My Week 241: I’m In The Movies

The other night as I was drifting off to sleep, I had an idea for the most amazing tweet. I don’t tweet a lot; I mostly read other people’s tweets and sometimes retweet (also, I hate the word tweet and having to use it this many times to set up this week’s story is making me want to smash my laptop), but in my semi-conscious state, I was convinced that it was something I absolutely had to say. So I tweeted out this:

Then I woke up the next morning, looked at what I had tweeted, and was slightly appalled. But then I comforted myself with the knowledge that Twitter is pretty much a cesspool anyway, so who cares if I say something random and dumb? I mean, it’s not like I’m an American president or a Canadian Conservative or something. Also, notice that the tweet got one ‘like’ (it was from my awesome blogger friend Sean P. Carlin–you should check him out). But then I got to thinking—what other movies would have been completely different if I’d been in them? So here are some films whose plots would definitely have suffered due to my presence:

1) Since I’m writing this on May the 4th, let’s start with Star Wars, at the moment before the Death Star is about to be destroyed…

Obi-Wan: Mydangblog, trust your feelings.
Me: I really wish you would call me Player One.
Obi-Wan: Concentrate, Mydangblog.
Me: But all the other guys get cool nicknames! There’s Red Leader, Gold Leader, Wedge, Goose…aw, Goose just got exploded.
Obi-Wan: Goose was from Top Gun. Will you please concentrate?!
Me: Ok, I’m going into the weird tunnel. I’m gonna blow sh*t up!
Obi-Wan: Use the Force, Mydangblog.
Me: No way. I’mma use this visor thing with the targeting computer in it.
Obi-Wan: LET GO!
Me: Are you Force-splaining how to destroy a Death Star to me?
Darth Vader (heavy, pervy breathing): The lunacy is strong with this one.
Obi-Wan: Mydangblog, trust me.
Me: That heavy-breathing perv just shot my robot! That’s it! Tick tock, m*therf*cker—your time is up! (*puts on theme song which is obviously Sugar How You Get So Fly, blasts everything in sight with my laser guns, manages to hit portal, Death Star detonates*)

I know—it ends just like the real Star Wars, but it was a lot more fun.

2) The Empire Strikes Back

Scene: Out on some glacier.

Me: Holy sh*t, it’s cold.
Obi-Wan: Mydangblog. Mydangblog.
Me: You again? I told you to call me Player One.
Obi-Wan: You will go to the Disco-Bar system and learn yoga.
Me: What the actual f*ck? Urghhhh, it’s so cold…
Han Solo: Mydangblog!! Come on, give me a sign here! There’s not much time! I’m going to cut open this Tauntaun and put you inside it to keep you warm.
Me: GROSS. I’D RATHER DIE.

So in my world, I only appear in two Star Wars movies, but I stand by my choice. Tauntaun intestines are disgusting.

3) 2001: A Space Odyssey

Opening scene:

Monkeys all screaming and having some kind of monkey war. I suddenly appear, like a strange female monolith. They stop and stare.

Me: Hey chimps! Which one of you wants to be my monkey butler?

(*One monkey tentatively walks forward. He picks up a big bone from like a Tyrannosaurus or whatnot, and advances on me.*)

Me: OK, cool. I shall name you Ralph Van Wooster.

(*Monkey shakes his head and waves the bone menacingly. More monkeys start to move towards me.*)

Me: I think I’ve misjudged this situation terribly.

(*Monkeys stop their in-fighting and attack me with their dinosaur bones. Then they, after having united against me, live in peace and harmony until the end of time.*)

4) Psycho

Shower Scene:

Me, in the bathtub, splashing around and having a dandy time. For some reason, the shower curtain is pulled closed, which I would NEVER do in real life because I need to know if someone is sneaking up on me, but let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment. There’s the silhouette of a figure approaching, knife raised. The shower curtain is suddenly pulled back. Violins screech and then stop abruptly. Norman Bates looks confused.

Norman: Why aren’t you in the SHOWER?!
Me: Showers are the devil’s cleaning system! Get out of my bathroom, you psycho! (*grabs hammer that I always keep on the bathtub ledge and breaks his kneecap as theme song, Sugar How You Get So Fly, plays*)
Norman: I wouldn’t even harm a fly!…

Get me out of this shower!!

5) Lord of the Rings

Gandalf: OK, so you’re going to take the ring—
Me: I know, I know—to the tiptop of Mount Crumpet and there I’m going to dump it.
Gandalf: No, that’s wrong.
Me: Come on, Sam-wise—I need you to pull my sleigh.
Samwise: Of course, MyD–I mean Player One.
Me: Sam, I’m glad you’re with me.
Gandalf: Fly, you fools.

Cue theme song, which never gets old.

My Week 164: I Am Terrible At Being A Rebel

“Remember when the police called our house and said they had you in custody?” my mom asked the other day.

