What your childhood home smelled like to your friends, and what that says about you

D37DB10B-1F0F-45D7-B3DC-3F69211DB1C3A kind of mushroomy odour, like shirts put away damp and then left in the drawer too long
You are highly self-reliant, thought that sometimes comes across as arrogant and stand-offish, especially when you announce loudly, “Look how self-reliant I am, idiots!” You have a history of pouring far too much milk for the amount of cereal, and this habit has been a deal-breaker for more than a few relationships. You know how to play several instruments, none of them well. You treat library books with alarming disrespect. You lose your temper when you hear Neil Young’s Harvest.

A hint of cabbage, like there was boiled cauliflower every night for a week, but a month ago
You like to weigh all the possibilities before making a decision, which really holds up the line at Tim’s. Your favourite expression is, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea,” but usually said through gut-wrenching sobs. In 2015, you were this close to sitting next to Jake Gyllenhaal on a flight to Toronto. You worry that you are no longer appealing to the opposite sex, not realizing you were never particularly appealing in the first place. Your feelings of paranoia are well founded.

Cigarette smoke, like, everywhere 
You are not afraid to face adversity, despite your diminutive stature and compromised immune system. During your more introspective moments, you have to admit you brought it on yourself, though thankfully those moments are balanced by the seemingly infinite number of other people to blame. Your hair gets tangled in ceiling fans with surprising frequency. Squirrels and chipmunks feed right out of your hand. You’re beginning to question the whole concept of monogamy. You no longer have much in the way of taste buds. Damn right you’ll have another drink!

Cloying flowery smell, like fabric softener or one of those plug-in air fresheners, a real migraine-inducer
You enjoyed a promising career as a highly successful radiologist, even making the cover of X-Rave magazine (“The Nation’s Top Radiologists: An Inside Look”) until you lost all your toes to frostbite while hiding inside a chest freezer – a prank gone horribly, horribly wrong. As a result, you cannot stand steadily on your feet due to Chronic Wobble Syndrome, thus curtailing your career. You now offer university guest lectures entitled “Advances in Radiology” and “10 Signs That You Shouldn’t Trust Your So-Called Friends.” You dress well but always have garlic breath.

Like when you open the fridge, and there’s a poorly covered tin of kidney beans in there you forgot about
“Agenda? We don’t need no stinkin’ agenda!” you scoff, and then you hold your staff hostage for an hour as you go on a series of work- and non-work-related tangents, none of them ever satisfactorily resolved. You are not as adept as you think you are at hiding personal expenses in the company account. Your supposedly ironic fashion comes across as merely tasteless, and you’re mediocre at best in bed, ask anyone. You have a knack for unravelling tangled telephone cords, a knack that, alas, is less and less frequently pressed into service. You are chronically guilty of vaguebooking.

Overpowering smell of bleach
You are overcautious and easily offended, though these qualities have allowed you to rise to positions of prominence on several volunteer school committees. You have a morbid fear of being poked by wire brushes. You “collect” restaurant sugar packets, but really it’s just small-scale hoarding. You believe in several of the lesser conspiracy theories. You dislike the word “grout.” You don’t trust best-before dates. You are active on Twitter.

Cat pee
You don’t sweat the small stuff; you just sweat. People often use the word “exude” around you, usually but not always in a positive way. You’ve done a lot of community theatre. You give coins and unsolicited advice to homeless people. You have never owned a new car, you announce proudly. You are only comfortable in sandals and cargo shorts. On too many occasions to count, you have accidentally used someone else’s toothbrush and then laughed it off. You closely follow the careers of the other members of Destiny’s Child. Birthday parties are kind of your thing. You’ve got a little something on the corner of your mouth. No, other side. Got it.

A mix of cloves and lavender, plus sort of a low-grade curry smell
You were homeschooled; you had no friends.

Advertisements
Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Sleepless in sleeping bags

I have a long history of lying in bed and plotting revenge.

I remember university nights spent listening to housemates thump, bump and generally do fun things without me. All I really wanted to do was sleep. Instead, I seethed. If seething were a major, I’d have been on the Dean’s List.

I couldn’t just knock on their door and say, “Would you mind?” University is a dog-eat-dog world, and complaining would have made me a target, and next thing you know my room would have been filled with shaving cream, garbage and half-eaten dog.

Later, Deb and I had noisy apartment neighbours in Montreal. I remember lying there one night listening to the human laugh-track in the apartment above.

