Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Thirty things about Ken

I found a "30 Things About Me" meme. I would normally just do these on Facebook, but this one goes long. So without further ado, let's do get to the doo-doo. Baby Shark, doo doo do do do doo...

I have two that pre-date Eva. I'll choose the first one. Lynne was my first actual relationship; she even lived with me for a semester. I bought her a ring to shut up the voices in my head saying "don't buy her a ring!" She was pragmatic to a fault, and clearly not the person for me. Last I heard, she was happily married to the person she had dated before me, the person everyone (including me) thought better suited her.

2) Drunken story time, GO. I have one drunken story I have alluded to. I will now tell it in greater detail.

I was 20, and I'd never been drunk.

Not for lack of other people trying to get me drunk. I swear, half of my dorm was majoring in Applied Alcoholism, with a concentration in Projectile Vomiting, and the one thing I have noticed about people drinking alcohol is this: they act threatened by anyone who won't drink with them. They tried everything short of a fucking IV to get me to drink and I fiercely resisted. I mean, at one point four people grabbed me, pushed me into a chair, and restrained me while raising a bottle to my lips. I made as if I wanted it, grabbed the bottle for myself, and smashed it over the head of the biggest guy restraining me. The second time in my life I lashed out violently. There hasn't been a third.

 I just...didn't see the point. I don't like puking, you know? And it seemed like nobody around me could drink without throwing up. Also, I wasn't legal.

Two years later, I decided to get drunk. Just once. To see what the big deal was. But I wanted to do it on my tine and terms.
I went to my friend's place in Toronto for the weekend. Friday night, we went out and procured booze, more booze than any two people should drink at one time
We started with high end chocolate liqueur, and slid down the scale by degrees to rotgut whisky. By that time it all tasted pretty much the same. I sat on a chair in his room waiting to feel drunk. Unlike now, at 20 I could put away an ungodly amount of alcohol before feeling it.
The room commenced to spin.
Then I commenced to spin in the other direction.  It became necessary to lay down.

People have told me that what happened was sexual assault. While I completely get the point -- drunk people can't consent -- we were, at least, mutually drunk. I didn't feel coerced in any way. What I mostly felt was hey, why not. I can justify this because I was the supposed victim, and I did not feel victimized. This is not to say for one second that I don't stand behind victims of sexual assault, of course. The soundtrack for the evening was the best of ABBA, and at one point "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" came on. I looked: ten after twelve. Sure, why not.

We talked it out the next morning, which was about as awkward as you'd expect. Especially since he was wracked with a killer hangover and I felt just fine. We dismissed it as "experimentation",  said we had no regrets, and let it be. We were each other's best man at our respective weddings. And I'm still friends with him nearly thirty years later.

3) A secret I haven't told many people. After what I just wrote, do you think I have any? Seriously. I don't do secrets. If I trust you, I am an open book.
Okay, so I repeated the experience with him, about ten months later, stone cold sober this time. Not many people know that. But I did: I wanted to see if it was better sober. It was also supposed to be a threesome with my girlfriend at the time, and she put a stop to it as soon as the clothes came off.
It wasn't any better sober. I am conclusively not gay.

4) A fact about the last person I kissed. I haven't been able to kiss her for two weeks because she has been down with a severe case of the flu--which I seemed to contract for all of two and a half days.

5) Favourite TV show: Currently none. I'm not even kidding: I haven't watched so much as a minute of any television show for months.

6) what my last received text message says: "Lol. Not quite." Someone's response to me calling her a hero.

7) What last made me laugh until I cried? Ahem. Too personal. And that oughta tell you something. So I'll go back a number of years to Nikki Payne. She hails from the Maritimes, she speaks with a lithp, she's extremely earthy, and crying? Hell, her stand-up routine had the room SILENT because nobody could breathe, we were laughing so hard.

8) List of concerts I have attended. Not many.
  • Roger Whittaker
  • Glass Tiger
  • Chicago
  • Roxette
  • Barenaked Ladies/Moxy Fruvous
  • The Proclaimers (twice)
  • Prozzak
  • John McDermott
  • The Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert
  • Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra
  • Natale Paremski and the K-W Symphony Orchestra
  • Dream Theater
9) My Christmas list. While I don't care overmuch for material things, there are certain little gifts you can't go wrong with me on
  • MacGregor Happy Feet socks. No other kind will do. I have dragged Mark onto this bandwagon with me.
  • Unscented deodorant. Considering how many scent-free workplaces exist (i.e. most of them), it's criminal that this is not widely available. Speed Stick does make an unscented stick, but try finding it. Shopper's Drug Mart is the ONLY place I have ever seen it, and I don't like going into Shopper's since Loblaw bought them, the weight of the proces in there is actually crushing.
  • An Indigo Gift Card. Because I murdered the last person who told me I had too many books. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life.
  • Biggest of all, though, is time with family and friends. 
10) What am I wearing? Jeans and a Waterloo hoodie Mark got me for Christmas. Supremely comfortable. 
11)  Favourite song. This changes constantly, but there are a few that have stuck with me for years. I would say that Stromae's masterpiece "Bâtard" ("Bastard") is probably my favourite song of all time. Not one thing nor the other, I am, I was, I will remain myself.

