Category Archives: anecdote

Welcome to the End

It’s 2012, the final year of human civilization, according to prophecies galore.  A good time to end it, too, given that a a tweet by @Injustice Facts claims that “A survey of Justin Bieber fans found that 4/5 have fully memorized the names of all his songs, but failed to name the capital of Iraq.”

The tradition here at Deonandia is that the first post of the year is supposed to be a list of things I am thankful for.  Let’s get that out of the way:

3. I am thankful to live in a democratic, socially conscious and prosperous nation, especially in these times of global economic and ecological uncertainy.

2. I am thankful to be employed in an institution that tolerates my inconoclastic attitudes and behaviour, in a job that I adore.

1. I am thankful that I am part of a large, loving and healthy family.

Okay, that’s done with.  I also want to start a new recurring trope today: Important Anecdotes.  Here’s how this works.  Let’s assume that in the few decades (years? months? days???) that I have left to live, I manage to do something so important that historians actually take note of me.  They will need some cute and engaging anecdotes to fully tell the tale of the phenomenon that was Dr Wat.  So every now and then I will take the time to transcribe one such anecdote in this space.  Let us begin.

Important Anecdote – Raywat’s Version

The year was 1999 and my very first book, Sweet Like Saltwater, had just gone to press.  It was the culmination of my years of struggle, as my tortured youth had finally produced something of both emotional and literary merit.  I did not know at the time that the book would be award-winning.  But I knew that it was special, at least to me; perhaps the most heartfelt artistic work I had, or would ever produce.

I rushed down to the University of Toronto campus to see my friend Nicolas, who was living in Massey College (until his recent death, the home of Robertson Davies).  We met in the courtyard and started celebrating loudly, whooping it up and dancing on the walkway.  “Ray’s an author!” Nick was shouting, or something like that.  In my excitement, I bumped into an older gentleman who was trying to enter the college.  He was in an unpleasant mood, and mumbled something under his breath as he pushed past me into the building.

That man? Mordecai Richler.

Suddenly, being a first-time author didn’t seem so impressive anymore.

Bunch Of Stuff That Happened

This article was one of my MicroSoft Small Business Forum pieces.

I have a good life. I’m completely aware of this fact, and daily turn my face to the sky and thank the Powers That Be for my great good fortune. I’ve created for myself a career that is fun, somewhat profitable, flexible, never boring, full of adventure, and sometimes even a bit sexy. Continue reading Bunch Of Stuff That Happened

Grade One

I don’t have any children (that I know about), but I’m surrounded by toddlers– and I love it. I get a glimpse of the absolute joy of parenting when I interact with the young’uns who surround me, especially my parents’ neighbours, two adorable half-Korean kids named Nathan and Claire, who consider my parents to be their secondary grandparents, and me to be their big brother of sorts.

There is an indescribably perfect feeling of bliss when I’m walking towards my parents’ house and one of the kids notices me a block away, then races the distance to jump into my arms. Yes, it’s a sappy thing to write, but so what? It’s the truth.

Today is Claire’s graduation from kindergarten. She will start grade 1 in the fall, and just came by to tell me all about it.

The funny thing is that I remember my last day of kindergarten and first day of grade 1 (it was the same day) like it was yesterday. I remember it with the emotional complexity of a fully formed human being, and not with that of the proto-chimps we sometimes consider children to be. As a result, I’m constantly aware that little children see the world as fully as we do, only a little more honestly and lacking only in information and experience.

On my first day of grade 1, I was terrified (as usual), and cowered in the corner, checking out all my new fellow students. Then into that room walked a vision of perfect 5 year old femininity: a little blonde girl named Allison Cameron, bedecked in a flowing white princess dress.

It was toddler love at first sight, a love that did not dissipate for years, well into my pre-teen agonies.

I am convinced that the emotional impact of seeing Allison that first day allowed me to anchor those experiences solidly in my living memory, as that little experience proved to form the bedrock of my thoughts, ambitions and conceptualizations for years to come. Yes, sad as it may sound, pretty much everything I’ve done in my life has been somehow linked to the unrequited love of some woman or other. Or spite. Both are excellent motivators.

Before you get any weird ideas, I lost my obsession with the lovely Miss Cameron very early on, though we remained friends, then acquaintances, well past the high school years.

However, her impact on me has been immortalized in the short story, “Sanjay & Allison“, which has since been reproduced in several venues.

I can’t help but wonder what impactive experiences Claire will have in her first days of grade 1, that will linger with her for years, and form the basis of her personality for the rest of her life.

The Stuff

In the UK, a man named Paul Gibbons tracked down another man named John Jones, after the two of them had exchanged insults online, and Gibbons beat the holy crap out of Jones. Thus, “web rage” is born, and it fills me with inappropriate glee. Maybe this development will take a little wind out of the sails of the army of faceless cowards who seem to infest the comment wing of the blogosphere, those who naively assume a computer monitor is a sufficient wall between their identities and the public. S’all I’m gonna say about it.

Here’s a story about a tongue piercing causing trigeminal neuralgia, one of the most painful medical conditions around. This comment from the Rotten.com forums is priceless:

From: iontrap
Date: 18-Oct-2006 13:28

Sorry, but I thought people who purposely puncture their tongues were brain dead, so I’m surprised to discover that there is some neurons still alive to register pain.

Meanwhile, this report holds that as many as 30 additional countries will soon be ableto make atomic weapons. First, let’s not forget that George Bush (with the collusion of India, among others) essentially rendered pointless the non-proliferation treaty earlier this year; so, once again, blame him for some of this. Second, I’m surprised the number isn’t in the hundreds. I learned the design and theory of atomic weapon-making in undergrad physics, after all, 20 years ago. The hard part is finding the fissable materials; but these days the stuff can probably be found on Ebay!

About 16 years ago, a nuclear physicist friend of mine was approached by a hood, a small-arms dealer, in one of the shadier parts of Toronto’s Chinatown. The dealer asked my friend if he could build him a nuclear bomb. My friend said, jokingly, “Sure, but you’ll have to get me some plutonium.”

The dealer leaned in and whispered, not so jokingly, “the stuff goes missing now and then.”

After that, I stopped going to Chinatown with that particular friend.