Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Cute Little Tail

While digging through some old papers from my college days, I came across several stories that I wrote in creative writing courses. I thought I'd share a few of these stories with you all. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain WTF. If you like any of these stories and wish to repost or use in some way, please don't steal. Ask first. 
This first piece was an allegory assignment.

A Cute Little Tail

Today was the first day of Lilipad High. All the little tadpoles marched into their classroom, ready for Navigating Through Muddy Waters 101.
But the last tadpole to come in made everyone stare. He had a face like a tadpole, and a body like a tadpole. But everyone had to cover their eyes with their tails at the sight of the rest of his tadpole self. He had a tail, but his tail was much shorter than the other tadpoles’ tails. And he had a big…thing that certainly wasn’t a tail sticking from his body.
“Look! Look! What’s wrong with him?” one tadpole inquired.
Biff Toughpole, captain of the Tadpole Swim Team, approached the odd looking tadpole.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
The shy tadpole replied, “I—I’m Billy.”
Suddenly, all the tadpoles in the class began screaming, “Billy’s a freak! Billy’s a freak!”
“You have a frog leg on you...and where’s your tail? You look like a stupid dumb frog!” Biff remarked, “Frogs are stupid and so are you! We don’t want any frogs OR you here with us!”
Biff turned up his gills and swam away.
Billy felt his little tadpole eyes start to well up with tears, so he scurried over to an empty seat. The girl sitting next to him turned and yelled “Get away! You look funny! Get!!!”
Billy got up and swam to a seat in the very back of the classroom where he stayed all alone while the other tadpoles turned and laughed.
Billy couldn’t take this for long, and so in tears he left school early and swam home. When he got home he looked in the mirror and noticed that he was starting to grow another little frog leg and two teeny weenie frog arms. He got really scared and hid under his covers. He was very upset that for some weird reason he was different from the other tadpoles, becoming like a yucky frog and all. But he was even more upset that no one would see past that to get to know him for whom he was.
The next day, Biff Toughpole came to class a little late, with a tiny leg growing from his side…

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Twelve


Day Twelve: Grade Twelve

Grade twelve. I'd come a long way to get there. And as my reward, grade twelve sailed through without a hitch. The only real negative to my grade twelve experiences was that my girlfriend of two years had moved away to Florida, and despite trying to make a long distance thing work, it did not. Oh, and Chemistry 30 was the only course I ever failed...EVER. Not that I needed it to graduate or anything. I was just shocked that I failed. Stupid Mrs. Chastko (or was it Chastiko?)...a person who was as much a turtle as she was a human being. Little hunched lady with big glasses and a constant frown. She was a turtle. And she failed me in Chemistry 30.
Graduation day came and it was a wild rush. I had worn a cheap white dress shirt that was see-through (whoops) and white socks with black pants (whoops x2), but no one seemed to notice or care. In the library before the ceremony, we grade twelve students goofed off and joked, occasionally providing silly poses for the year book committee to sift through at their leisure. The graduation cap felt good. I was excited to be done with school but scared to have to enter the real world. Oh well, time waits for no man. I was going to graduate.
The ceremony itself was pretty lame. Someone decided Mariah Carey's "Hero" was a great song for graduation and the theme of our graduation was "A Hero Lies in You." It was okay. We all took our turns going up on the stage to accept our diplomas from Hitler and then sat down. Once everyone had their walk on stage, we all tossed our caps in the air. It was lackluster.
Once the ceremony concluded, Dean and I decided that we didn't want to hang around outside and hobnob with all the students, faculty, and parents. It wasn't our scene. We detoured from the masses when we got in the hallway and made our escape out a back door. Dean drove me home and then left to return to his home. Sadly, I didn't have my bloody key, so I had to sit on the balcony for a half hour until my parents returned home.
With that, so ended grade school.

And with that, so ends my blog. It's been a fun few months and great to share all these stories, whether funny, sad, or shocking. I hope you enjoyed reading my entries as much as I enjoyed writing them. Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit about me. I appreciate it!


BUT WAIT! Can you feel it? That warm, fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach? No, that's not diarrhea or gas. It's a touchy-feely, feel-good feeling of feeling feelings! But why would you get such feelings at this time? And has the word feeling lost all meaning to you because of my overuse?

Anyway, the answer is simple! It's a Festivus Miracle!

As my Festivus gift to you all, I've decided not to end my blog after all. While brainstorming for ideas of what to write over these last twelve days, I've realized that I still have SO MUCH to share. And share I shall.
While I will be taking a break from writing for a few days, as it is the Festivus holiday season, I'll be back in the new year with some great new tales of adventure, intrigue, and WTFisms.

Have a Happy Festivus and a fantastic new year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Eleven


Day Eleven: Grade Ten and Eleven
Grade ten and eleven were a blur for me. As a result, I'm often uncertain as to what things happened when. Since there's twelve days in The Twelve Days of Festivus and thirteen grades (if you include kindergarten), I figured it a good idea to talk about random crap that happened to me in grades ten and eleven together. 

The White Shoes

In grade ten, Doc Martin shoes were the big fashion deal. Every guy wore a pair. Every guy except me. One day after school, my mum decided to take me for some new shoes. We shopped and shopped and shopped and I found a pair I liked. The next day I wore them to school, and a friend noticed that my Docs had buckles instead of laces. While in hindsight it really didn't matter, to me at the time it was a big deal. Within minutes, my friends were calling me "buckle boy," and it bothered me. I went home at lunch and put the shoes back into the box. I asked my mum if we could return them for a different pair but she said they couldn't be returned and she would not buy me a second pair. What was I going to do? I couldn't wear the buckles!
Digging through the closet, I found a pair of running shoes that were originally purchased as gym shoes but I ended up not needing. They weren't Docs, but they would be better than buckles!
I slapped on the runners and headed back to school. I noticed, upon arrival at the school, that everyone was staring. I looked down and noticed that in the artificial fluorescent lights of the school, my shoes were almost glowing. They were so bright! Blindingly bright, one might even describe. In science class, everyone seemed to be staring at my shoes. Even Mr. Liebel made a comment about how they were so brightly coloured. I was so embarrassed.
After school, as I was walking home, some dude named Jamie came up and mentioned that my shoes were funny, but that all white shoes were bright at first. I guess I felt better to know that once they dirtied, they wouldn't be so awful. Jamie and I walked together until I reached my house. Jamie made some sort of jab at me about my shoes, which seemed to contradict everything he'd said before. Since I didn't like to lose, I retorted with a comment about his pink button-up shirt. I said that it was "gay in the happy way," but he knew what I was getting at.
Jamie was a big guy and a good two years older than me. I should have thought before I opened my mouth. He took a swipe at me to try and grab me and I bolted! With Jamie hot on my heels, I ran up onto my balcony and whipped open the patio door. I pushed the door shut again but Jamie got his fingers in and started to pull the door open. What the hell? Was he going to enter my home uninvited to kick my ass? We struggled with the door for several moments until Jamie just let go of the door. Since I had been pushing the door shut with all my might, when he let go the door slammed shut. Right on my thumb. Ouch.
Jamie immediately noticed the blood gushing from my wound, and he ran like hell. My mum came downstairs to see what all the bother was about. I told her what happened and she looked outside to see Jamie running down the alley. Did she get mad? No. Did she attempt to get him? No. Did she say "poor poor pitiful you" to me? No. My mum looked at me and said "any boy who can wear a pink shirt is brave and comfortable with himself." She then walked away.
??????? WHAT THE HELL, MUM? I tended to my own wound and grumbled down to my bedroom. Oh well, at least the drops of blood on my shoes might have helped to dull the brightness down.

It was around grade ten that I first received my own video game system; a Sega Genesis. Damn I loved that thing. I must have played Sonic the Hedgehog for easily half the week that followed Christmas. I just couldn't get enough. It wasn't the first time I ever used a video game system; I used Jeremy for his Nintendo many times and my dad rented me a Nintendo to play once or twice. But you wouldn't have known considering just how much I played video games when I got my Genesis. 
Down the street from my house, there was a mom & pop video game store called Game Dudes. That place had become my home away from home even before I got a Genesis. Game Dudes had what was cleverly called a "game room" in the back half of the store. In this room, there were several televisions hooked up to several video game systems (Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis). Customers paid a fee and got to play any game that was currently not rented for increments of thirty minutes. I used the game room frequently before I got my Sega. After I got the Sega, I became a regular renter of games from Game Dudes. 
Perhaps the most memorable video game I ever rented was called Landstalker. Landstalker was a quest game after the heart of Legend of Zelda. I don't recall the plot of the game whatsoever. What I do recall, however, was the fact that it was a frustrating effing game! Landstalker was a 16-bit game in 2D, but using isometric design (I believe it was isometric...correct me if I'm wrong) to "fake" 3D. While it did make for a prettier game, it made some parts of the adventure incredibly annoying. There were many points where you had to get your character to jump from platform to platform. But the platforms were at weird angles and when you jumped toward the platform, you would often miss the mark because of the confusing design. If you could overlook the isometric nightmare, there were also some traditionally difficult parts to the game. 
These issues, paired with my impatience, created a perfect storm. I had a love-hate relationship with that game, and anyone within earshot knew about it. Whenever my parents weren't home and I played Landstalker, when I died, I would SCREAM at the television. I would scream and curse and fuss and carry on. I would throw my controller violently down to the ground and onto the nearest chair. Oh the controllers I busted from doing that. My sister often complained that she could hear me spazzing at my game from all the way upstairs in her bedroom. My friend Curt ended up leaving my house multiple times because I was flipping out and being taking it out on him. Basically, I was this guy!
Ah, I loved that game. I think I might play it tonight. Be sure to keep away from the downtown area...just to be safe!

