Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I wrote this at Christmas time, when Brad first woke up from the coma. I was going to post it then, but figured I'd wait until he came home for good. I had forgotten about it completely, until today, when I decided I should commemorate Gorski's return to Grove with something a little more than a "Hey, Brad's back."

Something vaguely resembling the original appears below.

:: Comeback Player of the Year ::

Seven months and a day ago Brad was in a car accident that put him in a coma. Things have been so good now for so many weeks, it's tough to think back to those days in the fall, when things were so bleak, so scary.

With all the stress, worry, tears, and hospital visits, I think it's fair to say it was the toughest time of most of our lives. I know it was for me.

I know that we've all – at some point in our lives – had to suffer through the death, or near-death, of someone close - a grandparent, or elderly aunt or uncle. And yes, it's immeasurably difficult to make it through something like that - that goes without saying. But still, this was different.

This was Brad.

This was a 21-year-old guy who we'd all known a long time.

This was the kid who inexplicably always seemed to be having more fun than anyone else in the room. Always grinning, always laughing. The guy who'd bust out his patented "pterodactyl" at any given time. This kind of bad stuff wasn't supposed to happen to people like him. But it did.

When Chris called me that night in October to tell me the news, I didn't take him that seriously. Oh, a car accident, I thought. Big deal. Probably a fender bender like that other time. I failed to notice the quiver in his voice. Then - figuring I knew the answer anyway - I asked the next logical question, as we all did to various people while news spread: Is he OK?

We all got the same startling answer to that question.

"I don't think so, man."

I was stunned. Absolutely floored. I remember I called Kels right after, to tell her.

It was the worst phone call I've ever had to make.

I could barely get the words out, and I know she had a hard time digesting the news. I could tell by her voice. There was a long period of silence. Then we hung up. Then there was a text message. After that, the rest is pretty much a blur.

In fact, most of the days that followed are blurry too. Playing cards at the hospital every night, trying to hold it together, where you'd almost feel guilty for the occasional laugh. Then getting home at 8 or 9 o'clock and sometimes just completely falling apart.

Things slowly got better for B-Rad, of course. An eye open here. A toe wiggle there. Enough to give the rest of us hope that one day he'd wake up.

And then, near Christmas, he did.

It's been a long, slow process since then for the kid, and nobody will quite know how tough it was except for him. But regardless, you've gotta admire the shit out of him for getting this far. Weaker people would have given up.

He was hit by a semi for Christ's sake, man.

I know we used to always bug Brad about being skinny. About having pipe cleaner arms, or about how he fit into a 12-year-old's Batman costume for Halloween (I know you don't remember it Gorsk, but we've got the pictures. You looked awesome.), but I think we can all agree now that Brad is one tough customer.

Besides, he's not so skinny now anyhow - boxes of cookies and 50 free slurpees a week will do that to ya.

Back in the fall, I remember having a conversation with some people about how, since the accident, nobody's petty little arguments or problems with each other really mattered anymore. It all kind of melted away because we realized that, in life, there's a lot more important things to worry about.

It's unfortunate as hell it took something like the accident to remind people - myself included - of that, and since then I'm sure it's been forgotten again from time to time, but a little reminder never hurt.

It's about perspective, that's all. So Gorsk, in a strange still-wish-it-never happened kind of way, thanks.

And also, thanks for coming back.

Thought maybe we'd lost you there for awhile.

Welcome home.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Chris: Hey, where are you?
Blatz: Picking up the cars for tonight.
Chris, OK, just making sure you weren't halfway to Mexico. See you later.
Blatz: Alright.
Chris, calling Brad first thing in the morning, the day of his wedding. What a good friend.

Me: So how's the physio goin' and all that?
Brad: Pretty good. I'm walking with a cane now.
Me: Oh, so do you feel like an old man?
Brad: No, it's a pimp cane.

