t this would be a fairly short, pointless and downright mean post. If you have the courage to grab that bankers box down off the top shelf in the closet, the one hidden by old sweaters, Anne Rice paperbacks and that hat you bought that was in style long enough for you to drive home from the store. Bring that that box down, and breathe in. You know what that is you are breathing? Dust mites…and humility. One of those can be a very good thing.

Humility is that precious little gift that keeps us all from being ignorant little pricks and pretentious little snobs. It is a vital component in what makes up a decent human being. It is what lets us know that at one point we all… sucked. It is important for our overall growth and definition of our character that we as people sucked at one point in our life, and recognize that we will most likely suck again. Oh, and if you are that person reading this now saying “Nope, not me”. Well…then you are in that point right now. Of course I am talking about writing, since that is what I know and what I have been doing in one form or another for twenty five years. However, you can apply this to anything. A good friend of mine is a very successful competitive runner, guess what? He used to fall down…a lot. It is important, and it gives us perspective to know that everyone was terrible at some point. Accepting that is what makes us better, and lets us grow.

Do you want to know what was in my metaphorical “box on the shelf”? There were some real gems. The first few are illegible. Not because I had such terrible penmanship, but because they are literally just squiggly lines…As I recall, we kept a daily journal in grade one. Our teacher had instructed us that if we didn’t know a word, just put a squiggly line. When we were done we would go over it with her and she would help us with the words we didn’t know. Of course when I walked up with all squiggly lines, and the teacher asks me, “Well, what do they mean?”…My obvious answer is… “I dunno, they just look like a bunch of squiggly lines…” Lesson learned: Don’t depend on the memory / attention span of a five year old.

Let’s skip a few years down the road, to my fondness writing memory…Not my best, but my fondness. In grade five or six (can’t remember…damn glue addiction) I had a teacher who would give me exercise booklets, the ones with the dotted lines between the two solid lines, for students to practices cursive (do they still do that? I can’t remember the last time I saw a kid write cursive? I guess they can just choose whatever font they want on their macbook…). He would give me these books, because he knew I liked to write stories. I remember this time with a smile on my face. When I wrote in those silly little books, I didn’t write for attention, praise, money, or to argue a point…I did it simply to entertain myself. I wasn’t concerned about being original. I just wanted more stories from my favorite characters. When I ran out of things to read, and still wanted more Garfield or Carmen Sandiego, I would just write my own stories about them. It made perfect sense. I didn’t occur to me that for most people the story ended when they put down the book. I saw no reason for endings….I wrote long nonsensical stories starring my favorite characters and filled countless exercise books. I think it may be part of the reason I did well in school at that age. I knew if I did a good job, and got my work done early I would be awarded with more books to write in. Again, reading these stories today, they make no sense. But they are pure and came from the heart and head of a kid who just liked to tell stories.

It is from those heartfelt tells that I stumble across a journal from my university days when I flip to a page containing a drunken manifesto on the beauty and purity of masturbation. Here is the stage where the cringing really starts. Not that it was that bad, but that I thought it was that good. I still remember finishing it and gleefully running out of my dorm room and down the hall. I burst into the room two girls who had known me for a total of two weeks, proclaiming: “You gotta read this!” Their looks should have told me all I would ever need to know. This was me at my pretentious, narcissistic best. University was a great time for writing in theory. I was surrounded by other artistic people trying desperately to find their place. Looking back now, we were all trying too hard. It was here that I entered my “pained artist” stage. Everything was so self-loathing and filled with anguish. It was the self-indulgent bullshit every twenty year old writes, because they have a profound understanding of the world, that the rest of us couldn’t begin to fathom. This is the stage I like the least. I tried too hard to be something I wasn’t, because I didn’t know how to be who I really wanted. I didn’t realize then that I just had to wait.

Then came the drunken writing phase. Like the grade one phase, all works from this period are completely illegible.

