Archive for June, 2009

Smile, You’ve Won

Those of you with keen memories will recall that I posted a list of ten goals at the beginning of grade twelve. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

1. Get my novel published.

Status: In Progress 

What’s interesting is that this was my number one priority at the beginning of the year. That feeling faded as the year went on. It’s still important to me that I get this novel published, and I’m still working on doing so. It’s just not everything to me like it used to be. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not.

2. Try out for a school team.

Status: Success.

This was straightforward. All it involved me doing was going to a meeting and showing up for tryouts. I thought that the tryouts would be competitive, but in reality everyone was generally supportive of each other, even when some of us made some rather embarrassing errors on the field.

3. Get cut from a school team.

Status: Success.

The aforementioned embarrassing errors were committed by myself as often as not, and as such I didn’t make it past the second cut. Getting cut from a school team is a strange goal to have, but I considered it (and still do) part of the high school experience. A little bit of failure is necessary on the road to success.

4. Make a school team.

Status: Failed.

…Unless you count cross country, of course. But everyone makes that team. I really wanted to have the chance to don the double blue garments of my school and fight for my school’s glory, but alas I only tried out for one team, and goals three and four on this list were incompatible.

5. Film Club – Write and/or direct the first film made by said club this
year, and have it do reasonably well in the international youth film festival.
Status: Half Success.

I did write the first film made by said club this year, but it did not do reasonably well in the international youth film festival because a certain incompetant director failed to even enter it in the film festival. Damn Kevin.

6. Destination Imagination – Take part in this for
the first time and help the team
finish in the top three in the world.
Status: Half Success.

I did take part in this, but we finished 8th in the world; a far cry from the top three finish that I had wanted. You know, I began writing a semi-long blog about the joys (or lack thereof) of participating in Destination Imagination, but never finished it. If I happen to go back and finish it, I’ll post it.

7. Cross Country – No huge goals for this one. At least participate and finish every race.

Status: Success.

It was a simple goal, but more difficult than I imagined it would be, especially since on the day of the last race, the temperature dropped below zero and it began to snow. That was awful. Last year’s final race had been run in the rain, and while that had been a poor experience, it doesn’t come close to the experience of running seven kilometres and losing all feeling in your legs and hands after two.

8. The School Musical – Try to get an onstage role. Either a non-singing role or be one of the chorus
members. Failing both of those, go backstage again.
Status: Two-thirds failure, one third success.

I couldn’t get a non-singing role because there were none. And I couldn’t be one of the chorus members because unlike last year’s musical, which featured a chorus of twenty or so, this year’s chorus was only about five or six, meaning you actually had to be good to be a member this time around. But, I did join the backstage crew again, and I’m glad I did, because if I had made it to the chorus, I would be a thousand dollars poorer right now. But that’s a story for another blog.

9. Find some way to apologize to Camilo.
Status: Success…ish.

I don’t think that I’d be doing this story justice by putting in in here. I’ll post the story of what happened in another short blog of its own a little later.       

10. Debate Team – One of the classic nerd clubs. Do I dare? I’m not sure
yet. This is the lowest priority, but if I have the time and energy, I’ll do it. 

Status: Failed.

I didn’t even bother trying. It just didn’t interest me that much. End of story.

So, how’d I do? Only three outright successes, and a bunch of partial successes and failures? It looks like I failed miserably, doesn’t it?

But I didn’t. In fact, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

You see, I accomplished things far more important than anything I put on this top ten list. And, looking back now, nothing else seems to matter.

I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I managed to accomplish everything that was really important to me, deep down.

I made friends. Friends that I hope will remain close for years to come. That’s far more important to me than winning Destination Imagination.

I actually learned this year – I learned from peers, from teachers, from the younger students, and from myself. That’s far more important to me than making the baseball team. 

I was able to pass on some of my knowledge to others, especially to the younger students. That’s far more important than being in the school musical.

I was able to ensure that the things I have done at my school will be remembered, at least by a few. That’s far more important to me than having my film do well in a film festival.

Overall, I had a great time in grade twelve. I made memories that will last forever, and friends that will stand by me always.  I shared in the joy of my friends, and in darker times I shared in their sorrows as well. I tried to enrich the lives of those around me as much as I could, and in doing so I found that my own life was enriched. My goal was always to make others happy, and when I succeeded in doing this, I found that I made myself happy as well. And that is more important to me than any of my shortcomings or failures throughout these past four years.

Now, having reached the end of high school – a point that I was certain would be filled wih deep sorrow and regret for having failed the test of high school – I hear a small voice in my head telling me brightly:

"Smile, you’ve won."

And so I have. And so I shall.

RANT #14: Getting Ready for Prom

See, I picked my title very carefully here. I’m not going to rant about prom itself, because it wasn’t a bad experience at all. And I’m certainly not going to rant about the prom after party, because that was probably the most fun I’ve had in 2009 thus far. But getting ready for prom? Hoo boy…Here’s what I was thinking, going into this thing:

Step 1: Ask a girl.
Step 2: Buy a suit.
Step 3: Buy tickets.
Step 4: Show up.

Oh, how naive I was!

Prom is far, far more complicated than that. You can’t just buy tickets and show up. No, you’ve got to earn it.

