December 2002

Introduction

I have been a bad little monkey this month.

I usually have the reprisal written at least halfway by the middle of the month. At this writing the reprisal is neither halfway complete, nor is it the middle of the month.

Those of you that take the time to read these ramblings seem to like it when I am honest and personal. As a famous Canadian artist once said, "You give them blood, and they'll love you for it".

You wanted personal?

Here's personal...

In the past few weeks, I have been forced to abandon most of my old life. I have moved, changed phone numbers, changed jobs, Changed my oil, changed underwear, all that.

The relationship I was in but had great hopes for, came crashing to an end. A relationship that ended some time ago (but that I once had great hopes for) and that I have tried to leave behind came crashing through my door. Almost literally.

So it goes...

Before I get into things, I should for the sake of record, say something about the fact I recently turned a year older. I suppose I should also offer some thoughts about the coming of Christmas.

Therefore...

Happy Birthday to me. Merry Christmas to you.

*Insert happy holiday pictures here. I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Stupid HTML.*

Now that that is out of the way...

Reflections that may or may not be a total waste of time.

I have been a little distracted by dramatic changes of late. Thus the late start on the reprisal. If it is less than par, it is only because I have rushed myself to finish it. As I said, I have been somewhat distracted by dramatic changes of late.

That is how things go I suppose. You can't have new beginnings without a healthy number of endings. Sometimes they are thrust upon you and sometimes you choose them. Sometimes they don't actually end. Sometimes it's just that some invisible finger has pressed some unseen pause button. It's hard to tell which ones really are in fact endings. I do know that many of the endings that have happened lately are exactly that. I have taken steps to ensure it. I haven't had much else of a choice. Some, others have ended. I don't know what steps they have taken, so I can't say for certain that they are indeed endings.

I myself, am looking forward to some new beginnings though.

It will be interesting I think. I have left a great many things behind (don't worry, neither the music or these monthly excursions into silliness are being left behind. As long as you keep coming here, so will I...), and some things, as I said, have left me behind.

Which begs the question that we all end up asking at some point or another.

How quickly will we be forgotten?

By those that have ended what they have ended, I mean. How quickly is one forgotten by those that choose to leave them behind? Do Marshmallows really explode if you leave them in the microwave too long? I can answer one and only one of these questions.

That's the hard part of pulling a disappearing act. You don't get to see how quickly people forget you. You don't get to see if they remember you. You don't get to see much of anything. You have, after all, disappeared.

A complete and total waste of digression...

With all this talk of disappearing, I find myself thinking about a man I once met. It was on the ferry to Nanaimo on one of my yearly excursions to a magical place called Gabriola Island. It's a two-hour and change ferry ride. I usually bring magazines. Or buy them at one of the over priced magazine stores on the ferry. They have those now. Convenience is key these days.

I was sitting on one of the upper decks enjoying the sunshine, the smell of the sea (don't get that much on the prairies), and a cigarette (get a lot of those on the prairies…). This was before I quit smoking, and the only place you could enjoy one of those happy little instruments of death in the fine province of British Columbia was on the upper decks or on the outer walkways. Children played on the walkways, and I had a guilty conscience about smoking in front of children. Perhaps even back then I knew what a terrible habit it was.

So it was sunshine, salt air, cigarettes and a guilty conscience that brought me to the upper deck of a B.C. ferry where I would meet a man named Arnold.

One thing I have learned about smoking in public places was that if there were more than five smokers other than yourself in the immediate area, one of them will invariably ask for cigarette.

On this hot August day it was Arnold.

Arnold (although I was unaware that was his name as he bagen to walk up to me...) was an older man. He wore the clothes and appearance that one would expect from someone who had moved to the West Coast to be at the West Coast. Baggy light cotton clothing and a healthy amount of stubble. Stubble that was long enough to suggest that if necessary, he would shave, but it wasn't a priority for him. Longer graying hair that also was scattered but not unkempt. His face was lined with the lines you get from many hours of sitting on rocks or the beach letting the wind from the ocean make every attempt to show you how it feels to be made of leather. But, at the same time, you could tell that Arnold was not one of those "strange West Coast people", he was simply who he was and quite content with that.

I got all of this as he approached me before he actually spoke.

And when he did, all he said was "Spare a smoke?"

I was in a particularly happy mood (being at the ocean and all), so I obliged and handed him a cigarette. The man who I would come to know as Arnold smiled, said thank you, and asked if I would mind if he sat beside me. There were many of us on the upper deck trying to kill ourselves that day, and as such, one of the few seats available was beside me. I told him he was more than welcome, he sat down, lit his cigarette and we began the dance of small talk. He asked me my name. I told him. I asked him his name. He told me it was Arnold. He asked where I was from. I told him. He laughed. I asked him where he was from.

And Arnold told me a story.

Arnold grew up in Winnipeg. His father owned a small business that sold industrial cleaning materials to restaurants. His father had made a reasonably small fortune (but a fortune nonetheless) at this, but he was a man who hated the fact that he sold industrial cleaning materials to restaurants. He hated the fact that he had always wanted to be more, but had failed. He hated it so much that the only way that he felt that he could deal with it was to cheat on Arnold's mother and then feel guilty about it. He dealt with his guilt in a very uncreative (if that is a word, it may not be...) manner. Arnold's father would get drunk and beat the shit out of Arnold's mother on a near daily basis. It's funny how people take out their anger on those that they have betrayed, but Arnold's father made an art of it.

Part of his making an art of it, was that while Arnold's father beat the shit out of Arnold's mother, he would then turn and become the most kind attentive man that there ever was. He would lavish both Arnold and his mother with gifts and what passed (mostly because Arnold's mother didn't know any better) for love.

