Monday, February 27, 2012

Wardrobe Malfunction

I had been dreading this day for weeks.  After a nearly hour long drive, but before heading into an early evening Public Meeting where I would be facing a large mob of angry people who were not all that happy about the real estate development proposal I was there to present, I visited the men’s room to freshen up.

Going over the key presentation points in my head, I stepped back from the urinal and attempted to zip up my pants.  It was at that very moment that my evening suddenly went from bad to worse.  The Stress-O-Meter, already elevated given the expectation of the evenings confrontational festivities, reached all new heights. While the portion of the zipper tab that I held moved freely, it no longer served the purpose for which it was intended, and refused to join both halves of the zipper together.  Now, at the best of times, this is not a pleasant situation, yet there I was, an hour away from home, about to stand alone in front of 50 plus unfriendly people, with a broken zipper.  I slowly looked up at myself in the mirror, and thought… “Oh no!”

I quickly made my way back to my car to see what quick repair options might be available to me.  Frantically searching, I had no safety pins, thread, or anything overly useful.  Sigh… of course I didn’t.  I’ve never stared at a paperclip with such intensity, trying to figure out what assistance it could possibly provide.  Even a stapler would have been a welcomed discovery, alas, I had nothing.  With time ticking away, and options dwindling, all I could do was see if I could somehow get the zipper to latch on, so I refocused my efforts.  Head down, hands working on my zipper, car shaking in frustration, and a single bead of sweat running down my forehead, my car windows began to fog up.  Realizing what this scene may look like to an innocent passerby, and with only 3 minutes left to spare before I was expected to speak, I had no choice but to stop, and admit defeat.  With a deep sigh, I thought about how badly I just wanted to go home. 

Armed with nothing but my black leather notebook, I wiped my brow, stood up, and walked back into the meeting room.  Trying to rebuild my confidence, I began scanning my surroundings, and quickly noticed there was no podium to stand behind.  Sigh… of course there wasn’t.

So I slowly walked up to the presentation stage, all the while calculating the viewing angles of the audience, and stood in front of them trying to disguise how uncomfortable I truly was.  Using the shielding provided by my black leather notebook, I maintained various standing positions throughout the duration of my presentation.  One hand on the notebook in front of crotch, the other hand in pocket.  One hand on the notebook in front of crotch, the other hand waving the laser pointer.  Both hands on the notebook in front of crotch, body swaying awkwardly.  Oh it was horrible.  As I explained the intricacies of the proposed building designs, planning rationale, and how this medium density residential development would positively impact the surrounding neighbourhood, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to go home, and whether or not anyone noticed my “situation”.  I maintained eye contact with the audience, and expected them to do the same. 

Fortunately for me, though unfortunate in the grand scheme of things, the NIMBY-minded attendees of this meeting had already made up their minds that they did not like this proposal before I had even arrived, so maintaining eye contact was not a problem, as they attempted to shoot daggers at me with their seething glances.  After an hour of responding to unjustified and misguided criticisms and questions, the meeting ended, and I quickly made my escape.

Back in my car and finally heading for home, I reflected on the evening’s events, replayed what was said in my mind, and rightly or wrongly reassured myself that it didn’t go as badly as it could have.  Relieved, and enjoying the added ventilation resulting from having my pants wide open during the return drive, I decided to stop for a quick bite – drive-thru of course.  As I sat in the darkened parking lot eating my burger, my cell phone rang.  It was a co-worker.

“Hey Dave, are you still out in the Niagara area?” he asked.  I reluctantly replied “Yes”, knowing exactly what he was about to ask me.  “Oh great!  Since you’re out there, can you stop in at that other Public Meeting out near the airport?  Something’s come up and I’m not going to be able to make it.”  Sigh… of course you can’t.  He then proceeded to give me the address of the banquet hall, and rather than opening myself up to ridicule by admitting the particular challenges I was facing that evening, I said “Sure, I’ll go”.

So off I went, and again faced the public in my somewhat compromised state.  Upon entering the banquet hall, I soon ran into a bunch of industry people I knew.  Sigh… of course I did.  So I shook hands, and exchanged pleasantries, all the while maintaining my left hand firmly on my trusty black leather notebook.  Not long after, figuring I’d made my appearance, visited with the people I needed to visit with, and not wanting to press my luck any further, I exited the building.  Finally, I was going home.

As it was fairly dark by the time I pulled into my driveway, and none of the neighbours were outdoors as far as I could tell, I didn’t worry too much about covering myself up as I walked from my car and into the house.  Closing the door shut behind me, I yelled “I’m home!”, with Leia arriving shortly thereafter to greet me.  “How was your day?” she asked.  Without saying a word, I removed my jacket, stood in front of her, and looked down to my broken zipper.  Her eyes followed mine, and then she burst out laughing.  Not just a little chuckle, or even a hearty laugh.  No, this was an all-out gut-busting, teary eyed, roll around on the ground laughter, solely at my expense.  As I briefed her on the details of my evening, her laugher only grew, causing her to periodically gasp for air.  I looked into her watery eyes and reddened face, I thought to myself, “Ahhh, it’s good to be home.”                    

