All of the Creative Writing

See Dick Distance

As the world turns, as the flowers bloom, as the COVID spreads I am trying to stay normal, trying to stay sane and trying not to harass Tales and Kobo too much. Everything I read about how to fortify your mental health during this crisis recommends maintaining your routine as much as possible. Lethargy and complacency will only lead to thoughts spiraling out of control and then you find yourself with a skid of toilet paper and not enough shits to give.

Okay, so routine. This morning Tales and I got up early and took Kobo for a walk. We noticed that walking down the sidewalk is like playing a game of chicken. Who’s going to give in first and cross the street? The chicken, that’s who. The very ethical chicken who appreciates his health and free range. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, but we noticed that people need to apologize and explain why they are avoiding you or make a joke so they don’t appear rude.

“We’re going to be really good at measuring things,” said the elderly woman as she created space between us.

“Yup, gotta keep six inches between us. I mean feet. Six feet. Have a great day!” I replied.

When Tales and I planned our bathroom renovation, little did we know that we would be social distancing and staying at home. Initially, we were showering at our friends’ house, but as confirmed cases continue to climb we have chosen to be responsible and stay home. As we are staying active daily, thanks to the ongoing programming from Polsky’s Strength and Conditioning, you can imagine how ripe the nooks and crannies of our bodies are beginning to smell. Why does body odour always smell like last night’s pizza? Now I don’t want pizza and that’s sad.

In order to quench the stench before six feet isn’t far enough away, Tales and I filled up a bucket of water, grabbed the soap and stepped out into our backyard. Luckily, it was a balmy six degrees so we didn’t have to practice our Wim Hof breathing.

I can only imagine what our neighbours were thinking:

“Hey Heather, Dick and Tales are half-naked in the backyard.”

“Hey Kurt, Dick and Tales ⸺”
“Let me guess, they’re eating some kind of organic superfood, pumping out air squats and doing it all in their underwear?”

“Hey Rose, Dick and Tales are bathing in the backyard.”
“Gross, they’re sharing one bucket!”

Okay, so we didn’t exactly think that one through. Next time there will be a cleaning bucket and a rinsing bucket so as not to defeat the purpose of a thorough cleansing.

Although most of us may not have all the same luxuries and freedoms we are used to at this time, we should still be grateful for the necessities that we do have. We have access to food, water, shelter, healthcare and various forms of communication to keep us connected with each other. Aroma Cafe is also taking online orders and dropping off coffee beans; they need an Instagram sticker for saving Waterloo Region from  uncaffeinated monsters.

For those of us who are laid off, like myself, now is the time to do those things we always say we never have time to do. Just do the damn things. No more excuses!

And remember, Missy Elliott has never been more relevant than right now.

COVID-19 is shutting down the world:
“Listen up everyone! We have been just informed that there’s an unknown virus that’s attacking all clubs. Symptoms have been said to be heavy breathing, wild dancing, coughing. So when you hear the sound WHO-DI-WHOOOO! Run for cover motherfucker.”
– Pass That Dutch

When you want to go outside, just think:
“Is it worth it? [Should I] work it? I put my thing down, flip it and reverse [my ass back inside].”
– Work It

Just stay home with your boo:
“Ain’t nothing out there for me. This is where I wanna be. I dun already been in the streets. And I ain’t came across nothin’ so sweet.”
– Nothing Out There For Me

See Dick Teach

Some people like children no matter what. Even if the children are blowing mucus bubbles, shitting up their backs and practicing for their next Screamo concert. Some people only like children if they crawl, tentacles and all, from their own uterus and fly around the room – my friend Jane had a very interesting childbirth. Some people experience mild anxiety around children and can’t see the cornfields for the tiny faces. Personally, if I appreciate and respect the parents, I usually don’t mind being in the same room as their children.

One of my favourite things to do is speak. Dialogue with other humans is important to me and thus I find children to be a challenge. Most children these days either communicate too much or not enough. I was in the grocery store the other day, minding my own business, when I exited an aisle and stumbled upon a tantrum.

“Mommy, you’re a bitch!” Yelled a very upset toddler.

“Honey, that’s not very nice,” replied his mother.

“Bitch!” The toddler confirmed and slapped her.

Kudos to this three year old child for expanding his vocabulary, but he is aggressive AF. Perhaps he was mimicking home life interactions in public; some people really shouldn’t procreate. Perhaps he watches Empire when he really should be watching Arthur. Imagine this child in a teaching environment. A teacher these days can’t even give a child a stern word without risk of losing their job – who will discipline this hooligan? If the parents won’t and the teachers can’t, who will teach children how to be proper humans? I guess it’s up to Arthur.

