I’m not a religious person and I never really have been. I don’t go to mass, I don’t pray, I don’t go up for communion on the rare occasion I find myself sitting in a wooden pew.
But I’d also be lying if I said that religion didn’t bring me some form of inexplicable peace when dealing with death.
When Richie died, I didn’t know what to do. I don’t even remember how it happened but I somehow was put in touch with my high school chaplain, Ross, and he asked for my help in organizing a memorial at the school for Richie. Of course I said yes.
Randomizing your music may very well lead to a song that dredges up memories you may not want — or, in my case, memories I didn’t know I wanted.
I don’t listen to music as often as I’d like because I can only do it when I’m not doing anything else, which is also not as often as I’d like. I’ve attempted to play music while working, only to realize I was paying attention to the music and had zero work to show for it.
Happily, a rare opportunity to just listen to music presented itself on my flight home to Toronto from San Francisco two weeks ago. I eagerly pulled out my phone, popped in my earbuds, and tapped Shuffle.
Then “Adieu” began to play. And the floodgates opened.
I was going to write, “You can’t make this stuff up,” but apparently you can.
Not only have I been having unusually vivid dreams lately, I’m actually remembering them — something that almost never happens. Although given the occurrences in these dreams, I wonder if I’d be better off forgetting them. Not because they’re terrible, but because they’re so goddamn weird.
Under any other normal circumstance, I’d agree that the term “feisty turtle” is an odd pairing of words.
But I can’t agree. I’ve looked after my neighbour’s turtle Harold (Harold!) on three separate occasions now and I think that has earned me the prestigious title of Turtle-Sitter Who Can Assign Adjectives To Local Reptiles Under Her Temporary Care, along with Observer of Curious Turtle Behaviour.
One night after feeding Harold, I decided to sit and watch for a while. I’d never actually watched turtles for an extended period of time — unlike most of the general population, obviously.
For one thing: Harold yawned and let me tell you, you really haven’t lived until you’ve seen a turtle yawn.
Imagine a turtle having just been woken from his hibernation. He’s been dug out from his underground haven with fresh soil still spattered across his shell and he’s slowly turning his head side-to-side, as if trying to make sense of his surroundings in his sleepy haze.
Then picture him raising his front foot to his mouth and yawning.
Imagine boarding a bus en route to the indigenous Embera community in Panama, a long drive and boat ride down a river, far away from a privileged resort life of excessive food and free-flowing alcohol.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, picture a tour guide named Tony, speaking into a little microphone for his voice to carry over the din of the mini-bus speeding its way across the Pan-American highway.
Tony announces that a typical Panamanian salary is around $400 a month, and a post-secondary education runs about $30 for the year.
Suddenly, a woman from B.C. in the tour group decides this is the perfect moment to bring up her own plight.
"That’s so cheap!" she exclaims incredulously. "Do you know how expensive everything is in Canada? It’s going to cost me $100,000 to put my daughter through school! Oh, and our health care system is the worst, you have to wait forever…”
Then you think/hope she’ll shut up any second because she’s embarrassing herself, not to mention the person who chimed in to agree that, yes, everything costs far too much in Canada and we have such a rough life, especially compared to the high-rolling citizens of Panama!
You know what’s a great feeling? Thinking you won’t like doing something, but doing it anyway only to discover that you were right all along.
Not that I have anything against being satisfyingly wrong. But when I realized a long time ago that going to a tropical resort was just not appealing, someone said, “You can’t say you don’t like it if you’ve never gone.”
I’m usually not the sort who will dismiss something because I think I won’t like it. I used to hate olives, then I made myself try them after a long time of staying away and now I love them. I never thought I’d like SpongeBob SquarePants and Matt practically begged me to watch it with him — now it’s one of the only scripted comedies that makes me laugh.
Food and television are easy fixes. You try it and don’t like it? Spit it out. You watch it and don’t like it? Bitch about how unfunny it is and switch the channel. A resort is a much more costly experiment.
Then, just days after Christmas, we had a good excuse: Matt’s friends were getting married.
The 67 oz Steak Odyssey, or Things That Won’t Get You Laid
When I encounter a restaurant that offers a completely unrealistic eating challenge, I can’t help but wonder what deluded masochist would be so ready, willing and able to tackle ungodly amounts of food.
Then along came my cousin Mark.
Mark, he of steak and Jell-O-filled plates. He whose sky-high piled meals cause paper plates to literally bend under the weight of the food. With his boundless energy and active lifestyle, he manages to keep a trim figure — one look and you’d never guess he could eat his weight in food.
Last month, he came pretty damn close.
It was his sister Kris’s birthday and a bunch of us gathered at RealSports Bar and Grill, where we discovered The Hail Mary on the menu:
That’s right: 67 oz steak. One pound of fries. One pound of coleslaw. One hour.
It began as a joke. He even dared to utter the phrase, “I’ve always wanted to try that.” But as the jokes progressed, they soon become, well, not jokes at all.
Then he spoke the inevitable words: “I’m gonna do it.”
We weren’t sure if he was serious, but he shut his menu with such conviction that we knew he’d made up his mind.
“DON’T DO IT!!!” cried Kris, arms outstretched.
He wouldn’t listen. It would take an hour and a half for the steak to cook, meaning he had an hour and a half to mentally prepare himself. (And you can bet there are pictures…)