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trick Or Treat

I think it's funny how Halloween, once all about candy-obsessed children dressing up and walking the streets in search of treats, has now turned into women dressing up as Candi, and walking the streets as if looking to turn tricks.  Ohhh, the whorer!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And B.O. Was His Name-O

B.O., body odour, the scent of the unwashed.  As the electrician worked outside my office, I quickly realized he was inflicted with one of the most severe cases of B.O. I had ever encountered.  Hoping that whatever he was there to repair would not take long, I stayed put, as the path out of my office lead directly through the cloud that surrounded him.  I could not take the risk of a cling-on attack, and decided to ride this one out.

Five minutes passed.  Ten.  Twenty.  My eyes watering, I struggled to determine which was best, breathing through my nose, or my mouth.  Both proved to be torturous, requiring me to stifle my gag reflex, but what else was I to do.  B.O. enriched oxygen was all that was available, and I was fighting to survive.  Was he there to repair the light fixture, or crush my spirit?  I no longer knew.  Breathing into the sleeve of my shirt, I questioned his motives. 

After one half hour of agony, and unsuccessful attempts to fan the incoming fumes with an empty beige file folder, he finally finished his repair, packed up his things, and left the building.  Relieved that it would all soon be over, and with the expectation that fresh air would gradually replace that which he had polluted, I wiped my eyes and went back to work. 

Alas, that was not the end.  It was not over.  Nearly an hour had passed, yet an odiferous presence lingered strongly in the air.  “Why won’t that smell just go away?!!” I frustratingly wondered.  Looking up from my desk and into my doorway, I soon found my answer.  Startled, the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stood tall, my eyes opened widely.  While the man may have left, his B.O. shadow remained, and it was staring right at me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fist Bump

I can't believe a guy actually tried to "fist-bump" me today at work. This is the first time we ever met, and he actually extended his arm and fist, expecting me to touch my fist to his. Needless to say, I was having none of that, gave him a look of disgust, and left him hanging...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Don't Think You're Ready For This Jelly

I don't like jelly donuts.  Too mysterious, full of secrets.  I don't want anything to do with a donut that knows something I don't.

With This Pen

With this pen, the power is all mine.  The who, the what, the where, the when... it is all up to me.  I share a piece of me, and bare my sole with each new sentence.  The reader, and just as importantly I, learning more about myself every time I write.  Fingers to the pen, pen to the paper, the ink is the first to know my innermost thoughts.  I write, and with this pen I direct the ink onto the paper, with only my heart knowing what will come next.  Is the ink still wet, can I still turn back, or are the thoughts that were once mine alone, now permanently on display for all to see?  I dab the paper with my finger... nope, still wet, and now my finger's dirty.  Awww son of a bitch!!!  I got some on my sleeve too!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Problem Solver

I would not be at all unhappy to somehow find myself in a situation where I was locked in a room made entirely of Canadian Maple donuts, with the only option for escape to be to eat my way through the walls.  Hey, you have your dreams... I have mine.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ode to the Grape

From the earth it grows
Nature’s perfect fruit
Bite-size little morsels
Some might even say they’re cute
But with a little stomping
And some time to age
In the barrel it ferments
Waiting to take the stage

When the time is right
Into the bottle it goes
One twist of the little handle
A river of awesomeness flows
The liquid treasure now contained
On goes the cork or screw top
Leaving the vineyard farmer
To think about next years crop 

Shipped out to the general public
Aged 19 years and older
Liquid courage doth await
Those wanting to become much bolder
Red or white or sparkling blend
They’re all just fine by me
For after a few downed glasses
They all taste swee-to-the-t!

Don’t wait for a special occasion
Who needs a grand celebration?
Open up that bottle fast
And indulge in a little libation
So whether with some friends or kin
Or all alone with your honey
You’ll soon find out it tastes real great
And makes you feel kinda funny

One glass becomes two
And then three, and then four
Put those keys away
‘Cause you ain’t drivin’ no more
Have a good time
But don’t be a poser
If you stumble we will laugh
Beep beep! It's the faildozer!

Waking up the next morning
Your head a wee bit groggy
Be grateful that you didn’t throw up
And your bed sheets are not soggy
I say bite the dog that bit you
And you’ll be feeling fine
So grab yourself a glass
And pour some wine baby!  Wine!

**Please drink responsibly**

Friday, February 10, 2012


Nude. Completely naked. In the flesh. Exposed for all the world to see, tingling in the fresh morning air. Awkward but not ashamed, my left wrist relishes the freedom, as today, I forgot to put my watch on. Dang.

Fowl Ball

Deciding we needed to escape the cold Canadian winter, we flew down to Cuba with another couple for one full week of fun in the sun.  We were younger then, with fairly limited vacation budgets, and while this all-inclusive resort may not have exactly been featured on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, it was more than adequate, and being of the right mindset, we certainly made the most of our time there.