“Oh yeah,” I said. “Not one of my finer moments.”

“But you were just trying to do something nice,” she consoled me.

And for the record, I wasn’t ACTUALLY in police custody. In fact, I was sitting at the dinner table, completely oblivious, as my mother said, “What?!” into the phone and then gave me an ominous look. Here’s the whole story:

I was fourteen and I’d just started grade 9. I was in the bathroom at school when two girls came in. I knew one of them—“Mary Jane” had been a neighbour a long time ago, and the last I’d heard, she’d gotten into some kind of mysterious “trouble” and had been sent to juvenile detention. She was tough-looking, and so was the girl she was with. But Mary Jane recognized me:

Mary Jane: Hey. How have you been?
Me: Good. How about you?
Mary Jane: Not bad. So my friend and I have a problem. We really need to get jobs and make some money because we’re homeless. But we don’t have any ID. If you loan us yours, we can get jobs at the Fall Fair and be able to afford a place to live.
Me: OK. Here you go.

Yep, I handed over my Social Insurance Card, my birth certificate, AND my library card to these two girls without a second thought. Unfortunately, as it turned out, they had both just escaped from the juvenile detention centre where they had been sentenced to live for various crimes. So they WERE technically homeless…At any rate, they used my ID to try and get jobs at the Fair, someone recognized them, and they were re-arrested. But the police were confused at first about the identity of the girl Mary Jane was with, hence the phone call to my house. And then I had to go down to the station to pick up my ID. Instead of a tongue-lashing by the cops though, I got this:

Police Officer: Are you OK? The girls said they really threatened you and made you give them your ID.
Me: What? No, they didn’t. I felt sorry for them, so I just gave it to them.
Police Officer: Seriously? Because they were looking at additional charges for threatening you.
Me: Nope.
Police Officer: Then we need to have a serious discussion about what you did.

Apparently, you shouldn’t give anyone, let alone fugitives from the law, your identification. Something about “aiding and abetting” was mentioned, but I don’t remember much else since I was crying at that point. Part of it was because I was scared sh*tless but it was mostly because I realized in that moment that I would NEVER be a badass. Nope, I didn’t have a real rebel bone in my body. And it’s remained true for the rest of my life that, whenever I did something reckless, I was either too worried to enjoy it, or I got caught, which always takes the fun out of being “devil may care”. Essentially, I am a Goodass. Here are some examples:

1) The only time I skipped class in high school happened to be on the day of Parents’ Night. I’d completely forgotten about that fact, and had spent a glorious hour in the girls’ bathroom with a couple of friends, gossiping and smoking (yes, I smoked as a teenager, but in true goodass fashion, I developed asthma, so no glamourous smoking rebel life for me—just a wheezy one). Anyway, my parents came home from Parents’ Night really pissed off:

Mom: Where were you today during Social Studies?
Me: In class, of course, why?
Dad: Mr. McMullen wondered how you were feeling, since you were ABSENT.
Me: What? Me? No, I sit at the back—he must not have seen me…
Mom: Nice try. You’re grounded.

2) When I was teaching high school, I decided one day that I was going to bring a comfy chair into my classroom. I put it on a dolly and was just wheeling it into the building when the head custodian saw me.

Custodian: No upholstered furniture allowed! They cause lice!
Me: What?
Custodian: Take it away!

Well, I was pretty steamed, and baffled by her logic regarding the lice, so I waited until the next day, and when the coast seemed clear, I enlisted another younger staff member to help me get it on the elevator to take up to my room. We loaded it, all nervous and watchful, but there was no one around. We rode up to the fourth floor. Then the elevator doors opened, and there she was, like some kind of giant wizard, waving her arms around:

Custodian: I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor! You shall not pass!! Also, take that chair right back down, and don’t try to sneak it in again!!
Us: Yes, High School Gandalf.
Custodian: Fly, you fools.

3) A few years ago now, all the stores instituted a policy where you have to pay for grocery bags. But at the Zehr’s self-checkout, the machine asks you to indicate “how many bags you wish to purchase”. And so for years, I thought I was being a tiny bit of a badass by always indicating “0”, because frankly, I didn’t WISH to purchase ANY damn bags. I justified it by blaming Zehr’s for being semantically challenged. Then, a couple of weeks ago, a friend pointed out that Zehrs donates the money from the bags to charity, and now, instead of feeling like a rebel, I just feel guilty for depriving the children, and if they don’t get toys for Christmas, it will be all my fault. So now, I always pay for one more bag than I’m actually using to make up for it.

