I’ve been called out, and I cannot refuse. Although I’ve been writing this blog long enough that there’s probably not much you don’t know about me, I guess I’ll take a shot at it.
I used to work at Taco Bell. I might have posted this once before, but my first day on the job I was like 16 and my boss had a “special assignment” for me. I felt pretty good about that until I saw the Taco suit. We got in his car and drove to the local hockey arena, where I was instructed to dress up like a giant Taco and work the crowd. Once I got used to walking around in a big foam outfit, I realised it was actually kinda liberating. I did the circuit around the arena, handing out Taco Bell coupons, while children skipped along behind me and tried to hold my over-sized hand. When half-time came, the announcer insisted that I walk out onto the ice and do a Taco dance. I wasn’t sure what a Taco dance was, but I improvised while the crowd cheered me on. If I thought anyone could see my face, I would have died of embarrassment, but my anonymity actually made it quite a fun experience. The rest of my Taco Bell career was considerably less fun.
I got dumped on Valentines Day. In 10th grade I finally had a real girlfriend. We discovered we liked each other while she was dating another guy (which should have been a warning to me) and we started “going out.” I was head-over-heels, and bought her flowers and wrote her poetry. I understood later that she had different motivations — which I didn’t catch on to before she lost interest. The day of our “one month” anniversary, which also happened to be Valentines Day, I bought her a teddy bear and a heart shaped box of chocolates, which I left in her locker. At the end of the day, I found the box (chocolates missing — apparently they were worth keeping) with a note inside that said, in effect, “It’s over.” I’m sure I cried for days. Thankfully God had a better plan for me.
I’ve skied the Swiss Alps. I’m not sure if my parents were already planning the trip to Europe when they signed us up for skiing lessons, but we were pretty young when we first strapped the planks to our feet. By the time we got to the Alps, I was 14, and relatively proficient. Not good enough for where I ended up though.
I remember the trip to the top of the mountain taking at least an hour, via every kind of lift imaginable — from cable car to t-bar. The whole family set off down together, but about halfway through we were quickly approaching an intersection — one direction marked with the green circle that indicates an easy slope, while another direction was marked with a foreboding black diamond. My brother and sister chose correctly. I did not. Easily 20 minutes later, where the two trails rejoined, I was re-united with my family — but not before the most harrowing ride of my life. If it wasn’t for the snow drift I plowed into that came up nearly to my waist, I’m sure I would have ended up in a Swiss hospital.
I got held back in second grade. It wasn’t my fault though. When I was just a toddler I remember the anticipation of my first day at Pre-Kindergarten. At home I was trying to learn to write by tracing cardboard packaging I found around the house, but I was eager to receive real instruction on how to read and write from a big kids school. I’m told I was heartbroken to discover that most of the kids in my class didn’t even know how to sit in a circle. I demanded that I be allowed to skip a grade, and my parents went to bat for me. Such a thing was unheard of at our little private school, but one member of the board stood up for us, and got it pushed through. I remember being sad to leave my friends behind, but excited that I’d finally get some real education.
When I was in second grade, my family moved to Bangladesh for a year-long missions adventure. My dad taught at a small missionary school there — he taught something like 6 different grades, while another teacher covered the younger grades. When we returned, our Canadian school questioned whether or not the schooling I got in Bangladesh was good enough, and apparently my parents were pressured to make me repeat 2nd grade. I was re-united with my friends, but I don’t think my passion for education ever recovered from that.
I know Rachel McAdams, although I’m sure she doesn’t remember me. Before she was a famous movie star, she went to Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, and she was on my list.
Well before I met Nicole, I had a list of girls at school that I wanted to meet. Now I’ll admit this list probably corresponded to the attractiveness of the girl, but they were all older than me, and therefore only friend material. Rachel McAdams was number two on the list (losing the number one spot when I found out she was a bit of a snob), and the only one of the top 5 that I never really succeeded in getting to know. I did get the occasional smile or “hi” in the hall because we had the same drama teacher (oh Miss Maskel, you were a weird one, but we loved ya), but I never really got past that. The other 4 on the top 5 aren’t as famous as Rachel, but most of them were good friends and have gone on to do pretty cool things. Curiously, my number one girl turned out to be from another school altogether, and I was lucky enough to get to be more than just her friend.