Monday, 28 December 2015

The suitcase trick

I've always been a poor sport, losing was never my thing. Being constantly in competition with my older brother, I always had to be on the winning side of a face-off.  If I lost, I would throw a temper tantrum, or call him names.  Cheater, asshole, idiot, etc.  It was his fault somehow if he won, I'm supposed to win!

For as long as I can remember we always competed on things like:
  • Who can hold their head under the water the longest. - This one particularly got to me the most, I swear my older brother would slowly pull his head out of the water so I wouldn't hear him come up, and then dive back in slowly to get an extra breath on me.  
  • Short distance running competitions.  - He always ran faster than me, so I always had an excuse for my loss.  Like "I sprained my ankle on a rock", or "my knees randomly buckled".  Sometimes I'd even walk around "injured" for days just to play it up.
  • Handball - Dad bought us two kid size hockey goalie nets and a rubber ball to throw across the room. This was a game we were equally good at.  I legitimately won at least half the time,  When I didn't win, I caused a scene.  There was always a reason why I lost. My brother's pants or socks were too thick, or he only won because he's a head taller than myself.  It was never because I sucked, and always because he had some kind of unfair advantage on me.
One day I decided, instead of holding our breath under water, we would take turns zipping each other up in a large suitcase.   As soon as you beg to come out because you're about to pass out from a lack of oxygen, you stop the timer, and then let the other person out. Finally something he can't cheat at!

I'm ashamed to say, this did not go as planned.  I thought it would be funny to just walk away and go watch some TV.  I figured there must be enough oxygen seeping through the zipper holes that he'd be in there for hours. Now on second thought, this would just be a stupid boring competition that he'll win because I wouldn't have the patience to just lay there for hours, but he would.
Off I went to watch some Saturday morning cartoons. I have no idea how much time passed, enough for me to completely forget about him when he finally came up the stairs.

I was shocked to see him standing before my eyes, I thought that suitcase was impossible to get out of without assistance. 
"How did you get out of there on your own?" - I asked.
Adrian, very calmly persuaded me that it was nothing really, and that it was now my turn.
There was an eerie tone to his voice and sinister look on his face, but I thought nothing of it.  If he could get out of the suitcase, so could I!  After all, I'm better at everything than him, why should I be worried?

I followed him downstairs and curled my body into the suitcase.  After being zipped up it was maybe 30 seconds before I couldn't breath.  I was hyperventilating, begging, screaming for my brother to let me out.  I felt like I was about to pass out, I wanted to figure out how to unzip the suitcase from the inside, but I couldn't think, I was panic stricken, I couldn't move.  All I could do is scream and beg and plead like a mouse caught in a trap half dead, begging for their life to be ended or saved. One of the two has to happen NOW because this limbo phase between life and death is just unbearable. 

Fortunately, Adrian didn't run upstairs to watch TV, instead he let me out a few seconds into my panic.
He could have left me for dead if he wanted, but he didn't.  

You'd think I'd be grateful for that, especially considering I basically left him for dead in retrospect. Now experiencing what he must have went through, I still wasn't grateful, I was ANGRY.  
Why was I angry?
He won, but only because he must have sneaked an oxygen tank in when I wasn't looking.  It's the only explanation!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I want candy!!!!

Much like any six year old on this planet, once I tasted the sweet nectar of the gods on the tip of my tongue, I was hooked forever.  Don't worry, despite the name of the blog this isn't about my parents feeding me alcohol at the age of 6.  I'm talking about sweet sweet candy.  I was obsessed.  I would search the couch cushions every time my parents had a visitor leave.  There was always change, and one cent gummy bear candies were just three blocks and a road crossing away.

I never understood why I had to ask to go to the candy store if I had the money.  I came back alive every time I was granted permission. Therefore, when the permission wasn't granted I did what I knew how to do best.
Annoy the crap out of my dad.
Hi Dad, it's me again, wanting candy!

On this particular day my Dad was working on the car with his friend.
My Dad was always working on the car with his friend.  Replacing batteries, cleaning carburetors, rebuilding engines, replacing transmissions, fuel pumps, clutches, you name it!
Dad must have really liked working on cars, because he would never purchase a vehicle unless at least one of the doors was rusting off and the exhaust was spitting fire.
 Dad was under the car breathing heavily, I figured what better time to approach the old man!

I jumped on my bike and started doing circles in the driveway. Five minutes later I realized I was salivating, partly because it was hot outside, but MOSTLY because I couldn't stop thinking about the candy, it was so close, but so far away.  Maybe if I ask again!

At this point he was talking with his friend.  Something about government this, and lack of that.