Now I have visions of B-rad dressed like this.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"I'm going to live to see my own death." - my Mom. (Yes, my mom said that. Not Bucholtz. Not Kelsey. Not Amanda. My mom. I'm frightened.)

"I want to have a dog-sized goldfish in a giant room-sized tank. I'd take it out and hug it, feed it cereal." - Aaron, last weekend.

"I'm not fired. You're fired...from me!" - Aaron, on employment tactics.

"I want to stick my cock in you like Wrestlemania." - Dale, repeating a pickup line he heard one of his friends use the weekend before. No word if it worked (But I can guess).

"I gotta do some serious homework when I get home." - Buchs. He hasn't said those words since he was probably 14. Just sounds odd don't it?

"I think it's about time I win the Conn Smythe. I deserve it." - Buchs, while watching the Oilers game with me and Ian at Jimy Mac's.

"Lookin' pretty sharp there. You should wear collared shirts more often. Then you could go to the bar and be like "Hey baby, there's a business meeting in my pants." - Buchs, commenting on my attire since I came to the pub straight from work.

"Because we're human...that, and most of our friends are obnoxious jerks." - Kelsey's answer to my question "Why is there always somebody mad or annoyed with someone else in our group of friends."

For it being a long weekend - or any weekend for that matter - it was definitely a little strange.

Sean and Rach were in the Okanagan visiting family, Kelsey and Amanda were in Kelowna getting alcohol poisoning, and Jer, Ian, Buchs, Lambie and Derrick were in the woods alone, drunk, with a bunch of other men. (Don't worry, I'm assured it's not nearly as homo-erotic as it sounds).

Of the few of us left in the Lower Mainland - Me, Chris, Jenna, and Bobby - most were working, or buying new wheels.

Luckily for me, to counteract the potential boredom was Mike, Melissa, Dale, and his buddy Aaron. It was like a mini college reunion, so it was pretty cool.

I saved my energy Friday, not even leaving the house except to go eat Chinese food. Saturday, however, was a doozy. Had a beer or two in the afternoon, then picked up Mike at the Albion Ferry, and headed into town to Melissa's.

There, we started drinking - maybe not as heavy as we would have in our Kamloops days, but good enough to start with. We had planned on hitting up Mavericks so, as Dale put it, hot half-naked drunk chicks could rub up against us.

However, we realized upon arrival Mike was sans photo ID, as he's currently switching his Driver's Licence back from Alberta to B.C. So we wandered down Kingsway til we found a place that served booze.

And that's where things got pretty rad. My first drinks were all different - rye, rum, beer, caesars, which didn't sit too well in the ol' stomach, but I didn't puke, so that was a bonus. We spent the night constructing one giant straw (with a hook on it!) out of all the little straws; spending all our change on some punching bag arcade game; and standing on chairs to show off new tattoos.

Add in a trip to Tim Horton's on the way home and it was a pretty decent night, capped by us polishing off the rest of the booze when we got home, before crashing at about 3:30 or so.

So what had originally looked like a bummer weekend turned out to be quite a doozy, and I had a pretty wicked time hanging out with people I don't get to see that often.

And I didn't miss you at all.

Friday, May 19, 2006

"This computer lacks the appropriate emoticons to express my befuzzlement." - Mike, in an msn conversation, after reading over the latest post's comments and discovering that a certain someone is dating a certain someone else.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"My car looks mean. Like it will eat you." - Kelsey

"You can't do it just a little. You always gotta do it a lot." - Rachel's brother Andrew, on beer and drugs.

"I don't think people don't like me as much as I think they do."

Buchs: This (cell phone) case is sweet. It holds cards in it.
Nick: So basically it's a purse.
Buchs: It's a "murse" - a man purse.
Nick: Do you carry your balls around in it too?

Nick: Where's Buchs?
Bobby: He's probably asleep.
Nick: No, he was with Amanda when we left from playing ball.
Bobby: Oh. Well, there's still a good chance he could be laying down still.

