Saturday, 26 January 2013

Calmer than you are dude.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the ski hill a near perfect 15 minutes before the start of the boy’s freestyle ski class, I felt a smug sense of satisfaction. Just enough time for him to get his gear on and for me to secure a sweet lunch table by the window. I opened the trunk and immediately knew something was amiss. As in, there appears to be skis, poles and the lunch bag – all the items I carried to the car -  but there is no sign of the boys ski bag, otherwise known as the item he was to carry to the car.
“Kelton, you forgot your ski bag!” I said calmly, not at all yelling. That's my recollection anyway.
“What? I didn’t know I was supposed to bring it.”
Lord, keep me from striking this defenseless, half- witted child.
“I told you to grab it on the way out. You walked right by it.”
I can feel my forehead getting hot as I start mentally calculating how long it will take to drive home, get the bag, drive back and get him on the hill with his group. It’s 30 minutes in each direction. I am starting to feel slightly less calm than I would like.
I consider option B which is to call it a day and just go home but that puts me into an even fouler mood as I start doing the math on that one. Let’s see…8 lessons divided by gas mileage times the square root of new ski boots which he has only used three times. Rage rising.
Wisely, the boy hasn’t dared to poke his head out of the car yet, as I stomp around the parking lot, trying to think of what to do. In a tither I decide to risk waking the mother bear, who is still snuggled deep in hibernation after a late night at the Lacrosse game. I have to abide the pecking order and tread carefully.
“Hello? Guess what…the boy forgot his ski bag and I’m furious and I was wondering if you could run it out here?”
“Who is this?” she asks sleepily.
She knows who it is, but I heed that as a warning shot.
“Okay never mind. How about I meet you halfway at line 11.”
“Why are you boys always waking me up on my day off?”
 There is a pause as she considers the act of leaping out of a warm bed into a cold car.
 “I’ll be there in 15.”
That’s good. Now I get to get back in my car and begin the rant.
“Kelton…I am very very angry. I packed your bag for you, I made your lunch and I loaded your skis. You had one job, which was to get that bag to the car and you didn’t do it.”
This is met with head down silence as we begin the long uncomfortable drive back to the rendezvous. My mind is still spinning a mile a minute, trying to come up with suitable consequences for this act of absent mindedness. I want something between taking away the iPod and being executed by firing squad. I mean, what kind of a kid walks out the door to go skiing without his boots and helmet? When I was a kid I never forgot my boots.  Well I did once, and my dad had to drive back home to get them. Okay, so now that I think about it, the scatterbrain gene didn’t go recessive in this case.
I have another concern though, and that is that I caused this, not through genetics, but by being too proactive in helping this kid with his things. I’m always hustling around, gathering up his equipment for various sports, making sure he doesn’t forget anything. It would appear that the only thing I have accomplished was teaching him he doesn’t need to remember anything, because I’m doing it all. Mouth guard for lacrosse? Check. Elbow pads, shin pads? Check. Did you tape your stick for ball hockey? Never mind – you take too long – I’ll do it.
That’s the thing. In my mind, if I didn’t do these things: a) we would never get out the door and b) he would show up with half his equipment missing. So, it seems I’ve created a two headed co-dependent monster. He depends on me to remember everything and I depend on him to forget everything. It feeds my worry, which apparently I thrive on.
When kids come to our house for sleepovers, they always pack up their own bags and have everything ready to go when the parent comes to pick them up. When I go to pick up my kid from a sleepover, there is the 20 minute ritual where he wanders around, trying to gather the stuff he has strewn all over his hosts house. If his bag is packed and at the door, I can be sure that the mom has done it for him because I’m pretty certain he is incapable of putting a matched pair of anything into a container. One mitt sure, but not two. Ipod yes, but iPod charger, no way. The good news is that he has a change of clothes stashed at each of his friends’ houses. I know that if he looked in the lost and found at school, he could recover enough hats to outfit a small hattatorium.
Suffice it to say, by lunch time, I had calmed down enough to make him a sandwich and send him back out skiing. He was only 40 minutes late for his morning lesson, which wasn’t too bad, so no real harm done. However, there is going to be a clear discussion before next Saturday about who is going to pack what gear, and maybe, just maybe we have both learned our lesson. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hey Lance Armstrong

Dear Lancey,

You old cheating bastard you.

Talk about landing yourself in a bit of hot water. Actually I think you’ve managed to get yourself strung up by your $400 bike shoes over a cauldron of boiling oil, awaiting the first of many comeuppance style head dunks.

You’re not alone in your plight though, as I’ve done some cheating myself that I’m not proud of. I once shot-gunned a can of Redbull before a championship game in the men’s over 35 soccer league. It gave me a stomachache for the whole first half but I dug deep and ignored it because, like you, I felt I needed to win at all costs. We actually lost the game, so in hindsight it was a waste of $2.99, not to mention compromising my principles. Fortunately, I was able to flush the evidence out of my system after the game with a bunch of parking lot beers, but it didn’t ease the guilt.