The only thing worse than too much bad communication is no communication at all. I find it incredibly annoying when children can’t even open their mouths and talk – not because they are shy, but because they are preconditioned to only communicate with their own generation. This discourse often happens by text and not by tongue. The less these children use their tongues, the less evolution will choose to keep those tongues for the future and then imagine all of the things that we couldn’t do without our tongues. Please, somebody, for the love of all things we do with our tongues, teach these children to speak!

I actually tried to teach some Korean Kindergarten children to speak once. I knew they were all very smart for their ages because stereotypes tell me so. I modified lesson after lesson, educational game after educational game to try and get these kids to open their damn mouths and say something, say anything, but all they wanted to do was scream and throw things. Finally I discovered that they loved playing hangman. So I would make them spell out phrases like We are horrible little brats and We are the bane of our teacher’s existence. I’m sure my teacher friends are shaking their heads in disappointment, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

The other day at work I had a moment of confirmation that I should never teach young children anything. A little boy was picking out his first pair of glasses and was so excited. His sister was upset that she didn’t need glasses.

“Why can’t I have glasses?” She asked me.

“Because your eyes are perfect,” I replied.

“But I don’t want my eyes to be perfect,” she said.

I then suggested that her brother poke her incessantly in the eyes because then she might need glasses. “Ohhhh, that’s how you get glasses!” She said and then begged her brother to poke her in the eyes, which he was oh so willing to do. So maybe not my most educational moment. Their mother will probably spend quite some time undoing the damage that I created in a few seconds.

When she was young, Jane’s daughter Belle asked me one time at the grocery store why I needed so much soap. I could have said It’s on sale or I like to stock up, but I didn’t. I told Belle that soap makes me wholesome again after my body gets really really dirty and, because I’m so extremely dirty, I need all of the soap.

“Ewwwwwwww!” Belle exclaimed.

I think it’s Jane’s fault that Belle understood my innuendo at such a young age. Belle, just so you know, your mother has used way more soap than me in her day.

My frephew (friend-nephew), Sebastian, is just learning how to speak and I am so excited to be around to influence him. His parents are not so excited. He can’t quite pronounce my name yet so instead of calling me Dick, he calls me Don’t. Now I never know if he is greeting me or telling me to stop harassing him.

Spoiled Fruit

Once upon a time, not that long ago actually – just long enough that forgetfulness starts to set in – there was juicy peach.

The peach was luscious with a soft blend of blood and gold.

Everyone thought the peach was the cream of the crop for it was smart, beautiful, confident and followed the correct steps for healthy growth.

At an early age, the peach met a fig.

Immediately the peach and the fig became fast friends because they were both sarcastic and shared similar methods for their madness.

Soon, the peach and the fig added other fruit to their basket.

The fig introduced the peach to its friend the strawberry.

The strawberry introduced the peach and the fig to its friend the apple.

The fig introduced the peach, the strawberry and the apple to its special friend the blueberry.

The strawberry introduced the peach, the fig, the apple and the blueberry to its special friend the pear.

Then the peach became special friends with the apple.

These six fruit were a happy basket. Or so it seemed…

Even though everyone thought the peach was top crop, the peach didn’t feel like top crop.

One day, to make itself feel better, the peach made jam with the strawberry and they spread themselves on a slice of bread.

They promised it would only be that one time; but who doesn’t love strawberry-peach jam so they made many secret sandwiches together.

The strawberry asked the peach if they could be special friends and say goodbye to the apple and the pear, but the peach said no.

The strawberry decided to stop making jam with the peach and only make jam with the pear.

The peach was furious and it tried to turn the fig and the blueberry against the strawberry and the pear.

One day the peach cracked and it told the fig about the jam it had been making with the strawberry.

The fig was disappointed in the peach and the strawberry equally, but said that it would still be friends with the peach and the strawberry.

Soon the peach began to regret telling the fig about the jam. The peach felt guilty about the jam and being around the fig made it remember the truth.

So the peach stopped hanging out with the fig.

The fig tells the blueberry everything because they are special friends so the peach also stopped hanging out with the blueberry.

The strawberry told the pear the truth and they decided to go their separate ways from everyone and focus on their family preserves.

The peach found an orange and started making jam again.

Nobody told the apple anything, but the peach finally said goodbye to the apple too.

The peach’s family had become quite close with the fig and the blueberry.

Even though the peach’s family knew about the strawberry-peach jam, they still parted ways with the fig and the blueberry.