It’s difficult to communicate extreme amounts of stress through the medium of an internet blog without getting incoherent, and in my attempt to find a middle ground I believe I’ve succeeded in sounding neither stressed nor coherent. But anyhow, here’s how prom really works:

Step 1a: Decide whether or not you want to bring a girl.

See, I didn’t want to at first. They’re so damn annoying, after all. A lot of unnecessary baggage. But, when I told my friends that I was considering flying solo, they flipped. Apparently I’m not allowed to not bring a girl. That would be uncool, and heaven forbid I do anything uncool on prom night. Peer pressure rears its ugly head.
Step 1b: Ask a girl.

This was actually the easiest step. And the simplest:

“Hey, feel like coming to prom?”

“Sure, whatever.”


Next step.

Step 2/3: Pick a table/Buy tickets.

You’d think that this would be easy, but no.

Partway through my Tennessee trip, I got a text message from my buddy Alex, which said:

“I’m putting you in my table for prom.”

“Great.” I thought.“One more issue down.”

But no.

Upon returning from Tennesse, I noticed that Alex’s table consisted of a few people who I didn’t know very well. This would make for a poor evening. So, I told Alex that I would be going to another table. He asked for permission to fill my slot with another name, and I granted him this.

I started another table with two good friends of mine. The only problem was that the Powers That Be required a minimum of four names for a table. So we went to seek out a fourth person. Days went by, and we could find no one.

Then, one of those two friends informed me that he wasn’t going to be going to prom after all. This meant that we would need to find two more people. The other friend recognized how impossible this task would be, and left to join another table. This left me alone.

Quickly, I went to check the list. Alex had promised my spot to another person, but the other person hadn’t yet written their name down. Seeing my chance, I forked over my cash ($125!?!) and sealed my spot in that table, probably screwing someone else over in the process.

But I had my tickets and my table, so all was well. Now I was ready for the prom, right? Wrong.

Step 4: Book the limo.

My parents informed me that I needed to book a limo, because apparently it was uncool to arrive to prom in anything other than a limo. I was prepared to call a taxi, but, ever fearful of being uncool, I took steps to book a limo.

The bill? $374.

In order to reduce this, I would have to share the limo with other people. I didn’t mind this at all, since a ten seater limo for two people would have been superfluous anyhow. The problem was finding people to join us. Somehow, I was able to get it done, and thus reduce the cost to $75, but I can’t stress enough how difficult a task this was.

Step 5: What the FUCK is a corsage?

It’s a flower thingy, apparently. And you need to give her one, lest you be uncool. And it’s supposed to match her dress.

KA-CHING. Another $35 down the drain.

Step 6: Ties.

“Your tie needs to match her dress, or you’re not cool.” said my parents.

“No, that’s fucking ridiculous, I refuse!” I replied. Minus the expletive, of course.

And so I ended up rebelling against the laws of coolness for the first time. My tie was blue, and her dress was red. And you know what?  Nothing bad happened as a result of my rebellion.

Step 7: The afterparty.

I didn’t want to go to the afterparty because it would be full of drunk people. But you’re not cool if you don’t go.

$20 per person? Sure, why not.

Beyond financial issues, there was also the issue of getting to the place. We decided that a friend would drive us, but for whatever reason this didn’t pan out, and on the day of we ended up having the limo driver take us. For an extra $10 per person.

Step 8: Getting home.

The afterparty was going to end close to 4am. How the hell was I supposed to get home? And how was my woman supposed to get home? And how were the other 8 people in my limo supposed to get home?

After worrying about this for fucking DAYS, I decided that an “every man for himself” solution would be best for this. I planned a way to get home for myself, and let everyone else figure it out for themselves. And it worked.

…And then, many hours and $330 (not including the cost of a suit) later, I was finally ready for prom.

But I can’t stress enough how much effort putting all of this together was. What you see above is just an abridged version: I’ve left out such incidents as losing my tickets and misplacing $75 of the limo driver’s fee. It was beyond ridiculous, and I’m glad that I’m never going to have to do it again.

If I ever get married, I intend to just show up at the altar and let my woman do all of the planning. I’m not even kidding.

Gainfully Employed

Do you remember my rule?

"Do not seek employment prior to the age of eighteen."

I was sixteen when I wrote that. Eighteen seemed so far away. Like a dream, almost. It didn’t feel like it could ever really happen.

But it did. I’m eighteen now.

So, I got a job.

I think I’ve done well for myself, actually. Decent weekday hours, fridays and weekends off, convienent location, friendly boss, plenty of time for breaks, friendly coworkers… it’s all here (except for solid pay, but what summer job pays well anyhow?).

And I think I’m going to enjoy the work. See, my job is at my school, and I’m going to be fitting the new students for uniforms, as well as answering questions for the parents about anything and everything. I’ve been doing the latter half for the better part of a year, for no pay whatsoever. And while fitting the new guys for uniforms isn’t a dream job, it’s better than working at Tim Hortons or McDonalds.

On the first day of work, I was amazed that I was actually getting paid to answer questions during a casual conversation with some concerned mothers. Again, I’d been doing this sort of thing for free. Now I’m getting paid for it. It’s great.

It’s also important that the job is at my school. You might have gotten the idea that I’m not keen on leaving that place just yet, and you’d be right. I’ve picked a university, but I’d still rather stay in high school another year. At the very least, this job gives me another two months.

So yeah. I’m employed now. Who would’ve thought it possible?