Archive for August, 2010


Regression

*NOTE: This blog contains nostalgia, ten year old me, and a lot of personal memories that you might not understand. If you don’t care about that stuff, just read the first and last paragraphs of this blog and you’ll be alright.*

I think it’s very important to regress back to your childhood every now and then. Taken to excess, regression is an unhealthy obsession with the past. That’s not good. But every now and then I think you need to let yourself be ten years old again.

This past Wednesday night I walked over to my old elementary school to play tennis with a few friends of mine. And wouldn’t you know it, barely 15 minutes into our tennis session, the lights go out, and we can’t get them to turn back on again. And then my friend had an idea: "Let’s play handball", he said.

"Handball? We haven’t played that in like eight years!"

"Yeah. Let’s do it."

So we did. Re-learning the game and all its specific lingo took no more than a minute.

"Are we playing with cupsies?"
"No."
"What about blasties on serve?"
"No."

Pockets, Chinese, Funny Bounce, Waterfall, Inners, and Murders were all defined, and away we went. It was a lot of fun, mostly because it was something that we hadn’t done together as a group for nearly a decade. Nostalgia, you know. I won the first three games, because that’s how I roll. I might also have won the fourth and final game. I’m not sure. My memory automatically blocks out anything involving me losing, because that’s also how I roll. Anyhow, it was a lot of fun.

And then a game of Longthrow was proposed. Or maybe it’s spelled Long Throw. I’m not sure. I don’t think anyone ever wrote the game’s name down. Anyhow, Longthrow was essentially a game of catch, but with scoring. In essence, you’ve got two teams of 2-10000 players each. The two teams stand a good distance apart. Someone from Team A throws the ball towards Team B. The ball has to be thrown so that it’s catchable. Underthrowing the ball, or throwing way off to the side results in the throw having to be repeated. If someone from Team B catches the ball before it hits the ground, it’s one point. If not, it’s no points. (Note: You can catch the ball with anything. Caps were the most common catching aid, but the occasional baseball glove was used as well.) Afterward, someone from Team B throws the ball to Team A. Repeat over and over until the recess bell rings.

Simple, right?

Of course, being ten years old, we had to spice the game up a little bit. So, throughout the course of the six or seven years during which Longthrow was played, people came up with their own signature throws. There was Farfetch’d (after the Pokemon), which was one of Elizabeth’s signature throws. It involved running up a considerable distance before throwing the ball. There was the Disco Throw, which involved doing a short dance routine before throwing. There was the Zackie (Zachie? Zacky?) Throw, named after the only person who threw sidearm style.

Me? Mine was the Mega Toss. I would toss the ball up in the air, catch it, and then hurl it as far as humanly possible. It was one of the most difficult throws to catch, if I do say so myself, mainly due to the fact that it just went so damn far. I was a really short kid, so people invariably underestimated my throwing strength, and the ball invariably went thirty feet over their heads. Good times.

The key to the game wasn’t just being able to throw or catch. It was also about knowing your opponents and their throws. If someone yells out "Skyscraper!" before throwing the ball, you know that the ball is going to be high and short. If you hear Elizabeth shout out "Faaaaaaaarrrrrr…", you get the hell back as quickly as possible. Ditto if you hear me yell "Mega Toss!"

In theory, if you knew everyone’s signature throws, you could catch everything. So, as the throwing team, you needed to mix it up a little. Not letting the other team see who was about to throw was a common tactic, as was the use of fake throws (i.e. I have the ball in my hand, I pretend to throw but instead flip the ball to a teammate, who would chuck it).

Longthrow, in essence, was a constant battle of wits between the throwers and catchers, with each side constantly developing new techniques to try and outsmart the other. It was one of those things that defined elementary school for me, and as such my memories of it are very fond.

Anyhow, me and my friends played a quick game of Longthrow. Since there were only three of us, I ended up playing alone, which was fine by me. And again, within a minute all of the above memories came rushing back to me. I brought back the Mega Toss in a big way, and combined with my full arsenal of throws, defeated my opponents handily. But my dominance in childhood games isn’t the point of this blog.