Once I realized I could write without booze, I spend about seven years trying to figure out if it was possible to be happy and still write. For the most part it was hard. With considerable effort some good things came out. Eventually I produced something of substance; something I was pleased with (well, almost pleased with). I did this (mostly) sober, but definitely happy. But….there is that but again….It felt like work. I guess it was…I was doing it more because of something I wanted, and less because I actually wanted to do it. At this point, it seemed that I wanted to be a writer more than I actually wanted to write. This “forced” work began to bleed through on the page and I needed a change if I was going to move forward. I looked to the past, because… well, you can’t see the future. For me, lifting the lid of the “box” and dredging through utter embarrassment was insightful. I saw the kid who wrote with a pencil just for the sake of moving it on the page, who just a few years later, was making up stories simply to entertain himself. I want to write like that kid again.

Sometimes I lay awake at night, reliving those painful memories of bad decisions or the awkward moments that always accompany youth. What I take away from those moments now is not the pain, but the intentions; the intentions were always pure and natural.

Dig through your past, you’ll find some cringe worthy things, that I do not doubt. If you look a little deeper at the things you have hidden in the shadows, you might just see something else; something you have been missing. We all sucked…And are better for it.

Think of a picture of yourself you hate from your childhood. A picture you would hide away in a closet or bury in a box. You were ashamed of for how awkward you were. It was always that picture that your parents showed off as your face turned red with rage and you wondered why that we do something as horrible as display that picture. I’ll tell you why, because of what they saw in it. All of the best parts of you now, the things that define and inspire you, were already there in that picture. Take another look.

Thanks for indulging me yet again.

Jason.

Follow – @FredThePeacock

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Courtesy of Escobar Studios

Television has become the monster in my house that I am afraid to confront. The second I click ‘power’ the blue glow fills the otherwise dark room, because, of course I turned the TV on before the lights…Because who needs lights when you got TV? I know as I sit in the shadows in awe of its grandeur and presence, something that once was simple and intoxicating, is now daunting and complicated. The sheer volume of choices that bombard me as I scroll through the screen, triggers the impulse to pull my knees up to my chest and rock back and forth, humming to myself until the madness ends. I remember being a little boy and grabbing my bowl of fruit loops plopping down in front of the TV, clicking on the cartoon channel watching The Mighty Hercules (“Hey Herc, Hey Herc…..”) and giggling to myself as milked dribbled down my chin. Now, two and a half decades later, I am stilling grabbing my bowl of fruit loops (don’t judge) but, by the time I have found something to watch they have disintegrated into a soggy bowl of rainbow sludge. We have over 700 channels at my house. Do we want them all? No we don’t. Do we need them all? Absolutely.

Why do we need them? Because it is a drug, and we are addicted. We have always been addicted, and now everyone wants to cash in on that. It wasn’t enough that Oprah got her own (pun intended) channel, she is a brand onto herself. We will give that to her. But, Robert Rodriguez has his own channel now. Yep the filmmaker who brought us the Spy Kids and From Dusk till Dawn franchises. Do you know what the flagship show Rodriguez’s network El Ray is? It is From Dusk till Dawn the series. After one mildly successful cult hit with Tarantino, the Dusk franchise produced two direct-to-video sequels that I am sure Danny Trejo couldn’t even sit through. Apparently, these blood soaked, sex infused classics warranted a TV show. Now do you think I am going to watch this questionably produced show?… Absolutely, it looks fantastic! The point is, anything can be a show now, and anything is a show now…Look at reality TV. Would you have believed someone if they told you ten years ago that one of the most successful shows in the world would involve watching rednecks make duck calls? Yes you would? Okay, then you are a liar. Here is a bucket of water to put out your pants.

Reality TV is a massive topic, which I have a lot to say on. However, I will leave it for a future post and instead concentrate on the bigger problem. The problem is not the choices. The problem is that you no longer need to choose. The viewer has been given the ultimate power, and with the latest technology you can now watch everything. With DVRs, Tivo, timeshifting channels, Netflix, Apple TV, you can literally watch every show on TV and you can watch them when you want. I have a four month backlog on my DVR right now. I just finished watching the show Hostages…The finale aired months ago. That is the freedom technology has given us. We were already addicted, now we are hopeless. The implementation of DVRs to a TV viewers life is the equivalent of a stoner using their first bong or Rob Ford discovering a crack pipe (leave me alone, it’s topical!) The delivery method of a DVR is like a needle to your arm, injecting you with the brutality of Game of Thrones and the absurdity of the Kardashians.