After our first day was spent lounging around the pool, enjoying the sounds of the Caribbean, replenishing fluids as we baked in the sun, and playing water-basketball with other vacationers not unlike ourselves, the two couples headed to their respective rooms to get washed up for dinner.  Meeting at the pre-arranged time, we then walked along the beach, listening to the waves make their way to shore.  With the palm trees gently swaying around us, drinks in hand, we watched the orange glowing sun slowly drop below the horizon.  We continued on to the restaurant.

The buffet was plentiful, and offered a grand assortment of tasty options.  With plates in hand, we worked our way along the line, carefully selecting the items we felt looked most delicious to our individual appetites.  The girls chose varying degrees of salads and fish.  I chose slightly meatier and starchy options, with perhaps a few token vegetables placed here and there.  With three members of our party arriving back at the table at roughly the same time, we sipped our wine, politely waiting for the fourth to arrive.  For the sake of anonymity, let’s call him “Jason”.

Sauntering back to our table, balancing the contents on his plate ever so carefully, Jason returned from what appeared to be a successful hunting expedition.  With two hands, he lowered his plate onto the table, providing us with a better view of his bounty.  No vegetables.  No pastas.  No salads.  Chicken.  Just chicken.  And not just a little chicken.  Oh no, this was a heaping mound of chicken!  Colonel Sanders himself would have blushed at the sight.  Not wanting to judge however, and thinking that maybe he had just worked up a voracious hunger during the increasingly intense pool-basketball game that afternoon, we let him off the hook after just a few joking remarks.

The next day came and went in similar fashion to the first, spent by the pool, lounging in the sun, enjoying a never-ending array of rum based beverages, until once again we found ourselves at the dinner table, with three of four members sitting, waiting for the fourth to return from the buffet.  We joked, “He’s probably waiting for them to reload the chicken tray!” thinking surely tonight would not be a repeat performance.  And then he returned, and we were wrong.  With an even greater mound of chicken than before, I could only ponder that perhaps in his mind, thinking that the chickens ate vegetables, and he’s eating the chickens, his solitary selection constituted a complete and balanced diet.  We watched as he gobbled down the breasts, wings, and drumsticks, periodically lifting his head just long enough to proclaim with widely opened eyes “Ohhhh man!  I LOVE this chicken!!” before digging right back in.  Wiping the grease from his face and fingers, and apparently feeling euphoric from the effects of the mass quantities of chicken meat consumed, he even went back for more!

By day three, we were well established in our routine, which we basically continued throughout the duration of our stay.  Swim, sun, drinks, showers, dinner.  And with each passing day, we watched as Jason’s extreme love of bird meat provided the evening’s dinner entertainment, continually professing his love of the delectable Cuban fowl.  Not having gone unnoticed, the restaurant employees would shout into the kitchen “pollo, pollo” upon seeing Jason walk through the door.  Thinking it was a customary Cuban greeting, and not wanting to offend, Jason happily replied back “pollo, pollo” with a quick wave and a smile, before carrying on to our table.  And with that, the restaurant staff would scurry off, scrambling to find more chicken.

As our vacation came to a close, and having put a potentially irreversible dent in the Cuban chicken supply, we enjoyed our final meal.  Uncharacteristically, Jason returned with one single piece of chicken on his plate, this time accompanied by a greater variety of side dishes.  The puzzled eyes of the restaurant staff followed him, disappointment clearly shown in their slumping shoulders, as they had taken great pride in replenishing the chicken tray, and strategically stacking the tender delights with artistic flare in anticipation of his visit.  When I asked what was wrong, he replied, “Ah, I was getting kind of tired of chicken, and thought maybe I should try something else”. 

Having quickly finished his plate however, Jason returned to the buffet for more, and this time, did not disappoint.  His appetite for “something else” having now been satisfied, he went back to what he knew was tried and true.  One last full plate of chicken for the road would be had, and the restaurant staff beamed and laughed with excitement.  “I LOVE this chicken!!” he would openly declare once more.  As we got up to leave the restaurant for the final time, the restaurant staff bid Jason farewell, and with their smiling faces yelled “Pollo, pollo!”  Jason smiled back, touched by the friendliness of the Cuban hospitality.  With a wink and a wave, he responded “Pollo, pollo!” then walked out the door, and out of their lives forever, leaving only his legend, and a Country left to rebuild its now struggling chicken population. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shrimp Tacos

We sat in the beachfront restaurant, eating our shrimp tacos and guacamole, breathing in the fresh sea air.  The breeze gently brushed against our cheeks, as our toes played in the sand.  Relaxed, we relished our time away from reality.  Yes, Cabo San Lucas had been kind to us that day, welcoming us with a warm sun filled sky.  Or wait, was it Mazatlan?  Or maybe it was Puerto Vallarta.  Oh I don't know, it was hot and I was smashed from the jumbo margaritas...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More Than Just A Christmas Present

Christmas had always been a special time of the year, and as children, my brother and I would anxiously await the big day, working our way through the tiny chocolates contained within our Advent Calendars, knowing that with each chocolaty treat, we were one day closer.

