September, 2002

Memories are like wounds, it’s the freshest that sting the most...

I’ve had both a lot of time and no time lately. Funny that. You can run around for hours and hours, but the mind never stops working. I’ve noticed that a lot lately.

As human beings we have this innate need to move on. To what, most of the time we don’t know. That’s OK though. The irony of being human is the need to move on to a great unknown. We feel like we need to move on to something, but we haven’t the vaguest idea what that is. We move there nonetheless, but nine times out of ten, we end up moving nowhere.

The irony of life is that you remember that which is most fresh the best. When that which is fresh becomes something painful, we feel the need to replace it with something. It doesn’t matter how superficial it is, it’s just something to replace that which is most recent. Because until we have something that we can fool ourselves into thinking that we’ve moved on to, we stay in some sort of holding pattern. He hover in the same place.

The trick to all of it is to figure out how to not give a fuck.

But that’s magic tricks.

There’s an easy way out and no way out. The easy way out is to try and replace the things that hurt with something more immediate. The no way out is to simply accept the fact that sometimes (more often than not, in fact), we all lose a little.

The people I feel sorry for the most are those that run to the first thing that makes them feel a little better. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt baby. Too many of us run to whatever comforts us in the short term rather than thinking about what might be held in the long term. Nothing you can do about it either. It just is.

Maybe one day someone will wake up and say "Shit! I’ve been believing nothing but this self created lie about myself! I can’t believe I shoved my head so far up my ass that I lost track of what really matters!"

Maybe not...

The fact of the matter is that until we run out of excuses, we’ll keep making them up. And a creative species we are.

Too creative perhaps.

In the long run though, whether or not we realise it. We all bleed the same.

If you wait long enough you’ll see yourself pass you by

Somewhere behind all of this there is a point. It’s well hidden but there nonetheless. Have no illusions kiddies, there’s a grand scheme out there and trying to fight it is not unlike banging your head into a brick wall. The only reward you get is the relief that comes with passing out from the sudden concussion you’ve just given yourself.

Life’s like that. Every time you think you’ve gotten some kind of a handle on how things are supposed to play out, the universe throws you a curveball that not only takes you completely by surprise, but more often than not, catches you right in the groin.

And always on the day you forgot to wear your cup.

But so it goes. I haven’t lived long enough to tell you whether or not things ultimately even out in the end. Ask me on my deathbed. Maybe then I’ll have some answers. Until then, I’ll continue to operate on the naïve assumption that indeed they do. Who knows, maybe on that fateful day, I’ll curse myself for thinking that one-day I would get mine. Maybe not. Hard to say it being the future and all. One thing is for certain though...

Nothing is for certain.

Except the yummy nature of those little puffy strawberry marshmallow things you can only get at certain corner stores now. Those have been good as far back as I can remember. Shame about the availability though.

Going back to my deathbed for a moment, I think when I go, I would like it to be by being crushed by several tonnes of light fluffy strawberry marshmallow things. Probably hard to arrange, and it makes it somewhat more difficult for me to get back to you on the whole "if things even out" bit (sudden nature of being crushed and all), but I have always been a huge fan of irony.

Mmmmmmm...Strawberry goodness.

Perhaps when I feel that I’ve done everything there is to do, that’s what I’ll do. Having made my riches in the black market diamond trade, I’ll buy several tonnes of those little candies (but they’re not really...) and have them crush me. And knowing that it’s coming, I will make certain to leave a note on the whole evening out thing.

But for now...

Enjoy the show.

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*Edited for content by the good people at Hook-U-Up*

Marketing and banana shaped sprinklers

With summer ending, and me having spent most of it out of the sun (benefits of a night job), I find myself thinking about summers past…

When I was a kid I always wanted a Slip and Slide. Or a Wet Banana. Y’know what I’m talking about?

They were those long plastic sheets that came with some amazingly cheap sprinkler head attachment. You could set them up on your lawn and voila! Instant water slide at home! They were heavily advertised during my favourite cartoons when I was but knee high to a grasshopper (First and foremost being Transformers *more than meets the eye*), and being the impressionable youth that I was, I was convinced that if I only had one of these miracle water toys, I too, like the kids on the TV, would become the social epicentre for my neighbourhood.

I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, but from time to time, TV advertisers lie. I only just found this out recently myself. Apparently I missed the memo.