The biggest stressor currently in my life, is not money, or my job, or my child’s future. It is when that status bar on my DVR turns red letting me know I have gone over 90%. That is when the sweating starts…When I sit down with my elbows on my knees and run my hands through where my hair used to be and prepare to make the tough choices. I have to decide what to let go. First I look to the kid shows. I can justify to myself that my daughter should not be watching TV, it is bad for her. She should be playing with stuff in the corner, while daddy watches his stories. If there is not enough there, I turn to the wife’s shows…What can I convince her has “magically” disappeared? (“No, I swear it was there earlier…the box must have screwed up again….”). When all else fails, I have to look to my own shows and decide what I can live without…When I recover from the crying and wailing most often associated with losing a loved one, I decide that instead of erasing, I will just fast-forward through a couple shows to get rid of them quicker….What is the best way to experience the classics of today?…At 30 times their normal speed…That is what it has come to.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my DVR. Do I watch more shows than I need to? Yep. Are there better uses of my time? Definitely. Do I care? Nope. When I am eventually able to pull myself away from the television to do this like; go to work, raise a child, have a meaningful, romantic relationship with my wife; I find it funny that a device made to simplify our lives has complicated it so much. At the end of the day, when it is just my wife and I and we decide to unwind in front of the TV that has over 700 channels and the DVR that has hundreds of hours of TV recorded, the same questions gets asked: “What do you want to watch?”, “I don’t know what do you want to watch?”.  This back and forth repertoire will continue for a few minutes until one of us will cave and pick something that they don’t want to watch, because they think the other one wants to watch it, even though they actually wanted to watch the same show the first person wanted to watch. We will then watch about fifteen minutes of said show that neither of us wanted to watch, and then give up, pause it and go to bed. We will eventually get back to that show in about four months.

Oh TV, I have never hated something I love so much.

 

Cheers,

 

Follow @FredThePeacock

 

I have always written things down. Everything just seemed to make more sense that way. Thoughts can be easily jumbled when sliding off the tongue – there are too many opportunities for mis-communication, hurt feelings, fist-a-cuffs and lost family members. Writing is much more deliberate. You can work out an idea, flush it out on the page, sculpt it the exact way you want it, before you release it onto your victim(s). Although, achieving perfection through writing, in the eyes of the writer is a near impossibility. If deadlines didn’t exist, things would stay in a perpetual state of editing. I digress — that is getting off topic. The point is, writing is how I chose to communicate with the world, except it was never was with the world…..It was solitary and seemingly without purpose.

About a year ago, I thought to myself, why not try and put something online. Everyone else seemed to be doing it. At this point I didn’t have twitter or facebook, and had no virtual presence to speak of. So I jumped into the cyber pool, and posted a couple blogs. I Joined facebook to stay in touch with long lost friends and family and more importantly joined twitter to stay in touch with all my celebrity friends (in a completely one-sided, stalker-esque relationship). You know what happened? I went from having no virtual presence to having a very, very tiny, little speck of a molecule of presence on the internet. It was kind of cool. People (very few mind you) actually read what I wrote — of their own freewill. I wasn’t saying anything of importance, I just rambled as I am now, but people still read (again, very few). Even a few, even anyone, was pretty cool. And I thank them.

Then after about 12 blog posts ranging in topics from pro-wrestling to gay marriage, I just stopped. I stopped for no other reason, than that is what I do. I don’t finish things. I enjoyed being a part of an online community, and just stopped because of……I don’t even know why…I enjoyed doing it, I guess I just hate consistency. 

So here goes attempt number two. The difference this time is that I have goals, I want to build something. Even if no one reads it, I will write it, just because I enjoy it. There is too much stupid shit in my head that needs somewhere to go.