4) When I’m taking the train home from Toronto, I always have a glass of wine from the bar cart. It’s not particularly good wine, and it costs $7 for a very small glass, but still, it’s nice at the end of a long week to start early. A while ago, a friend at work gave everyone this new wine that came in cans. I tried it and it was actually pretty good, and not very expensive. “And the best part,” said my friend, “is that it looks just like a soda can so you could drink it on the train and no one would ever know!” So that Friday, I got on the train with my secret can of wine. Then the bar cart came:

Janet: The usual?
Me: No, I’m fine thanks.
Janet (confused): Are you sure you don’t want anything?
Me: Oh no, I’m good.
Janet: Hmmm. So you’re not feeling well. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.

I call the conductor Janet because she looks and acts just like the character Janet in that TV show “The Good Place”, which is my new favourite comedy, and our conversations usually go like this:

Me: Janet?
Janet: Hello!
Me: Can I get some wine?
Janet: OK! Here.

Anyway, after she continued down the aisle, I surreptitiously opened my can of wine. But I couldn’t enjoy it for two reasons: first, the conductor kept coming by to check on me because apparently she thought I must be sick, so I had to keep hiding it, and second, they made the usual announcement about not having personal alcoholic beverages on the train, and I started obsessing that another passenger would see that the can said ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ and not ‘Sprite’, turn me in, and I would be forced off the train at Aldershot after having my sad wine can confiscated.

I suppose in the long run, being a goodass is better for me, because anytime I do something even mildly rebellious, I just worry, and it takes the fun out of it. Like whenever I’m at Starbucks and they insist on writing my name on the cup, I tell them it’s Bob. But the barista always gives me a dirty look, and then I feel bad, like I need to explain that I’m not mocking HIM, just his stupid store policy. The only time I truly embrace my badass side is when it comes to protecting the people I love. Once K’s Grade 1 teacher was mean to her and made her cry, so I confronted the jerk on the playground and tore him a new one. Then I sat in a comfy chair, smoked a cigarette, and drank canned wine that I had triple-bagged. Like a boss.

My Week 6 – Mennonites, Sweary-ness, and Normal Ken Dreams

Sunday: I ponder the wonderful world of Mexican Mennonites

I grew up with Old Order Mennonites. They were always around when I was a kid—at the market, driving along the side of the road, just a fixture on the landscape. I never really paid them much attention. As I got older, I wondered about them. For example, they like to go to auctions and buy pots and pans, and other household goods, I’m assuming to be part of a dowry or something, like “Here’s my daughter, a set of Lagostina cookware, two fuzzy blankets, and a goat”. Also, I often questioned their lifestyle—like why they couldn’t have electricity, but could use cell phones, or if you’re out on a Sunday in a buggy with a boy, does that mean you HAVE to marry him, or are you just trying each other out? But overall, I didn’t give them too much thought. That is, until we bought our cottage down by Lake Erie shore and were introduced to the “Mexican” Mennonites. OK, here’s the deal. They are not Mexican. They don’t speak Mexican. They certainly don’t look Mexican, They’re a splinter group of ‘regular’ Mennonites who went down to Mexico for some random reason, stayed there for a few generations, and now have returned to Ontario to share their glorious Mexican-ness with us. They are AWESOME. They should be the poster children for Mennonites, if the Mennonites were ever interested in recruiting. I spent some time gathering intel on this new brand of Mennonite—this is what I learned:

Appearance: They are all blonde and lithe. The men wear cool plaid shirts, ball caps, and jeans; women wear brightly coloured, floral dresses. Apparently they all have perfect eyesight. And teeth. They always look relatively happy, compared to their older order counterparts, who always look like they’re worried about getting the harvest in. I don’t think Mexican Mennonites worry about too much, especially the harvest, judging from their laid-back attitudes and lack of farm equipment.

Food: Mexican food! Very spicy, homemade Mexican-y goodness. Including gluten-free corn tortillas—these people are cutting edge. And they LOVE hot sauce. At the Aylmer Market, they make Hot Tamales, freshly wrapped in corn husks, and they have a food truck in PB called Dos Gringos, which may or may not be an insulting reference to white folk, but if it is, I admire their nerve. What do other Mennonites eat? German food? They make a LOT of maple syrup and sell it out of their buggies, that’s all I know.

Drink: I’m really hoping Tequila, but I don’t know—I’ve been told they don’t actually drink. If they did though, it would definitely be Tequila because Tequila is the FUN Mennonite drink (at least in my world).

Activities: These people are entrepreneurs. They have real estate companies, restaurants, grocery stores, and all kinds of businesses. They don’t have roadside stands. They DO have a lot of Chihuahuas. The teenagers rove around in gangs like Abercrombie and Fitch models waiting for a photographer. They lounge in their front yards, laughing, in co-ed groups. They always look extraordinarily happy. It could be the Tequila.