The days and weeks leading up to Christmas tended to provide plenty of opportunities for mischief however, as with each passing year we became more adept at finding our parents’ favourite hiding spots.  In the early years, presents would be lightly shaken in an attempt to determine the contents within, and despite not knowing for certain, we revelled in the simple fact that our names were written on them.  Being the eldest, it was my duty to assure my brother that the letters that he could not yet read did in fact spell out his name, to which he responded with great excitement and joy.

As our skills gradually improved, we’d ever so carefully peel back the scotch tape on one end of the present, just hoping to catch a quick glimpse of the box beneath, before re-sticking the tape back to its original position, ensuring any minor tears in the wrapping paper were adequately covered up.  Having a two man team proved to be very beneficial, as it allowed one man to conduct surveillance, while the other investigated the presents with his name on them, before switching off, and allowing the other to do the same.  Oh yes, watching GI Joe offered far more than mere entertainment, it taught us the basics of what was necessary for a successful mission.

Gaining confidence in our ninja-like abilities to get in and out undetected, and knowing that Christmas morning was becoming increasingly spent at our grandparents house, with each visit we’d scout out the surroundings, and learn which pitfalls to avoid.  We even assigned ourselves code names; my brother was “White Ninja”, whereas I was, in hindsight the much less stealthy, “Ninja Dave”.  The hallway leading from our shared bedroom out into the living room was very squeaky, as it was an older home.  Even under the light weight of our child-sized bodies, it was nearly impossible to walk from one end to the other without alerting all others in the house.  Or so they thought.  One particular Christmas Eve, after saying our goodnights and retiring to our bedroom, yet remaining wide awake, we waited for all others to go to bed.  The light that had once been shining under the doorway was no more.  The coast appeared to be clear, or maybe that’s what they wanted us to think.  We were not fools.  We would not fall into their trap.  The risk was high.  We waited patiently.    

Ever so slowly, I turned the doorknob, and opened the door just enough to peek into the hallway.  Opening the door a little more, I stuck my head out further, checking to my left, then to my right, then back to the left once more.  Not a sole to be found.  It was time.  Motioning to my brother using our not-so-complex hand signals, he joined me at the door.  Into the squeaky trap-laden hallway we went, and having learned the spots to step that made the least amount of noise, we applied our knowledge, tip-toeing our way very slowly and discretely into the living room.  Standing in front of the tree, with the mountain of presents below, we fought off the temptation, knowing the amount of trouble we’d be in if we acted on our urge to dig in, and instead turned our attention towards the stockings, the contents of which had not been wrapped.  After a quick inspection, one thing became abundantly clear… they had been expecting us.

Unbeknownst to us, shiny new bells had been affixed to our stockings this year, causing us to pause, evaluate this unexpected turn of events, and come up with an improvised plan of attack.  We quickly determined that by cupping the bells in the palms of our hand, we could mute the loud ring, thus reducing the audible output to a mere dull rattle.  No, we would not be denied.  We took our stockings down into the basement, and emptied them onto the floor.  Excited by our findings, we closely examined our bounty.  Fighting to keep our composure, we knew the risk increased with each passing minute, and carefully began placing the items one by one back into the stockings in roughly the same order they had come out.  Back up the stairs we went, bells still cupped in our hands, placing the stockings back to their original positions.  Once again, we carefully tip-toed our way through the squeaky hallway, ending up back into our room. 

Before having a chance to celebrate our successful mission, and perhaps not as quiet during the return trip as we had thought we were, moments after closing our door we heard footsteps in the hall.  We scurried into our beds, closed our eyes, and listened with extreme attention.  The footsteps continued down the hall into the living room, then made their way back again, stopping in front of our door.  There was a pause.  The door knob turned slowly, and the door began to open.  My brother and I both pretended to be asleep, eyes closed tightly, unsure what would happen next.  Had we been caught, were we going to get in trouble?  Our eyes remained tightly shut.  The door quietly closed once more, and we both breathed a deep sigh of relief.  Deciding we had experienced enough excitement for one night, we tried to get some sleep.  Who exactly checked in on us that Christmas Eve remains a mystery, perhaps it was Santa himself, uncertain within which category, naughty or nice, we belonged.

Growing increasingly bold as the years went on, and with the Nintendo video game system being at the top of our Christmas Wish List this one particular year, we took things to a whole new level.  While still young, we were just old enough where our parents could leave me in charge for several hours as they played cards over at the neighbour’s house.  This provided vast new opportunities for investigation that had never been known to us before.  Upon finding what we thought could be the box containing the Nintendo, we did more than just rattle it.  We did more than just check one of the ends for a quick glimpse.  We placed the box onto the ground, and with surgical precision, removed all of the tape, and all of the wrapping paper, ensuring we did not create any new wrinkles or creases that could possibly tip off our parents.  Although very excited as our hopes for a Nintendo had been realized, we remained focused on the task at hand until all of the wrapping paper was completely separated from the box.  But it didn’t end there. 