There is no happy ending for the fig and the blueberry except for the fact that they learned that most fruit cannot be trusted. They will turn. They will spoil. And then they are compost.

The fig and the blueberry are now very selective about the new fruit they bring into their lives.

You can’t tell the quality of a fruit by its outside. A beautiful fruit could be rotten inside and a fruit with a tiny brown spot could be delicious.

Choose your fruit wisely.

And remember, making jam with too many fruits will fuck everything up.

See Dick's Bird

Sometimes, when we are hunting lovers, we catch a glimpse of that fluffy white tail and chase it down with tunnel vision and a slavering maw. We are so focused that we miss all the other quizzical prey standing around waiting to fill our mouths.

Sometimes we think we have felled the most beautiful and evasive buck, but then he manages to leap away unscathed while we are amazed to discover that we have accidentally shot ourself in the foot.

Sometimes, hunters tear through the forest on a warpath, picking off anything that stands in their way; but others lay waiting for years, only their eyes flickering back and forth trying to spot the perfect beast.

When I was hunting men, there were a lot of shots fired in the dark. I actually hit myself in the eye once and that was embarrassing because I was alone. I did, however, bring down a few candidates; most of them were not necessarily wrong, they were just not the most accurate. Like multiple choice. No matter how much I studied for a test, multiple choice questions left me second guessing myself until I ran out of time.

The Question that confused me the most during my years spent hunting was actually a simple true or false. And, in hindsight, I have come to realize that the universe was using fowl play to warn me that my pursuit was most assuredly false.

Marc was not the man for me. The birds told me so.

Bird 1

After walking around McGill campus in Montreal, pretending that I was a student, I found a quaint little outdoor café and settled in to write for a couple hours. At this point in my life I was heavily infatuated and Marc was the recipient of my poetic musings. How perfectly 19th Century and romantic.

I penned a few lines into my notebook…

It will take a lifetime

to fall from where he placed you in the sky,

hitting every pretty bird

on the way down.

And then, as I was furiously scribbling away, I felt something warm and moist slip in behind the collar of my shirt. Shocked, I realized that a bird with impeccable aim had managed to slip me a dirty one. I could feel the creamy poop running down my back as I made my way to the washroom. This was my first warning.

Bird 2

Marc and I were deeply immersed in conversation as we walked to a spoken word contest at The Drake. Suddenly a flying ball of feathers fell straight out of the sky and crash-landed onto my shoe. Looking closer, I discovered that this plumed comet was actually a dead baby bird. I looked above me and there was no ledge, no tree branch from which this creature fell – only open sky. Marc was killing himself laughing. I was thinking about irony and bad omens. If something dead came careening out of mid-air and landed on you, would you chalk it up to coincidence? This was my second warning.

Bird 3

Marc had invited me over for the weekend and I was doing what I did best: floating and over-analyzing. I was listening to The Killers as I drove to his house, taking their songs and turning them into ridiculous personal anecdotes.

Don’t give the ghost up just clench your fist

You should have known by now you were wrong (on my list)

When your heart is not able

And your prayers they’re not fables

Let me show you (let me show you)

Let me show you (let me show you)

Let me show you how much I care oh

Yes, embarrassingly, I was clenching my fist and belting out the lyrics, creating scenarios where we would discover our mutual desire for each other. Okay, who hasn’t, on occasion, created their own personal fictitious Harlequin daydreams? Don’t lie to me. I can’t be the only one. Right?

SMACK! A bird so large – that the interior of my car darkened momentarily – struck the perfect center of my windshield. After its broken carcass flopped over the roof, I noticed that the bird had left behind an exact open-winged outline of its body. I didn’t sing any more songs for the duration of the trip. This was my third warning.

Bird 4

Years later, I finally came to the realization that Marc was not the man for me. I would like to thank the birds for their better judgment. The other day I was driving again, not singing desperate love songs, but thinking about writing this story, when a gigantic hawk swooped down out of the sky and slaughtered a small rodent on the side of the road. Okay birds, I get it! My infatuation has been picked apart and masticated, digested and released. I do, however, still find birds to be creepy and eerily discerning, the perfect addition to any dramatic performance.

Like Hitchcock says,

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Since 2015, Copenhagen has claimed the top spot on the list of bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Their cycling infrastructure cost them €134 million over the past 10 years. That’s a butt-load of money, you might say, but when 62% of your city’s population uses cycling as a method of transportation (and only 9% drive cars), it makes sense. I cannot find a percentage of commuting cyclists for The Region of Waterloo; the number must be very low considering I see very few fellow cyclists on my commute.

