Febuary 9, 2014.
It’s the third anniversary of “Mountains Beyond Mountains”. Three years! To put this in perspective, if you had never heard of me when this blog started, it is like we met each other on the first day of high school, and over the course of the next three years we became friends and now here we are at our graduation! I don’t know about you, but high school seemed like forever. Or, at least the first two years did. The last one, grade 12, was a bit of a blur. I realized early on into my grade 12 year that this would be the last chance for me to do all those “high schooly” things that I was sort of putting off before. So I was in choir, I was in band, I was the Grade 12 rep on Student Council, I think I may have even been on the yearbook committee and I submitted stuff for the school newspaper. I remember that none of the stuff that I submitted ever got published because it was deemed “too vulgar” for student consumption. A bit of irony is that the student paper editor, one of our friends, was the one who made the call on my submissions, and he’s gone on to work for the CBC. I’ve since come to be really good friends with him, and he doesn’t strike me as the type to “censor” questionable content any more, but I guess high school was a different story. I still remember the content of the contributions. It was a project my friend Ed and I worked on after school. I don’t think we meant it to be gross or vulgar, we just thought it was funny. But I guess when you sit down and turn on the creative juices, it’s hard to reign yourselves in. I remember it was a series of comic strips where Ed would draw one panel and I would come up with the dialogue, and then we would switch and I would draw and Ed would write. The joke was that Ed was actually a really great artist and has gone on to study art at university and is now one of the directors of a community art centre downtown. Me? Not so much. My graphic artistry skills plateaued somewhere around grade four. But that’s what made the comic strips even funnier to us, because the art was so uneven. It was the same characters, but one panel they looked normal, and the next panel they looked like they were drawn by a stroke victim. The writing itself was more of a “one-upmanship” between me and Ed, to see how the other person could handle whatever was written in the previous panel. It really was just done for our own amusement, but somehow we got the idea that we could try to get them published in the school paper.
This is how the reasoning went:
“We totally know Kaj, and he’ll just stick them in for us.”
But I guess the school newspaper wasn’t exactly a “free press”. Everything had to be vetted by a teacher/advisor, and I think he was taught/advised to not publish them. Looking back on it, he was probably caught in an awkward position: he didn’t want to disappoint his friends, but he also had a responsiblity to the school, and his squareness won out over his edgyness. I am convinced the opposite would be true today.
Still, it was probably for the best. They were ridiculously crude, in both senses of the word, and I’m sure there would have been repurcussions for every one of us if they ever saw the light of day. I wonder what ever happened to those strips? Does Ed have them? Are they in my Mom’s basement along with all the other ephemera from a past life? I’m going to see Ed tonight. I really should ask him. A small devilish part of me would love to find them, scan them and put them up here as a cautionary tale to show that what one may think funny in high school often is not. At all. You know, a lesson for the kids.
Maybe for this blog’s fourth anniversary, if we get there.
Happy Anniversary fellow Mountaineers! (That’s this new thing I’m trying out. Let’s see if it sticks).