Knowing that we likely still had at least another hour and a half before our parents would return, we opened the box, and pulled the Nintendo completely out.  We inspected the grey cube with red lettering, and the accompanying cords.  Looking at each other, we figured we had come this far, why not go just a little further.  So we then hooked the system up to the television.  There was only one problem, we needed a game.  Back to the “secret” hiding spot we went, and pulled out what we thought might be a game, and again proceeded to carefully remove the wrapping paper.  Success!!

After about a half hour of sheer joy as we played what would nowadays be considered a fairly primitive computerized hockey game, and proud of our accomplishment, we knew it was time to start putting things back to the way they were.  We very quickly realized however that removing the contents from the box was a far easier task than trying to put them back in, and despite our best efforts and multiple attempts, just could not get everything to go back in, in such a way where the box would retain its rectangular shape.  The clock was ticking, and panic began to set in.  Finally we had no choice but to proceed regardless, and ended up with a slightly less than rectangular box.  Under the circumstances, what else were we to do?  We lined up the wrapping paper, and began re-wrapping the box.  To our horror, due to the misshapenness of the box, the existing creases in the paper were not lining up properly.  Accordingly, neither were the small marks in the paper left during the removal of the tape.  We tried to stretch the paper to make it reach, but wrapping paper isn’t really known for its ability to stretch, and our efforts caused the paper to tear in the corners.  We looked at each other, and then at the clock.  Maybe this time, we had taken it a little too far.  Forced into using additional tape, we did the best we could, and placed the wrapped box back into its “secret” hiding place.  Although there was never further discussion of that incident, we suspect our parents were on to us, as next Christmas, new and improved secret hiding spots were found.

Unable to find future presents after that whole Nintendo fiasco, I was forced to direct my attention elsewhere.  Once again, Christmas Eve was spent at our grandparent’s house, and while I was a little older by this time and had lost some of that excitement that had fuelled me in previous years, my brother being three years younger, more than made up for the difference.  It was his favourite time of the year, and he did not try to hide that fact one bit.  It was Christmas, and he was in his glory.

With new rules put in place by our parents, Christmas morning was not to begin until at least 7:00am, meaning we could not leave our room before that time.  They even went so far as to place a digital alarm clock in our room, with clear instructions that we were not to step one foot out our door until the clock reached 7:00am, if not later.  Surely they had to know that the “if not later” part of their instructions was nothing more than wishful thinking on their part.  We agreed nonetheless, and went to bed without incident.

It was around 11:00pm or so when I was awoken by the sound of my parents and grandparents rustling around in the hallway, before making their way to bed.  I looked over at my brother, in the twin bed next to mine, and he was clearly not affected by the noise, sound asleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in his head.  After some time, and having trouble falling back asleep, I decided to have a little fun.  Quietly, I reached over to the alarm clock, and fumbling around in the darkened room, found the buttons that controlled the displayed time.  With a little adjusting, I managed to move the time forward to 7:00am, then quietly placed the clock back into the small table that separated us. 

I reached over to my brother’s bed, and gave it a little shake, before quickly getting back into a position that would give the appearance that I was in a deep sleep.  It didn’t work, so I tried again.  This time he moved around a little bit, but ultimately went back to sleep.  So I tried for a third time, shaking his bed even harder.  This time he sat up, wondering what had just happened, and looked straight in my direction.  With my eyes opened just enough that I could see through my intermingled eyelashes, I watched.  With great disappointment however, he laid back down.  I thought perhaps I had failed.  But then it happened, he rolled over to face the alarm clock.  Like a fisherman feeling that first little nibble, my heart started beating faster, as I continued to watch through my partially closed eyes.  With just the light of the alarm clock in the room, I could see his eyes open wide when he saw what time it was.  My heart continued to beat faster and faster.  He whispered my name, I pretended to sleep.  He whispered my name again, and I pretended to awaken from my slumber.  “What is it” I asked.  “It’s after 7, we can get up now!” he stated, barely able to contain his whisper.  “Oh, I don’t know, I’m still pretty tired.  I think I’m going to sleep just a bit longer, but if you want to go out, go ahead, and I’ll see you out there in a bit” I replied.  Unable to understand why I wouldn’t be jumping out of bed with him, and excited to begin the Christmas morning festivities, he got up, and opened the door. 

It was still dark, and nobody else was awake (which I suppose was not all that surprising given that it was actually 11:21pm!).  Being considerate as he was, he tried his best to make his way down the squeaky hallway without disturbing others.  I listened intently with each squeaky step, trying to muffle my laughter.  Squeak… squeak… squeak… he continued until reaching the living room.  The squeaking suddenly stopped.  Silence.  I adjusted in my bed to see if I could hear anything, yet still, complete and utter silence.  Squeak… squeak… movement, followed by more silence.  Imagining his face when he saw that the clock in the living room did not match the clock in our bedroom, I could barely contain my laughter.  Squeak.. squeak.. squeak.. squeak… his footsteps slowly made their way back to our room, and he closed the door.  At this point he could hear me laughing, and putting his Christmas spirit momentarily aside, hauled off and punched me in the arm as hard as he could.  I did not fight back, as I knew I deserved that. 