Small Children: Mexican Mennonites have large families. There was a group renting the house across the road from us in PB a couple of years ago, and they had a LOT of kids. I used to watch them play—they didn’t have any toys, but they made up the best games, like one day, they were all a bus, and they took turns driving it around the yard. The littlest one was a two year old girl, who was so adorable that it occurred to me that maybe a family with a lot of children wouldn’t miss one, and she could come home with me, but I never acted upon the impulse on the grounds that it would be highly illegal, obviously. The only thing I know about Old Order Mennonite children is that they seem to get lost in cornfields a lot, prompting OPP search parties.

I think I’ve made it very clear that to me, thinking about Old Order and Mexican Mennonites is like watching Lord of the Rings. You have the dwarves, who are short, stout, and dour, then you have the elves, who are exotic, athletic, and supremely confident. Neither group wants to interact with outsiders, but I’ll take the Mexican Mennonites hands down, if only for the awesome food. Because me, I’m all about the tacos.

Wednesday: I contemplate my sweary-ness.

I swear a LOT. I’ll admit it—I have a potty mouth and I always have had. One of my earliest memories is being told off by my dad for exclaiming “Holy Sh*t” at the number of cars in the K-Mart parking lot one day. (Which was kind of hypocritical, because where did I learn that expression anyway, Dad?) At any rate, I swear all the time, with one major exception—I rarely swear at work. I was just talking to a friend of mine from work, and I said, “Do you think I swear a lot?” and she said, “Not really.” Then I asked Ken the same question and he looked at me like the answer was obvious and said, “Uh, yeah.” But this is WHY I swear a lot—because I spend all day NOT swearing. In fact, I spend a lot of the day saying to students (hypocritically), “Watch the language!” I have to keep it all bottled inside so that when I get home, the real me comes flying out. I knew it was a problem when K was about 4 years old, we were with some friends who also had a 4 year old. We were trying to get a picture of the two of them, and Ken was taking so long that K finally blurted out, “Just take the frigging picture, dad!” (I was so proud. Also, it was good that it wasn’t me who had to point out that Ken takes way too long to focus). The other day I asked K if she thought I swore a lot, and she raised one eyebrow at me. I said, “Not AT you, just in general. I try not to swear AT you.” She agreed then that I don’t swear too much AT her, but I do swear a lot. I also reminded her that we’re mostly together when I’m driving, which might account for the extra-sweary-ness.

The problem is that I’m with teenagers all day and I have to be a good role model. It would hardly be professional if I peppered my teaching with the F bomb. (“So why isn’t your f*cking homework finished, Timmy?” “That answer was total bullsh*t, Sally.”) The only time I’ve actually sworn in class was a couple of years ago. I was in the middle of a lesson, and it was going really well, when all of a sudden, the overhead screen behind me scrolled up and almost snapped itself off its hanger. I was so freaked out that my immediate response was to exclaim “Holy Sh*t!!!” Then I turned and looked at the class, and they started laughing hysterically. One girl even said, “This is the best class ever!” Which proves that I DON’T swear in class, because it wouldn’t have been such a novelty when I did. It also proves that my first instinct is ALWAYS to use an inappropriate epithet, but that also I’m really good at suppressing my instincts. So Ken and K, and the rest of my family, have the joy of experiencing the F-bomb factory that is ME. Thank god they f*cking love me.

Saturday Morning: I realize that Ken is completely normal, even in my dreams.

I’m a very vivid dreamer. I have crazy movie length dreams that are like watching crime dramas, and sometime horror movies. Last month, I was watching a dream unfold where a patient in a hospital was extremely ill, and detectives discovered that she had been given an injection of “lupus alcoholis” by a guy who was stalking her, and this had caused her to become deformed and almost die. The doctor at the hospital formulated an antidote, and the detectives arrested the stalker. It was awesome, and cheaper than actually going to the movies. This happens to me all the time, and it’s wonderful and sometimes scary too, especially when the dreams involve K getting kidnapped or my mom driving a car into a river and me trying to rescue her (don’t worry, Mom, I saved you)—stuff like that. But for some reason, whenever I dream about Ken, it’s always the most perfectly normal dream you could have. In fact, they’re about as close to real life as you can get. Last night, I dreamed that Ken was driving me to work, but I forgot my cell phone so we were going back to get it, when he spotted a garage sale and pulled over. The only thing they were selling was these really expensive clock faces and Ken got super-excited, because he keeps talking about making his own clock (in real life, not in the dream). So I said to him (in the dream, not in real life), “Spending that kind of money on a clock face defeats the purpose of making your own clock.” He looked disappointed, but he agreed with me, and we carried on back home to get my phone. WTF kind of dream is that?! The only way it differed from real life is that Ken NEVER pulls over for garage sales unless I make him. In the future, I’m going to try a little “lucid” dreaming and introduce some zombies onto the field of play, just to see what he does. A minute ago, I asked him what he was doing, and he said “resting” (even though we just got up an hour ago), and in my head I was like, “Just see how tired you’re going to be after a night of The Walking Dead. Ha ha, Ken!!”