You know someone’s scored a direct hit, when you can’t get what they said out of your head. There’s these two things people said to me that so wounded my pride that internally refuting the veracity of their insults became primary raison d’etres of my existence for significant periods of time.
I was Djing, my usual Friday night Britpop gig in Calgary, when a well-known bassist for a popular band drunkenly approached. He said to me that the funny thing about the whole night was that in ten years he and his band would be in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London and that whole time I’d be right here, playing tunes for fifty kids in the middle of nowhere. He was smiling, sort of hunched over-like, when he cut me wide open like that, and maybe I was so affronted because his accusation was that I squandered my life in directionless vanity, and I knew that to be true. I don’t know where he ended up, but I know where I did and I think I partially have him to thank for that. I was so determined for what he said not to actually turn out to have been a vision of my future, that I altered my life’s course almost immediately afterwards to make sure it didn’t.
Around the same time, my ambitions for being a real writer or ever amounting to anything, seemed to seem to all those around me as mostly, maybe entirely, pretense. I was a bog standard copywriter. I wrote anything for anyone who would pay me. Beyond that, I was a man about town, empty and vain. When I moved to Saskatoon, to live in my parents' basement in order to study full-time, I had hoped it might soften some of the resentment directed towards me. When I told a good friend that I had been accepted into grad school, and joked that, perhaps when I became a professor, one or two opinions of me might change, he laughed in my face and said, “Don’t you know that some stains don’t come out, no matter how hard you scrub?” He wasn’t being mean, I don’t think. He was the one actually predicting my future.