Revenge on Reynolds
If you recall King Tit and the Eraser That Saved My Ass, you know that I received the strap in grade three. I had drawn a collection of naked stick people in my notebooks earlier in the year and was forced to erase every single one of them from every single notebook. It sucked, but I guess it was important I do that to learn a lesson that it's wrong to be curious about human sexuality...
Anyway, later that year, before class with Mr. Simmons was set to begin, several of us were playing tag in the classroom. Electric tag to be specific. Electric tag different from regular tag in that when you tagged a person, you had to make a pulse motion with your hand (like squeezing something) to simulate electricity going into the tagged person. While we were playing, I was tagged from behind and accidentally fell down. People were rushing all about me and I wasn't really paying attention. I threw up my hand to tag the first body that went by. Whoops. I tagged some girl who wasn't even playing the game AND I had groped her junk. I know it sounds like I'm making excuses and I actually did intend to touch her inappropriately, but hand to gawd it was an accident. She was appropriately upset and told me that she was telling on me.
Mr. Simmons entered the room a moment later and began the class. I was terrified that she would tell him. Every minute felt like hours. About half way through the class, Mr. Simmons gave us a test. While I was still writing the test, the girl I sexually assaulted took her test to the front. She then began to whisper something to Simmons and I knew I was pooched.
At the end of the class, Mr. Simmons asked me to stay behind. I did and he asked me what happened. I told Mr. Simmons the truth and he said that he had no choice but to report it to the office. I left the room very scared.
At the end of the week, I was called down to the office. The acting principal while Mr. Turner was away was in his office and asked me to come in. Mr. Reynolds was his name. A thin, balding little twat with glasses, who looked a lot like David Hyde Pierce. He briefly explained that what I had done was wrong and that because I had already been in trouble about something similar, my punishment would have to be the strap.
I remember him taking my hand and folding my thumb into my palm.
"Leave your thumb tucked in. It will hurt less," he instructed. He then began to lash my hand with the leather strap. Three times, and for each lash he said why I had received the particular strike. One for the stick characters, one for the groping, and one so I remember why it's important that I not do either again. Yeah, it seemed somewhat sadistic to me back then and still does now.
I didn't learn a lesson. I just learned to hate Mr. Reynolds. And man could I hold a grudge!
Fast forward to grade eleven. Mr. Reynolds was now assistant principal at my high school. I recognized him in a heartbeat. I told my friends about him and what he'd done and the consensus was that Mr. Reynolds was a douche. Though to be fair, Reynolds had already been firmly established as a douche by the students at the school.
A few days later, I noticed Reynolds pulling into the parking lot in the morning before school. I waited for him to enter the school and then I carefully approached his car. There were cars on either side of his which provided a little cover. Using my house key, I carefully removed the caps from the stems on his tires and proceeded to let the air out of each tire. After a few minutes, I had successfully deflated all four of his tires. I snuck away unnoticed. I didn't return to the scene of the crime at lunch or after school to watch Mr. Reynolds' reaction to finding that his tires were flat as it was too risky. But I like to imagine that he saw the flat tires and in a fit of rage he gave himself the strap three times. Ah, a boy can dream.

There you are. Random shit from grade ten and eleven. I won't lie that these stories lack the same oomph of my usual tales, but high school was pretty boring in regard to weird stuff happening to me. But each of these stories provides a valuable lesson. Don't wear white shoes when you care what people think, don't give a kid with A.D.D. video games, and don't piss me off or I'll deflate your tires! See? When you come to my blog, you not only get entertaining stories...you also get important life lessons.

See you tomorrow for the last entry; Day Twelve!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Ten


Day Ten: Grade Nine
Grade nine was a pretty cool year for me. I'd entered the "big boy" school now and the whole educational experience was so much more mature. Oh, and I lived literally two blocks away from the school, which allowed for some wonderful sleeping in and a nice haven during my spares. High school was intimidating, but it was a lot of fun. 
As with any school, there were a few teachers who were weird, annoying, mean, or otherwise unpleasant. 
There was Mr. Fraser, a man who was easily 5'4" or shorter. What was interesting about Mr. Fraser was that he had an enormous head. Seriously, he was a bobble head. He had a moustache and a parted-at-the-side neatly combed haircut. But the problem was Fraser was that he was ever so boring. He taught social studies and it was a daily struggle for me to just stay awake in his class. And the homework he gave...eff you, Mr. Fraser! EVERY class ended with homework, so every night I had social studies to do at home. Ugh...shouldn't homework be work that isn't completed in class instead of extra crap tacked on after the class is over? But I digress.
Then there was Mrs. Sarienko. She was a rather morose person, at least in appearance. I don't recall ever seeing her smile and she had absolutely no sense of humour. She was droopy and boring and she had some mighty big hair. Remember the episode of Seinfeld called The Kiss Hello in which Elaine's physical therapist had huge outdated hair? She always reminds me of Mrs. Sarienko (or as we cleverly called her behind her back: Mrs. Sarajevo).
There was Mr. Rieb. A tall, lanky, and balding science and English teacher (he taught me science) with horrendous teeth, Mr. Rieb was the epitome of loser. He always wore the same dress shirts and pants (perhaps literally THE SAME, but more likely just a closet filled with white shirts and black or brown pants). He had long, slender, witch's fingers and strange scarring on the top of his bald head (which we called chicken scratches for some unknown reason).  The top of his head was also flat...I guess his parents didn't turn him in his crib when he was young. I dunno. He was a putz and looked like Ryan Stiles as a disheveled hairless pirate with glasses.
And there was Ms. Murray. Holy shit. I'm not sure in what circumstance this woman was conceived, but she surely is the love child of The Joker and The Cheshire Cat. She had the biggest, craziest smile I've ever seen on a real human being living creature. She had a constant smile; even when she was angry and when she was talking to her students...it was creepy. If you got past the smile, you'd notice she had short shower cap hair, a pair of large-framed glasses with those little nubs to attach a string so not to lose the specs, and a serious case of pigeon toe. Seriously, her toes always pointed inward, so whenever she stood, her feet were in an arrow formation.

Now that I've discussed a few of these teachers and their distinct characteristics, you certainly can understand why I felt compelled to create caricatures of them. It was a perfect storm. I loved to draw, I loved to be funny, and these teachers were all so absolutely perfect specimens to caricature. Each of these teachers taught a core subject, and none of them made learning fun at all. I had no choice.
It wasn't long until my caricaturing career came under heavy fire. In Ms. Murray's math class, I was drawing a cute picture of Ms. Murray, with a huge head, pointing at a blackboard. In the speech bubble, she was saying "blah blah blah nobody cares about math but I'm too deluded to realise blah blah blah" or something very similar. It was a masterpiece and Brad was laughing as he repeatedly looked on my desk at the picture I was creating. Unfortunately, while being so involved in my drawing, I failed to notice Ms. Murray walking around the classroom to see how we were progressing with our math questions.
"What's that?" she asked from behind me. I turned and was greeted with a huge grin over her face...she didn't realise what it was yet. I tried to conceal my work, but she reached down and took the paper. Everyone who knew what I was up to looked up in suspense as Ms. Murray gazed at the page. For the first time in my recollection, Ms. Murray, the smiliest smile in the school, stopped smiling.
"Office," she hissed as she grabbed the pile of loose papers, all which had caricatures of the various teachers above. Yep, I was screwed. Ms. Murray escorted me in silence to the office and she then went into the principal's office to tell him what happened. She then stormed out to return to the classroom. It was only moments before Alf Gould, or as his students lovingly called him, Hitler, asked me to come into his office and have a seat. We sat in silence while he flipped through the many pictures I had drawn, occasionally shaking his head in disapproval. Once he looked through the pictures, he looked up and asked me how I thought I'd feel if people drew caricatures of me. To be honest, I would love it. I drew caricatures of myself a lot as well. But for the sake of the point I already knew he was trying to make, I said I wouldn't like it. Then came the spiel about how it's rude, disrespectful, and hurtful. I said I was sorry and hoped that was the end of it. But that's never the end of it, is it?
I had to go to each of the above teachers and apologize for what I did. WTF? Fraser, Rieb, and Sarajevo Sarienko had never seen the images before, so what was the point in apologizing? What they didn't know didn't hurt them. But Hitler's mind was made up. Fine. I returned to class and actually DID my math work until the bell rang. After class, I approached Ms. Murray, whose smile had returned, and I told her I was sorry for drawing the caricatures. She seemed to accept my apology and said she hoped that I would start paying more attention in class. One down, three to go.
Well, one down, zero to go in my mind. It was a gamble, but I decided not to bother saying anything to the other teachers and hope that Hitler wouldn't touch base with them about what happened. I thought I was getting away with it...until the Friday that week. It was the last class of the day on Friday when the office contacted my classroom and asked me to come to the office. I packed up my crap and began my stroll down to see Hitler. I knew it was about the caricatures. I lost the bet and he checked up on me. Dammit.
In Hitler's office, he asked me to sit down. I braced for the berating and punishment. But to my surprise, he only asked if I had apologized to the teachers.
Quick decision; do I lie or tell the truth? Of course, I lied. I said I apologized and that it was all good. Gambling again, Dave. Not wise! However, Hitler seemed to be content with my answer. He said that he didn't want to see me in his office again (about the caricatures or in general I'm unsure). I said okay and got the fuck out of there. Instead of returning to class, I went home. There was only ten minutes left so it wasn't a big deal, right? Monday morning I got called down to the office AGAIN. This time for skipping class. FFS, Hitler!
You'd think this experience would have soured me on drawing caricatures of my teachers, but it only strengthened my resolve. What, then, did I learn from it?
To hide my work more carefully in the future!