Please keep in mind, this is an opinion piece and I am not a professional city planner or a specialist on bicycle infrastructure. Before I talk about what frustrates me about cycling in Waterloo Region, because you know it’s coming, let me first talk about what I like.

Okay, moving on… In all seriousness though, I am happy to ride my bicycle in Waterloo Region despite some of the challenges that I face. Cycling to work minimizes stress as well as starts and ends my work day on a positive note. Also, cycling is excellent for one’s gluteus maximus… “See dis ass… ain’t a rental” (Lizzo, Fitness).

The reconstruction of Uptown Waterloo is an $11 million streetscape project. They put in bike lanes. In my opinion, they put in bike lanes without thinking about anyone’s safety.

Uptown Waterloo Bike Lane Flaws

  • The bike lanes run between either the sidewalk and the road or the sidewalk and parking spots for cars. Pedestrians are always walking or standing in the bike lanes and those stepping out of a city bus have no choice but to step right into the bike lane. Car doors are constantly opening up into the bike lanes.
Source: Australian Cycling Forums
  • If you are wanting to cross or turn left on King Street (to get to the other cycling lane), it is risky business because it is busy and cars always block the intersection. The only option is to weave through the cars which equals danger.
  • Large planter boxes block visibility from vehicles and other cyclists trying to turn out onto or cross King Street. In order to see if it is safe to pull out, the vehicles and cyclists have to pull into the bicycle lanes to check for oncoming traffic.
  • The bike lanes are so short, if you have not crashed along the way, it will be over before you know it. And, when the bike lanes end, the cyclist has to immediately decide whether to veer onto the sidewalk or veer onto the road.

Uptown Waterloo reconstruction aside, we do have some handy multi-use trails. The Spur Line and Iron Horse Trails are great for cycling from the Kitchener Core to the Waterloo Core, but they do have some troublesome points of crossing along the way. Not everyone is going from Core to Core; a lot of cyclists still need to use a combination of road, trail and dedicated bike lanes and most often these are disjointed.

Do we have poor cycling infrastructure because we have very few cyclists on the road or do we have very few cyclists on the road because we have poor cycling infrastructure? What I think we need, not just in Uptown Waterloo, but in our Region as a whole, is better education. Ignorance is usually the culprit when things go awry. We need more educated city developers making decisions about commuter cycling infrastructure. We need city planning based on desire lines. We need instruction for all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians so each group knows how to safely flow together.

My Personal Cycling Challenges in Waterloo Region

  • When I approach a stop sign on a trail, I stop when cars are coming and then proceed when the way is clear. Some cars stop and tell me to go (even when cars are still driving through from the other direction) and they get upset if I do not go. Other cars keep going. Sometimes the road is so busy (Union Street on the Spur Line Trail) that it is nearly impossible to cross.
  • Many cyclists constantly switch from road to sidewalk, cutting off corners wherever they can. This is very confusing and dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.
  • Many pedestrians wander aimlessly down the multi-use trails and do not want to make room for a cyclist.
  • Dogs on long leashes are not properly controlled by their owners using multi-use trails and can jump out in front of cyclists.
  • There are many potholes and danger zones to watch out for when cycling on our roads.
  • Only an assertive personality will dare venture out onto our roads. You need a thick skin in order to put up with disgruntled drivers.
  • The City of Waterloo spent $659,843 on Uptown lights when that money could have been allocated toward supporting local businesses through the reconstruction or better city planning.

Tips from Copenhagen

Source: Berlingske
  • Danish children learn the cycling rules of the road before they begin school at age 6.
  • The Green Wave: Traffic lights are coordinated to allow continuous flow on most major arteries. The flow allows cyclists to move into the city without having to put a foot down. The flow is reversed after work so everyone can move home efficiently.
  • Prioritize separated infrastructure throughout the city. Disruptions within bike lanes and/or automobile-focused infrastructure will encourage cyclists to find alternate (sometimes illegal) routes.
  • Health and Financial common sense: The cost of 1km of cycle track is paid off in five years by the health benefits of users getting more exercise. Car traffic drops by 10% on these stretches and cycling increases by 20%.
  • Good design improves cyclist behaviour.
  • Cyclists must follow a set of strictly enforced rules of the road.
  • Citizens must feel safe in order to embrace cycling.
  • Experiment: Skeptical citizens are enlisted as test participants and instead of letting ideas get squashed by public protest and ignorance, citizens can see a good idea actually working (or not working and then another idea is presented).
  • Do not block desirable lines of cyclist traffic – use them.

