The Tyee, an independent news outlet based in BC, is running a "Teen Angst Poetry" contest. I wrote a lot of very, very bad poetry during my teen years, so I scoured my old duo-tangs and picked out the cheesiest poem I could find. The Tyee's editor has responded with a simple "Thanks. This is fantastic." Who knows what that means in this context, but I guess it's kind of cool; maybe it'll get posted next week. If it does, I'll post a link.
But in the meantime, I thought I'd share something a little more interesting than my poetry. While reading through hundreds of pages of handwritten stories, poems, essays and speeches, and more than a few hand-drawn maps, I stumbled across pages of quotes, scattered here and there among the duo-tangs. Some are mundane, others are silly, but a few are, I think, genuinely interesting for one reason or another. All are from people I know, or knew.
Here are a few.
"Woods: take a pill."
-Joanne Wotypka, fellow Main Kelsey resident, and fellow ex-captain of the University of Alberta Star Trek club. Joanne has a very husky voice, and is a master of sardonic wit; I wish I had an audio recording of this, so you could understand how funny it really is. Joanne had a knack of reminding me to keep things in context.
"Earl, you're an understatement."
-Mr. Cormie, one of my high school teachers. Wish I could remember what I'd done to make him say that, but I love the line - I'll have to use it in a story sometime.
"Earl, you're my hero."
-Rob Vogt, fellow Main Kelsey resident. Rob is a very jovial guy, and you have to imagine him laughing as he says this. Again, I wish I remember what provoked this response - probably something goofy I'd done. Rob once said he had plans to write some kind of history of his years at Kelsey, and I'd dearly love to read it; I wish I'd kept more notes myself.
"Why do you say that?"
"Because you told us."
-Jennifer Peters (fellow Main Kelsey resident), Earl J. Woods (me). I can only imagine "us" must have included Jennifer's roommate Kim Erickson. I have no idea what I was depressed about - probably something involving unrequited love - but I think my absentmindedness is pretty funny here.
"Kill - Kill - KILL!"
-Vernon Ryan, one of my grade school friends, probably shouted during a tabletop roleplaying session.
"Nothing's the matter with my arm - it's just broken."
-Jeff Pitts, one of my oldest friends, uttered this classic missive during a session of the roleplaying game Villains & Vigilantes. He was a human-looking cyborg, and one of his robot arms was damaged during a mission; when confronted with someone who didn't know his secret, Jeff made this inept attempt at hiding the truth. Strangely enough, Jeff is quite an accident-prone guy, and I can easily imagine him saying this in a real-world context.
"Earl, how come you're never around when I'm getting wet?"
-Kim Erickson, fellow Main K resident. Sadly, this quote isn't nearly as lurid as it sounds; Kim was a favourite victim of the pranksters on our floor who liked to carry their fellow Main K'ers into the shower for a good dunking. Kim expected me to rescue her, but at the time I was a very small guy, and had little hope of defending her from people who had six to twelve inches and sixty pounds on me. I wish I could remember what my response to the double entrendre was; I was probably too shy and intimidated to even come up with a witty retort.
"Earl, what the fuck are you talking about?"
-Rob Belau, fellow Main K resident. I probably wrote this down because many people have repeated this very sentiment over the years, in various forms. Whatever I'm talking about, it always makes sense to me...which reminds me, Sean and I were talking about Superman's invulnerability, and I remarked how cool it would be to shove a pistol up each nostril and fire away if I had an invulnerable nose. Although it occurs to me now that might be a good way for Superman to get a bullet lodged in each sinus cavity, and since he's invulnerable, there's be no way to get them out. Unless he could sneeze them out...wait, never mind, if we're talking about the pre-Crisis Superman, he could just vibrate his molecules into intangibility, and the bullets would fall right through him. Oooo! What if he shot himself in both ears - would the bullets travel through his Eustacian tubes and come out his nostrils? I guess he'd have to remove his eardrums first under a Red Sun lamp...
"We are totally, completely, almost innocent!"
-Phil Cresswell and John Stewart, fellow Main K residents. Said in unison when accused of pulling some prank or other - I can't remember what. I loved the fact that we had a John Stewart on the floor, because, of course, John Stewart was the backup Green Lantern for Hal Jordan. When I told John this, he said, "Earl, what the fuck are you talking about?"
"You are unique. Each one of us is unique."
"Making none of us unique."
-Daryle Tilroe (fellow Main K resident) and Earl J. Woods (me). I can't remember which of us said which line, and it's not an original concept anyway, but this sort of dialogue typifies our relationship.
"I am the square root of minus 1."
-Daryle Tilroe, fellow Main K resident. I don't remember the context, but I love this quote - it's very Daryle.
"Earl, you are exactly like Clark Kent."
-Stephanie Gillis, fellow Main K resident. I think I may have said this before, but this is the highest compliment anyone has ever paid me; Stephanie blurted it out while we were watching the Smallville scene in Superman III. It was a remarkably kind thing to say at a very vulnerable moment in my life, and I'll always remember Stephanie fondly for it.
"Don't be dissin' me. You be Charlie Ervine. I'll break it down to ya."
-Ravinder Singh, fellow Main K resident. I don't remember dissing Rav, and I have no idea who Charlie Ervine is (Google, here I come), but Rav had a real way with words.
"I kill you in the name of Allah! I kill you in the name of Buddha!"
-Paul Ravensdale, friend from way back. This was said, of course, during another session of Dungeons and Dragons, or perhaps Twilight:2000 or Recon. Paul was an equal-opportunity assassin, and his delivery really needs to be heard to be believed.
"Earl, put the cleaver away."
-Jeff Pitts again. I really, really wish I could remember the context. Jeff, any idea?
"Earl, can I back your car out of the driveway?"
"Well, I don't know, Val, women drivers and all that..."
"Oh, come on, just out of the driveway."
"Well...all right. I don't know why I'm doing this. We'll probably crash."
"Gee, make a big deal of it!"
"It won't start."
"Aw, geez, what did you do now?"
"Nothing, it won't start!"
"Boy oh boy, this is what I get for letting a woman take the wheel..."
"Here, take a look."
"I...uh...I left the lights on."
-Valerie Koenig (grade school friend), Earl J. Woods (me). I imagine this probably happened in grade 9 or 10; a richly deserved humiliation on my part. Karma will get you for perpetuating stereotypes...
"For if you give your mind to the Realm, you will be strengthened as the Realm is strengthened."
-Mark Lede, grade school friend, playing a mad beaureaucrat in a 1984-ish short film we made in high school. The film itself is lost, much to my chagrin; I took it in as a demo tape for a job shooting wedding videos, and lost the address of the place. They never called me back for the job, so I never got the tape back, along with another video I shot of random friends at the high school. I'm still angry at myself for losing two sets of irreplaceable memories.
"Let the pigeons loose!"
-Keith Gylander, grade school friend, said in response to something I'd hoped was profound, but was actually silly. I think we were recording one of our "radio dramas."
There's more, but it starts getting pretty personal and embarrassing. Sifting through your own past is like that.