Amongst the gifts I received that morning, a nice new bruise on my arm was one of them.  Little did I know at the time the significance of the real gift I had received that day.  Although he didn’t think it was funny right away, he did eventually find the humour in it, and acknowledged that I had gotten him pretty good.  We laughed about it for years to come, and while the bruise eventually healed and went away, fond memories of that night and many others like it lived on.  As with most things in life, things change, sometimes beyond our control.  While new memories such as these may now be an unfortunate impossibility, I hold on to the old ones, and this is the gift I carry with me, always. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012


As if watching in anticipation as my favourite Baskin Robbins ice cream treat was being prepared wasn't excitement enough, a good day got even better when Young MC's classic hit "Bust a Move" came on the overhead speaker. If ever there was a time for me to break into "the running man" in public, THAT was it! But 4 minutes and 22 seconds is an awfully long time to do "the running man", and I didn't want to get all sweaty.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Let's Get Physical

It had been many years since I last visited a doctor, but thought it was about time I got myself checked out.  With no specific aches or pains to complain about, all I wanted was a routine physical, having really no idea what that entailed beyond what I had heard about in stories, or saw on television.  I’m not going to lie, it was the backdoor finger poke that I most feared.  Although having never actually experienced it, it was the thought of that knuckle deep how-ya-doin’ wiggle that had kept me from making this appointment for so many years in the first place, but I’m not getting any younger, and reluctantly resigned myself to whatever poking and prodding was to be directed my way.

Upon arriving, I immediately headed up the stairs to the second floor office.  I checked in with the receptionist, gave her my Health Card, and in return was handed a small plastic cup.  Having not relieved myself before leaving for the Doctor’s office that morning proved to be a wise decision, as when she asked me if I was able to provide a urine sample right now, I was able to proudly declare “Yes!”  She then pointed me in the direction of the washroom, and told me that once I was done, I needed to take the cup down the hall and place it in the little blue basket.  No problem.  So I went into the washroom, filled the cup to what I figured was a satisfactory level, walked down the hall, and deposited my cup into the little blue basket as requested.  With seemingly nobody around or even within earshot, after a minute or so, I walked back to the reception area, which was also empty, and sat down to await further instructions.

After over five more minutes of waiting, the nurse finally came back out and in a surprisingly non-discreet and giggly voice exclaimed “Oh, there you are!”, as apparently I was supposed to have continued waiting by the blue basket.  She hadn’t told me that.  I could only imagine what the nurses must have been thinking when they watched the minutes tick away, taking far more time than should normally be required to produce the specific type of sample that had been asked of me.  I could just picture them knocking on the door of the empty washroom whispering “Excuse me, this isn’t that type of place mister!”  The way they attempted to muffle their giggles provided all the evidence I needed that it had in fact crossed their mind.

After a quick but knowing laugh, we cleared the air, and they proceeded to measure my weight and height.  No problems there, other than the somewhat shorter than average nurse requiring a stool to obtain a better vantage point of my height measurement.  “How tall are you, anyway?” she asked.  “I could tell you, but since you’ve already pulled out the stool, how about you tell me.” I half-jokingly replied, not allowing her to shortcut her job duties, or the Canadian taxpayers responsible for her salary.  She confirmed what I had already known, I'm tall.  The nurse stepped down, then guided me along the hallway and into the examination room, where she checked my blood pressure.  Again, no problems.  Then she opened a small drawer, pulled out what appeared to be a folded dish rag, and tossed it onto the padded yet paper covered examination bed.  “Here’s your gown” she said.  What the hell??  Where’s the rest of it?  She assured me it was one size fits all, and instructed me to strip down.  “It’s all got to come off?”  I asked, unsure of the protocol, and not wanting to go too far or not enough in any one direction.  “Yes, everything off” she clarified.  And with that she left the room, pulling the door closed behind her.  So I stripped down.  Shoes, followed by shirt, followed by pants, working my way through the various clothing items I had selected to put on that day, leaving me standing in the middle of the room with nothing but the cool air gently caressing my skin.  I stood there, looking out the window, thinking to myself, perhaps blinds or curtains would have been a good idea.  Watching a young couple enjoy their Egg McMuffins at the restaurant below, I tried to recall whether I had maybe seen a suggestion box anywhere along the way, before refocusing my attention.   Examining the gown, I then attempted to put it on.

