Friday, December 1, 2017

We're not in grade seven anymore. Then again...

When I was in grade seven at St. Albert's School in Sudbury, our teacher Mister Gilbert Seguin asked a few students who our role models were.
KAREEM of the crop

My friend Trevor MacIntyre--easily the star player on the St. Albert Saints basketball team as well as the grade-seven boy most of the grade-seven girls were nuts about--cited Lew Alcindor, an American  basketball hero who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Me, I said Arlo Guthrie, a long-haired folk singer and son of Woody Guthrie and also the star of the movie Alice's Restaurant, which to this day I'm amazed I watched when I was in grade seven.

Mr. Seguin did not approve of my choice and told me I should be more like Trevor. (Some things a kid never forgets.)

The thing is, Seguin was right. I should be more like Trevor.

Trevor's one of those guys--I know more than a few who fall into this category--he's generous and funny and smart. A loving father and patient kid brother. Good provider. Actually, several of my pals set the personal performance bar loftily like Trev.

And they share another other trait, too; one they don't even know about.
ARLO can a guy go?

And it is this: For my entire adult life, whenever I run into a woman that I haven't seen in a long time, one of the first things--if not the first--that she asks is, "Do you know what Trevor (or one of the others) has been up to these days?"  I have about six friends who they ask about, other guys of Trevor's ilk.

Nigel Simms, who I've hung out with since university, is one such ilk.

I'll be at a conference and a woman will sort of look at me sideways, then be like, "Peter? Peter Carter from Carleton? I'm (FILL IN THE BLANK HERE.) Good to see you." But then--way before she gets to her kids, grandkids or  her Pulitzer prizes-- I'll get, "you used to be Nigel Simms' friend. Do you ever hear from him? What's Nigel up to these days??".

And while I don't exactly don't what Nigel is up to today, December 1, 2017, I will tell you what he was up to March 3, 1991, two days after our twin daughters were born. Nigel, in true ilk fashion, showed up at my wife Helena's hospital bedside bearing identical hand-knitted baby blankets that his mom created especially for our newborns.

That's the kind of guy that peoples Trevor's ilk.

Up to that point, I thought the only man my wife Helena loved more than me was the bearded anesthesiologist who 60 hours prior delivered Helena's first and only just-in-time epidural.

True story! Years later, when those self-same twin daughters were sent to the self-same hospital for same-day surgery, a rather ordinary-looking and come to think of it portly anesthesiologist who needed a shave entered the room, and Helena whispered, "he's  handsome." I remember telling her "you only think that because he's the one who gave you that epidural." But I digress.

The more I think about Trevor and Nigel and the others, I have to ask myself why am I even telling this story. It's not making me feel a whole hell of a lot better.

HAY! Good lookin''
I'm reminded of the standup comic--I forget which--who said guys like him (and me) know exactly how the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man felt near the end of the movie when Dorothy was saying goodbye to her three friends but after she hugs the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, she really throws her arms around Trevor, I mean, Scarecrow and says "But I'll miss you most of all." 

Not that it bugs me.

Besides, I'm sticking to my Arlo guns. How can you not look up to the guy who gave the world the world the Motorcycle Song?

"I don't want a pickle.
I just wanna ride on my motorsickle.
And I don't wanna die..
I just wanna ride on my motor sigh....
cle."

Take that, Gilbert Seguin.

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