I recently came to the conclusion I was a meat head in University. It was fun and I wouldn’t change it, but I have come to accept the less than chivalrous role I played.
I played Rugby, not that there is anything wrong with that; I went to keg parties, not that there is anything wrong with that either; I got into the occasional bar scrap, there might be something wrong with that. My world focused on the three pillars of higher education: rugby, beer and girls. I wasn’t skilled at handling any of the vertices of this dangerous triangle. And despite what my student loan might lead you to believe, school and studying fit into the equation when it was convenient.
I first realized things were a little out of control in my final year of studies. It started with getting my ass beaten in front of a Pizza Pizza, which – in my defence – was in the defence of a room-mate who got jumped just as I bought a fresh slice. I wouldn’t say that I saved the day so much as I added another body to evenly distribute the ass kicking across. In that capacity, I think I did well. I spent the duration of the scrap getting choked, while I punched a stranger in the testicles. My first fight was not what I expected, and worse still, my pizza did not survive the ordeal.
I also did some ass kicking of my own. In a barroom brawl I flipped a table that had been freshly filled with drinks, and then topped this stunning cliché by jumping on the instigator’s back like a spider monkey and choking him out on the floor. It’s a long story, but the guy had it coming, trust me.
The year had its ups and downs, but it wasn’t a punch to the head or a prolonged loss of oxygen to my brain that roused me to my realization.
While these extracurricular activities were going on I was taking mind bending classes like Grief, Death and Dying and, my favourite, Love and Its Myths; I was getting full value out of my education. I have no memory of what we studied in either of those classes aside from what you might surmise from the course titles. I do recall writing an essay on the subject of love and the Velveteen Rabbit; I received a very low mark.
My academic life and my personal life were at ends with each other.
What snapped me back to reality was Youtube. A friend forwarded a video to me where the main actor looked exactly like me. The gentleman could have been my twin, but was at the very least my doppelgänger. He was also doing something that I potentially might have done, something stupid: whizzing along on a children’s scooter down a residence hallway to launch off a textbook ramp for the finale; he didn’t stick the landing. Higher learning at its best.
The friend who forwarded the video asked me when I had taken this ‘leap’. If I had known for certain I had performed this stunt I would have been able to swallow my Youtube infamy. What was more shocking was this, I wasn’t sure if it was me. The more I watched the clip the more I was convinced it could be me. It looked like me, it looked like something I would have done at the time, it looked like any university residence hallway where I had gotten up to no good. This was troubling.
I watched the video again and again trying to see the face of this mystery idiot – which might be me – and although I did conclude that it wasn’t me, it was alarming to think it could have, I just had no memory of it.
This was near the end of those years I spent in that pressure cooker of beer and sexual tension called university, but I’ve gone on to make more errors in judgement since. I like to think those mistakes made me who I am today.
I’m a different person now, and I’ve been asking myself the question of how that came to be. We all grow and change, but do any of us know the dates for those formative experiences?
In my case, was it teaching English in South Korea and having surgery on my ass that opened my eyes to the world?(that’s a long story, ask and I will tell) Or was it while cycling across Canada when I was left with long hours each day to think and stare at the spandex ass in front of me? Was this where my warped view of reality was violently birthed, from spandex, sweat and wheels or asian ass surgery?
There are other schemes that brought me to where I am today, but the two mentioned above were among my finest mistakes.
Whether it was one single event or the sum of their parts, I have no idea, regardless, I’ve changed. I wouldn’t take back any of the things I’ve done either. Well, that’s a lie, I would, but I wouldn’t take back much. And how could I, all of those peaks and valleys brought me to where I am now, and where I am now is pretty swell – at least in my opinion, and there isn’t any other opinion that matters when it comes to the subject.
People change, it couldn’t be any simpler. But for a long while, I liked to think I was the exception to the rule. I was the immovable object, or so I thought. While in fact, everything has changed, and by the time we notice it, we’ve missed it, or, I’ve missed it. It’s hard to accept that we’re oblivious to the going ons around us, but I don’t notice my hair growing either.