What I did next doesn't translate very well from our language, so I'll briefly explain.
In our native tongue fuck off can also affectionately mean "get out of here".

So I took that as permission to go get myself some candy.
I remember thinking to myself "I'm so damn smart, I convinced my dad to let me get candy, this is going to be great!!"
I could already picture myself ripping the heads off those gummy bears with my teeth, and pretending I'm some giant T-REX that has come to vanquish them with my salivating T-REX mouth and stubby little  hands.

I depart on my bike, it's the quickest getaway before my dad might change his mind.
I get to the road crossing, where I always felt invisible.  I swear I could stand at this road crossing for ten minutes and nobody would stop for me.
One day I realized that if you time it right, drivers are forced to stop. They can and will stop before hitting you.
They don't want to hit you and go to jail.
This was my sound theory.
A lot of the time I heard screeching tires, sometimes cars rear ended each other, but at the end of the day, not my problem. They hit me it's on them.

How I've made it into my adult years with that kind of logical thinking, I have no clue to this day.

At any rate, I purchase my bag of gummy bears, almost get hit by a car at the cross walk on the way back, and make it safely home where my dad is waiting with his arms crossed.

At that point, I don't know if it was the swearing, or the misinterpretation, but my dad let me have it real good.  Open palm, right on the ass until it was numb.

I no longer had an issue interpreting what fuck off meant.

Was it worth it?  Hell yeah.  In fact, now that I'm an adult I'm going to ask myself RIGHT NOW if I can go get some gummy bear candies. Spoiler alert, I'm going to say YES!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Do I have Alzheimer's, or is it something else?

I often dwell  over my short term memory loss, especially now that I'm getting older.  My short term memory isn't the greatest, but you ask me who won super bowl XXV, and I'm all over it!
With all the cases of early onset Alzheimer's, I just can't help but wonder sometimes...
However, in these moments of reverie I'm reminded of this story of my early childhood and I realize this isn't new at all.  This is a problem I've had for a long time, and I recently found a new term for it.
It's called C.R.S.
I wish I could remember what the acronym stood for, but you see, I can't remember shit.


It took some time for my father to realize that there is a slight difference between being mentally challenged and visually impaired.
It wasn't until my first grade teacher brought up my incessant squinting that my father learned the problem was with my vision.  Until then, when it came to handing him the remote, or whatever else he might have asked for, resulted in my being asked what my problem was, what was my mental handy cap? Why can't I find something that's right THERE?

I remember obtaining my first pair of thick LARGE glasses.  In my minds eye, I was unfortunately born with long eye lashes for a guy. Every time I blinked my lashes scraped my glasses, which lead to having to clean them every 5 minutes.  One of those times I must have been distracted by some toys. By the time I realized everything was blurry again, it was too late, I had lost my glasses, and I began frantically searching for them.
I was searching for at least an hour with no avail.
My frantic peregrination yielded no positive results. My stomach began to sink, I felt spineless, but I could not show emotion, I had to stay strong.

I wouldn't dare tell my parents that I lost my glasses. I remember money was always scarce growing up, and the loss of anything of value would always be balanced out with the classic European wooden spoon punishment.

Having already looked everywhere I had been that day, I just could not find them.  I was running out of options, and becoming quite despondent.
I started looking for my glasses in places they would never be.

  • I shone a flashlight in the gaps between the fridge and the stove, my glasses weren't there.
  • I pulled the mattress off my bed and flipped it around, my glasses weren't there.
  • I looked behind the toilet, my glasses weren't there.
  • I looked around in the fridge, pulled up a chair to the freezer that I couldn't have reached without pulling up a chair to it in the first place, my glasses weren't there.
  • I checked under the couch and couch cushions, my glasses weren't there.
  • I decided to go back to my room, they had to be there!  I checked my dresser drawers, and the top of my dresser, my glasses weren't there.

Finally, feeling completely dejected, I opened my closet and began climbing the shelves.
Maybe I climbed these shelves and don't remember that I had somehow left my glasses on the highest point?
Seems a bit ridiculous, but I'm going to try it anyway, because at this point I'm desperate; more to not get the wooden spoon than to actually find my glasses.

As I began climbing, I came to the realization that I'm struggling to use my right hand.
There's something in them,
I just have to put that something down first before I can begin climbing the shelves.
I'll be one step closer to possibly, maybe, but probably not..... finding my glasses.

As I look down to drop the item in my hand that's preventing  my struggled journey, that thing, there in my right hand, was my glasses that I was looking for this entire time.

If you're reading this and you too are concerned with your short term memory loss.  Just remember, it's likely not Alzheimer's.... it's just CRS.