Anyways, my family couldn’t afford a Slip and Slide, so instead, we used a regular sprinkler head and a large tarp we used to transport goods on the roof of our Scout with. Worked very well actually. In all likelihood, better than either of those products ever would have. It was considerably larger than the mat that would have been provided in any Slip and Slide, and if placed properly on a hill, you could come at it from all sorts of different angles of attack.

I do vaguely recall that despite the fact that this monstrous tarp looked like some sort of landing pad for spacecraft filled with advanced beings from another planet come to show us the primitive error of our monkeyish ways and lead us into an era of peace and harmony, some of the other kids from the neighbourhood did in fact end up wandering over to share in our summer fun.

Good times.

I don’t know if there was (or even should be) a moral to that story or not, I just found myself thinking about it recently…

The Ballad Of John Doe...

Once upon a time (off to a blistering start already aren’t we…) there was a man named John. When John was first born, his parents, Mary and Bill, decided to name their son John for a very simple reason. You see, John’s parents suffered from a malady known as self induced boredom.

Mary and Bill had been high school sweethearts. After high school, Bill got a job working for Mary’s father. Mary’s father owned a car lot. Bill started as one of those people that cleans up all the cars that are brought in and purchased at a ridiculously low price as a “trade in”. Over time, Bill worked his way up the corporate ladder (which didn’t take to terribly long, there were only about three steps to this particular ladder) until he became the top salesman. Bill and Mary got married (Mary had until that point in time busied herself working at a local book store that specialized in erotic literature), moved in together, and saving the fact that they both hated their lives, all was well.

Until, that is, the day of what people would come to call “the accident”.

Mary’s father felt that it was of the utmost importance that the car lot keep up with the other car lots who were at the time engaging in all sorts of promotional gimmicks. One of the other lots had invested in a fifty foot inflatable panda which stood proudly atop their offices. Yet another had installed a waterslide for the kids to play in while their parents closed various deals.

Mary’s father felt that these promotions were on to something, but that they had one fatal weakness. Neither a giant panda nor a waterslide had a great deal to do with cars. So he decided to one up them.

After getting the appropriate permits and authorization from the local airport, Mary’s father erected a red Cadillac El Dorado (one of the extra large ones) 150 feet in the air. It could be seen for miles around. And it was. It stayed mounted on it’s single steel beam right up until the day when, after a couple too many late night drinks in the office, Mary’s father backed his brand new pick up truck into the single steel beam. The jolt was strong enough to convince the shiny red caddy to become unhinged from it’s perch and see once again how things were on the ground.

Unfortunately, Mary’s fathers pick up happened to be between the ground and the caddy. Knowing the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line, the caddy simply went through the pick up before imbedding itself two feet into the dirt road which it so longed to be a part of again.

Mary’s father didn’t feel a thing after the hood of the caddy neatly severed most of his body from the rest (at least that was what the coroner decided to attempt to convince Mary and Bill of).

One of the more useless of useless facts I have picked up in my time on this spinning ball of mud is that the time following a wedding or funeral is one in which a persons chances of getting laid increase exponentially (I myself have yet to see any proof, but who am I to argue with the facts?). Thus did in one week Bill and Mary conceive the son that they would come to name John and simultaneously gain ownership of a car lot.

Ironically enough, after “the accident”, sales tripled for about four months.

For the next nine months, aside from Bill working a great deal, and Mary gaining a great deal of girth, exactly nothing out of the ordinary happened. Nothing at all. The couple, weighted down by the sudden demise of Mary’s father and the even more unexpected responsibility of running the second most successful car lot in the city, never even went out to dinner and/or a movie. Bill came home from work, Mary had dinner ready, they watched TV, went to sleep and started all over again.

Except for weekends. On weekends, Bill would mow the lawn.

It was out of this boredom that when John was born his parents saw the opportunity for a giggle. Unfortunately for John, as well as suffering from this self imposed boredom, his parents also suffered from a remarkable lack of foresight. It never occurred to either of them, even for a second that naming their bouncing baby boy John might just cause him some problems in the future.

You see, Bill and Mary’s last name was Doe.

Oh sure, it was funny at the time. It even solicited a giggle or two from the obstetrician, but no one really though about the impact that this might have on John.

In the long run, it would have been kinder to name him Dale.

Other than the merciless mocking John endured throughout his school years, John’s real problems didn’t start until he turned fourteen. At fourteen, John decided he wanted to get a job. Simple enough, right?

You try, even with a birth certificate, to get the federal government to ascribe a social insurance number to one John Doe. Doesn’t happen, at least not easily.