There was another time in grade six, where, on track and field day I tried to even up the playing field in the hundred meter dash by sabotaging Arty Reed’s shoes. He was favoured to win and was the only kid with running spikes, so I stole them and tied the laces in knots right before the final heat. I thought I could get into his head with some mind trickery and put him off his game. It kind of backfired because it just made him late for the start, which put him in an even uglier mood than usual. Apparently, rage was the key to his performance because he beat everyone by about three seconds. Regardless, it feels good to get that off my chest after all these years.

So you see Lance, everyone has skeletons in their closets that they’re ashamed of. Granted, most of us don’t have the opportunity to address the world in a controlled interview to explain ourselves after we’ve been caught. That was a stroke of luck for you that Oprah was on your speed dial and willing to partner up with you for the big interview. I hear it might have saved her crap T.V. channel from sinking into obscurity, so it was pretty much a win-win. You get to shed a few tears for the camera and she gets the most anticipated interview since Michael Jackson went on air to talk about why he thought it was a good idea to have sleepovers with children.

Bottom line Lancey, is you’ll bounce back. Imagine the royalties alone from the tell-all book you are undoubtedly going to write. If you can muster up a believable amount of remorse, you’ll make out like a bandit. Speaking tours and key note speeches should keep you busy for years. Remember, America loves to forgive celebrities - talk to Michael Vick, Hugh Grant or Bill Clinton. Hell, O.J. could have come back as a B-list celeb if he hadn't gone berserk there at the end.

I wish you luck with your lucrative new career as spokesperson for the war on performance enhancing substances. I still think you’re a bit of an arrogant twit, but who am I to judge because as I earlier confessed, I’m a former cheater too.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

How to dominate high school

Chartered accountant Gordon Levey, age 37, is magically transported back in time to grade 10 and is granted the rare opportunity to actually know then what he knows now.

Alex- Hey Gordie, thanks for picking me up for school. I can’t believe you just got your license yesterday and you’re already driving.

Gordon – Well, I did get 100 % on the test. It was pretty easy.

Alex – Sweet ride by the way. How come your dad’s letting you drive his car?

Gordon – Oh…I did his taxes for him and saved him like twelve grand, so he’s pretty happy about that.

Alex – Still, I wouldn’t let my kid drive a Cadillac.

Gordon – I know right? We’re going to be a bit late by the way. I have to stop for some coffee.

Alex - But Mrs. Walker said if I’m late again, she’s going to give detention.

Gordon - Jenny? Just bring her a coffee and she’ll let it slide.

Alex - You sure drink a lot of coffee for a kid in grade 10 Gordon.

Gordon - Well, it’s not all for me you know. I have to pick one up for Cynthia at the attendance desk. By the way, did you see what she was wearing yesterday? She looked awesome.

Alex - Ms. Grobowski?

Gordon - Yes…Cynthia.

Alex  - Dude….gross. She’s like 30.

At the school

Alex – You can’t park here Gordie, this is the staff parking lot.

Gordon – Don’t worry about it. I cleared it with Morley.

Alex – Principal McTavish?

Gordon – Yeah, he owes me. I did his taxes for him.

 Later that day

Mr. Sterling – Okay class, here are your projects back on creating a business plan for a small company.  Mr. Levey, I like how you challenged yourself by choosing a multinational oil conglomerate.

Gordon – Thank you sir.

Mr. Sterling – However Gordon, I’m not completely convinced this is your own work. I mean I myself didn’t even fully understand that whole concept of the graduated corporate merger.

Gordon – Well sir, I think you’ll find that the financial restructuring strategy I included explains how the merger would be a success after a mere 3 to 4 years.

Mr. Sterling – Oh… I see. Thanks for the coffee by the way.

Gordon – No problem sir.

On the drive home

Alex - Hey, thanks for the tip about the rum. My parents didn’t even notice some was missing.

Gordon – Like I said, never replace booze with water. Unless its vodka, but even then, only up to 20% 
water. Any more than that and you can taste it.

Alex - Got it. Can you get me some beer for this weekend? Just not that Guinness stuff again. It’s horrible.

Gordon - You’ve got to refine your taste man. Plus, no one steals it at parties.

Alex – Whatever. That reminds me. When did you start playing guitar? You sure have a lot of girls hanging around you since you started that band.

Gordon - That’s the beauty of it. I can’t really play, but the girls don’t seem to care.

 Alex – You’re a genius.

Gordon – Thanks. Hey, I’ve got an extra ticket to see a new band next week. You want to come?

Alex – Are you crazy? Next week is the Poison concert! They’re going to rule the world forever!

Gordon –  Fine, I’ll go see them by myself. They're called Nirvana.

Alex - Well, thanks for the lift. Oh God…my mom’s cutting the grass in her bikini top again.

Gordon - She is indeed! I wonder if she needs any help?

Alex – Go home Gordie.