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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.