I wish I had a scanner to put some of the caricatures that weren't confiscated up for you all to see. Someone lend me a scanner already!!!

See you tomorrow for Day Eleven!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Nine


Day Nine: Grade Eight
One of the greatest memories of grade eight was the aforementioned Footballhead comic strip and drawn mental institution that Mike Ritchie and I drew instead of paying attention in class (see Day Five for a few details)...and rests assured when someone lends me a decent scanner, I will get them all posted for your amusement. Because I don't have the visuals, I've opted to tell a different story from grade eight.

One of my favourite parts of grade eight was Ms. Allen...well, there were several parts of Ms. Allen that I liked. She was a smokin' hot teacher...blonde, thin, great butt...she made learning difficult for us boys (and probably a lesbian or two) because every time she turned to write on the white board, we just weren't looking at what she was writing. She also wore these teeny little skirts all the time. Was she a teacher or some sort of $&#@ teasing stripper? Who knows. But she was really nice and knew her stuff, as well as being the subject of many a student's dreams, so she was a welcomed addition to the Meadowbrook School faculty.
Ms. Allen taught outdoor education as she was a huge outdoor buff. While the classroom stuff was pretty tedious, she scheduled tonnes of day trips and even a couple of overnight field trips. The trips always involved activities better suited for a gym class than outdoor ed, but no one was complaining. Ms. Allen even had "field trips" just outside the school on occasion. For example, there was one day in which our classroom was filled with an unbearable odor...body odor to be exact. You see, a heinous little ginger named Melanie (or as we nicknamed her; Smellanie) never wore deodorant. No one was really sure why Smellanie didn't wear any pit-stick...maybe she was allergic to it or maybe she just wasn't very skilled in personal hygiene. One of the counselors actually took her aside and talked to her about it because the smell was so bad and it LINGERED in every room she had a class. Most unpleasant. Anyway, the point is that Ms. Allen, being a merciful woman, decided to move our class outside so we didn't have to endure the odor! Awesome!
All right, back on track. One of the trips that Ms. Allen had scheduled was out near the mountains. It was an overnight trip and I was pumped to be able to go. I got to miss school and try my hand at skiing. What fun! We boarded the bus and went on our way to adventure. On arrival at the location (I don't recall the name of it, but it may have been Ribbon Creek...or was that the name of the venue of my Grade Six horrible camping week?), we spent very little time dropping off our stuff before Ms. Allen had us out and about on our skis. Ms. Allen headed off our cross country skiing adventure and at first I thought I was pretty hot shit on the slats.
However, it wasn't long until we reached a hill. Ms. Allen explained that the best way to climb up a hill in skis was to curve your feet inwards and then dig the sides of the skis into the snow. Everyone seemed to have an easy go at it...except me. I don't know what the hell happened, but I could NOT get up that hill. It wasn't a 90 degree angle or anything. It was a gentle slope that an old lady with no arms or legs could climb! But fuck if I could get up that hill. Ms. Allen and her then fiance tried to help me by barking instructions but it just wasn't working. I made it about half way up the hill and then took a tumble back to the bottom. After a few minutes of letting me look like a fool, they helped me up the hill. Ms. Allen said there was a lot of ice on the hill and so I shouldn't be embarrassed. Fuck that. No one else had trouble.
Once I was on level ground, I began to ski ahead. I was a wizard at skiing when it was a flat surface. I was fast, graceful, and most impressive. However, that was my downfall. Ms. Allen likely thought I'd found my groove and so she and her fiance went up ahead to catch up with the group. Things were fine until...hill #2. Wouldn't you know it? I couldn't get up that fucker by more than a few feet! After about five minutes of trying to get my ass up that hill, I had a ragequit. I threw off my skis and walked up the damn hill. Once I was at the top, I strapped on the skis again and continued on my way. However, I was now several minutes behind the pack. That wouldn't have been much of a problem, since I was so good on the skis when not going uphill. However, there was one obstacle that speed could not aid me in.
I reached a fork in the pathway after about ten minutes of skiing. And just to stick it to me, both routes looked to be equally worn and used by skiers.  I was so far behind that I had no hints as to what way the class went, so I picked a route randomly. I went left.
The trek to find my class or at least find my way back was wonderful. The views were magnificent atop some of the biggest hills (which I climbed without my skis of course) and I loved being enveloped by all those beautiful trees. In fact, I was having such a good time that I lost track of time. The class had started skiing at about 10:00AM. The class returned to the cottage at about noon. I finally found my way back to the cottage at a few minutes before 4:00PM.
Ms. Allen seemed to be so worried. She actually gave me a hug (giggity giggity oww oww) and said that she was thinking about getting people together to look for me (a search party or just students? I don't know). Apparently, the rest of the class had just been sitting around waiting for me to return. I got a few dirty looks...sorry guys. I explained to Ms. Allen the situation and she said it was important not to stay too far behind. WHAT? I thought the rule was to go as fast as the slowest person? She mentioned that she thought I was right with her and the class the whole time. Excuses, much?
With my safe return, the class decided to have their scheduled afternoon ski a little later than originally planned, since I had been missing. Ms. Allen asked who was coming and who was not. Not wanting to get fucked again, I opted to stay at the cottage. The only other person to stay was Tracy Gold. Ah, good ol' Tracy. I'd known her since grade three. She was overweight in grade three, and so I always tricked her into bowing in front of me. Why? So I could see her cleavage (I was a pervert back then, and if you didn't know that, be sure to read King Tit and the Eraser That Saved My Ass)! Tracy and I were friends in grade three. But now, while she was still overweight, we were no longer friends. We didn't even talk despite being in the same room that day. However, that didn't stop the other students and their assumptions. For the rest of grade eight, there was a lame rumour that Tracy and I had the sexy-time while we were alone. Ugh. I would have much preferred the rumour involved me and Ms. Allen. Oh well.

So to recap, the field trip sucked. I thoroughly embarrassed myself, managed to get lost for over five hours, and became the subject of a rumour that I was slapping Tracy's thighs to ride the waves. So why is it such a good memory for me? Was it the view? Was it being out with nature instead of in stuffy classrooms? Was it because I learned a valuable lesson about not going uphill in skis? Or was it because Ms. Allen was wearing a really tight sweater AND hugged me? You be the judge.

See you tomorrow for Day Ten!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Eight


Day Eight: Grade Seven
Grade seven was a somewhat fun year. There was a neat-o eclipse that happened and despite being warned several times, Betsy looked directly at it. Betsy said she was seeing spots, and the science teacher told her that she was lucky to see at all. Mr. Sweatingham. Yes, that was really his name. What kind of a teacher comes to the table with a name like Sweatingham? How are students supposed to come up with clever nicknames when the real name is worse than anything we could conjure? 
Mr. Sweatingham was a thin dude with a crooked smile, squinty eyes, and neatly groomed "Steven Harper to the side part" hair. He always wore sweater vests for some reason, and most students dreaded getting too close to Sweatingham for fear of his rancid coffee breath. Mr. Sweatingham wasn't a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination. But his name was Sweatingham, so we had to dislike him. He also pronounced "film" as "fillum," and his voice occasionally squeaked when he talked.

