By Cuppa Joe Simonsky – Granville Island
Gavan, John and John are supposed to be coming in for the Grey Cup.
I will be hightailing it outta’ town and back to Saltspring for the festivities.
It’s not that I dislike CFL football – in fact when we all attended the University of Manitoba we made a pact to meet once a year at the annual festival.
Maybe I’m just getting old. But I’m finding it harder and harder to get into the whole scene.
I follow a lot of sports. I play tennis year round here in the Van. I’m a member of an indoor club – global warming hasn’t reached that point where we can play outdoors 12 months a year, but I can tell you it’s getting close.
I have a banana tree in my yard here on Granville Island and I make periodic trips up to my favorite glaciers for some summer snowboarding and the news on their recession is quite startling.
Jeezuz, where the hell was I?
Here’s what I’m taking about. Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
I’ve always been a little scatterbrained. I was a full on ritalin kid. I spent a lot of time on my parent’s roof as a kid. Occasionally I’d jump off with a cape made from hotel room towels, or an umbrella, or once playing a stuntman, I dropped into a pile of cardboard boxes, because I read that’s what they did in Hollywood.
This needless to say resulted in copious trips to the hospital. Which had the expected side-effect for my moms and the dad. To wit: scrutiny from the local chapter of the CAS.
The worker interviewed the moms and the pops along with all three of my siblings.
Then she went to the neighbors. It was soon confirmed that neither my mom, dad or siblings were beating me with a city of Vancouver phone book.
“Just to let you know Mr. and Mrs. Simonsky,” said the CAS supervisor at a family meeting. “Our worker has done the due diligence and ascertained that Joe’s proclivity for strange injuries is apparently quite innocent.
“Joe?” asked Mrs. Heffernan the CAS supervisor. “Do you really think you can fly?”
I thought about that for a moment.
The cogs were spinning in my 11 year old noodle. I had the whole Tom Swift collection – fuck the Hardy Boys; they were two limp-arsed wanna-be’s when placed against the sheer towering genius of the Swift man. If Swift, and a two year subscription to Popular Science, had taught me nothing else… it had taught me that in this world, dreams were proprietary and devoid of dreary outcomes.
“Mrs Hefernan,” I said. “You’re fucking right I think I can fly.”
Mrs. Hefernan left a brochure and the name of a shrink with my parents before sashaying quickly out the door.
“Do try to keep Joe off the roof from now on,” said Mrs. Hefernan.
I looked over at my dad, as my mother rushed to usher the very red Mrs. Hefernan out the door.
“Tom, Jayne, Sara, you guys head outside to play,” said Dad. “Not you Joe!”
I knew what was coming. My dad was a newspaper editor. A sports writer. A liberal. We were about to have a man to man about my language. And jumping off the roof.
“Joe, what have I told you about your fucking swearing,” said Dad.
“It’s okay to use the f-word when I hit my thumb with a hammer, or if a referee makes an especially bad call?” I said.
“That’s right,” said Dad. “And what else?”
“I’m not supposed to say fuck in mixed company or when a CAS supervisor is asking me why I like to jump off the roof?” I ventured.
“Bingo, got it in one,” said Dad.
“Now let’s get the fuck out of here, round up your brother and sisters, and head down to the park before your mom gets back.”
“We were like the Kennedy’s. We used to cure all of our family crises with a game of football on the wide expanse of green just across the street from the gabled two storey home.
Long story short?
My dad took the ritalin one day and threw it in the bin.
“You’ll do what you have to,”said Dad. “Just, for the love of Christ, don’t fucking kill yourself. I’d never live that down.”
Later that week dad pulled some strings. He picked up two used pole vault matresses from St. Paul of the Messy Circumcision Catholic High School. (My old alma mater) And he instructed me to buy a book called: “Stunt Man’s Bible.”
I remember that first double back off the top of our second floor roofop.
Like falling into a Daisey Fresh pillow.
Occasionally, off and on, through my later years, I found mountain biking. And football. And archery. The trips to the ER slowed but never stopped completely.
I am diagnosed with adult ADD. The carry over from my youth.
My rooftop meanders did not go without some karmic kinetic.
Dad read the stunt man book. Decided to do a revealing article for Sports Illustrated which went on to win a Pulitzer.
Dad passed 10 years back.
I’m the only one of his kids who followed hinto the family biz. (I have two lawyers and a doctor to live down at Christmas dinners with Mom.)
I got the Pulitzer. It’s on my mantle. Right beside my hockey puck signed by Guy Lafleur.
I shine it daily.
And I blame that daily ablution on my ADD.
My shrink knows better.
And so do I.
By the way.
This was supposed to be an article about Audible.com and how I audio books have changed my life.
I blame that sidestep on the ADD.
My shrink agrees.
But he loves my stories.