Having never worn one of these gowns before, I quickly realized it is very different than putting on a jacket, and turned it around the other way.  Finding the little ties somewhat difficult to tie behind my back, but not wanting to yell down the hall to ask for assistance, I awkwardly fumbled away until I figured everything was at least secure enough.  That’s when I noticed that those one size fits all gowns were clearly not made for people 6’-4” tall.  I may as well have been wearing one of my old childhood button-down shirts, backwards!  After a pause, and a deep sigh, I sat down on the examination bed, listening to the crinkling of the paper with every uncomfortable movement I made.

Not remembering the rest of the song, but unable to clear it from my mind, I just kept repeating “Kriss Kross will make you… jump, jump!!  Daddy Mack will make you… jump, jump!!”, figuring it could only have been the backwards gown that made this song suddenly appear from my sub-conscience.  It was then that I noticed the chair that the doctor would be sitting in, and its height in relation to where I was sitting.  I seemed to recall that the doctor was a rather short man, so picturing him in that swivel chair turning around to face me, I mentally measured out roughly where his eye level would be.  Yup, he’d be staring right at my junk, forced into a face to face confrontation with the one-eyed monster.  If there was more material to the gown, I could have at least tried to shield his view a little bit, but despite my efforts, there was absolutely nothing that could be done.  Sharon Stone's famous Basic Instinct scene would be rated PG in comparison.  So I sat there patiently for another 10 minutes, swinging my legs, and reading through the “Do’s and Don’ts of Breastfeeding” poster that was directly in front of me, as it was the only material within view.

Finally the doctor came in and sat down.  As he’s facing away from me and towards his computer monitor, he asks questions, I answer, and he types away, entering some information into my file.  With the administrative part of the examination over, he slowly swivelled his chair around to face me.  TA DAA!!!! HERE I AM!!!  He quickly decided to stand instead.  I later thought jazz hands would have been a nice touch, upset that I didn’t think of it earlier when I had my chance.  We began working our way through all the routine stuff .  He asked me to “Say awww”, so I did, and then he checked out my ears and eyes, with everything going just fine.  Then he instructed me to lie down on my back, so of course I did as I was told.  He felt around my neck, chest, stomach, and for some reason, my feet.  I didn’t quite understand that one, but whatever, he’s the doctor, so I didn’t question it.

He stepped away, opened a small drawer, and pulled out what I can only assume were a fresh pair of rubber gloves.  While I could clearly see the tube of lubricant in that same drawer, he did not apply any to his gloves, which really kind of concerned me as I thought it would have only been courteous.  Instead of asking me to roll over onto my stomach however, which I assumed would have been the next step, he immediately lifted up my gown so that I was exposed from mid-chest downward, and started fumbling around with my junk!  I had been so concerned and focused on the back nine leading up to this day, that I had completely forgotten about the front nine!  I have no idea why, but it was at that very moment that I suddenly realized I had accidently left my lunch in the fridge at home.  What a time for a random thought like that!  So needless to say, that whole turn of events caught me a little off guard.  When he pulled the gown back down to cover what little of me it could, he said “Everything looks good”, to which I replied “Well, thank you”.  I was pleased that he approved, and outwardly declared his endorsement.  He began removing his rubber gloves.

Confused, I continued to lie there, wondering why he would have removed his gloves.  Could it be that he needed the extra keen sensitivity that his bare finger tips offered in order to conduct the more invasive portion of this examination, sensitivity that the thin rubber gloves just could not provide?  I continued to lie there, gulping with increasing apprehension, fearful of a raw dog penetration. 

Unexpectedly, he informed me that I could sit back up, as he sat back down and turned to face his computer.  He typed away, logging his findings into my file.  I sat wondering if I was done, or whether this was just a momentary respite before the main event.  I watched intently to see what he was typing, and was pleased that he was not identifying any concerns.  My blood work and ECG results had all come back, and were also just fine.  With that, he asked me if I had any questions, to which all I could reply was “Is that it?  Are we done?”  He confirmed that we were indeed done, and that he doesn’t need to see me for another two years.  I had worried all that time for nothing!!  The prostate exam that wasn’t.

But here’s the thing. This didn’t just happen to me today, or even this week.  No, this happened to me roughly one and a half years ago, which means my two year anniversary is quickly approaching, and I will once again be called upon for another examination.  I can’t help but start to think about it, the nervousness building, questioning if this time will be the one.  I clench at the thought. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Pulling up to the drive-thru speaker, I placed my order.  "Crunch wrap supreme, please".  Long pause.  "WHA?????"  I repeated my order.  "Crunch wrap supreme, please".  Another long pause.  "WHA?????"  One of the many great things about this Country of ours is our collective willingness to accept people from far away lands, and welcome them into our culture.  Today, I had the great fortune of attempting to interact with one such welcomed addition.  "Crunch wrap supreme, please" I repeated for the third time.  Yet another long pause.  "You do still have the crunch wrap supreme on the menu, don't you?" I inquired.  "Na, don have ih" she replied, as I dropped my face into the open palms of my hands.  "Okay, how about a 3 piece meal, no wings?" I said, seeing as it was advertised in big bold letters on the menu board, and would surely bring an end to any further confusion.  Slightly shorter pause, followed by a quick mumbled statement of some numbers that I assumed represented the price of my purchase.  I pulled ahead to the window, and paid the ever-so-friendly new-to-this-Country lady, receiving what appeared to be the appropriate change.  "Welcome to the Jungle" played on the radio as I patiently waited.  I tapped my foot to the beat.  "Hee yu goh" she said, as she passed the paper bag through the window into my awaiting hands.  "Thank you, have a nice day" I said, and pulled away.  Arriving back at the office, I took off my jacket, sat down, and opened the bag.  Reminding myself once again how awesome this welcoming Country of ours is, and after taking a deep soothing breath, I ate my chicken sandwich.