12) How I met the person I fell hardest for.

12d I walked into a music room in Grade 10 and I was riveted by the woman I found there...playing baritone, like me. She was wearing a denim jumpsuit she had made herself, and--Jesus, that smile. All my internals went redline--this is what happens when I'm struck by lightning, and Darlene was the first lightning strike. 
12e)  January 27, 1999, Metroline Research. I walked into a job interview for a market research company. You've heard how I met Eva before--she hired me--but what you may not know is that I walked into that interview in a double breasted suit and tie. For a market research phone jockey position. I don't know how Eva kept a straight face, in hindsight. This is a place where jeans were upscale. Lightning struck again, though. I was possessed of an overwhelming sense of urgency: hey, you, in that stupid suit! Pay real close attention to that woman, because she's important. 
12k) Jack's Restaurant, August 16, 2016. Though I actually met Kathy on May 6, 2000, at the wedding of her and Eva's shared friend Chris, that didn't count. I'd neem talking to Kathy every day for five months before we met face to face. As strange as this sounds, lightning had hit me long before that warm August night. 

13) Favourite memory of this past summer. A couple. Kathy's and my third anniversary weekend, with that lovely trip to Paris (Ontario-- like I said then, did you think I wanted to go in Seine?) And also Eva's 50th birthday party weekend, barely in calendar summer, but a lovely couple of days. 

14) Craziest thing I have ever done. Gee, this is embarrassing for the wrong reason: it's distinctly un-crazy. I once got in the back seat of a standard hatchback with four other people. In the back seat. I had a woman named Laura sitting on me, and no seatbelt for myself, although I'm quite sure I grew an organic one for her. That was me being a rebel. Kinda pathetic, eh?

15) Jewellery I'm wearing: my wedding band, nothing else. My hole grew over. My earring hole, not my asshole, what, are you crazy? Your asshole grows over, you're going to spend a lot of time on the beach wondering why you're getting larger. No, no, my earring hole grew over. And people noticed this! They'd say "Aren't you gaining weight?" and I'd say "yes, I am, my earring hole grew over, and aren't you a fine observer of detail?"....sorry. George Carlin interrupted me there. Go back to your grave, George. On second thought, come back: we need you.
I'm going to get that hole re-punched. Kathy gave me a trinket a long time ago that I stuck on a necklace and promptly lost. Eva found it more than a year later. It would work as an earring. 

16) Turn ons. Well, wow, this is personal! I think the biggest one I am willing to admit to here in pubic (haha) is a lack of inhibition. I'm somewhat submissive, not to the point of welcoming pain and degradation, but I do prefer if you take the lead...that why I can be fairly confident you want to do what we're doing. 

17) Last awkward situation I found myself in. That happens almost daily. 
Before we got our patio door, we had a fenced side yard that extended just past the side door of our home. The fence is long gone, but the concrete piling from the former gate is still there, protruding ip out of the driveway about four inches, and I trip over it regularly. I went down good and hard the other night, skinning both hands, and looked up to see my neighbour, who never comes out of her house, coming out of her house. Our eyes met. She saw me writhing in pain, but what I was really doing was shrugging. Never mind me, I meant to do this. My best pose, really. Come hither, neighbour. 

18) Quote you live by: "Shared pain is lessened, shared joy increased." --Spider Robinson

19) A story about you and your best friend. Which begs the question, which best friend? I hate ranking people, so I have about five best friends.
"Can Kenny come out to play?" is not a question my stepfather expected to hear when I was 17. It's the kind of question he wanted to hear when I was half that age, but it never came. Not until a sultry June night in 1989 London, when Craig taught me how to throw and field baseballs. John had played catch with me, but this was different. This was Craig self-pitching, hammering  triple after triple out to me to field, and then marvelling that I could throw the ball in from far left field and hit home plate fairly reliably.
He picked me first for his softball team in phys. ed. the next week. You could have knocked me over with a feather: for any sports team, I would either be picked last or worse. What's worse than being picked last? Having both team captains fight over having to have me on their team, both refusing to take me at all, and the teacher having to assign me to a team. That's happened to me several times.
But this time, I was picked first. Not Muscles O'Greasestain. Not his cousin, Hercules Adonis. No, me. Stick figure me. I rewarded Craig by going 3 for 4 with a triple of my own.

20) Opinion about age difference in a relationship. My mom was 11 years older than my stepdad, and their marriage was rock-solid. Mark is a decade older than Eva. I'd say anything up to fifteen years, I don't even blink at. Beyond that, you're talking generational, and yeah, sorry...that's odd. Dating people old enough to be your father...or young enough to be your daughter...hard pass on that.

21) A GIF to describe how I feel right now. I don't do GIFS and neither does Blogger, I don't think. So: words. I am reasonably content. Had a slower day at work today, which was lovely. Just starting to feel tired; I'll be up for an hour at least yet. Grateful Eva is finally starting to recover from the flu that has knocked her on her ass since 2019. Mildly upset that I'm unlikely to see my dad this weekend once again thanks to a shitty weather forecast. Missing Kathy. Missing Jade. Won't see either of them for at least three more weeks. Wishing somebody had invented teleportation by now. A swirling of other emotions--you give me time to think about what I am feeling, and nine times out of ten there will be more than you want to hear. Ask me what I'm thinking at any given moment and I'll almost certainly stare at you like a short-bus window-licker.