“I should go up there and tell them to knock it off,” I grumbled to Deb.

A little while later: “I thought you said you were going up.”

“I said I should go up…”

In recent years, my own children have made the racket, joined by cousins, neighbours and their dear friend Alcohol.

Yelling at them (as I have done) doesn’t go over well domestically. Instead I invested in earplugs. They help tune out the noise of the partying below and allow me to fall asleep, only to startle awake later wondering, “What the hell’s in my ears!”

To be fair, there have been times when I have been at the jerk end of the noise-making spectrum. I’ve even been a noisy camper. (Alcohol, you never took a vacation.) But I forget these times; while one lies seething, hypocrisy sleeps.

Last weekend, we camped at Brighton State Park in Vermont. Our neighbours were two young couples from Quebec. Their fire pit was very close to ours, so we chatted separately into the evening, us in English, them in French, both of us pretending the others weren’t there. The difference was that they had drinks. We had s’mores. They played music. We played cards.

Their loud talk and music continued after Quiet Hours began at 10. When our gang went to bed at around 10:30, I thought maybe they’d notice our doused lights and they would douse the music and bursts of laughter. They did not. And I could not sleep.

I seethed. I put the pillow over my head and muffle-seethed. I stuck my fingers in my ear and tried to go to sleep, but only my hand did. I’ll give them until midnight, I told myself, seethingly.

I must have dozed off because next thing I knew I was being awakened by laughter. It was 12:07. The loud talk and music were still going. I threw off my covers and unzipped the tent.

“Excusez-moi,” I called out. “C’est maintenant après minuit. Les heures tranquilles ont commencé à dix heures.”

There was silence. Probably they were trying to figure out what the hell was “les heures tranquilles.” A heavily accented voice said, “Sorry about dat,” and then it grew quiet.

I returned to the tent, amazed at myself, mostly for speaking passable angry French after midnight. I crawled back into bed, expecting to be hailed a hero.

“Didn’t you bring earplugs?” Deb asked.

The next day, I expected one of the neighbours to say, “Hey, sorry again about the noise. We had an unexpected visit from our dear friend Alcohol.” Instead, they had their breakfast, avoided eye contact and left for the day.

The story should end there, right where I like it, with me being the superior human. But the couples returned that evening, still not acknowledging us, and once again ending their evening around the campfire. Only this time they were subdued, while our gang was loud, sometimes too loud. (Abby’s friend: “How exactly did you tell them to be quiet?” Me: “Shhhhh!”)

At 9:30, even before Quiet Hours, they started readying for bed. (Lightweights…) It was our turn to be quiet. And it was freaking me out.

“Not so loud,” I told the girls.

“We’re just talking.”

“I know but… just… talk quietly.”

The worst thing – the very worst thing – would be to give the neighbours, still reeling from my smackdown, a reason to come out of their tent and say in English, “Excuse me, it is now past 10 o’clock. The hours of quiet are begin.”

Seething and sleepless are bad enough. Hypocritical and humiliated I can’t do.

At 10:15, I stretched and said, “Who’s ready to brush their teeth?” Amazingly, they were. I shooed and shooshed our party to the bathroom and back, then got everyone into their sleeping bags and off to sleep without any complaints from either site.

I slept the sleep of the smug.

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Scouting report: Softball Tournament; Team Ville de Stanstead

Made reconnaissance trip to Beebe ball field for charity softball tournament on reports that the Town of Stanstead (Ville) would be entering a team and on assumption that, carrying municipal banner, team would surely include the cream of softball talent in the border area.

Arrived at field to see team smartly dressed in matching uniforms, warming up, snapping balls, stretching, flexing, hydrating, an impressive sight. Quickly learned that this was not the Ville team but opposing team. Asked around and was pointed to what looked like a group of tourists waiting for a bus. And the bus was late. And it was headed to a destination no one particularly wanted to visit. This was the town team.

Our fearless leader

Upon further investigation, learned that team was coached by town councillor D. Bishop. Also learned that “coaching” consisted of a) assembling team, b) randomly generating batting orders, c) organizing high fives when returning from the outfield. Unorthodox coaching style best described as “not actually caring about winning.”