One week during my seventh year at school, the school was "taken over" by some sort of arts group. The philosophy of this group was to make learning fun, I suppose. The educational value of this week of arts provided was debatable, but it made for a fun and slack week, so I didn't complain. Instead of math, language arts, and science, we had classes about calligraphy, painting, and dance. There was even a course on how to sew plush toys and puppets.
This class was my favourite of the week. The goal was to make some sort of plush creation as a gift to friends or family. But a few of us rebels decided to do something a bit more...entertaining, instead. Travis came up with the brilliant idea of making voodoo dolls of people we knew. I took it a step further and said we should make them of our teachers. Travis chose Mr. Hatt, a miserable, balding, four-eyed ginger with a chip on his shoulder and a penchant for yelling. However, Hatt never really rubbed me the wrong way. I instead chose Mr. Hilton, our super-spazz industrial arts teacher (and man did that guy flip out a lot) and good ol' Mr. Sweatingham. 
My Sweatingham voodoo doll was by far the best. He was made out of a pair of pantyhose, stuffing, and some tweed-like material for his pants. All quite accurate. I didn't give him a shirt, because there was no argyle material available. I drew it on instead. With button eyes and a safety pin nose, my voodoo Sweatingham was a work of art. We wasted no time once our creations were completed. Using sewing needles of varying sizes, we poked and prodded the dolls. I have no idea if it worked at all, but we weren't feeling we had done enough.
At the end of class, I decided to show Mr. Sweatingham my creation (leaving out the fact that it was a voodoo doll and that I had tortured it a mere minutes before). Mr. Sweatingham laughed and seemed to be almost flattered that I made it. Unfortunately, he had no idea what was going to happen to it...
Later in that day, during gym class, the arts group changed gym to some sort of nature walk. We had to walk the 2km run route and draw things that we saw around us. The voodoo gang took no part in the drawing. We had better plans. We took out our voodoo dolls and began to boot them up into the air. Sweatingham took a nasty beating when I smashed the doll into a tree trunk, causing it to rip a bit when it got caught on a piece of bark. Fortunately we brought spare needle and thread, so a quick operation and Sweatingham Jr. was good to go. 
As we walked, we ended up travelling parallel to East Lake Blvd in Airdrie. The fun could now really begin. Without really thinking, I launched Sweatingham Jr. out into the road. I waited for cars to pass by. Sadly, cars avoided the doll, likely because they feared it was filled with nails or bombs or whores. But after a short while, we struck a jackpot! A car drove over Sweatingham Jr. and Sweatingham Jr. tussled and danced under the vehicle before being spat out the back. It was awesome! But the best was yet to come! 
A few moments later, a big cube truck came barreling around the corner. Mr. Sweatingham Jr. didn't stand a chance. The voodoo doll got run down by the front wheel and then bounced due to the draft under the vehicle. Then, somehow, the doll got hung up on something under the truck. I could see Mr. Sweatingham Jr. jiggling beneath the chassis of the truck, being beat against the back tire repeatedly. Tears came to my eyes from all the laughter. Travis chucked Mr. Hatt Jr. into the street as well for some nasty hit-and-run action. Thinking Mr. Sweatingham Jr. was gone, I continued walking back toward the school. 
As I approached the intersection at which I had to turn to get back to school, I looked on to the road. A twisted lump of nylons and exposed stuffing lay still in the middle of the road. Mr. Sweatingham Jr. had escaped his terrible fate! I retrieved the doll from the road and carried it back to school. It was in such bad shape, nearly in two! It was going to take more than a little thread to fix him now. I got back to the school and began heading back to the room in which all the materials were located so I could fix Sweatingham Jr. Unfortunately, while I walked down the hall, Mr. Sweatingham exited the staff room and saw the doll in my hand.
"What happened to it?" he asked, his mouth moving to a crooked smile and expelling the epic coffee break.
"We had a little accident with a truck. We have to get to ER, stat!" I jokingly said. Mr. Sweatingham's smile faded and he looked downright pissed. He stopped me and asked me again what happened. I bent the truth and said that a fellow student threw the doll into the road and it was run over and now I wanted to fix it. Mr. Sweatingham didn't believe me, I'm sure. He gave me a dirty look and said that we should "have a talk about respect soon." I continued on my way to fix the doll. 
Sadly, the doll was beyond repair. The pantyhose were all ripped and raggedy, and where it wasn't torn it still had runs through it. It was truly a lesson of the dangers of walking (or being tossed) into a street without looking. Anyway, the head was still good, so I snipped it off, sewed it up, and attached it to my backpack with a key ring. For no reason other than to piss Mr. Sweatingham off.
Mr. Sweatingham never mentioned the doll again, nor did he engage me in a "respect" talk. But I'm sure he saw his doll's head dangling from my backpack for the remainder of that week. At some point before the end of the week, someone stole the voodoo doll head from my pack. I have no idea who it was, but I have a suspicion it was Mr. Sweatingham. Double-entendre "head" jokes aside, I'm sure he just wanted it to be destroyed. 
Little did Mr. Sweatingham know...I had made a spare. :)

See you tomorrow for Day Nine!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Seven


Day Seven: Grade Six
Ah, grade six. The worst grade of my entire education. I'm confident that the reason grade six got off to such a bad start was because of puberty. I was a bit of a late bloomer, so while all my friends were getting deeper voices, hairs down there, and strong interest in the fairer sex, I was still into superheroes and toys.

Shit...maybe I STILL haven't hit puberty. 

Anyway, today you get not one but two stories since I was unable to recall anything significant from grade five in yesterday's post.

Grade six saw me start to become isolated from friends and peers. I wasn't hated or teased or picked on though. I had it much worse. I simply disappeared. Ever seen that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the girl who was ignored so much at school that she became invisible? While I never achieved literal invisibility, I did so figuratively. Sure, I had a friend or two in every clique, making me something of a liaison friend. But for the most part it was like I didn't exist.
It was hard enough to feel as though I didn't exist, but what made matters worse was a bully. His name was Ryan Melrose, and he was your textbook bully. He was fat, mean, held back a grade, and took pleasure in picking on those who were smaller than him. I'm completely confident that he had a rough go at home (perhaps his dad raised a hand to him which created this cycle...who knows). At any rate, I had the misfortune of having a locker right next to his. Whenever he and I happened to be at our lockers at the same time, he took advantage of his blubbery girth. He's push me into the lockers or punch me or do that annoying knuckle drag down my spine (if you're unfamiliar with it, I'll show you some time...it hurts). He was a pathetic prick.
One day about half way through the year, I was walking home after school. Walking down an alley, I noticed something resting atop a drift of snow. It was a pencil with a snowglobe topper. In the snowglobe was a little plastic Slimer (yes, from Ghostbusters). I really liked The Real Ghostbusters so I picked it up. Finders keepers, right? The next day, I brought the pencil with me to school and started showing people. Then came the trouble. Ryan stormed over to me and demanded to know where I got the pencil from. I told him where I found it and he proceeded to call me a liar. Out of nowhere, he accused me of breaking into his locker and stealing a bag of his Micro Machines, which also happened to have a Slimer pencil in it. Ryan then went and told our teacher, Mr. Lee, that I stole his crap. To the principal's office I went. I explained to Mr. Weed (lawl) that I just found it in the snow on my way home and he seemed to believe me. Maybe he didn't, but there was absolutely no evidence that the pencil was even the same one that belonged to Ryan, let alone that I stole it. I was sent back to class and hoped it was over.
A few periods later, in gym class, our gym teacher (again, Mr. Lee) made the class run some laps before beginning the day's activities. While running, Alan Davies came along next to me and began to talk to me. After a brief bit of small talk, Alan asked me what really happened regarding the Slimer pencil. I told Alan exactly what had happened, as it was the truth. Alan seemed to believe me and that should have been that. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Mr. Lee called me over to the corner. Mr. Lee explained that Alan had come to him and told him that I confessed to stealing the bag of Micro Machines. WTF????? That fucking little cock outright lied to Mr. Lee and for what? Just to get me in trouble?
Off to the principal I went again. I explained what happened, and Weed repeatedly told me that I should just confess to stealing the toys and return them. He told me there would be no penalty. But I had no toys to return. All I did was find a pencil in the snow. I was grounded when Weed told my parents what happened, despite my continued testimony of innocence. No one believed me anymore. The student body all thought I was a thief, as did the faculty. Fuck you, Alan. Seriously. Fuck you.
I have no idea who actually stole the items, but I bet they saw me catching heat for it. I'd even be willing to bet that Alan was the thief, and this was his super-clever way to ensure my framing was a success. I don't see any other motivation to his behaviour other than pure anti-social pleasure.

Unrelated second story:

Later in my grade six year, there was a big field trip. It was a week-long trip to some cabins out west. I'm really unsure what the point of the trip was other than to break up the monotony of classroom learning. I really really didn't want to go. I would have much rather stayed at the school and did petty filler projects that be forced to go camping with my entire grade. Remember, I was ousted. There was no value in my being there.
Sadly, my mum forced me to go. I am not sure what she was thinking, but it was likely that she just wanted a break from me for a week. So off I went to this weird camp. At the camp, there were two large dorms, one for the boys and one for the girls. There was also a large cottage for all students to share (for meals and free time activities). It was a pretty beautiful location, but I didn't really appreciate it since I was busy fuming for being carted off against my will. We had a few teachers from the school come along as chaperons, including Mr. Greyson from Grade five. There were also several people from the high school who came as camp counselors. Fun.
Our days were mainly filled with field education courses, such as looking at tadpoles and frogs and discussing the evolutionary principles of the amphibian, or going on a long tedious hike and talking about erosion. Yay. But it wasn't all boring shit like that. On the Wednesday, Mr. Greyson and some counselors took a group of the grade six students to a forested area to play a game. The Game of Life (aka The Animal Game). If you're unfamiliar, the premise was that each person chose an animal, from mouse to tiger, and one of the teachers played "disease." Each person was given a number of "lives" in the form of cards on a ring. The players who were animals low on the food chain got more lives than those higher up, as the higher up animals had fewer predators.
I chose mouse. I was fast, and it gave me lots of opportunity to hide and run. At first, the game wasn't very much fun. We were all in very close proximity, and you had to give your card to a predator on sight, not on touch. But after a short while, the herd thinned and I began to really play the game. In fact, I think I took it too seriously. I ran and ran and ran deeper into the forested area so that I stood a better chance of "survival."
Unfortunately, I ran a bit too far. In fact, WAY too far. After about fifteen minutes, I was very very lost. With no compass and a thick canopy of trees, I had no idea what way was north. I tried going back the way I came, but since I didn't go in an exact straight line, backtracking didn't go so well.
Minutes became hours. I wandered around, surprisingly not frightened or even concerned but rather having a fun adventure. It sure beat the afternoon "school" activities that were planned. As I continued to walk, the sun began to set. It was then I realized that I could be in a bit of a mess. However, as I walked, I stumbled upon a rope. The rope had signs attached to it that said something along the lines of "do not pass" and I knew that I'd reached the boundaries of the area reserved for visitors to the camp. Following the rope, I eventually was able to work my way out of the forested area. Everyone was gone, so I trekked back to the camp.
I was so proud. I'd lost only one life, whereas most students lost all their lives. I survived with flying colours, even if I was lost for about four hours. I returned to the camp triumphant. But that feeling melted when I entered the common area.
No one even knew I was gone. Greyson never counted heads when they left the forest. I went to Mr. Greyson to return the life cards, and he asked me why I didn't turn them in when he asked earlier. I told him I was lost in the trees until now and he seemed sincerely shocked. But instead of apologizing for forgetting one of his students, he berated me for not staying close and not yelling for help (it was a big area...WTF). He then told me I was not permitted to go on the next fun activity the next day (I don't remember what it was but I did want to participate). He told me he had a mind to make me run laps up and down the steep staircase that led up from the cottage to the dorms (this staircase was used as punishment when the boys attempted to enter the girl's dorm one night and it was apparently quite a painful experience for them), but he felt I'd learned my lesson.
Thanks. I get lost and he forgets me. But for some reason I get punished for it. I used to adore Mr. Greyson, despite his rather rough personality, until this point. But now, he was just another asshole.
The rest of the trip was pretty dull, with the exception of camping out at an old shack on the final night. There was no electricity and we had to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor, but myself and a friend told ghost stories which freaked out some of the girls. That was fun.
When I returned to Airdrie, I didn't bother telling anyone about Greyson's behaviour. It didn't seem to have much value. After the Slimer pencil, I learned that no one believed anything I said.