22) Lyrics to my favourite song. I won't use "Bâtard" here--that's a novel in itself. Instead I'll go with Gotye's "Learnalilgivinanlovin":

If you're always tryin' to get to the top
You don't get to the bottom of nothin'!
Then you're gone before you know it,
You'd better stop! (Stop!)
Learn a little givin' and lovin'
It's been done before
C'mon, do it again!
Coz if it's good
Then you should share it round
What's the use of keeping
All the good things that you've found to yourself?
Learn a little, learn a little
Learn a little givin'
Learn a little, learn a little
Learn a little givin' and lovin'
You don't gotta keep no other man down
For you to get up
There's no need to worry
Just don't give away your self-respect
Coz if it's all you've got left
The rest don't really matter now anyway honey!
But give away love (Give it!)
And give it for free
No strings attached
Just don't ask for it back
Learn a little, learn a little
Learn a little givin'
Learn a little, learn a little
Learn a little givin' and stop!
Givin! Learn a little givin'
It's been done before
C'mon do it again!
Learn a little, learn a little
Learn a little givin' and lovin'

23) Ever been cheated on? Yes, I have, but since I was cheating on the person at the same time...yeah. My twenties: a decade I would dearly love to have back. I'd have done damn near everything differently.

24) Opinion on cheating. I've given this before. I think in very select circumstances, it's justifiable. But it's an absolute last resort. You're better off asking permission here than begging forgiveness, is my view.

25) Most recent picture I took. I don't take many: I'm not what you'd call a visual person. Christmas morning, Eva and Dolly having a cuddle.

26) How many followers do I have? Twelve on Facebook. Two on Reddit. Two on Spotify. I had to look in all three places.

27) First ten songs to play on my shuffle: Okay. I could fire up my iPod, which has about 59 GB of music on it in almost every genre imaginable--but I can't find a Lightning cord to do it. So let's go from my 'Songs From A Life' playlist on Spotify.
Roger Whittaker - The Last Farewell
--sang this for my grade three class just before I left for London in 1980
Brad Paisley - Online
--me, in another universe: I really am cooler online, where you don't have to look at me
Mumford and Sons - The Cave
--just a rollicking tune with amazingly literate lyrics
David Daws and the Canadian Staff Band of the Salvation Army - Golden Slippers (my recording is actually Deryck Diffey, but this is almost as good).
--This was on a cassette tape of brass pieces that Craig gifted me with in grade 11. It kickstarted a musical obsession and damned near a career. My mother nixed the career idea
Scott Joplin - The Entertainer
--one of the first songs I could fake on piano when I was four. The very first was Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold". I did eventually learn to play 'The Entertainer' correctly
Steven Mead - Facilita (my recording is Ole Antonsen on cornet, but Steven Mead is arguably the best euphonium player on the planet, and he NAILS this)
--another relic of that Craig-tape. I freaking LOVE brass band music. If I lived across the pond, you bet your ass I'd be in a band and competing
Ralph Vaughan Williams, English Folk Song Suite (1) March - Seventeen Come Sunday
--one of the highlights of my own all-too-short banding career
Capercaillie - Rann Na Mona
--I can not recall how I stumbled across this group. One of its songs (not this one) was on my wedding soundtrack. Gaelic is such a strange and fascinating language. You can read the lyrics as you're listening to them and the words on the page in no way match anything you think you're hearing.
Iyaz - Replay
--I always think of Nicole when I hear this...not, I hasten to say, because the lyrics call her to mind, but because it used to play on the Price Chopper radio, and I'd dance around to it, which never failed to make Nicole laugh...I dance like a rusty robot
Delerium - Flowers Become Screens
-discovered this group in the early nineties, and was a huge fan for half a decade

28) Most embarrassing moment: Do I go with the awfully mortifying karaoke in Niagara Falls on July 4, 1988? Or do I choose the time in grade five when I didn't bother wearing underwear to school? I could well have been the inspiration for the infamous 'beans and the frank' scene in There's Something About Mary. The pain was huge, it blotted out the room. No, I was in too much pain to be embarrassed by Mr. Serrarens having to...extricate. My classmates never teased me about that incident, either, even though it seems like the kind of incident that begs for several lifetimes of being ragged to the dogs and back.

29) Cutest thing anyone's ever done for me. Cute? I mean, Eva married me, that's pretty earthshaking. But cute? I think I have to go back to Lynne for that. She got me a calendar for Christmas, an old-fashioned wall calendar. For every date of the year, she chose a love song and wrote a snippet of lyrics...and also the words "I love you". 365 times. No group repeated.

30) Most traumatic experience. The obvious here is my near-death experience in the septic tank. But although I had nightmares for years, I wouldn't call it traumatic. I would say that six years of relentless bullying and ostracization had longer lasting, and also deeper, effects.

And there you have it: Thirty things about Ken.

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