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Friday, January 27, 2012

If I had a time machine

If I had a time machine, I wouldn't use it for silly things like trying to talk leaders out of world wars or hanging out with medieval chicks. 

No sir. 

If I had a time machine, I would visit the dawn of man to hear the first ever joke. Perhaps it was just a loud fart that made the other cavemen laugh? 

If I had a time machine, I would go back and see who first discovered that drinking rotten honey (or rotten grapes) was a good decision.

If I had a time machine, I would streak naked onto the ice during the 1993 Stanley Cup semis between the Leafs and the Kings just as Gretzky was about to score a deciding goal (sorry Gretz, I love you). 

If I had a time machine, I would visit my 18-year-old self and kick his ass.

If I had a time machine, I would do what I could to keep most of the music bands in the 80's (and 90's and recently) from ever happening.

If I had a time machine, I would not have bought a Ford.

If I had a time machine, I would go far into the future to prove that teenagers will eventually lose their fingers and just have thumbs for texting. 

If I had a time machine, I would also travel (hopefully not too far) into the future to warn my children that I'm a bit weird, and to not copy that trait.

If I had a time machine, I'd be rich. Because I could sell it on eBay. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dear high school: I forgive you

High school made me a better person.

That's how I'm now seeing what was, at the time, a long nightmare I couldn't wake up from. 

It probably started with the realization in Grade 9 that I was no longer 'coo'l. While I was liked by most in grade school (that is of course debatable), it seems going from the minors to the big leagues was not a good move for my career. 

It wasn't just me that realized I had lost something in translation. My 'friends' from elementary school sniffed my coming social mediocrity early and jumped ship. Some of them even became somewhat hostile towards me, laughing rather than defending. 

My grades slipped. I went from getting A+'s without trying in Grade 8 to my first C+, which devastated me. And my mom. I grew a lot faster than my body weight could keep up to (I still haven't caught up to that growth spurt). I got quieter, kept my head down, and wore boring plaid shirts pretty much all the same for lack of trying. 

I found myself pretending to be sick as a way to avoid class. It didn't work; luckily my mom wouldn't fall for it. I skipped classes against my usually compliant nature. The guilty feeling made it hardly worth the free time. 

Girls paid attention to me in elementary school, when it really didn't count. My high school years were barren in the relationship department. I might've had my chances, but lacked the confidence to notice them.

I didn't even go to my high school prom. My excuse? No one asked me. 

I didn't join any school sports and I was not on the yearbook committee. I didn't drive or smoke or drink (until late in high school) or any other cool adult-like things. 

But I did manage to find the strength to get through it all. I graduated with a 69 average, hardly good enough for university or the honour roll, but I went on to a (mostly) successful college career.


I learned from high school that putting energy into being popular was wasted energy. Most of those who had status then are nowhere to be found now, like stars that burn out from shining too brightly and too quickly. 

I learned that looking forward rather than backwards was important, although admittedly very tough to do. Especially when you're an awkward 17-year-old. 

I didn't come out of high school with a lot of respect, but at least I respected myself. 

I'm grateful today for high school, because I learned how to push through when I didn't think I had it in me. It's that same strength I drew on early in my journalism career, and the same strength and determination that ultimately won me awards for writing. It wasn't talent. 

I know this same strength will carry me through other challenges in life, and help me appreciate the successes. 

So for you young students who think school is a waste, think again. It's more than math and science. It's learning about who your real friends are, and more importantly, who you are. 

Not to mention, these days having high school as a stepping stone to higher education is basically essential to having a decent career. 

So, it took me half my life to say this, but… thank you, high school. You're forgiven.