One of these "gifts" came on Arnold's 10th birthday. It was a couple of days after a particularly brutal encounter that left one of Arnold's mother's eyes swollen shut and her mouth missing a tooth. Of course, she told everyone that she walked into a cupboard.

Dangerous things those cupboards.

People believed her. Truth be told, if Arnold's mother had been as clumsy as she appeared (out of nothing more than necessity, mind you), she would have been such a statistical anomaly (for the sheer number of "accidents" she had), that the good people at the Guinness Book would have put her on permanent display on their little museum. But, people believed her, because more often than not, people will believe what they want over what is, because what is can be an ugly thing with a black eye and a missing tooth and no decent explanation.

But, to make up for the terrible incident with the cupboard (although it was actually an empty bottle of Jack Daniels), Arnold's father hired a magician to entertain at his son's 10th birthday.

And what a magician he was. He did wonderful tricks. He put smiles on the faces of all the children in attendance. He cut stings in pieces and made them magically reform. But what really caught Arnold's attention was the fact that he was able to make things disappear. Arnold found that fascinating because there was nothing more that he wanted than to be able to make himself disappear. He even went so far as to ask the magician (who was heavy-handedly enough named "Harry"), if he could make Arnold disappear. Harry said yes, but he really only put Arnold in a secret compartment of a box, and when the trick was over, Arnold re-appeared.

Arnold did not want to re-appear.

And the party ended. And Arnold watched his mother take yet another beating because there were not enough hot dogs for everyone in attendance and the potato salad was not quite right.

And Arnold thought about disappearing.

Arnold did not disappear though. He grew up a bit.

He spent some time trying to learn magic tricks in the hope of being able to make himself disappear. He never did. Instead, he began to learn the ins and outs of selling industrial cleaning materials to restaurants. After all, he did have to take over the family business. And all while he was learning the tricks of the trade from a man he hated, his mother took beating after beating and Arnold thought more and more about disappearing and the fact that simple act seemed to elude him.

When Arnold was eighteen, his mother fell down the stairs. She fell a long way and she did not get back up. That's the official story. Arnold's father was good friends with the people who come up with official stories.

Reality is a different thing.

Usually is.

And Arnold thought more about disappearing than he ever had before. This time, however, was different. He did.

But not before he took care of some unfinished business.

Arnold's father, as I said, liked to drink. The dangers of drinking and operating a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle have been well documented. Arnold's father apparently did not pay a great deal of attention to that documentation. One day, the car he was driving wrapped itself around a tree. The official story was that he was drunk, operating a motor vehicle in complete disregard for well documented studies, and became one with his steering column. The people who come up with these official stories were completely aware that despite their friendship with the recently deceased mogul of industrial cleaning products, he had had a long standing love affair with the bottle, and truth be told, were waiting for something like that to happen. So it too became the official story.

Reality is a different thing.

Usually is.

Arnold sold off the estate and used the money from that and the life insurance to finally preform the one trick he had aspired to so desperately. He disappeared. He moved to the West Coast, bought a little cottage, and lived off of the interest from several wise investments. He was living off of interest on the day I met him and gave him a cigarette.

Arnold finished his cigarette, thanked me for my time, and wandered off. I was intensely curious about whether or not there was any truth to his story, so I waited for him at the ferry terminal in the hopes of asking him if there was. I made certain that I was the first to get off, and I planted myself in the area before the greeting area from whence all of the walk on passengers (which Arnold most obviously was, by the bags he carried). I wanted to see Arnold one last time. I wanted to talk to him again so I could decide for myself if there was any truth to his story, or if I could simply chalk him up to being another crazy person who lived on the West Coast.

I never got the opportunity.

You see, I watched every single person who got off of that boat. Arnold never did.

Arnold disappeared.

It is times like these I think back of what I learned from Arnold. I find myself being able to summarize in my head with nothing more than the word "Damn".

Denouement

It has been a topic in my life lately, so I'm going to take the chance to address it...

For those that believe in speaking and acting on what they believe is the truth, keep doing so. It is not whether or not anyone else thinks your opinion matters, only that you do. At least I think so. Heh.

Mind you, I have recently been informed I am the devil incarnate. I personally don't believe this to be true, but the consensus is growing these days. This whole "say and act on what you believe" bit could merely be (and a growing number of people seem to think so...) part of some dark plan to ruin the lives of millions and systematically take over the world. Me saying to do what you believe the "right" thing is, could merely be part of a master design that will make you all mine and destroy your lives.

Apparently I get off on that. Being the devil incarnate and all...

I even have a cabana boy. The devil incarnate needs one of those you know... He even volunteered. It's nothing sexual though. He just fetches me beer and steals my lighter.

But that leaves a career opportunity open for the right candidate.

I am now changing my position of accepting applications from Hawaiian tropic models (although ladies, don't worry, I still will) I am now taking applications for those that would wish to be my Cabana girl. The devil needs one of those. Really. He does. If I am going to have the job of being the source of all evil in the world thrust on me, there have to be some perks. Preferably perky perks (if you get my drift...)

Oh dear, I may be evil after all...

All applications may be forwarded to my e-mail address conveniently found on the contact section of this WebPage. The only requirements are that you are staggeringly hot, and... um... use your imagination. You will have to entertain the Prince of Darkness after all.

Applicants must possess creativity.

In spades.

Let's put it that way and leave it at that.

Oh and before I forget...

Merry Christmas y'all. And a happy new year...

I still want an omnibot...

See you around.







Oh, and by the way...

I miss you butterfly