Potential Reasons for Not Cycling in Waterloo Region

  • It’s too dangerous
    • Valid point – talk to your city councillor about your concerns. Try and Google map a route avoiding busy roads.
  • A helmet will mess up my hair
    • Try styling your hair at work.
  • I will sweat
    • It’s not the Tour de France, commuter cycling should not cause an excess of sweat. Perhaps your body needs time to adjust to the new physical activity which will only bring positive health benefits.
Source: Sonota
  • My commute is too far
    • Why the hell are you living way over there!? Consider investing in an e-bike. My partner cycles 44km (round trip) and he purchased his e-bike from Rad Power Bikes Canada. He started with one bicycle trip a week and is now up to two.
  • I’m too lazy
    • Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Cycling to work is a great way to slip some physical activity into your busy life. Don’t feel like it’s all or nothing; start by introducing a cycling commute once a week.
  • I have children/pets
  • The weather is bad
    • Try shopping at Adventure Guide or MEC for weather-appropriate cycling attire. Cyclists in Copenhagen commute all-year-round; it helps that the city makes sure clear bike lanes are a top priority.
Source: flickr
  • I don’t know how to ride a bicycle
    • Ask a family member, friend or take a lesson with Born to Ride.
  • I don’t own a bicycle
  • I cannot afford a bicycle
  • I live in the country
    • The Mennonites do it – so can you!
  • I can’t ride a bicycle
    • If you are physically unable to ride a bicycle, you could always try public transportation (but that is another contentious issue for Waterloo Region!)

My Reasons for Cycling

  • Exercise
  • Reducing my carbon footprint
  • Improved mental health
  • I only want one car in our household

TED Talk: Bicycle Culture by Design

See Dick Piss(ed) Part II

Kissing Tales for the first time was a sober experience (not to be confused with a sobering experience); it was unpredictable and left me wanting more. Most of my first kisses were reckless inebriated exchanges of saliva; they were exhilarating at the time, but lifeless the next day. My very first kiss with a boy, however, was sober – and it was bad. At the time, I thought I needed alcohol to make the experience thrilling, but what I actually needed was the right set of lips. The following story is not about the right set of lips or proper conduct or wise decisions. The following story is about being stupid. And, of course, it happened a very long time ago, like all stupid stories. I was invited to a drag performance one night so I called up Nikita to see if she would like to join me. Nikita had never been to a gay bar, let alone a drag show, so she was super excited to check it out. “What do I wear to a gay bar?” Nikita asked over the phone. “Literally, anything you want.” I replied. Nikita arrived wearing tight white jeans, blue stilettos and a teeny tiny vest. I suggested she wear her glasses to add a little bookish intellect to her libertine fashion anthology. We arrived at the bar and it was already filling up quickly – apparently it was a very popular drag queen’s birthday celebration. Nikita and I grabbed some drinks and joined our friends. We made our way over to the stage just in time to see Courtney Cocks jump up in the air and land in the splits. “Ow!” I said pointing, and “Why!?” My balls cringed, holding on to each other and pleading with me that I would never subject them to such reckless behaviour. “Hey Dick,” Nikita broadcasted. “That musclely shirtless man over there is staring at you.” I turned to where she was looking. She was right. He was very musclely. His whole body was perfectly chiseled, complete with deep pelvic lines. “He looks very familiar,” another friend said. “I think maybe he’s Shirley’s girlfriend’s younger sister’s friend’s older brother.” I shrugged and turned around, trying to ignore the eyes that I still felt were watching me. A shirtless man in a bar is suspicious, too eager, as if removing a layer of clothing in advance will get him one step closer to sex or that his beautiful naked torso will deter you from looking at his not-quite-so-beautiful face. We were dancing away, Nikita getting many compliments from everyone, as per usual, when a random dude tapped me on the shoulder, garbling something I couldn’t understand. “What?” I yelled. “My friend thinks you’re hot,” he yelled back. Really, I thought. I hate when people speak for other people because other people can’t speak for themselves. “Then why are you talking to me?” I asked. He left, and seconds later the musclely shirtless man was standing before me, except he had put his shirt back on. “Hi,” he said sheepishly. “Hi,” I responded. For some reason, blame it on the alcohol, I ended up giving this man my number and allowing him to kiss me. He did have a nice body yet, even with his shirt on, I was still suspicious. “I remember how I know him now,” my friend said as we were walking to our cab. “I saw one of his videos once.” “What do you mean video?” I asked, confused. “Dick, he’s a porn star!” “No…” I said slowly because no… “Oh my god Dick,” Nikita exclaimed. “You just kissed a porn star!” “No… “ I said again. “Oh, no! You could have herpes or something.” “Nikita that’s ridiculous,” I said. And then I wiped my lips in a Jane-inspired germaphobic frenzy. The whole ride home I had to listen to “Remember that time Dick kissed a porn star?” Needless to say, the porn star messaged me about 15 times before I had to make it clear that I wasn’t interested. And then I felt guilty for judging him so quickly. But then I got over it. Nikita and I began to reflect on other crazy things that have happened when alcohol was involved. “Remember the time when you peed in a flowerbed?” I asked Nikita. “And you sat down beside me to make everything look casual because people were walking by.” Nikita remembered. “What about that time that you peed in the lake during a thunderstorm? ” “Yeeeah. That was pretty stupid.” I admitted. “If the lightning had actually struck the water I’m pretty sure I would be dickless.” “Well I’m glad you didn’t leave me Dickless,” Nikita said. “I just don’t think life would be quite as much fun without Dick!” Kissing a porn star was never on my list of things to do. But I added it after I kissed him and checked it off anyway. And, for the record, kissing a porn star is very predictable – like every physical exchange is written into a poorly constructed plot. I’m pretty sure sex would be: now we do this, now we do this like this, now we do this upside down. When it comes down to it, I prefer everything to be unscripted.