"Is a pap test like a massage? You know, you pay a little extra for a happy ending?" - Buchs

"Japanese people don't dig. They just use their ingenuinity and playstation it out." - Buchs again, unfortunately.

"You're as paranoid as a black man at a rape trial." - Buchs, on a roll now. (and getting more multi-cultural by the minute)

"If I punch you in the face does that count as a hate crime?" - Me, to Bobby, after he continously refused to give me the baseball.

Counting drinks in a drinking game.....
Buchs: Well that was 9, and now it's you gotta drink 15.
Chris: You idiot. That's 13.
Buchs: Oh, I thought we were multiplying.

And the word of the day: Foilage. Not foliage. Foilage. Apparently similar to foliage, but when the bushes and trees are wrapped in tinfoil.

Pretty decent weekend. Friday started with a took-far-too-fucking-long trip to the doctor, to get my ear's unplugged. It was a success - and now for the first time in probably 6 months I have 100 % hearing in both ears...I can hear everything now, even stuff that's probably not meant for my ears in the first place.

Friday after a quick trip to Fort Pub, we decided we wanted to go camping. With that obviously not an option in such short notice, we did the next best thing and had a bonfire at a spot in Fort Langley. Did that for a few hours til our wood ran out, then went to Sean and Rachels, which, really isn't that surprising because that's where we often end up.

Saturday I spent a bit more money from my quickly-depleting savings account, bought a really nice high-def DVD player, and after that went and visited B-Rad, then threw a ball around for awhile before going to Lambo's for the rest of the night.

Today was gorgeous out, and would've been a good sit-on-the-deck-and-drink day, but I got stuck working from 12:30-3:30. Now though, i'm home, and am going to make up for lost time.

Oh, and I'm going to eat some potato salad too. Ha.

Friday, May 12, 2006

:: Found Money...again ::

When income tax return time rolls around, everybody always get excited because it feels like you're getting free money - a good chunk too, usually. Sure, technically it's not free, technically it's yours anyway, but it feels free, and that's good.

That's how I felt when I got my cheque, anyway.

Then, today looking at my bank account, I wondered how come it seemed a little low. I didn't give it too much thought, and then went about cleaning up my room a bit. Underneath a stack of old reciepts and junk, I found an opened envelope.

With my tax return cheque in it. I thought for sure it'd been cashed and spent. Guess I forgot to deposit the damn thing.

So now it's like getting free money twice.

All $844 of it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New pictures from the past month or so are now posted for your viewing pleasure.

If you don't want to click that link, they can also be perused on the left, click on - surprise, surprise - My Pictures. It's easy. Do it.

That is all for now, probably until the weekend's over.

Monday, May 08, 2006

:: Lock jaw ::

Only one person I know could injure herself eating beef jerky...

"I ate alot of jerky in not so much time."

Guess who it is?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"If I had a kid he'd come out a sasquatch." - Sean

"These guys look like they all work at a computer store." - Sean, sizing up our slo-pitch competition. The computer nerds still kicked our ass.

"I'm black sometimes. I'm like a gecko." - Amanda

"Kelsey, there's something about you that makes me want to shimmy." - Amanda again.

"The doodle's eyes are scary. When it looks at you its like it's trying to steal your soul." - Bucholtz, on Brett's dog.

Lots of the usual weekend bufoonery - although considerably less to write about than usual, being as I remember nothing from Friday night. I actually completely blacked out.

Scary/weird thing is, I didn't even feel like I was drinking much. I did however, have a very empty stomach, and wasn't drinking my usual alcohol.

But I still stand by my claim I was drugged somehow.

On a side note, I just read this headline on Yahoo!

"After gorilla escape, Dallas Zoo gets safer"

Well no shit it's safer, there's not a gorilla running around in there anymore.


Friday, May 05, 2006

:: Bury Bonds ::

Like pretty much every baseball fan, I'm so sick of Barry Bonds news stories it makes me, well, sick.