Grade six was a bad year. It was the worst year of my educational career and the worst year of my life. Fortunately, when you hit bottom, you can only go up from there.

See you tomorrow for Day Eight!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Six


Day Six: Grade Five

Grade five was one of the best grades of my life, topped only by grade twelve (as twelve was the swan song to an educational system I did not like). While it was an odd change of pace for me to now have to walk to the different classrooms rather than having the teachers all walk to our classroom, I had some cool new teachers, my school was now much less of a walk from home, and I befriended some cool new kids.
The problem with grade five is that it was, for the most part, uneventful. After some brainstorming, I couldn't recall any funny, sad, or touching experiences that I had during the grade. Unfortunately, that makes for a pretty lame day six entry. Therefore, I've decided to just share a few odd events that occurred during grade five. Random, unrelated, and short. Enjoy.

1. Bartmania. Late 1989 saw the beginning of a legendary television show. You may have heard of it; The Simpsons. When that show first came out, I was OBSESSED with it. Yeah, I was obsessed with several things during grade five...when Batman came out, I constantly tried to be a superhero. I tried to invent a billy club with grapple like Daredevil had and I'm sure you've read Dave Wayne...aka Batboy! I also was obsessed with Ninja Turtles to the point of having dangerous rebar fights in homes under construction (awesome!).
But Simpsons was likely the biggest "fad" of grade five. What was interesting is that during the first year or two of The Simpsons run, Homer was not the most popular character as he is now. It was Bart. And man did I ever love Bart. I imitated him whenever possible, which saw me no end of trouble in school. If you are old enough to recall, when The Simpsons first came out, it was abhorred by parents. So much so, that many parents forbade their children from even watching it. My parents weren't crazy and so they let me watch it. The problem was that I took what I saw to school with me, which pissed off the school to no end (after all, the school had to ensure that the children of crazy censoring parents didn't hear such horrible phrases as "eat my shorts" or "don't have a cow, man"). I was sent to the principle's office at least a half dozen times because I quoted Bart. One time I was marched down to the office AND THEN sent home. Why? Because I had a shirt with Bart Simpsons on it that said "Eat My Shorts." Yeah.
I refused to be censored, which is why I kept getting into trouble. All in all, it was such a stupid thing for the school to have a cow about. Eat my shorts, Meadowbrook School. Eat my shorts.

2. The Duck Award. At the end of grade five, Mr. Greyson, my homeroom teacher (and he also taught me math I think) handed out some cute laminated awards to his students. They were themed like diplomas only they had silly names. He printed them out on his Commodore 64 or something. They were cool.
I received The Duck Award. I know what you're thinking. "That makes no sense." But Greyson had gone somewhere with it. The award said "The Duck Award: Because David Always Quacks Up In Front of the Class." I admit I quacked up when he handed it to me. I still have it too. It's that awesome.

3.The swimming pool. Speaking of obsessions, there has been one constant favourite of mine since I was a few years old. Doctor Who. Sometimes in my childhood, I took that interest a few steps too far. I took Nick for a trip through time in Port-O-Potty Time Machine.I had a large cardboard box with a door cut out as a makeshift TARDIS. I taped the episodes every Saturday night and watched them first thing Sunday morning. And alas, sometimes I dressed the part as well.
On a trip to the Airdrie swimming pool with my school, it was a bit of a nippy day. What better opportunity to wear a scarf. I had a colourful knitted scarf that my mum had given me a few years before as it was (very slightly) similar to The Fourth Doctor's scarf. I wrapped it around my neck with pride. I also stuffed my pockets with random crap...the Doctor always had things in his pockets and I did the same. I had a yo-yo, bouncy rubber balls, elastic bands, magnifying glass, flashlights, jacks, thimble, 5 1/4" floppy disk, pens, pencils, folded paper, napkins, small metal plates, a tire gauge (made for a great sonic screwdriver), and so much more. My pockets bulged as I walked with friends to the pool. When we got to the pool, we had to all wait in the lobby for the geriatrics to finish their flabby flaps. In the lobby, I began to pull out item after item. It amused many people, including some much younger children who were also waiting to get in the pool. Some peers looked at me like I was a lunatic. It was great. For a while there, I really felt like The Doctor.

4. Carrie Anne Cundiff. When I began thinking about my fifth grade times, she was the first thing to come to my mind. What can I say about Carrie Anne? She was the epitome of brown-nosing goody goody two-shoes. She was always the one to toss her hand up to answer questions, always the one to sweet-talk the teachers, and always the one that we wanted to throw head-first into a dumpster. She had no friends...and was that any wonder? She was ANNOYING.
One day in class, I asked her a question. I don't recall the question, but I do recall that she replied with a mumble. I asked her to repeat herself and she said to me "Nope, I never eat my cabbage twice."
WHAT THE FUCK? I repeatedly asked her to repeat what she said because I just didn't hear her the first time, but she would only respond with "I never eat my cabbage twice, I never eat my cabbage twice, I never eat my cabbage twice." Well perhaps you would like to eat my foot, you butt-kissing little freak!
Speaking of freak, during Halloween in grade five, we all got some treats from one of our teachers. When she was handed a sucker, she said to the teacher (and in front of the entire class) that she had to refuse the sucker. It was purple, and her mother did not allow her to have dark-coloured suckers. She exchanged for an orange one and seemed content. But why? WHY would her mother not allow dark-coloured suckers but the light-coloured ones were acceptable? Was it some sort of uneducated belief that somehow the lighter-coloured variety had less sugar? Or was it the food colouring that the mother was concerned would stain Carrie Anne's teeth? Or was this simply a lineage of insanity? I must know!

There, a few snippets from grade five. Like it, don't like it. I don't care. It's not like you're paying to read these stories!
See you tomorrow for Day Seven (a double feature of grade six stories)!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Five


Day Five: Grade Four

Ah, good ol' grade four. Mr. Hodgins (known to his students as Mr. Hodgikins...we thought it was funny) was a decent teacher and it was a period of change for us students...we were the big fish in the pond that was R.J. Hawkey but soon we'd be shipped off to Meadowbrook School and become tiny once again. I don't remember a lot from grade four, but that's not necessarily bad. That just means it was uneventful for the most part. Yes, that was the year that Sam and I got in shit for laughing at pictures of penises and vaginas during a sexual education course (come on, we were eight or nine years old). And yes, that was the year of the epic King Tit drawing that nearly got me the strap a second time. That was the year that the Olympic Winter Games were in Calgary; the school had a relay around the city of Airdrie, each student running about fifty feet before passing the lame red candle to the next student. Good times, those. But there was one time that was a bit less good.