See Dick Piss(ed) Part I

I used to get pissed. Pissed off. Piss drunk. Pissed off a ski-lift tower once. But over the years, I have come to realize that the company you keep determines, what I like to call, your Buddy Alcohol Content – an important metric for companionship. A while back, Edith shared something with me that stuck. We were laying on our beach blanket at The Pinery, surrounded by obnoxious families with no regard for personal space. Edith turned her head to face me and said, “Remember that one penis I touched?” “Remember that one time at band camp?” I replied. She went on to describe her horrible experience with that penis and then said the important thing that I have not forgotten. “Dick, our best times together happen when we are sober.” At the time, Edith had recently relocated to another city and was surrounded by very intense people who were obsessively concerned about their image and their bodies and their hormone-free, pesticide-free, free-range products. There are two ironies here. One: Have you met us!?

No need to ask, you heard about us Watch your mouth when you’re around us [The Carters, Heard About Us]

Two: The irony of their rigid diets was that these individuals turned around every day after work and pounded back bottles of beer and passed around the coke. But god-forbid a piece of chicken with a chemically encouraged growth spurt and a low exercise regime should touch their lips. Now, that would be toxic. That would be slippin’ under. What people really need are hormone-free, pesticide-free, free-range relationships. My partner Tales grew up sober and to this day does not drink to excess. He has received a lot of flack for this decision, but if you know him, you know he don’t give a fuuuck. I admire his resolve. It is refreshing to get to know someone without the distraction of alcohol. It can be challenging to be witty, charming, intellectual, humorous and sexy with a blood-alcohol level below 0.08%. It can also be challenging to meet new people without a few drinks to make them more interesting. When we first met, Tales managed to be all of these things (and more) without the aid of any liquid courage. Now that he’s met me, and chosen to keep me, he does needs a stiff drink once and awhile. And my closest friends (yes, even Jane) are enjoyable and intriguing even when they are sober. The action of drinking can bring people together. I am not opposed to a night on the town with a few friends in tow and a few drinks in hand, but the bond between everyone shouldn’t be a cork, a pitcher or a skewered olive. The bond should be a quality relationship. I have been raw, I have been marinated and I have been completely saturated. Ultimately, what I have come to appreciate is a relationship that is pure and not merely held together by that gross sticky layer of spilled god-knows-what on the dance-floor. Drunk anecdotes can be humorous, but not if they become the full story. Peeing in a construction zone that one wild night with Nikita may have been a riot, but Nikita is so much more than a bombshell squatting in the dirt. I recommend that everyone choose their friends wisely – not primarily for their nightlife revelry, but for their engaging sobriety. If you need a drink to enjoy someone’s company you should really begin to question the company you keep. If you are running around feeling uncomfortable, feeling like you’re gonna piss yourself you need to realize that when you gotta go, you gotta go.