If he breaks a home run record, then write something. If he gets caught with steroids in his locker, then by all means, bring out the tape recorders and TV cameras.

But for the love of God, we don't need stories like this one. We've pretty much been documenting every time the fucking guy takes a piss. I know that linked story is just a game preview, but c'mon, tell us something we don't already know. You can't see it there, but the headline you had to click on to get to that page said "Bonds still stuck on 712 home runs."

So, to paraphrase, "Bonds not doing anything right now" or "Bond's currently having nap, not hitting homers"

It's the same as writing a story titled "Plane lands safely, nobody hurt"

I hate Barry Bonds as much as the next non-Giants fan, but just let him fade away already.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

:: Reunion ::

I was sitting on the couch, sipping on a strawberry slurpee, while watching the tail-end of the Detroit-Edmonton game. Mike was a few seats away, in the middle of a story about the time an old friend of ours stole his dad's motorhome to get to work.

And Doug was lounging in another chair a few feet away, yelling loudly - between mouthfuls of Doritos - at the referee for completely blowing a call.

Nothing really out of the ordinary, if you'd known the three of us since we were kids. Except for the fact that we're all now sporting a few extra pounds and a bit more facial hair than we once did, the scene could very well have been pulled straight from 1997.

That's what it felt like, anyhow.

In high school, Doug, Mike and I were best friends. They'd grown up together since elementary school, and I met them both in Grade 8. We were a pretty tight group back then, along with a handful of others.

We were always together, our group of scrubs. Playing road hockey. Going to the movies. Drinking warm beers smuggled from Steve's dad's fridge. Throwing eggs at houses. And fighting those same people when they did it back.

Without getting into specifics, things went a little south in the later high-school years, and since then I'd completely lost touch with Mike and pretty much everyone else except for a few. And while I saw Doug sporadically and we talked a fair amount, it wasn't anything like it used to be.

Not surprising really. People grow up, move away. Go to far-away schools or develop different interests and friends. Some end up in rehab or anger management. Change just happens.

Then we all ended up at Doug's last night.

It was the first time the three of us had been in the same room together in eight years.

It was a little bit strange at first, really. I've seen Mike in the last few years because he manages a store in the mall, but after enough years things get to the point where you just never expect to re-connect. It's a quick "Hi" and that's all.

So we sat there watching hockey, but didn't do the whole "What've you been up to?" thing. Partly because we sorta each have the jist of it anyhow, and I think partly because it would feel weird looking at a person you used to know so incredibly well and going " you like stuff?"

It'd be like, five years from now, having that conversation with Jeremy, Ian, Chris, Melissa, or Kels. Weird to even consider.

We don't have nearly as much in common as we did in high school - part of the reason me and Doug don't hang out as much. I have my own big group of friends now, and Doug has some of his own, plus a new fiancee. We run in different circles now, basically.

So none of us really felt the need to play catchup, instead we just laughed about all the crazy shit we used to do, briefly interspersed with crazy shit we've done lately, and separately, that the other two might find funny.

We yacked about old high school people we've seen lately, if any. Basically we just did the rundown of which chicks are hotter or uglier than the last time we would've seen them.

Typical guy stuff.

Then we did the update of our former clan, few if any we've seen in the last few years. Steve's still around, but he's the only one.

One bought a house in Aldergrove with another buddy of ours. Another, my ex-housemate Jay, apparently goes to Kwantlen (despite dropping out of Grade 12) and lives in Surrey with his girlfriend. To be honest, I'm surprised he's still alive, although I wouldn't be surprised if his dad is not. A third guy is in AA now, and was in drug rehab before that. Another still is a born-again Christian, married, and probably has a kid by now.

As for some of the rest, who really knows.

Maybe I'll run in to them eight years from now, and we'll sit down and wonder just how in the hell Ryan thought he'd get away with "borrowing" his dad's motorhome when we were in Grade 11.

Actually, considering how much fun I had last night, eight years is too long to wait.