It took John nearly two years to just get a SIN number so he could work. It just went downhill from there. Every time John wanted to do anything, be it get a cell phone, register in a hotel, or god forbid, get a credit card, he at the very least had to deal with an incredulous customer service agent. At the worst he had members of the local RCMP detachment knocking on his door at 4AM.

Luckily, John was gifted with a remarkable amount of perseverance. He faced all of these tribulations and despite them, achieved a modest degree of success. Although he never married, he managed to find a job as a travelling wallpaper salesman. In fact, John was personally responsible for over 30% of the wallpaper hung in restaurants in Western Canada.

This brings us to John’s tragic demise…

You see, one day John was in Vancouver closing a deal with a national restaurant chain (which shall remain unnamed for reasons of libel). Innocent enough, but John just happened to be one of those wrong place at the wrong time people in this particular situation.

Earlier that day, David Jones (yet another victim of bored parents) had ripped off several Vancouver triads to the tune of a hundred and fifty grand. The triads immediately put a hit on David and made sure through word on the street that the man to kill David would be three hundred grand richer. I suppose it seems odd that they would pay twice what they were taken for, but, it costs less to let people know that you are not to be crossed again rather have people constantly trying to get away with taking your hard earned drug money.

Which brings us to Jimmy Chan…

Jimmy was a student. He studied hard and worked as a front desk clerk at what was barely a three star hotel in Vancouver. He was determined to make a success of himself straight, chiefly because his brother was a foot soldier for a local triad. However, when his brother promised him that he would split the three thousand dollar reward with him if he tipped him off if David Jones tried to check himself into the hotel, Jimmy couldn’t say no.

Which is why, when John checked into the hotel, he got exactly zero static from the clerk for the first time in his life. What John didn’t know, was that he vaguely matched the description of David Jones and that the kind clerk who did not in the slightest make mention of the name John checked in under was in fact Jimmy Chan.

So John went to his room feeling like his name might finally be done causing him problems and mumbling quietly to himself that he would make certain to use this hotel every time he came to Vancouver in the future. He placed his suitcase on the floor, crawled into bed and went to sleep dreaming the dreams of a single man who just saw the latest Catherine Zeta Jones movie.

He never even got to see her naked even in his dreams though. The last electrical activity in his brain was the image of her paragliding across a sea of aging male actors…

At about three in the morning, Jimmy’s brother quietly stole into Johns room and promptly put 58 (that was the official count according to the police, but it’s sometimes hard to tell with these things…) bullet holes into Johns body. He also took John’s wallet and while impressed with “David’s” ability to come up with an entirely new identity, was somewhat unimpressed by the fact “David” couldn’t come up with a better name.

When the police finally showed up, they did all they could to identify John’s body. However, being unable to come up with any form of identification, and considering the name that John signed in under, they simply placed the body in the morgue under the usual moniker, “John Doe”.

Jimmy and his brother split the reward as agreed. Jimmy used it for tuition and graduated top of his class. He is now a programmer at IBM and makes $150,000.00 a year. His brother used his share of the money on women and drugs. He has since lost thirty pounds and now sells heroin mixed with whatever he can find on Granville Street in Vancouver.

And John?

Needless to say, after two weeks, no one claimed John’s body. He was buried in Potters Field with a simple tombstone that said only two words…

“John Doe”

I suppose we all become what we are.

Oh yes, David Jones bought a yacht with his ill gotten funds and sailed off into one of the largest storms in West Coast history.

He was never heard from again.

It would seem the proof is in the pudding.


I would like to take a moment at the end of this months reprisal for a public service announcement…

To all you people out there who feel perfectly within their rights using other people, operating with a complete disregard for any consequences their actions may or may not bring to others, thinking that women (or I hate to say it, men) are more like paper cups than people (use once, throw away), and generally acting in a completely selfish and self absorbed manner, completely submerged in and totally unaware of their own staggering ignorance, devoid of any sort of conscience, completely unaware or uninterested in helping anyone but themselves, and generally more concerned about how they look rather than whether or not their actions are categorically right or wrong (and oh yes, despite what your favourite daytime TV host may try to tell you, there really are such categories)…

Public hours in the gene pool are now officially over. Please take your towels, water wings, and whatever other aquatic paraphernalia you may have brought with you, leave the pool area and whatever you do, never, ever come back.

Thank You…
Your Public Health Watchdog.