See Dick Choke

When my friend asked me to be in her wedding party, I said, “Ahhhhh, uhhhhh, hmmmmm…” Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to celebrate with her, but I wasn’t sure how her husband-to-be would respond. Randy was his name and we didn’t exactly click. I was water. He was an oil spill that needed remediation. Randy and I were not always estranged. When I moved to South Korea for a teaching position, Randy was the first person to greet me when I arrived. He invited me out to meet the other teachers and we had a few beers. When I think of Randy, a few qualifiers came to mind. Feral. Erratic. Jovial. Hmm, handle this one with care, I thought. Later that week, when I met Randy’s girlfriend, Jade, she asked me what everyone else was thinking. “I like boys,” I responded. Randy bought us both a glass of wine and Jade and I danced the night away. My friendship with Jade grew tight. She wasn’t just a Seoul friend; she was a soul friend. Soon my emotional connection to Jade became a stitch in her relationship with Randy. Not a suture that holds things together. More of a cramp in your side from running on a full stomach. I was a slow build-up of acid for Randy. One day, Jade and I got kicked out of the country. All of a sudden, Jade and I were back in Canada. Randy was still in Korea. Randy was still in Korea letting Sherri give him a blowjob. When Jade found out, she was furious. Randy was a groveling mess and Jade was sippin’ lemonade thinkin’ I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma fuck me up a bitch; but also, True love never has to hide. I’ll trade your broken wings for mine [Beyonce]. I told Jade: “If you never want to talk to Randy again, I will support you. If you want to try and work things out with Randy, I will support you.” Jade chose to try and work things out with Randy. From that moment on, Randy would not look me in the eye. He knew I knew he fucked up. One day when a group of us were swimming and tossing a beach ball around, Randy accused me of looking at him the wrong way. In his mind, the only right way would have been for me to be blindfolded. Sometimes Randy would cry to Jade when I wasn’t around, fearful that I was covertly planning the destruction of their relationship. He even accused me of wanting to sleep with Jade. Jade did have the nicest breasts I’d ever seen (at the time), but to me they were dormant-milk-secreting-glandular-organs (a mouthful, to be sure) and Randy was an idiot. Now, I have to explain to you that this teary-eyed-man was not a meek individual. He was actually a volatile mixed-martial arts fighter with absolutely no fear for his own life. Arguments between Randy and Jade were becoming too common. I decided to have an adult conversation with Randy. Unfortunately it was a lot of childish with no gambino. Did you know Donald Glover entered his name into the Wu-Tang Name Generator and the result was Childish Gambino? Randy’s name is, ironically, Respected Contender. Mine is Insane Madman. What’s your name? Anyway, I think Wu-Tang got our names mixed up. “Randy.” Randy kicked his ball against the garage door. “Randy.” Randy kicked his ball against the garage door. “Randy.” Randy kicked his ball harder against the garage door. I could see this was going to be difficult. I pushed on, trying to explain that I was not secretly conspiring to annihilate him. “Liar!” he yelled. “You’re a liar and nobody can see through your disguise, but me. You can fool everybody else, but I know you are evil!” I have always wanted to be a vigilante with a disguise, but the facade he saw in his mind was outrageous. I walked away as Randy continued to smash his ball harder and harder against the garage door. Now that you understand my hesitation to join Jade’s wedding party, I will continue on with the festivities. I said yes – for Jade. I was a bridesman. I stood on Jade’s side. Even my pocket square was teal to match the Maid of Honour’s dress. It was my intention to blend in. I didn’t want to draw any undue attention to myself in case Randy lost his shit. I didn’t even give a speech. Enter the photographer. The photographer told Randy to take pointers from me for the photo shoot. Crap. And then his mother and sisters began dancing with me. Crap. And then Jade’s mother said, with tears in her eyes, that Jade was so lucky to have a friend like me. CRAP! I decided to keep my distance from Randy and Jade just to be on the safe side. I even found a cute boy to dance with. But then I found out he was seventeen and curious. Crap. After the wedding, we returned to Randy and Jade’s house. Soon I heard screaming coming from the washroom. The Maid of Honour immediately grabbed me and pulled me into the guestroom. We sat down on the bed and began to discuss how the timing for this argument was rather inappropriate. Suddenly the door flew open and Randy threw himself at me. We bounced off the bed and my face smashed into the wall. He began ripping at my shirt as I was collecting my senses, blood streaming down my face. Somebody managed to pull him off me. It was probably time for me to leave. I was walking down the street to where my friend had parked her car. Out of nowhere, Randy slammed into me from behind, knocking me to my knees; I heard them crack as they hit the asphalt. His hands were around my neck, his fingers pressing into my throat. I tried to shake him off, but his favourite pastime was practicing choke-holds and his hands were like vice grips. It took two other men to separate his hands from my neck. If he had a gun, he would have shot me. The next day, Jade pleaded for my silence. I was disgusted. I reported the incident to the police, disregarding her wishes. Everyone went to the post-wedding party the next day and pretended that I did not exist. Jade cried in the washroom, pretending that she was hung-over. I learned a valuable lesson. I vowed never to get that close to another woman again. Relationships are a pie chart of physical, emotional, friend and soul connections. Nobody’s slices are perfectly even; we all have different needs. Also, giving away too much of your pie to someone else can be bad for the health of your relationship. Jade offered me a large slice of her emotions and left her partner ravenous. It takes years and years to understand what proportions keep us the most satiated. We need to communicate and find moderation, not letting each other become too hungry or too full.