In the spring of 1988, I was attending one of Mr. Ingle's (spelling?) science classes. We were learning about butterflies and he passed around a frame with several different species of dead butterfly under the glass. I distinctly remember this because it was while holding the frame that something began to go very wrong. While holding the frame and tapping on the glass (just to make sure the butterflies weren't actually alive), my stomach began to turn. I wasn't sure what was going on but I thought that I had to go poo. Passing the frame along, I concentrated to try and keep whatever was happening at bay. After all, I was in the back of the classroom and I didn't want to have to run wildly with my hands covering my ass walk past all the eyes of my fellow students! So I focused and suppressed whatever was going on down there.
I felt better for the remainder of class and assumed that whatever was going on had now passed for good. However, as the bell rang and I retrieved my books from my desk tote (you remember those plastic drawers that went under your desk to store your crap), things started to go very wrong. My stomach began doing what I can only describe as a headstand and I realized that it wasn't #2 that I had to do (lawl) but rather a regifting of my breakfast topside.
If you can't crack my code, I mean I had to throw up. Barf. Technicolour yawn. Ralph. Spew. Bile geyser. Toss my cookies. Blow chunks. Heave. Vurp. Show a chunky rainbow. Upchuck. Puree spray. Unswallow. Puke. Review breakfast. Hurl. Basically, I had to vomit! And it was coming FAST!
I pushed through my classmates to the door and into the hallway. Students were milling about on their way to class unaware of the urgency that I faced. I began a race to the bathroom so that I could hop aboard the porcelain bus in time to pay my fare. Sadly, I didn't make it. Shit, I didn't make it five paces from the science lab door.
BLLLLARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG!!!! I woofed my breakie in the middle of the busy hallway. Dave-yack erupted from my mouth in a steady stream of chunky puce that I didn't think would ever end. It hit the floor. It hit the wall. It hit easily a dozen innocent passersby. I had leggo'd my Eggo in a big way. The children screamed and shouted and scrambled every which way. Tears poured down the faces of some girls that had a front row seat to my de-chumming as my stomach emptied of Cap'n' Crunch and 2% milk. I ran as fast as I could, ignoring the pleas of a teacher not to run in the halls. I got into the washroom and locked myself in one of the stalls. I had never been so embarrassed (except maybe after my failed sand experiment a couple of years before). I might have stayed there forever.
While I was hiding, and yes, crying, two boys entered the washroom. One kid I didn't recognize by voice and the other was Chris Steele. The first kid began to make fun of me and talk about how funny it was that I yodeled cream in the hallway. As the kid continued to laugh and insult, Chris stopped the kid and said:

"You know, you shouldn't laugh about it. It could have happened to you. And [Dave's] in here, you know."

The other kid stopped talking and they both washed up and left the washroom.I remained the bathroom for what seemed like forever. Mr. Hodgins came in and asked if I was all right. He had a spare shirt from my cubby hole locker thingy and told me to get washed up and come back to class. I got washed up but I went to the office and said I wasn't feeling well instead. I stayed in the little infirmary thing until it was time to go to the babysitter's house. Bad, bad times.

I'm not sure if Chris defended me because I needed the help or because I was in the bathroom and he just felt bad, but it was still nice of him to say something. Nine year old boys aren't renowned for their tact and sensitivity, so it was great that Chris bucked the trend.
I always viewed Chris as a pretty good guy from that point on. You would think, therefore, that I'd feel guilty about Mike and me drawing a comic strip in grade eight that centered around Chris (Chris was a super villain with the luck of Wile E. Coyote and the name "Footballhead Kid." - in real life, Chris' head was slightly elongated from front to back, making for great caricature fodder). To be fair, there were a lot of students in Mr. Anderson's class in grade eight that became a part of our comic strip (sorry Kris haha). Hell, Mike and me also had a HUGE "mental institution" drawn on halfscap (half a piece of foolscap) pieces and taped together that featured basically EVERYONE in our grade and all our teachers too...we weren't all that big on paying attention in class, you see. Both the comic strip and the institution I still own. Maybe I'll scan and post them for everyone to see.
Anyway, I stopped feeling bad about the comic strip in grade nine when Chris ruined the ending of Alien 3 for me the day I was planning to watch it. Ass. I spared his life, but only because he stood up for me those many years ago when I was a devastated kid hiding in a bathroom stall.

The goulash gush is never something anyone wants to do in front of others, especially dozens of judgmental little twats in grade school. Fortunately it never happened to me again (in fact, I haven't fertilized my feet since 1994...that's right, NOT ONCE since early 1994). The only piece of advice I can offer students who are feeling ill today...don't worry about running out of your class early to use the washroom. It's a much better alternative to waiting too long and painting your peers with stomach spray. It's best to provide an offering to the porcelain goddess when you're actually in front of her, you know?

The moral of the story? Don't fucking ruin the endings of movies for people! It pisses them off!
See you tomorrow for Day Six!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Four


Day Four: Grade Three

Ah, grade three. That year was interesting. I liked school again, after a dreadful second year. Mr. Simmons was a really cool teacher, and Mr. Ingels (spelling?) had a boa constrictor in his science lab. What wasn't to like? Admittedly it was not without its bad times, though. After all, it was grade three in which I got busted for the stick-people porn and ended up getting the strap (see King Tit and the Eraser That Saved My Ass).Grade three was also a landmark year in my life because it was when I first met a bully.

One day after school in the fall of 1986, I was leaving the school after staying late for a detention (no, I don't remember what I did to get detention, but I was helping Mrs. Miller in the library putting books back). Because it was after the dismissal time, there was no one about outside. The perfect setting for a predator.
As I was walking through the playground, I took out a Super Powers Flash action figure from my pocket. The Flash was so cool! You squeezed his arms together and his legs moved to "simulate" that he was running. I loved that toy so much.
Anyway, while I was walking and playing with my Flash, two kids came up to me. One was quite tall and then other noticeably short by comparison. I remember distinctly that the taller kid's face was acne ridden (as I didn't know what it was at the time) and so that puts the bullies at least in middle school if not high school. They were much older than me for true. The younger one seemed to be the "leader" and did all the talking. He asked me what I was doing out all alone. I didn't reply because it was not right to talk to strangers...and because I was scared. I tried to keep walking, but the tall one got in my way. When I tried to go around him, he moved to block me. I thought I was in trouble.

"What have you got there?" the short one inquired, nodding toward my toy. I told him it was the Flash and then tried to walk away. That is when the short one grabbed me. Holding my arm, he yanked the figure out of my hand and started to play with it. I grabbed at the toy to try and get it back but he moved his arm away from my reach.
I distinctly remember being upset. Scared, confused, and upset. I just wanted my toy back and to be left alone. The short kid played with the figure, activating the action feature over and over and over. I kept trying to grab it but the tall kid grabbed me.

"You want your toy?" the short kid asked while laughing. I, of course, said I wanted my action figure back. The kid then said "okay, you can have it." The kid then wound up his arm and chucked the figure through the air. The Flash whizzed through the air, higher than I could have ever thrown it. The figure flew further and further away until it disappeared over the top of the school. The figure landed on the roof of the school.

"Go and get it," the short kid said, laughing again. The tall one pushed me down to the ground and they left me.
I cried. All the way home I cried. I had lost my favourite toy forever. I told my parents what happened that night, but while my dad seemed to be angry that the bullies threw away my toy, my parents did not do anything about it. I don't think they told the school about what happened. And the figure was certainly not replaced. From time to time, I wonder if my Flash is still up on the roof of R.J. Hawkey. Wouldn't that be something?

Over twenty years later, I admit I still have a place in my heart for The Flash from the Super Powers toy line. It is a symbol of my childhood so the nostalgia is pretty strong. It is also a symbol of my victimization.
I won't lie to you...I would love to own that figure again. It's just a stupid toy and is archaic by today's standards, but it means a lot to me. Maybe I'll find it again someday.

Oh, and if you ever see bullies picking on a kid, do me a favour. Grab the bullies. Squeeze their arms until their legs move (and if that doesn't work, punch them until they do it for you). Then throw them on the nearest roof. It's the least they deserve.
Now someone go up on R.J Hawkey and look for my action figure!

See you tomorrow for Day Five!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Three


Day 3: Grade 2

Grade two was my second least favourite year in grade school. I hated grade two. 
While I had a great teacher in grade one, my grade two teacher was the opposite. Mrs. Schlender (not sure of the spelling but it was pronounced shhlendur) was 130 years old if she was a day. Well, I MAY be exaggerating a tad, but she was easily over sixty. She was a cold bitch too. Always frowning and always seeming miserable. She never let her students get away with anything either. Caught talking in the back of class? To the office! A minute late back from recess? To the office! Looked at her the wrong way? Into the cauldron you go to become part of the witch's stew. Ugh I hated her so much. Miserable, cankerous old cow.
To be honest, I cannot really describe WHY grade two was so bad, as it wasn't just Schlender to blame. But when I think back to grade two, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It was a year that affected me negatively. Maybe it was because that was the year I was babysat by Marianne, who left me in the care of her idiot son who always beat me up and locked me outside. Maybe it was because I befriended Leo (See Revenge is Sweet) and we got into lots of trouble, such as breaking windows stored behind a garage or the Great Bowling Alley Heist (a story that I planned to write but never made it to the blog in time). Maybe it was because my sister was old enough to need more attention and I was feeling left out. Or maybe it was because of the story I am about to tell. You be the judge.

In the spring of 1986, I was out playing in the playground during the morning recess at R.J. Hawkey School with classmates. We were playing Thundercats on the playground equipment. I, of course, was Lion-O. I would hold up an invisible Sword of Omens and yell "Thundercats HO!" so that my Thundercats team would come running to me. I would then collapse and have them fawn over me to try and find out why I was unconscious. I have no idea what the hell I was doing. I just liked the attention.

Sidebar: If you're unfamiliar with Thundercats, please go HERE to understand why "Thundercats HO" isn't as weird as it sounds.