And I will keep writing it because I need the practice….I have written stories since I was a child. I used to staple together construction paper and make little novels. Then 10 years ago I started a story. What I didn’t know then was that story would be my Everest. Ten years later and a third of my life gone, and it is still not done. Telling people I am working on my novel is a pathetic cliche….That happens to be true. Draft one is done, and now I am in that perpetual editing phase…The main problem with this story is that it is blocking every other story in my brain…I need to get it out, even if nothing happens with it, I need to move on.

In the meantime I will write here. Topics will be diverse and open to suggestion. I will try to share a bit of my skewed view of the world, hopefully with a little hilarity and some insanity.

Lastly, I apologize for this post. As it is neither funny or interesting. However, I needed to get my intentions down so I have something to hold myself to.

Thanks for getting this far.

Cheers,

Jay

– @FredThePeacock 

Two more sleeps till St. Patrick’s Day!

There was a time in my life when that would have been exciting…Unfortunately there comes a time in everyone’s life that pre-drinking before the bar opens at 11 O’clock in the morning becomes a thing of the past. Well maybe not everyone’s life…But those of us with a “shit to do list” have to postpone those cocktails to at least the respectable hour of noon.

As far as I can tell I have no Irish in me. I have searched extensively, and by extensively I mean I did a five minute google search and I called my Mom….

Google : Nada.

Mom: “I think someone might have slept with an Irish person once…” Thanks Mom.

So to conclude: no Irish in me. Other than the fact that at this point in human history ancestry lines are so blurred we are all pretty much the product of one big swinger, swapping orgy. Sadly, I have nothing to celebrate come Sunday…Luckily the Irish are an accepting bunch, and as long as you are willing to drink and sing and raise fists in defense of all things green, then they pretty much let you partake in their day of debauchery.

In order to prepare for the day of artificially coloured beers, bad decisions and broken noses, I would like to review some St. Patrick’s Day highlights and the lessons I have learned from this historic day. Gather around the keg kiddies….It is story time…

One memory comes from my freshman year in University. In my first year of school I had 11 hours of class a week. Conversely, bars were open 105 hours per week. To make it clear, I did a lot of drinking that year. St. Patrick’s Day was no different. There were a total of 12 bars on campus. My “homebase” was conveniently located in the basement of my residence building. I lived on the second floor. I don’t ever recall walking down the two flights of stairs to the bar, since it was too much fun to get in the elevator and hit “B” – for Bar. Even though it was always a short trip home, some nights I ended up sleeping on the couch in the bar. On some occasions I was fortunate enough to have the opening bartender the next day bring me a coffee and quietly turn on the big screen, keeping the volume low as to not wake me up.

The reason this year sticks out as a St. Patty’s Day memory is the small pub was packed with about hundred or so students and as far as I could tell the only Irish one was the bouncer. He also proceeded to get more drunk than every patron in the establishment. As the night progressed he got more and more agitated and believed in his heart and booze fueled soul that everyone in the bar was anti-Irish. It is a very dangerous situation when the bar bouncer is picking fights with unprovoking drunk students, although it is amusing. He proceed to go around the bar asking each parton what the heritage was. Each answer was not Irish, hence it was meant with a distained glare and quick “fuck you.” When he got to me I mentioned in a drunken slur that I had some French in me. Now this is taking place during the “Freedom Fries” craze in the States. And even though this is taking place in Canada, he proceeded to berate my French heritage with such intensity you would have thought I was an IRA bomber who just blew up a school bus carrying his children. Of course my reaction was to laugh. Now, laughing at a sober barroom bouncer is not a smart idea. Laughing at a drunk, Irish barroom bouncer on St. Patrick’s Day is suicidal. But hey, I have always been a vertical cutting kind of guy. Luckily for my sake the owner (who if memory serves me correctly had some kind of connection to the Japanese Yakusa, as an interesting side note) stepped in and defused the situation. The bouncer bought me a green pint and we cheersed and all was well. Ahhh, that magic of St. Patrick’s Day. The next night there was a heavy line to get into the pub, and I was unusually late to the party. The same bouncer (who looked like he had been hit with a Mack truck that was hauling a load of Mack trucks) pulled me out of line and profusely apologized for the situation the previous night. I quickly shook his hand and there were no hard feelings as he let me skip right into the bar without waiting. I found out later that he was tasked with tracking down everyone he insulted the night before as penance and to save his job. Last I heard he is still tracking down a few wayward drunks before the contract hit from the Yakuza is lifted.