This is the point: I hadn’t thought deeply about handball or Longthrow in a very long time ago, and yet it took only a few seconds of playing to recall ten thousand fond memories from many years ago. Memories, no matter how fond they are, fade over time. I think that refreshing your memory every now and then is a good thing. Try it, you’ll see.

Comment Issues Remedied

Son of a bitch. All this time I thought that everyone had simultaneously lost interest in this space. As all of you must have been aware, comments were just disabled for some strange reason.

I suspected that this might be the case earlier, but when I tried to post a comment on my own space it worked normally, so I figured that nothing was wrong. After further investigation, it turns out that some obscure advanced setting was changed to prevent anyone other than myself from commenting. Strange stuff, since I haven’t touched the settings for several years now.

Anyhow, the problem should be fixed now. Comment on this if you can.

Remembrance

One of the comforting things about being dead is looking down upon all the people who remember you fondly. You never really notice it when you’re alive, but once you’re dead it’s easy to see just how many lives you’ve touched.

It goes without saying that your family will remember you for the rest of their lives. My father talks about me everyday to whoever will listen to him, and he still carries a picture of me in his wallet. But he never smiles anymore, which concerns me. Then there’s Susan, the maid who raised me as her own sons. She remembers me fondly as well. I don’t think she’s ever been the same since the accident, though. She seems to have lost that characteristic twinkle in her eye. It saddens me greatly to know that I’ve caused her pain when all she ever gave me was joy. Even my mothers think about me from time to time. They’ve all moved on to other men, and many of them have since had other sons, but it’s comforting to know that they still think of me from time to time.

Close friends can also be counted on to remember you. My best friend in life was a boy named Josh. Actually, he was one of my only friends. When people found out who my father was, they tended to shy away. Not Josh. We were completely inseparable. Out of everyone, I think that he took my death the hardest. He blames himself for the accident since he was the only one who witnessed it. He feels that he could have saved me somehow. All of the trauma has had a really negative effect on his social life, and he’s only starting to recover now after being a complete recluse for so long.

What I find most flattering, however, is how you’re remembered by people who never knew you when you were alive. Josh has made a new friend named Samantha, you see. I’m very happy for him; it’s been a while since he’s spoken to anyone his own age. He rarely speaks to her about me though, since the memories are very painful for him. So imagine my surprise when one night I overheard her asking the simple question: "Who are you, Noah?"

I wish I could answer that question for her. I would love to meet Noah’s new friend. And I would love to visit Susan again and tell her that everything is alright and that I’m doing just fine. And I would love to visit my father and make him smile again, just like I used to.

Correction: I wouldn’t "love" to do any of that. I "need" to do it. I need to see my family and friends again. And I think they need to see me again too. I just need to find a way to make it happen.

I have no idea how to go about accomplishing this feat. I have no idea where to start. But if there’s one thing my father taught me, it’s to never, ever, ever, ever, ever let the world get the best of you. I will see my friends and family again. Just you watch.

Yours truly,
Noah.


I <3 July

I think that July has officially become my favourite month. I have no clue why, but strange and wonderful things just tend to happen to me during this month.

I used to assume that July was so awesome because July is the first month of summer, and summer itself is awesome. Since I’m in university now, July is no longer the first month of summer, but the third. In theory, May should have been the mind-blowing month this time around. And yet May was nothing spectacular, and June was quite possibly the worst month of my life. Then the calendar flipped to July, and suddenly everything turned around for me.

From watching the World Cup with friends, to the Jamaica vacation, to returning to work at my old school, to playing tennis with my brother, to the awesomeness that is Dragon Quest IX, July was an awesome month from start to finish.

Now it’s August. Will my life continue its upward trend, or are the best days of summer ’10 already behind me? It’ll be tough to top July, but I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try. I’m kicking off the month by going to see a Jays game, and I’ll be spending the 14th-17th at my cousins’ cottage. How I fill the other 26 days of the month is yet to be determined, but I’m sure that there are at least a few more good times ahead before the books can be officially closed on summer ’10. Wish me luck.