Sunday 19 February 2012


My  long time friend Don had his sixtieth birthday celebration today. Knowing Don, there is a better than fifty-fifty chance that he is still celebrating and will be for some time to come. I am not sure if today is his actual birthday (I am really bad with these things) or if it just happened to be a time when the pub was available. I was invited, but since the party is in Toronto, well actually Scarborough, I wasn't able to attend. There have been so many important celebrations that I have missed over the years because of the economics of travel and having to make some hard choices. Luckily, my friends have generally understood and have forgiven me for my not trespassing.

I am sure there is great music, good conversation, excellent food and of course beer and wine. There are other drinks, but with this group I am not sure they are worth mentioning. Given the age of most of the attendees, I don't think I would be wrong to suggest that there will be a lot of talk about personal plumbing problems, phantom pain and aching joints. Forty years ago there would have been smoking of joints and feeling no pain at all. I wish I were there and able to see the young men and women trapped in more mature frames. I would imagine that some of their children will be there to help Don and his buddies celebrate. The kids are after all what make the struggles in life worth it.

I first met Don the summer between grade eight and grade nine. We were going into high school and it  was perhaps the first really free summer that we had. We were old enough that our parents trusted us to be by ourselves while they worked.  The first time I saw Don was when about twenty kids got together at Maryvale PS field for a football game. Don was the guy that brought his dog Whisky. It turned out that Whisky was by far the best player on the field. He could outrun everyone and never missed a tackle. If he had opposable thumbs he would have been the team captain. That summer we all spent a lot of time together, playing football, baseball and just generally hanging out together. Strong bonds were formed.

Over the next couple of years we became the people that we are now. More or less. We discovered girls, alcohol, drugs, police harassment and how much fun it could be to learn. Well, others discovered that, I discovered just how much fun school could be in spite of the classes. There are many memorable times which will eventually make their way into the blog, but tonight I just flashed on a particular party. I came late, and when I walked in, Don was on the floor with two large speakers facing each other and his head in between. I think it was the Cream, but those years are a little misty. I think he had been listening to the album skipping for the past half hour. There isn’t anything worse than being several levels of “stoned” behind.

Don went on to university and attained his masters in Medieval English Literature, learning all about Chaucer and his contempoaries. I am sure don talked about them endlessly, but after I heard “Chaucer” my eyes would glaze over.  Now, for anyone else that would have been a colossal waste of time, but Don parlayed it and his love of the written word into a life long career in the publishing field. Okay, his first job was driving a truck for M & S but he soon became a junior editor and is now well respected in the publishing world. Well, that is what he says anyways. 

Don is one of those guys that listen more than he speaks, and when he does speak you can tell that he has given your words his undivided attention and considerable thought. Yeah, it has always unnerved me. I am more used to people ignoring what I say and can therefore pretty much say nothing at all worth listening to. To his credit, Don has seldom burst out laughing in my face. Well, not more than 50% of the time anyways, and if I had to  listen to myself I would laugh more than listen too. 

I just wanted to say how much that I respect and admire Don. It's at this point that he will be waiting for some humorous quip and personal attack from me, but not today. Well, he would be if he read the blog. Don has held true to his friends through thick and thin. I know that if I ever need anything he will be the first to offer help and wait until later to ask what kind of idiot I am and why did I have a body that needed to be moved in the first place.. True friends know you for the asshole you are, the asshole you have been and the asshole you will be in the future; and they like you in spite of it.


----from the once and future asshole----   


  1. It's about time us assholes stand up and be counted. B

  2. very well said there Ken, your some kinda pal, hope they know it....cheers