LESSON LEARNED : Irish people hate French People. Japanese people hate Irish people. Vis-a-vis French people love Japanese People.

That same year the bar ran out of green food colouring and someone decided that you just can’t have plain golden beer…So purple food dye was substituted. Because hey, who will know?

Another memory finds us looking in on me one year later. This time I decided to stay home and throw my own party. While I have thrown a few parties over the years they never consisted of more than a keg or two of beer and a solitary bowl of stale chips. I never saw the need for more. However, St. Patrick’s Day is a little different. You are asking 20-30 people in this case to avoid the inevitable good time of making the rounds of the local bars and swaying arm and arm with strangers singing a poor man’s version of O’ Danny Boy. You are asking your friends to take a risk on you. That can be stressful. You want relives stress? Alcohol. So that is what I did. The party was set to start at 8pm. At 10 am I was ready and pacing around the house. The anxiety was killing me. I decided a beer at 10 O’Clock in the morning was a good way to chill out. Well I couldn’t then and still can’t now, have just one. I continued throughout the afternoon until (in all seriousness) there was a cluster of 38 empty beers bottles surrounding the couch I now slept on. The party was awesome. Occasionally I will hear a friend bring it up as one of the great parties of the last decade. I never saw one guest. I was left on the couch as the party happened on and around me. Good times….

LESSON LEARNED: Stop at 37

Our next and final drunken green memory takes place several years later and across the country in Banff, Alberta. The highlight of this story comes at the end of the night after the festivities are over and your weary storyteller makes the long walk home only to discover that he too is not immune to the St. Patrick’s Day drunken fistacuffing stereotype. As I stumbled along the long and winding trail (under normal circumstances it is actually a short, straight paved road) I finally came upon my place of residence. I stopped in the parking lot to have smoke before going inside. It is then I notice my soon to be opponent. A full grown male Elk was standing in the parking lot (not uncommon at all for Banff). If you are unfamiliar with elk, google them. They are bigger than a deer, smaller than a moose and are as dangerous as Jason Voorhees when angered. At first I stared in wonder. Wonder gave way to concern as the Elk neared my car. I cautioned the Elk to not take another step in that direction. Again if you are unfamiliar with Canadian Elk you probably don’t know that they can perfectly communicate with drunk assholes (you can google that too). The Elk ignored my warning and walked directly to my car and stood beside it. Now I was pissed (for no logical reason). I yelled expletives at the animal. He responded by (no word of a lie) looking straight at me and then peeing on my car. Yes, an Elk pissed on my car which I can only assume was out of spite. Those of you who do not think our furry friends are capable of spite, well you’d be wrong. Every wonder why your car is the only one in the parking lot covered in bird shit? Or why those raccoons will spend all night vigilantly placing your garbage all over your deck and yard? Sometimes animals turn around with middle fingers in the air in defiance of years of aerosol cans, clear-cutting and dumping. Back to the Elk; he peed on my car. I took a few steps closer, pointed and berated the creature for unacceptable urination. Can you see where I went wrong here? The Elk charged me. In what I lacked in drunken agility I made up for in luck as I dove over the hood of another car and quickly made my way to the rear. I laid on the ground panting and slowing got up to my knees and peered over the trunk to see the Elk glaring at me through the car. He stomped his hoof and I made a girlie scream and made the 30 foot dash to the front door of my building. I looked back at the Elk through the glass doors. He stared back for a moment than turned and walked off into the moonlight, head held high. Conclusions I later drew from this were, either I hurt the Elk’s feelings or that it was one of those rare Irish elks and he must have smelt the French in me. I capitalized the ‘E’ in elk in this last paragraph because that night, that Elk earned my respect.