Bishop joined by one other town councillor (P. Stuart, indeterminate age/mobility) and mayor himself (P. Dutil, age between 65 and defibrillator). Remainder of team consisted of Leisure Dept. employees (2), neighbours (3), children (2), grandchildren (1), friend (1), spouses (1) and a three-member family that must have been part of ill-considered trade deal since third Stanstead councillor (G. Ouellet) seen playing for a non-Ville team that actually looked like they had chance of winning the tournament. (Note: They did not.)

Decided to stay and watch Ville team on off-chance there was diamond in the rough or at very least comical tripping over second base.

Team warmup consisted of some players half-heartedly tossing the ball, other players catching up on what their children are doing these days.

Offensively, Ville players could hit the ball but were hampered by tendency to run towards first base as if into a strong headwind. Batters also demonstrated accuracy, aware at all times where opponents were standing and hitting directly to them. Player thrown out at first, back thrown out at second.

Fortunately, Ville team invigorated by teen players A. Murray, J. Stone Jr. and M. St-Pierre. Remarkably, St-Pierre was appearing in her rookie game as softball player, requiring instruction on how to swing a bat and how it really doesn’t matter if your ballcap comes off on the way to first.

Defensively, team could be described as “ecclesiastical,” as there was a lot of praying, both for the ball not to be hit to them and for the inning to finally end.

Special mention should be made of R. Murray (left field), who proved inspirational to spectators by playing with severe disability; Murray born with complete absence of athletic talent. In two tournament appearances, Murray batted like he’d only ever read about softball in a pamphlet someone left at his door, and ran like someone who recalled a fraction too late just how old he was.

Murray particularly drew attention in the outfield, where he approached opposing batters with a combination of concentration, dubious depth perception and an existential interpretation of quantum mechanics whereby the ball, as it hangs in the air over left field, is simultaneously caught and not caught; AKA Schrödinger’s At-Bat.

But usually not caught.

High marks to Murray also for contributing to all-important softball chatter from the bench, including such helpful advice as “Keep your eye on the ball,” “Wait for your pitch” and, after the team’s first run during the final inning of a 12-1 game: “Rally!” Also pointed out to opposing pitcher that if he struck out the mayor, his tax bill would go up.

Murray likewise vocal in the field. During many (many) missed fly balls and grounders through his legs, could be heard muttering what might have been “Foul!” or perhaps “Fly!” or quite possibly “Fun!” Definitely sounded like “Fun!”

Upon these occasions, Murray would chase down runaway ball and, aware that he could not throw far (shockingly not far at all), would toss ball to centrefielder J. Stone Jr., who would launch it to the pitcher. Fellow fielder and father J. Stone Sr. did likewise, resulting ultimately in Stone Jr. probably wrecking his arm, but he’s young, he’ll get over it.

Final tournament results for Team Ville de Stanstead: 0 wins, 4 losses, 1 home run, 1 bruised councillor, 1.5 bruised egos, 0 ambulance calls.

To Ville team’s credit, there was zero smoking in the outfield. Not even the mayor.

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Weakly Classified

For Sale

Meat pump, fully insured partially clogged. Must be seen to be appreciated. Must be cleaned to be useable. Call 555-3095; ask receptionist for the “Ecclesiastical Department.”

*

Gilbert & Sullivan collectibles: Pirates of Pen Sets; Mikado Short Sharp Shock Absorbers; Iolanthe Action Figures (still in original gauze); GondolierMuffs (two for the price of poor wandering one); the Very Model of a Modern Major-General Model Kit (in shipshape). 555-9984. Phone may ring long time; Patience.

*

Stained glass. Also: tarnished fork, chipped plate. Best offer. Will trade for new glass, fork, plate. (No sporks, please.) 555-4876.

 

Professional Services

Too much? Too little? How about now? Is that better? We can help with that! You just have to ask. Don’t be shy! What are you waiting for? Really, it’s no big deal. It happens to the best of us. Don’t be ashamed! Really? Oh, then maybe you should be a little bit ashamed. Call us and we’ll set you up. Or maybe put you down. It’s up to you! 1-800-555-GOSH. Walk-ins welcome. Walkouts quite common.

*

Is your Internet provider giving you everything you need? Do you require more speed, storage and protein? Not getting enough iron in your email? Sign up with Peanut Butter Bandwidth, North America’s first Internet provider/breakfast spread. Get “stuck” with us; you’ll love it when we “jam!” Ask about our Wi-Fibre specials. http://www.internuts.com.

*

Head-tilting lessons for girls 13-21. Find that one perfect head-tilt for all your photographic needs! Look dorky no more! Look hot forever! Look identical in every photo! Call now and get 1 free lip-puckering lesson! Steve’s Photo and Chiropractic Studio. 555-0085.

