Penguin Nostalgia

With just about a month to go until my 43rd birthday, I’m feeling sort of nostalgic at the moment. So, because I dictate what I write I have decided to pen what have been some of my favorite moments of my life so far. If you are here for earth-altering experiences than you will be sadly disappointed. But, if you came here to see how an ordinary man-penguin views his experiences than I think you’ll find something of interest here. Who’s with me? Good, in no particular order then. 

  1. Graduating from college in my 30s after years of convincing myself I wasn’t smart enough to finish a degree level program. Well, I did finish it. And finished it with a great GPA and was one of only a handful of students to find work in my field straight out of school. And, and this may sound like boasting, I was the first one to go off and work elsewhere (most haven’t left the same city let alone province). Having my mom and dad there when I walked across the stage was pretty special too. 
  2. Holding the Provincial Track and Field 800 meter record for 16 minutes when I was 12 years old. I don’t remember the time but I know I was under the record set a few years earlier for my age group. It lasted only two heats before someone else bettered my mark by a second or two. I would have wept openly but I was a cuter kid than he was so I got over it. 
  3. Getting an email from my former professor with a distribution list from the Alberta Book Seller’s people listing my book as a new release. I knew it was coming out soon; I just thought it was so cool to receive word about from my old professor. 
  4. Crying at my little sister’s wedding. I bawled when Barbara got married. When my older sister got married I didn’t react much. Susan and I became better friends later in life. Barbara was my best friend for a long time. Seeing her get married just hit me. Plus, it was really dusty in the church. I’m sure that’s why only my mom and I were crying. 
  5. Seeing an elephant in Victoria Falls National Park while on a horseback safari. I always wanted to go on a safari tour and I made sure my first vacation from Saudi Arabia would see to that. Our second ride out on our second full day in Zimbabwe brought us about 100 feet away from the pachyderms.  We’d later see buffalo on the same ride; but that first group of elephants was amazing. 
  6. Seeing my book on a bookshelf in a local Indigo store was pretty damn cool. It got to the point where I would walk into a store and just ask the staff if they had it. When they said “yes” they’d walk me over to it and I’d ask if I could sign it for them. I’m such a fame whore. 
  7. Giving a speech at a local elementary school during Reading Week. One of the teachers at the school played soccer on the same night I did and when she found out I had written a book she thought I would be the perfect person to speak to the kids. They had been sitting in the gymnasium for 2 hours already and I was asked if I would wait a minute so they could stretch and I said, “nope, but I’ll do stretches with them.” I got them all to stand up and stretch, jog on the spot, etc. After that, they were putty in my hands. 
  8. Scoring 7 goals in a soccer game against the team who once cut me. I tried out for the team two years before and played one half for them, scoring twice. The coach said he hadn’t seen enough and cut me. We played that same team in the play-offs and beat them 11-1. After each goal I would run to the sidelines, face him, bow, and blow kisses. Yeah, I was an asshole. 
  9. Turning down a friend’s ex-girlfriend. This should be a significant moment for any man. If your friendship is worth a damn you do not mess with his sister, his girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend, or his mother. If they dated once or twice it becomes a grey area. They had dated for 5 years. I have a motto, and it’s a good one, “bros before hos.” No disrespect meant to my lady peeps out there. 
  10. Attending a book signing 2 days before Christmas. My book will never make me rich, famous, or even get me an agent, but for 3 hours one Saturday afternoon, I had a table, a peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks, and 27 copies of my book to sign and sell. When I left, the store had sold 23 of them and I had autographed the others to leave on the shelf. And not one was picked up by a friend or relative. 
  11. Winning karaoke contests in 3 countries! I can’t sing, I’ll be the first to admit it, but what I lack in vocal ability I make up for in, “Holy shit, is he really that willing to make a fool out of himself?” Sometimes, entertainment value and showmanship is way more important than holding a microphone stand and belting out My Way
  12. The first time I walked into a store and didn’t buy anything even though the sales girl was attractive, flirty, and showing more cleavage than Miss December ’99. I’m weak, what can I say. But I think I’ve turned a corner. 
  13. Beating my grandfather at Jeopardy. The dude is ultra-smart and when it came down to Final Jeopardy and I knew the answer was F. Scott Fitzgerald and he didn’t he just looked at me with a look that said, “I wonder where my wife is so I don’t have to sit here and see his smug face all day.” 
  14. The first time I invited a group of friends over for dinner for a meal I cooked entirely myself. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but to me, it symbolised something. Not entirely sure what it symbolised besides how freaking awesome I thought I was, but I’m sure it had some other meaning as well.
  15. Running/Limping/Walking my way through the Peach City Marathon in Penticton, BC in 1999. I shouldn’t have done it, if truth be told. I might post the story about it one day. I wasn’t prepared for it at all. But I’m stubborn. And stupid. And I wanted the jacket you got for completing it.