LESSON LEARNED: Carry shotgun

Those were just a few of many St. Patrick’s Day memories. Were they the best ones. I don’t know…They were the only ones I could remember….And they serve as proof that valuable life lessons can only be learned through drunken irresponsible behaviour.

To all my Irish friends, happy St. Patrick’s Day! To everyone else, happy fake Irish day!

Cheers,
Jason
Follow – @gskewedview

I have that fantastic urge to write something. Yet, I have no idea what I want to write about. Zilch….. What an odd word…Zilch..Hmmm. What is the etymology of the world ‘zilch’? Let’s find out together…..Here I come Google…..

zilch (n.)
“nothing,” 1966, from earlier sense of “meaningless speech” (1960), originally Mr. Zilch (1931), comic character in the magazine “Ballyhoo.” Perhaps from U.S. college slang (early 1900s) Joe Zilsch “an insignificant person.” Probably a nonsense syllable, but Zilch is an actual German surname of Slavic origin.

You know what? I am no better for having known that. I am zilch better than I was 1 minute ago.

I believe the previous few sentences may be among the worst things I have ever written. That is including the stapled together pieces of construction paper that held my first novels….The Adventures of Mr.Bear….They were classics. Check them out on Amazon…..Nevermind I just checked, must be sold out. Printing and binding construction paper with staples is hard, hard labour.

This is sad….I really have nothing to say. You would think I would stop now, but you are not so lucky dear reader….It does beg a question though…I know why I am still writing, but why are you still reading?? You must have something better to do…Perhaps refinishing that old bed side table you keep telling everyone in your family not to throw out, because you are “getting to it”. (Even though you know it looks worse the more work you put into it, but damn it! You said you would finish it, and finish it you shall!) Or watching a Degrassi Junior High marathon (Because you are holding out hope that this time Shane won’t take the acid and do a swan dive off the bridge)….Oh I know, you could read some of those books on your shelf you have been telling people you read back in college. (The Wikipedia ending of The Grapes of Wrath is waaaaayyy better). Wait…I got it…Have you had a good cry recently? Maybe it is time you realize that you have three fingers pointing back at you. It might just be time for some you time. Light some candles, put on the best of Sade CD, light some incense and get down on your knees in the middle of the living room and wait for the water to start flowing……It is ok, let it all out. Sob to your heart’s content. Those really deep hard ones that hurt your chest, that’s what you want. Don’t forget to breath. Oh wait…Shit! Someone is home. Yah you really shouldn’t have done that. You really should have checked first. How am I supposed to know if someone is home at your house?? Oh now they think you are crazy. You managed to survive the time you stabbed them in the thigh with a fork…But this is too much. They are gone. They will be back for their stuff later. You say you will be out, but you won’t be will you. Nope, you will scare the shit out of them when they come in and find you sitting in the dark, smoking a cigarette at the kitchen table, drinking straight vodka and methodically tapping the fork on the table.

See?? There is a plethora of fun-filled productive activities you could be doing rather than reading this…

Ok, so now that you are sad, alone and watched your fill of poorly produced yet effective Canadian melodrama, I can tell you why I am still writing when obviously I have nothing to say. I am writing because it is the only known cure to writer’s block. You want to write something, but don’t know what? Don’t over think it. Just write…It doesn’t matter if it is dogshit. It doesn’t matter if it is nonsensical dribble (see paragraph above). The sheer act of writing will help you get over that seemingly impassable mound. You will most likely throw out every word you wrote (or you will publish it online). But maybe, just maybe there is an idea, one line, even a perfectly worded phrase that somehow escaped the rest of the literary bile that spattered over your page. It is now your job to cut the fat. Clean off those few precious words and run with them. It might lead to something great….Or nothing at all. But maybe you will take even more from the next piece. Just keep going. You will never, ever write anything worthwhile by sitting around trying to think up something to write. In the most ideal of circumstances it just comes to you…In the worst of times you have to work for it. Which means you have to write, and really is that not the whole point anyway??

As for me…Well I am off to explore the literary wonders of love scorned, fork wielding serial killers.

Check ya Later,
Jason – @gskewedview