 

For Rent

4 1/2, includes heat, utilities, furnishing, vaguely sinister neighbours, caged rodent of uneasy disposition, closet full of existential dread and stolen hotel toiletries, oppressive anxiety as you lie awake, something there in the shadows. Lovely morning light. Must-see. 555-4118.

*

Stu-stu-studio apartment: 3 bedrooms, 2 hearts, 1 more night. Priced at face value. This one cries “Take me home!” Ideal for those living separate lives. No down payment or jacket required. Don’t lose my number: 555-7842. No pets or Peter Gabriel.

 

Job Opportunities

Extras sought for movie shoot. Working title: “Good Cop/Drunk Cop.” Micronesians only, please. Must supply own gunwales, glo-sticks. 7:30 a.m. Baxter Street Mini-Mall parking lot. Ask for “The Wiggler.”

*

Make a fortune working from home! Easy money! Our organization representing a highly advanced alien race is currently seeking healthy human specimens to serve as hosts for future terrestrial domination. Enjoy a highly attractive benefits package before life as you know it on this planet comes to an abrupt horrific end. Ask us about health insurance! Call 1-888-DIEEARTHSCUM.

*

Now hiring: Triple-Five Inc., specialists in generating fake telephone numbers for film, television and print. Send CV to Box 64 c/o this paper. No phone calls (obviously).

 

Personal Ads

Squid wrangler seeks same for friendship, sharing of photos, possible adoption. 555-1966.

*

SWM, good shape, teeth intact, looking for love in all the wrong places, hoping to look in your right places; left places will also do. Overly squeamish need not apply. Send photo and shoe size to Box 34 c/o this paper.

 

Impersonal Ads

Recently divorced F seeks M for long, noncommittal evenings of ignoring each other with occasional morally detached bursts of violence. References not necessary. 555-4097.

 

Lost

Perspective, all sense of proportion, will to live. Last seen with the point (also missing). Sentimental value. No questions asked. Fewer questions answered. 555-1103.

 

Originally published May 2012

Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

1968

1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. It was kind of a big year for Debbie Bishop.

January 15 – An earthquake in Sicily kills 380 and injures around 1,000. Debbie Bishop has been known to shake it on the dance floor.

January 22 – Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In debuts on NBC. Debbie Bishop can’t tell a joke to save her life.

February 11 — Border clashes take place between Israel and Jordan. Debbie Bishop also lives on the border and once flagrantly brought a lemon into the United States.

March 31 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not seek re-election. Debbie Bishop is in her first term as an elected municipal councillor. She has not yet decided whether she will seek re-election, but she’s doing a bang-up job, don’t you think?

April 4 – Martin Luther King Jr. is shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. This was truly a tragic day in history. Equally tragic is that, for years, Debbie Bishop thought the song went, “I shot the sheriff / But I did not shoot the dead beauty.”

April 29 – The musical Hair officially opens on Broadway. Debbie Bishop continues to surprise us by appearing this summer in her first-ever theatrical production, Little Shop of Horrors, and equally surprising, there is no nudity!

May 11 – The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in four straight games against the St. Louis Blues. As a young girl, Debbie Bishop was hit in the mouth with a hockey puck, resulting in an injury still visible today but one that in no way detracts from her stunning, ageless beauty.

June 2 – Students protest in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Debbie Bishop frequently protests shoes left scattered in the hallway. I mean, seriously, why are there so many shoes?

June 12Rosemary’s Baby premieres in the U.S. Debbie Bishop’s babies premiere in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2001.

July 4 – Yachtsman Alec Rose receives a hero’s welcome as he sails into Portsmouth, England after his 354-day round-the-world trip. Debbie Bishop receives a hero’s welcome from the dog every time she leaves the house for even 10 minutes.

July 22 – Oh, hello, Debbie Bishop!

July 25 – Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae vitae, on birth control. Birth control is proven ineffective on Debbie Bishop.

August 11 – The last steam passenger train service runs in Britain. Debbie Bishop and I used to take the train from Sackville, NB and Sherbrooke, Que. and get up to all kinds of hijinks.

August 29 – Crown Prince Harald of Norway marries Sonja Haraldsen, the commoner he has dated for 9 years. Debbie Bishop married me, also a commoner, about as common as they come, actually.