Cheers,

Ger

32 thoughts on “Penguin Nostalgia

  1. Lovely memories. 23 is a very good count isn’t. You can boast about it in ‘George of the Jungle – Brendan Fraser style’ (don’t know why that thought popped up). Did one karaoke and it went OK, but my calm and quiet friend totally blew it with his rock song. We were left so surprised by him and his showmanship, we forgot to cheer him. I don’t remember crying at my sister’s wedding, may be except for happiness that she is someone else’s responsibility now. I am sure my mother heaved a sigh of relief and hid it behind her tears 😉 But yes, the weddings of the siblings does bring home the fact that indeed all of us have grown up (even though I still don’t believe that of my brother… I guess its a boys are always boys thing)

    • 23 more than I thought I would sell. But it was a fun few hours. And if I can boast, I looked really good that day; especially since I was at an 80s retro party the night before.
      I have one friend who totally owns karaoke. You wouldn’t know it to look at her but when she takes the microphone and starts, the world stops. She needs to learn to dance though.
      Yes, boys are always boys.

  2. You continue to amaze your readers. Bravo! I have no accomplishments. At least worthy of putting into print.

    Sometimes I stretch the truth.

    Did you know Miss December ’99 was Miss Kentucky before she graced the centerfold?

    • Many people might find these mundane but I like them. Particularly the college one. Never thought I would do that.
      I did not know Miss December ’99 was Miss Kentucky. I don’t even know who Miss December was. I suppose I could have Googled it.
      I think any day I get out of bed without tweaking something is a good accomplishment. It’s the little things that need to be celebrated.

  3. I enjoyed reading this…and here’s wishing you many more interesting and happy memories in the year to come. Your memory of seeing the elephant in Victoria Falls National Park…is a particularly special one:)

    • The next day in Vic Falls we did a canoe trip down the Zambezi and saw a couple of bull elephants basking on the shoreline. That was pretty awesome as well.
      I’ve been really lucky in my travels.
      I actually did do a day-by-day account of my last trip to Africa that I will post (once I figure out how to get my posts in the headers I want them – I might have to pay for an upgrade I think).

  4. That’s a pretty amazing list! I really must look for this book of yours now Geraint, so impressed. #9…turning down a friend’s girlfriend…that’s a good man/friend.

    • Most boring read ever. Trust me. Not sure how many copies are left in circulation.
      A friend’s mother and little sister are off limits too. His older sister is fine; she should know better. His stepmother is also fair game. lol.

      • Really? Dunno…pretty cool claim to fame in any case. Now, this poor friend of yours…what’s with that scene…lol. Had very icky situation with a ‘friend’ which partly sparked my current blog. I mean, wtf. Girlfriend code… you just don’t mess with that ever.

      • I’ve been told by several girls there is no code between them. Not sure if I believe that.
        That scene would make an unbelievable soap opera. Seriously. You couldn’t make half of it up.
        I must read this current blog of yours.

  5. Karaoke! Oh yes, now you are speaking my language. I believe that the ability to sing is actually a disadvantage with karaoke. Volume and performance count for so much more. My songs of choice are My Way (coincidence!), Pretty Fly For A White Guy (I know) and Paradise By The Dashboard Light (I need a fellow singer for that one). In general, though, what an amazing list of achievements. And turning down a friend’s girlfriend – wow. Just, wow.

    • I also turned down a friend’s wife! But I digress.
      My karaoke songs of choice are:
      Suspicious Minds
      Sweet Caroline
      Piano Man
      Although I will try my hand at anything. I also like the disco classic Knock on Wood. I even tried my hand at Billie Jean (probably just an excuse to grab myself in Saudi Arabia)

      • Knock On Wood, what a classic. I would be impressed to see your rendition of Billie Jean, with or without the grabbing. Very brave of you to take on an Elvis tune as well. I have an ambition to master a karaoke version of Stayin’ Alive, but I’m not sure I can sing that high. It is a work in progress.

      • I have tried The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which has its own high parts. There were 4 of us. Nightmare. But better than the clown who tried to sing House of the Rising Sun.

      • My thoughts exactly. This kid was completely out of his depth. He deserved to be punished by being in a locked room for 2 hours and having to endure the nothing but Justin Beiber songs on full volume.

      • That’s very harsh, Ger, few people deserve that. At least he was having a go. Mind you, it wasn’t my ears that were assaulted so I shall trust that your punishment is just. I Will Survive is another karaoke ‘classic’ I’d rather not hear too often. Usually sung by drunk girls who have just been dumped. Pah.

      • This was before Bieber so he would have escaped with merely … I’m not sure who or what.

      • The Bee Gees are awesome. Maybe he would have to wear the nut-hugger pants they wore in the Staying Alive video. Yes, maybe

  6. Can’t reply to our thread above for some reason, so commenting here. “Told by several girls there is no code between them”… oh honey, yes there is a girlfriend code…and it’s what separates the women from the girls. My motto is also a good one…”chicks before dicks” 🙂 And no respect to my bros out there. This is probably warrants a future post lol.

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