Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Karen feeding of a young guy's brain

I haven't asked the woman at the centre of this story if I can use her name, but here goes nothing.

Believe it or not, I am extremely cautious about how I employ names in this blog. I never use a person's first and last names without permission.
THE DEVIL YOU SAY: Imagine the
moment you learn you share a name
with a famous dictator.

With some exceptions. For example, if a guy is famous. Or dead maybe. And of course family members and good friends, I write about with abandon.

But other than that? No names.

Well except for this chap I once did some business with whose name tag told me he is "Victor Mao." Victor Mao. I'm going to tell you about him without asking his permission.

When I asked about the surname, he told me that he'd grown up in Canada and had no idea who Mao the Chinese ruler was until his opthalmologist mentioned it when Victor was 14. Imagine being a teenager in the the eye doctor's chair and finding out your surname is one billions of people associate with one of history's most famous and infamous people.("Okay Mr. Mussolini, what letters do you see on the chart?")

Me, I just started by asking about his first name--Victor. Were his parents expecting much or what? Can a guy named Victor be allowed to lose? At anything? Ever? (There are no Victor Carters, by the way.)

Victor Mao. Not only did he seem like a well-adjusted young man,  he appeared very happy when I left his office.

But I digress. The person I'm writing about today is Karen MacIntyre, and I did not ask if I could use her name.

Karen, you have to know, is my good friend Trevor's sister.

Trevor and I first started pal'ing around when we were eight or nine; and Karen would have been all of 15 or 16.  I haven't talked to her in ages.

But when I was eight or nine, in my eyes, just being in the same house as the beautiful Karen MacIntyre was reason enough to be Trevor's buddy. She has no way of knowing this but up until that point, I'm pretty sure I'd never been in a room with a woman as good looking as Karen MacIntyre.
KAREN AND FRIENDS:
a.k.a., the 'Old Spice Girls' 

That she was halfways nice to skinny little big-eared me was just icing. Karen also has no idea of the profound effect she had on me.

(Pause for breath)

Here's what I'm talking about.

Four days ago, my wife Helena and I were at Costco. We were heading for the check-out line when I realized I needed deodorant. Not like, then and there. Rather, I remembered,  I was running low at home. 

We strode toward the deodorant shelf.

The choices were--as always--almost overwhelming but frankly, I don't care what brand I use. It's all the same to me. Except.

There was one type on special: five sticks for $13. And because it was on sale, that was the brand I was going to have. Under any other conditions, I never would have given it a moment's thought.

But this was different.

Here's the thing.

The older I get, the more I realize you never ever know where what you say is going to land. And take root.

We stroll through life, having conversations here; making jokes there; offering one liners on all manner of topics, never thinking for a moment that somebody might actually be listening to what you're going on about. And they'll take it to heart and carry it around for the rest of their born days.

 A long long time ago--let's say 40 years--Trevor and I--a pair of pre-adolescent grade-schoolers--were lucky enough to travel from our hometown of Sudbury to visit the wondrous Karen, when she was a nursing student in Hamilton, Ontario.

A  few things stand out from the trip.

I remember Karen and her pals showed us around McMaster University; then they took us to the Stoney Creek Dairy for ice cream cones; and finally, I remember overhearing Karen talking to one of her girl buddies.

One of them was describing how some guy had been coming on to her. And, she said, he was okay looking, but a fatal flaw made his chances of having any success less than zero.

His felony?  "He was," she told Karen, "wearing Old Spice."

Ooo----ick. Old Spice after shave.

Who knew? A buzz-kill before the word was invented.

Up until that moment, for me, splashing on Old Spice aftershave was something I sort of looked forward to doing. (Okay, shaving was pretty high up there on the wish list too.)

SEND IN THE COLOGNES: Yup. The instructions came with the product
But with one up-turn of her adolescent nose, the pretty Karen MacIntyre's pal pulled the plug on Old Spice for me.

After that? Once shaving was a thing, it had to be Brut or Hai Karate, which came with instructions on how to fight off girls, or anything; even the celtic scent of Irish Spring.

But no Old--spit ptooie--Spice for me.

Until this past Sunday. I caved.

Seems like I crossed a bridge of sorts.

This very morning, when deodorant time rolled around? It was Old Spice.

Does this mean I'm washed up? Only  thing I know for sure?

Getting old is the pits.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Making tracks for life

When I was a kid, we Carters didn't have Grand Theft Auto. We had slot cars.

Just like in the picture. Two little electric cars, guided along their paths by tiny plastic pegs and fuelled by hand-held wired remote controllers, raced around the track until they crashed or we got bored, whichever came first.

For us young Carters, the slot cars delivered minutes and minutes of fun.
MAKING TRACKS FOR LIFE: Big brothers knew how to make
playing in traffic fun!

Of course when I say "we had slot cars" I mean "my older brother Eddie had slot-cars." I'm pretty sure it was Ed Santa brought the racing set to.

But because I was the baby of 10 and spoiled so rotten my teeth were brown, I  thought every thing in our house belonged to every body in our house.

Toys, boots, candy, longjohns, you name it. We shared everything equally.

Or maybe it was just me. One of these days I'm going to survey my brothers and sisters to see if they felt as generous with their stuff as I did.

It's true about the brown teeth though. My baby teeth---and this might be linked to the fact that my mom and dad allowed me as much sweets as I wanted--came in crooked, sort of "fangy," and darkly off-colour. Pretty attractive huh?

Get this: One of my childhood nicknames was "Golden Snags." Imagine. Teasing a youngest brother because of a physical deformity. That's the kind of older siblings I had I mean still have. It's a miracle I turned out so well.

Another of my nicknames? "You Little Squirt." A third? "Little Hitler."

You can't make this crap up.

LITTLE SQUIRT:
I got called that, too!
But back to the slot cars. As high-tech and advanced as it was, the toy had limitations; so  early on Eddie figured out that if you removed the little white guard rails from the edge of the track, the risk of the cars flying over the side got way better, so off came the guard rails and wheeeee! off flew the little racing cars.

Eddie also--in an effort to make the racing cars even more dangerous--squirted 3-IN-ONE oil on the track to make the surface virtually undriveable on.

I also just remembered Ed configuring the slot-car track to ascend a slight ramp and instead of sloping back down again, just end. So the cars just flew off into mid air, doing a sort of  mini Jimmy Dean. (Amazing how a few little-boy shenanigans presage life-long patterns. But I digress.)

I looked up to my older brothers and sister then and now and wonder how they put up with spoiled rotten me.

Not only were they all generous, sharing, daring, bright and adventuresome, the Carter kids had superb timing.

I remember one time out in the yard playing cowboys. I was the villain and I'd done something real bad and had to be hanged for it.

And--true story--the rope was looped over a tree branch, the noose was around my neck and everything. I was about to pay for my crimes.

But mere moments before I met my maker, lucky for me, out came Mom to call us in for lunch. Just in the-- ahem--neck of time. How much fun is that? We laughed and laughed.

But something just occured to me. You don't suppose that...naaaah...couldn't have been.