Anyway, while playing, I suddenly felt the need to expel the contents of my bladder. Really, really, badly. I made a wild dash for the "grade two doors" (each grade had its own entrance into the school) so I could use the washroom. However, a teacher there stopped me and told me that kids weren't allowed back into the school early and I would have to wait the five minutes for the bell to ring. Yes, my friends. Back in the day, teachers weren't just doormats to walk over. They had power. And sometimes they abused it.
I began a crazy trek around the school, trying desperately to find an isolated corner at which I could relieve myself. But every turn I made, there were more kids playing or teachers spying my every move! I ran to the far side of the playground but teachers were watching to make sure students didn't leave school property, so I was being watched still. What the hell was I going to do???
However, I was a smart kid. I knew it all. And I knew what I had to do. I ran to the playground equipment in the playground and got underneath the main assembly. Beneath my feet was an expanse of sand that filled the entire area that the equipment was located. Being a genius child, it occurred to me that my solution was right there. The sand, being warm and dry, and being similar to kitty litter, would act as an absorbing agent! I subtly laid down in the sand on my stomach. And I let the waterworks flow.
The school bell rang as I drained my lizard and the kids all rushed back to the school. I rose, triumphant, and began to walk back to the school. However, upon looking down, I discovered that my master plan did not come to fruition quite as I had anticipated. Rather than brilliantly dry sweatpants, I had the front completely soaked AND covered in damp sand. I ran back to the sand and jumped in again. And I waited. And waited. And waited. Easily ten minutes had passed by the time I got back up. My pants were no better. I had pee-soaked, sand-covered sweats and I was now late to get back to Mrs. Schlender's class. I was hooped!
But then, being a smart kid, I remembered I had a change of pants in my little "cubby hole locker" thingy. I suppose my mum assumed that sooner or later I would have an accident and she provided a spare change of clothes should it happen. I would still get in trouble for being late to class, but at least I wouldn't be embarrassed. There was just one obstacle...I had to actually GET to the cubby hole.
I returned to the school, carefully navigating my way to the door so not to be caught. In the school, I took the time to remove my outdoor shoes and put them on the rack. I grabbed my indoor shoes and began to skulk my way into the hallways. Luck was on my side as there was no one about. Usually there was some asshole teacher guarding the halls but today it was empty. I ran down the hall to get to my cubby hole. A few open classroom doors wouldn't stop me now! I successfully made it to my cubby hole locker thingy and got the clean sweats and tighty whities down. PHEW!!!
I yanked down my soiled sweatpants and used the dry parts to dry my legs. I then whipped off my underwear and replaced them with a clean pair. Almost done! But luck wasn't on my side nearly as much as I had assumed...

As I began putting my first leg into my clean sweats, the door to Mrs. Schlender's classroom opened. I looked up and watched in horror. My ENTIRE class poured out of the room. They were going to the gymnasium for some sort of assembly. As the kids exited the room, Tara Halpin and Michelle Helm, my arch nemeses all through grade school (though I'm not sure why we hated each other) were the first to see me. Tara pointed and laughed and everyone else followed suit. There I was, sitting on the cold white floor of my school hallway in my underwear, being laughed at by half the people in my grade. I was devastated.
Mrs. Schlender came out of the room after the children and SHE HERSELF LAUGHED at me! My teacher, the person who is supposed to exhibit maturity and respect, laughed at her student. After a moment, she seemed to compose herself and she said "Enough laughing...accidents happen" to the other students and ushered them along to the gym. Schlender told me to meet at the gym when I was done. I proceeded to get dressed and I just left the school and walked home. I probably got into crap when I got home but I do know I didn't have to go back that day.
I heard a lot of insults through the laughter as the kids walked down the hall. Most sad was the fact that one of those insults ended up sticking with me well into middle school.

"Ginch boy."

I was called that so much during grade two and it continued to pop up throughout three, four, five, and six...I even recall being called that in grade seven. One of the most embarrassing moments of my life ended up having fallout that lasted years. How fair is that?

In case you're considering calling me Ginch Boy as a humorous jab at me, please consider not doing so. Sure, this story was funny and I'm glad my childhood pain brings you joy, but let's face it...Ginch Boy is such a lame insult that you'll just look like a fool. And you never know quite. What's to say I don't snap as a result of hearing the insult again and begin a murderous rampage throughout the city, using briefs as my weapon of choice to strangle my victims? THINK before you act people. You just might save some lives.

As one final note, this is my last story involving me peeing on myself or others. Sorry to disappoint you!
See you all tomorrow for Grade three!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Two


Day Two: Grade One
Grade one was a good year for me. I had a really cool teacher (Mrs. Hammond), and good class (no tattlers), and Mr. Mugs to help me learn. But I ended up missing a lot of school. I had been particularly prone to bronchitis when I was a child, and it reared its ugly head several times during my first year of school. Usually, staying at home was preferable to going to school, even though I didn't mind school in grade one, but there was one time in which the last thing I wanted to do was miss school.

In the spring of 1985, the students of the school had a special treat. On the Friday of the week, the kids would get the afternoon off from learning and get to make tacos! I was very excited about the chance to make some tacos. So much in fact that I looked forward to it for weeks. Sadly, all that anticipation built up and built up to a point that the taco-making couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. Even more sadly, I never had the opportunity to find out.
I got sick just a day or two before it was time to make tacos. I was smashed to the floor by a bronchial infection and despite my best pleading, my mum wouldn't let me go to school. I was devastated. I wanted to make tacos so badly and I wouldn't get the chance. I'm sure I cried. And moped. And cried some more. But no one could do anything.
From time to time, someone comes into your life who touches you (metaphorically, you sickos) in a way that you remember forever. Mrs. Hammond was one of those people in my life. Mrs. Hammond had heard soon after about how disappointed I was that I didn't get to attend the school on the day of the taco-making. But rather than feeling sorry for me or patting me on my head in a "there there" fashion, Mrs. Hammond went up and above the call of the teacher.
About a week later, on the weekend, my mum insisted I come along with her to a dog show in which my mum had registered one of her dogs. I didn't really want to go but my dad was at work and I didn't have a choice. Little did I know there was more to mum dragging me to the show than I imagined. When we arrived at the dog show, Mrs. Hammond met us at the gate. Mrs. Hammond knelt down and smiled at me and told me that she had something planned for me. She took me into the dog show (my mum obviously being in on the plan) and walked with me to a food kiosk. At the kiosk, Mrs. Hammond bought tacos. However, when she got the tacos, they were served in pieces. Ingredients, if you will. The plan was obviously to allow me the opportunity to make my own taco since I missed the opportunity before. Mrs. Hammond and I put together our tacos and ate them at a picnic table. I was so happy that day. I got to make those tacos after all. Sure, it's a silly thing, but it was important to a six year old boy for some reason, and Mrs. Hammond and my mum pulled the strings to make sure I had the chance.
I'll never forget Mrs. Hammond for what she did. It was just a small gesture but it stayed with me forever.

The moral of this story is pretty straightforward. A little thought goes a long way. You never know when you might be able to make a difference to someone that will stick with them throughout their lives. So get out there and help a kid make a taco!

P.S. How many times did I say "taco" without making any sort of double entendre references (i.e. "bald taco" giggity)? Oh wait...too late. 

See you tomorrow for Grade Two!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day One

Well, it's been about four months since I started blogging. Not a long road, nor a difficult one. However, after some thought, I've decided that it's time to retire my blog. There's just not enough interest in my entries for me to keep it going. Also, there will come a time when I'll be out of stories to tell. Once that happens, all I'll write about are the adventures of my daily life, and I'm not nearly self-centered enough to blog about the boring and mundane and assume people give a shit. There's too many bloggers like that already. So Get Ready for Story Time is going to sing its swan song.

But I won't leave you empty handed. I've decided to write what I call The Twelve Days of Festivus (TTDOF). TTDOF will feature a daily "mini post" about a humourous, dark, or sad point in my past. I thought about whether or not to do TTDOF as having random stories or having a theme and opted for the latter. Since there's twelve days in TTDOF and twelve years in school, I decided I will share a story of my life from each year in grade school (some school related and some that just occurred that year). I couldn't pick twelve of the thirteen years (thirteen when you include kindergarten), so I'm throwing you a thirteenth bonus story one of these upcoming days. So complicated. Anyway, without further adieu, I present to you:


Day One: Kindergarten

Ah, Kindergarten. The prep school of grade school.  A great way to ease kids into the rough waters that is school. A half day of toys, singing, and learning. School seemed so awesome to me then. What the hell did I know?
I remember my first day was something of a shock as my mum dropped me off at R.J. Hawkey school in Airdrie and then fucked off without me. What? In hindsight, she was wise to give me a hug and a kiss and then leave. No turning back as that would delay the lesson I had to learn sooner or later...independence. 
Anyway, about half the way through my kindergarten year, I had still not been able to play in the sandbox. The sandbox was a play station in the kindergarten classroom...one of several such stations that each had their own theme. The teacher would separate students into small groups, and each group would be assigned a different play station to play at for the day. If a child had a birthday on the particular day, they were given choice as to what station they got to attend that day, but sadly my birthday fell during Christmas break. I was fucked. Anyway, for some reason, likely just coincidence and a thoughtless teacher, I never ever got in a group that went to the sandbox station. Every day I lost out and I admit it was really frustrating. Sure, it was just a stupid tiny sandbox in the classroom, but it was way more fun that the toy station or the book station or the colouring station. It even seemed more fun than the Play Doh station (which I don't remember ever attending either...was this teacher out to get me?). I wanted to play in that sand! 
On the day in question, my brilliant four or five year old mind went into overdrive and I came up with a plan. Once we were separated in groups to play, I snuck away from my group and into the sandbox group. I FINALLY got to play! But my victory was short-lived. Maybe a minute or two after I started playing, Mrs. Millen (I think that was the name of the teacher) approached our group and asked which of us wasn't supposed to be there. I kept my cool, but a couple of other kids said I wasn't supposed to be there. Ms. Millen told me that I had to play in my own group and escorted me away. 
Oh man I was mad! Tattlers, unfair teacher, and NO SANDBOX? #%$&#*(&@@*&$*)(^&T%^(#@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ran over to the sandbox again, but this time it wasn't to play. One of the kids said I couldn't play in the sandbox because it wasn't my turn. I said I didn't want to. The kids then returned to playing with the sand while I watched. When I felt they were suitably distracted, I whipped down my sweatpants. I was wearing underwear, but I preemptively released the mouse from the house before walking to the sandbox. I took my preschool peter and aimed it right at the sandbox. OPEN FIRE!!!
I let loose a stream of the most vengeful pee you've ever seen! A perfect arc, it sprayed out like a fountain and landed in the sand. The children ran away, all of them screaming. As I drained my bladder and ruined the sand, Ms. Millen came up to me and pulled up my sweats before nearly dragging me away to "the corner." "The corner" was where the bad kids had to sit and think about what they did. I had done very little thinking in "the corner" because I was usually very good. Even while I was sitting there after wetting the sandbox, I was filled with so much satisfaction. If I wasn't going to use the sandbox, neither was anyone else. I regretted nothing.
I don't remember if I got in shit with my parents that night. But I do remember coming in to class the next day and the sandbox was gone. In fact, it was gone for the rest of my time in kindergarten. I wonder if it was removed just while I was attending or if it was removed permanently. Either way, it was my first real sense of victory. And perhaps my first stand against authority that wasn't my parents. It was an important day for so many reasons.
Whenever I think of this story, a thought always crosses my mind. Wouldn't it be fantastic if my actions scarred one or more of those kids at the sandbox when I took a leak in it? For life? Imagine one of those kids, grown up and in their 30s, waking up screaming and sweaty from a nightmare involving being in a sandbox filling with piss or sinking slowly into urine soaked quicksand while trying to no avail to escape. Imagine them having a lifetime of torture all because of me. 
If that is the case, all I can say is...they shouldn't have tattled. Let that be a lesson to all of you. Tattle on me and I'll piss in your sandbox. Every. Single. Time.

See you all tomorrow for Grade One.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Festivus: A Festivus for the Restuvus!

Alternate Title: Why I Celebrate Festivus!

With every passing year, my fondness of Festivus seems to grow. Most people think the obvious in response to the revelation that I prefer Festivus to Christmas; I saw it on Seinfeld and Seinfeld is one of my favourite all-time television shows, so of course I would have a certain adherence to the made-up holiday. But over a decade after the Seinfeld episode "The Strike" aired, I like the holiday even more. I thought I would take the time to explain just why that is.

Festivus, though viewed by many as a joke, has a great deal of significance to me. I see Christmas as twisted, nonsensical holiday. While the religious aspects of Christmas are important to many, I'm anything but a believer. The whole "born to a virgin" superhero bit is far too hard to swallow on its own, let alone the simple facts that if he did exist then he would have likely been born sometime in early fall instead of December 25th. That being said, I understand and appreciate the importance of faith...I just choose to have faith in more earthly concepts. Because of this, the religious component of Christmas is meaningless to me. I don't want to go to church or pray or sing psalms. Sorry, Jebus!

Religion aside, the worst offender of the Christmas season is how it has become just another commercial holiday. When you're a kid, Christmas is magical. A lazy fat-ass with a pedophile beard and a sparkly sled contorts himself through your chimney or keyhole to leave you a wealth of presents for no reason other than because you were "good" during the year. When you're young, the sheer insanity of the story is completely overlooked. To kids, it's just an obese old man who showers you with gifts. It's awesome. But then comes the day...that fateful day. The day you find out Santa Claus isn't real. The smart kids find out through logical deduction and evidence. The stupid kids are told by parents or peers. The smartest kids, such as me, find out early that Santa is a lie, but pretend to still believe to get extra presents until their parents become fed up and tell them. But no matter what, there comes a time when the gravy train stops.
When you grow up, the commercialism of Christmas becomes a devil on your back. The holiday isn't about giving as so many would describe it. No, Christmas is about exchanging. It's fun to give...well it's stressfully fun...trying to find that perfect gift for a loved one can be difficult but rewarding if you're successful. However, no person reading this can deny the awkward embarrassment of giving a $10 gift to a person and having that person give you a $100 gift. And no person can deny thinking of the inequality of the gifts either (if they are the ones giving the more valuable one). I always ask to establish a gift budget with a person with whom I plan to exchange gifts. Ah, the magic of giving kind of falls apart here.
The Christmas holiday (as well as other holidays) is about give and take these days. This makes me ask the question "why bother giving and receiving gifts in the first place?" Why not just go out and buy yourself a present and say it's from a friend or loved one? Why not just keep your money if there's nothing you need? Why be so stressed out during the holiday season and rack up a huge VISA bill just because society says you should? Gifting has lost all meaning to me when it comes to Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, etc. It's become a required activity, which kind of defeats the whole point.

Take away religious and commercial aspects of Christmas and what do you have? Friends, family, and loved ones. Spending time with those you care about and reconnecting with them as well. Appreciating who and what you have. That part of the holidays is important to me, but becomes so drowned out by the other concepts above.

Enter Festivus. A Festivus for the Restuvus.

Festivus is brilliant in that it removes the religion and the commercialism of the holiday season. In a perfect Festivus world, there would be no gifts, no praising of gods, and no stress. Just good times with those who are important to you.

If you've seen the Seinfeld episode "The Strike," then you may be laughing at my argument. There were some very weird aspects of Festivus that border on insane. Let's briefly look at the different ideas that were shown in the episode, so I may explain which I include in my own celebration and which I do not.

The Festivus Pole

A six or seven foot aluminum pole erected (giggity) in place of a Christmas tree. A bland replacement, Frank Costanza said that its benefits were that it required no decoration (as he found tinsel distracting), and it had an excellent height-to-weight ratio. Say what you will, but Christmas trees are just awful! Sure, they look pretty, but the real trees cause no end of trouble, from the friggin' needles getting EVERYWHERE to the dog drinking up the water and the cat swallowing tinsel and dying horribly. And all trees, real or fake, share the drag of having to remove all the decorations and lights after the holidays are over. Ugh! Christmas shouldn't be a drag. The pole is up (giggity) in two minutes flat, and down again in the same time. Convenience is nothing short of a Festivus miracle!

The Airing of Grievances

As long-time friends and people new to my blog are aware, I'm a big fan of the Airing of Grievances. I don't like holding my tongue...I like telling people just what I'm thinking. If someone is being a total retard, I think they should become aware.Unfortunately, in this day and age, people would rather live in a bubble of denial, and no one appreciates my bluntness frank nature. It's insanity made sanity simply because so many people have the same habit. Therefore, people can't handle the truth (imagine me doing my best Jack Nicholson impression) so I vent my frustrations in a next best way. The Airing of Grievances allows me to do that. My "policy" is simple. I give an honest description of the problem(s) I have with a person and how it makes me feel. I just don't use names. This spares the target embarrassment of being "outed" to others who read my yearly grievances. It also has the humourous side-effect of having people to whom the grievances are not aimed to assume it is about them. It's a fun and relieving way to get out some of the things that have bothered me or pissed me off during the year.

The Festivus Dinner

A straightforward meal that is essentially the same as a Christmas meal or any other holiday meal for that matter. I have yet to host a Festivus dinner due to space constraints and cost. However, there's always a family Christmas dinner to be a part of. And since a dinner is a dinner, it can be preceeded by "Festivus" or "Christmas." It's the same thing. It's an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, which as I said before, is the real point of the holidays, isn't it?

The Feats of Strength

Following the dinner, Festivus participants must engage in what is called a "feats of strength." In short, two attendees of the Festivus dinner (one being the household head) must wrestle and attempt to pin one another. In "The Strike," Frank Costanza told his son George that Festivus would not be over until George pinned him. Therefore, Festivus continues until the head of the household is pinned in such a wrestling match.
No, I do not include the feats of strength in my Festivus celebrations. It's a bit too weird...even for me.

Festivus Miracles

What's a miracle? To some it's a bearded man in pajamas walking over water without breaking surface tension. To others it is a 100% recovery from a terminal illness. To me, it's getting through the Festivus and Christmas season without killing someone. So yeah, I believe in Festivus miracles. If you've been near me during the holiday season and lived, you should believe in them too!

Over a decade later, I'm still in what I call a "transition phase" from Christmas to Festivus. One cannot simply turn one's back on Christmas cold turkey. Mmmm, turkey. I have to respect that friends and family love Christmas and celebrate it, and it's unfair for me to request that they change their long-loved beliefs for me. So Festivus is currently a melding of Festivus ideals and Christmas habits. Sure, I throw up the Festivus pole every year (dare I giggity AGAIN?) but I adorn the base with presents. Sure, I don't decorate the pole, but I do string gold tinsel around my door (there was tinsel around the patio door in the Costanza home, which was odd since Frank declared he found it distracting). I also put out a large (maybe even "life-size") Rudolph plush toy next to the pole so to put Christmas lovers at ease when they visit. I also do gift exchanging even though I dislike it. 'Tis the season of giving, so I may as well give some tolerance.

I do ask that friends and loved ones please come to accept the importance of Festivus to me. I understand it seems so silly, but if you consider the traditions of any holiday and think about them objectively, all holidays are just as silly. It's not just a fad to me.

Above all, I wish you all a Happy Festivus and best wishes in the New Year. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to get out my pole.