September 7 – 150 women (members of New York Radical Women) arrive in Atlantic City, New Jersey to protest against the Miss America Pageant, as exploitative of women. Debbie Bishop often leaves her bra hanging off the kitchen chair, but it’s not an act of protest.

September 24 – “60 Minutes” debuts on CBS and is still on the air as of 2018. Debbie Bishop is still breathing air as of 2018.

October 31 – Citing progress in the Paris peace talks, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces that he has ordered a complete cessation of “all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam” effective November 1. Also Halloween; whatever you do, don’t ask Debbie Bishop about the pumpkin story.

November 14 – Yale University announces it is going to admit women. That’s ridiculous! Also: Debbie Bishop persevered and earned her degree while working and raising a family, and that’s freakin’ impressive.

November 24 – 4 men hijack Pan Am Flight 281 from JFK International Airport, New York to Havana, Cuba. Also, future heartthrob, Ross Murray, turns 3, unaware that one day he would marry Debbie Bishop.

December 9 – Douglas Engelbart publicly demonstrates his pioneering hypertext system, NLS, in San Francisco, together with the computer mouse. Debbie Bishop still doesn’t do social media, so there’s no good way to wish her happy birthday on this milestone occasion, although she is pretty handy with emojis.

December 24 –The manned U.S. spacecraft Apollo 8 enters orbit around the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole, as well as having traveled further away from Earth than any people in history. Debbie Bishop is also out of this world.

*1968 facts brazenly copied from Wikipedia.

1968 WISHES it could be as cool as 1988!

Posted in Reading? Ugh! | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

In which I am institutionalized

When I was a rebellious young man growing up in Antigonish, NS, some construction took place on the grounds of the local university. And surrounding this construction at StFX was some hoarding, high plywood walls painted a pristine white. My friend Ted and I decided to do something about that.

We set out one evening with thoughts of graffiti, only we didn’t have spray paint. Instead, we had tins of paint from one of our basements and, if memory serves, sponge brushes. We were less Banksy and more Bob Ross.

Ted applied his talents by painting an anarchy symbol and slogans from a Norwegian punk band, while I painted the likeness of Opus the Penguin. It was undoubtedly the most perplexing graffiti in the history of our town.

I bring this up because the statute of limitations has long passed and also because I was back in Antigonish last week and took a walk up around the university. There, very near the scene of our crime, was another construction site, this one for a new public policy institute to be named after StFX alumnus and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. And I thought to myself, “Now, there’s some construction crying out for graffiti.”

Mulroney was certainly not Canada’s worst Prime Minister, but by the end of his tenure he was among its most unpopular. Leaving with an approval rating of only 11%, the Mulroney legacy led to the collapse of the Progressive Conservative Party and the ultimate rise of Stephen Harper, thanks for nothing. He also introduced the GST, indulged in cronyism and, perhaps most offensively, sang “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” with Ronald Reagan.

But time and raising $60 million for your alma mater heal all wounds and pretty much guarantee you’ll get a building named after you.

When it came time for me to go to university, I opted for a school less defaced by graffiti and headed for Mount Allison in New Brunswick. Thirty years have passed since I graduated, and that is why, inspired by Brian Mulroney, I am pleased to announce plans at Mount Allison for the Ross Murray Institute for Forgetting What a Jerk I Was.

Details are still being worked out (right now, in my head), but the mission of the institute will be as follows:

“Our mission is to explore and develop policy on rehabilitating the reputations and legacies of former jerks who really weren’t that bad when you think about it, maybe a little full of themselves, which was probably just a mask for deep insecurities, but look at them now! All responsible-like and really grown into themselves, don’t you think? Also we have cookies.”

The motto of the institute will be “Quia Ego Vere Mutavit” (“I’ve Changed, Really I Have”).

Based on my giving history with MtA, the institute will consist of an abandoned refrigerator crate located beside the McCain Centre for Continuing Crispiness. However, just as Mulroney reached out to his cronies to raise funds for a building in his honour (some of whom are regrettably involved in the Panama Papers), I could possibly enhance the Ross Murray Institute by reaching out to my former classmates. Given, though, that most were English and Drama majors and that the only papers they’ve ever been involved in are rolling papers, I don’t expect to upscale much beyond a broom closet.