Now that's a tasty burger

Whilst sitting in the Wendy's parking lot enjoying a tasty single with cheese combo, I was treated to a premium view of a somewhat questionable public display of affection between two adults easily aged 45+.  After more than 30 seconds of full on hot-n-heavy in and out of mouth tongue action, their love for each other brought all new meaning to Wendy's new "Hot and Juicy" slogan, and caused quite the traffic jam as rubber-necked onlookers struggled to prioritize between maintaining their view, or making the right turn.

Badda Boom Badda Bing

Why must there always be that one guy who, when you go to an Italian restaurant and it's his turn to order, suddenly develops a quasi-Italian accent, and fooling nobody but himself, attempts to order his entree as if he was born and raised in the hills of Tuscany?  You don't sound Italian, you sound like an idiot.  And why only at Italian restaurants?  If you really want to sound like a tool, let's go to PF Chang's.

Parking Etiquette

Random observation made while enjoying a Whopper with cheese combo in the comfort of my Murano.  When eating lunch in your car, the method for choosing a parking spot is surprisingly similar to that of choosing a urinal in a men's restroom.  You never want to park right next to another guy eating his lunch, so if at all possible, leaving at least one or two spaces in between is always preferable.  Eye contact should  be avoided at all times, and you also don't ever want to be caught looking at another man's lunch, so it's best to keep your attention focused elsewhere.  Some guys just don't feel comfortable eating so close to another man, which in extreme cases, causes them to pack up their lunch and try another parking spot, or even an entirely different parking lot, in search of a little more privacy.  Oh, and Burger King onion rings suck.


As I walked back to my office after grabbing a bottle of water from the kitchen, I passed a co-worker in the hall who, upon seeing me holding said bottle of water, asked "Are you thirsty?".  I replied "Yup", and we both continued on our way.  It's moments like this where a simple head nod, eyebrow raise, or fake smile as we passed in the hall would have been perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, as clearly he knew the answer before even asking the question.


Last night at the grocery store check-out, as I emptied the contents of our shopping cart ever so neatly onto the conveyor belt in preparation for a quick scan before being placed into our environmentally friendly re-usable bags, I saw it.  Although not normally a huge fan of moustaches, as far as moustaches go, this one was perfect!  Not too heavy, not too light.  Not growing out of control, but not looking like it required a great deal of maintenance either.  Just a good ol' natural moustache, an even greater accomplishment given the apparent young age of this particular cashier.  As impressed as I was however, I just could not bring myself to compliment her on it.


Upon noticing that I was standing across from a wet-talker inflicted with a severe case of moist-mouth, the conversation quickly became secondary, for it was the mouth that was the star of this show.  As my eyes became unwittingly drawn to the building saliva, the corners of the mouth began to web with dampness.  "Why don't they just swallow?" I asked myself, as small bubbles emerged, becoming airborne, glistening from the overhead light, before morphing into darkened spots on the paper below.  "Is nobody else seeing this?" I couldn't help but wonder.  I looked to my left, then to my right, pausing, seemingly alone in my thoughts, before returning my attention to find the squeegee-like tongue corralling its salivary bounty.  Uneasy, and fearful of being caught within the reaches of an untimely sneeze or cough, I took one step backward, hoping the distance created would be enough.  Forcing myself to re-engage in the conversation, our eyes once again met, and I simply replied "No thanks", choosing instead to stick with my originally intended size of soft drink and fries.

Stress Relief

We all have problems and stresses we are forced to deal with in life, of which I've certainly had my fair share.  To clear my mind, and get my thoughts in order, I decided to take a nice leisurely walk down to the pond.  As I strolled along its banks, I paused periodically to gather stones, tossing them into the muddied water, letting my worries just melt away.  Inhale... exhale... breathing in that fresh morning air as the birds chirped, the trees gently swayed, and the butterflies danced gracefully in the breeze, I reminisced of simpler days.  My mind wandered to days gone by, and days still to come.  Finding happiness, and a stronger sense of why I am here, I watched the ripple of the water as each stone skipped along the surface before finally sinking into the depths, taking away with it the stresses I had brought with me.  Relaxed, and at peace with the world around me, I tossed stone, after stone, after stone, until I finally hit the duck!  Yes!!!!  High five!!  Man, that thing just wouldn't shut up!!