See Dick Bamboozled

It was a dark and ominous Wednesday evening and there was a distinct rumbling… coming from my stomach. I was craving cookies. The problem, I soon realized, was that a perfect cookie is nearly impossible to find. There are three expectations that I have for a cookie. One: the texture of the cookie must be firm on the outside and soft on the inside; I am looking for a satisfying crunch with as few crumbs as possible. Two: the flavour of the cookie must be subtle; I am looking for layers, not to be overwhelmed by something sweet. Three: the substance of the cookie must include quality ingredients; I am looking for a wholesome treat with minimal refinement. After a bit of searching, I finally found a café that was open late. Sliding into a corner couch, I happened to catch the eye of a passing waiter; he looked directly into my soul and flashed an incredible smile. Holy god damn, I thought. He was gorgeous. I will not go into detail, boring you with a physical description of his chiseled jawline, piercing blue eyes, broad shoulders stretching against his shirt, muscled forearms, his ass in those pants… Just insert your fantasy man into this scenario and you’ll get the picture. “How are you this evening?” Chimed a pleasant feminine voice. The waitress had to wait a few seconds for me to pull out of my revery and adjust to the dim lighting. Everything is darker after shooting stars. “Um… I’m good,” I responded with little enthusiasm and a lot of distraction. I slowly pulled my eyes away from the creature who was making my stomach flip. “Can I get you something?” The waitress asked, looking at the Greek-god-of-a-waiter and back to me. “A really big cookie,” I replied. After the waitress left, I decided to use the washroom. Not so much because I had to pee, but because I wanted to walk by the hot waiter. As I walked toward the washroom, I noticed the hot waiter at one of his tables. He was standing, facing away from me, but as I passed him by, I felt some kind of energy tingling down the back of my neck. In the washroom, I stood in front of the urinal and pretended to pee. After what I thought was an acceptable duration of time, I still washed my hands, took a deep breath and re-entered the café. As I walked back toward my table, I couldn’t help my eyes from flicking violently around the room. They were like hummingbirds on ecstasy. Where is he? Where is he? Where is he? “Hi.” I jumped, turned around and there was the hot waiter standing right in front of me, smiling that dangerous smile. He shot the hummingbirds right out of my eyes and I stood there, motionless. “Um… hi.” I finally responded. My lack of eloquence was frightful. “My name’s Marc,” he pressed on. “Do you come here often?” “Sometimes. I love cookies. I mean, I really wanted a cookie tonight.” I love cookies? I should not be allowed to speak. Someone cool and collected should revise my dialogue before I open my mouth. Regardless, Marc seemed to be eating up my words. “So how is your weekend going?” All I could think was is this really happening? After a few more pleasantries, Marc had to get back to work and I returned to my seat, returned to my unimpressed girl-waiter. Why didn’t I sit in his section? His section was probably perfect. The rest of the evening was spent working up the nerve to ask Marc out for a drink. All the signs pointed to him saying yes, but there is always that nagging hesitation that tries to hold you back. Inaction is protection from rejection. Fuck it, I thought, a yes would be fantastic, a no would be closure. Anything in between is torture. As I was heading toward the exit, I spotted Marc clearing a table. “Hey Marc, can I ask you something?” “Of course,” Marc said smiling. God, that smile. “Are you gay?” I asked bluntly. “No, actually,” Marc said sheepishly, “but I do really want to hang out with you sometime. Can I give you my number?” Bamboozled. That is the best word to describe how I felt. Possibly tricked and very perplexed. One very small part of me believed him. The greater part of me decided fantasy is so much more exhilarating than reality and maybe he is merely confused. I boldly requested a yes or no, but I got an in between regardless. Damn him. This man went out of his way to initiate a conversation with me. I should be thrilled that he doesn’t give a shit about normative behaviour. Could I really be that interesting from a distance without any sexual attraction? Is he in the closet or is he the antithesis of the heterosexual stereotype? I always aim for the destruction of stereotypes, but this time, I didn’t want progress. I wanted him to be the perfect cookie.