The institute will essentially consist of me standing in my box, shouting out lectures with titles like:

  • Volunteering and Holding Kittens: Social Signalling as a Means of Forgetting That Time I Told a Pretty Racist Joke
  • Media Studies: When the Student Paper I Edited Parodied One of Its Own Columnists, That Wasn’t Really So Bad, Was It?
  • Macaroni Economics: Forgiving My Old Roommate for Making a Really Crappy Meal Just So We Wouldn’t Ask Him to Cook Again
  • Political Pragmatism: Sometimes Groping is Just a Friendly Gesture
  • Statistical Analytics: What About All the Times I Didn’t Graffiti Construction Sites?

I will also host a regular round table simply entitled, “Girls: We’re Sorry.” And finally, there will be a symposium series called “Terrible Stories We Can Surely All Laugh At Now.”

Course reading will consist of copies of my novel until all the boxes in my attic are empty.

The cookies will not contain raisins.

This week, I called up Mount Allison to let them know about my plan. They said, “Who is this?”

Ah, it’s working already.

Posted in It Could Happen... | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Have you seen this nostalgic man?

Lost: male, white, 52, gently used. Wears glasses and occasional beard when the benefits of not shaving outweigh the benefits of not itching. English speaking, French faking. Distinguishing characteristics: avoids eye contact and commitments.

Last seen in Nova Scotia, in his childhood bedroom on his childhood bed with the same childhood bedspread, if you can believe it, though it’s held up pretty well, which not all of us can say. Subject had recently been asked to go through a trunk of photos and documents by his mother, who has also held up pretty well.

Subject may have been sucked into the vortex of nostalgia. May be disoriented. Approach with caution and promise of restored youth.

What is nostalgia?
Nostalgia is a debilitating condition that affects one out of every single person over 45. It is an incurable condition that becomes progressively more acute as the subject becomes progressively more un-cute. Symptoms include wistfulness, unhealthy fixation, lack of interest in others and mild stalking. In other words, it is much like pubescent love but without the lust and hormones.

Nostalgia sufferers may appear dazed and may become easily obsessed with seemingly unimportant details, like who among his classmates has obviously had work done, and why has that person on Facebook friended her but hasn’t friended me.

While there is no cure for nostalgia, it can be controlled by quietly reminding the subject that there was probably a good reason she broke up with that old boyfriend in the first place.

But enough about nostalgia. What about that lost, apparently very handsome man?
The subject had been acting strangely in recent days, ever since he had arrived at his childhood home, which his parents are inevitably going to have to give up, triggering feelings of introspection, loss and speculation about which furniture he could claim.

First indications that the subject had succumbed to nostalgia was when he found a photo of himself, age 17, in one of the many albums stored in his childhood bedroom, which weren’t there when he was growing up, so what’s the big idea!

The photo showed the subject looking well-groomed, fit and hubba-hubba in a Tiger Beat kind of way. In fact, the subject was overheard muttering, “This is the best photo I’ve seen of me at that age because it looks nothing like me!” He then posted it on Instagram with a self-deprecating comment but obviously fishing for compliments regarding his youthful looks and vigour. (He was successful.)

The subject was also seen reading some blatantly autobiographical short stories (a character named “Russel”?) containing overwrought symbolism and some startling misogyny that he really needs to do some atoning for. The subject also unearthed several university essays that indicated he was a far more mediocre student than he remembered.

These last items went to recycling. While on the surface it would appear by this action that the subject was resistant to nostalgia, we now know that he was merely complying with his wife’s plea not to “bring home stuff that’s just going to end up in the attic with all the other stuff.”

Not even furniture?
“Not even.”

But back to the lost, decidedly feminist man…
The subject showed further indications that he was becoming sucked into nostalgia when he posted a Facebook photo of his Grade 6 elementary class. He then posted a cast photo from a university theatre production and spent the rest of the evening interacting with people tagged in the photo and feeling terribly nostalgic even though he has no memory whatsoever of that play! But, still, it got a ton of comments.

If found, the subject should be approached gently and told in a calm, reassuring voice that all his ex-girlfriends pine for him daily. Also do not criticize him regarding his misleading use of the word “all.”

Next, transfer the subject to a neutral environment that does not include his childhood record collection and an ivy that has thrived in a living room planter for over 50 years and how is that even possible!

Finally, show the subject the lovely note from his favourite high school English teacher on the occasion of his graduation, the one that says, “Remember always to ‘dream things that never were; and say, “Why not?”’ Then write about them!”

In other words, stop gawking at photos of prom dates and get on with it!

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments