My Name Isn’t Usher, But These Are My Confessions

A Catholic friend of mine recently informed me about all of the parts of the last rites. It seemed like a long To-Do list for someone on their death bed. One of the necessary actions was confessing everything terrible that you’ve ever done.

“That would take ages!” I cried.

“Well it’s supposed to be bad things you’ve done since your last confession” my friend answered calmly.

The whole idea seemed quite cathartic, having never gone to confession myself; I have a lot of misdeeds to confess. So I’ve decided to do so here. Readers please absolve me of my transgressions.

I once hit my sister over the head with a stuffed toy. This sounds more innocent than it was. This particular stuffy had a plastic core of four D size batteries, effectively making it a preschooler’s version of a billiard ball in a sock.

Glow worm, what mobsters give their children to prepare them for swinging brass knuckles about. (Photo Credit:

Glow worm, what mobsters give their children to prepare them for swinging brass knuckles about. (Photo Credit:

Even now, twenty-five years later, the memory of thwacking my sister when I felt she deserved it, still brings me a tiny sense of satisfaction in only the way that bopping a sibling can. This probably makes me a terrible person. Internet, please forgive me.

During a university lecture, I accidently made an engorged orange into a lethal, citrusy super soaker by forcefully sticking my thumb into the ripe fruit at the exact moment that a classmate turned around in her seat, spraying a stream of juice directly into her eye. After apologizing sincerely, I proceeded to shake the entire row of folding seats for ten minutes with my silent laughter over the incident. I felt badly but it was a really funny mishap. I don’t know whether I can be absolved of this transgression considering that almost a decade later it still makes me giggle for minutes on end.

While driving back from a farm party at two in the morning, I almost left a young man in the middle of nowhere. The distant acquaintance in question had drunk far too much and was wobbling back and forth in my backseat moaning that he was going to puke. I turned to a friend of mine sitting in the front seat and said “If he yaks, I’m leaving him at the side of the road.” The friend quickly whipped around and said “Eddy* man, it’s not cool to puke in the car. You tell us to pull over ok?” because my friend realized that after a quick pit stop to eject the human vomit fountain from my truck, I would have remorselessly driven off into the night. If faced with this situation again, I’d probably make the same decision, so it’s uncertain whether this offense can be forgiven either.

I’ve committed more offenses to be forgiven of course, but these are the only ones that come to mind at this moment.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people who thankfully did not puke all over the beige upholstery of my backseat.

My Week In A Rolling Prison

Canada is a vast and beautiful country, emphasis on the vast. Sometimes the elderly drive across it in enormous camper vans. Last summer, along with my grandparents, I decided to take part in one of these pilgrimages. The following is my record of the adventure.

Day 1: Ontario, Somewhere in the Kawarthas

7:00 AM – Whoo Hoo! Road trip with Gran and Granddad. With my grandparents, two Harry Potter books and the whole back of the RV to myself, in essence have the whole world. Also, Granddad hinted that may be able to drive the RV. Am so excited that even the sixty pound poodle half sitting on me in a territorial fight for the seat can’t dim my enthusiasm.

11:00 AM – Stopped for lunch. Was instructed to take both the standard poodles for a quick walk while Gran prepares lunch, is possible that the poodles did not receive the same instruction as both are actively pulling me back towards the RV. Perhaps am just a bad dog walker because is more like a drag.

4:20 PM – Suffering from an extreme case of numb bum. No matter, shall delve into a magical fictional world where the only concern during long trips is broomstick crotch.

5:00 PM – Have stopped for the evening. Granddad insisted on instructing me how to connect the poop hose to the site. May need to shower forever. Will never eat again.

5:20 PM – Gran’s spaghetti! Will have to live with knowledge that delicious pasta and sauce may contain poop particles. Remind self that dirt and therefore feces are good for immune system.

Day 2: Ontario, Sault St. Marie

7:00 AM – Have been told I can drive the RV! Very excited; partly for opportunity and partly because will not have to share my seat with a disgruntled poodle. Am still very excited about trip itself, is uncommon to see such savage beauty whizzing by window.

10:45 – Numb bum has returned. Harry Potter’s world only partially distracting from discomfort.

2:01 PM – Is my moment of glory! Granddad has vacated driver’s seat. Am going to drive forever, may drive all the way to Manitoba, perhaps may drive all night!

2:59 PM – Have been told to pull RV over and that my turn is finished.

3:05 PM – Notice that phone was noticeably silent and without any messages during my hour long absence. Realize that have lost signal.

4:10 PM – Made mistake of looking at GPS. Said three thousand and eight more hours of driving until arrival. Ok possibly not THAT long but was close. Cell phone a useless paperweight. Am effectively cut off from everything.

6:00 PM – Pulled into the loveliest, leafiest park ever. Hiked all of the trails while Gran made dinner. Took poodles who went willingly. Suspect they only came because saw potential for a jail break by simultaneously pulling my arms in opposite directions while dashing for the river.

Day 3 : Ontario, Thunder Bay

8:00 AM – On road again. Granddad promised to relinquish the steering wheel this morning. Have lovely fantasies of flying down the road for hours and hours until arrive at Aunty Betty’s doorstep. Am still enthused by landscape however majestic rock faces are beginning to look a bit alike.

10:02 AM – Granddad has just moved over! Perhaps will be allowed to drive all day!

10:59 AM – Was just informed my turn is up.

11:00 AM – Pulled over and took the poodles for a drag. Either my arms are becoming stronger or they are walking more willingly.

12:50 AM – Ride seeming impossibly long. Forcing myself not to look at GPS because feel as if may have to live in RV forever.

1:00 PM – Lunch! But am sadly not hungry, it seems boredom kills appetites.

2:00 PM – Fear that feeling may never return to my posterior.

3:00 PM – Must not ask when we are stopping for the night. Am an adult, will handle boredom accordingly.

3:01 PM – Poodle has sat on my foot in such a manner as to indicate that it’s looking for a fight. It seems all of the natives are restless.

3:07 PM – Do not wish to be an adult anymore, want to stop driving and run into the bush which looks exactly like the wild brush from a couple of minutes ago which is identical to the brush from a thousand kilometers ago. Screw up determination; am going to really appreciate wild beauty around me.

3:08 PM – Rock, rock, rock, rock.

3:09 PM – Tree, tree, tree, tree.

3:10 PM – Lake.

3:11 PM – Tree, tree, tree, rock, tree.

5:00 PM – Have stopped for the night. Take dogs for a walk then take advantage of Wifi which is inexplicably fast despite there being no cell phone signal to speak of.

Day 4 : Ontario, ?????? (Somewhere is the north, this province is endless- we may never get out)

5:45 AM – Wake ridiculously early and go for a stroll so legs won’t forget how to walk after spending four years in RV. Discover magical park with up ended picnic tables which look like they enjoy galloping around in the night. Pretend to be a ninja observing secret life of picnic tables.

I am one with the galloping picnic tables. (Photo Credit : Gran)

I am one with the galloping picnic tables. (Photo Credit : Gran)

7:30 AM – After Granddad disconnects poop hose, a task which was mercifully excused from helping with, we are back on road in my gigantic rolling prison.

7: 37 AM – Press face against window and think happily about a time when the world didn’t move and used to do things like run around. Turn cell phone off to save it from uselessly searching for a signal.

8:30 AM – Start to read Harry Potter but even J.K. Rowling can’t fight this much ennui.

9:30 AM – Resist urge to start marking days and hours on RV wall with butter knife.

10:30 AM – See something strange in distance, is weird and rectangular shaped, like a rock face but with ninety degree angles.

10:32 AM – Is most definitely not a rock face nor the Canadian Shield because there is nothing growing out of it.

10:34 AM – Is gigantic building! Have reached civilization. Would drop to knees but would squish poodle that has taken up residence at feet if did so.

10:44 AM – Watch as building approaches.

10:54 AM – And approaches

11:04 AM – And approaches. Had forgotten it was the prairies, the place where people watch their dog run away for three days. Fall back into despair again. May never leave the RV.

1:00 Pm – Gran says are only an hour from Aunty Betty’s! Is such good news cannot believe it. Cell phone signal returns.

2:30 PM – Difficult to say who tumbles out of the RV faster- me or the poodles. Throw self to the ground so happy to be freed from RV and not in a moving vehicle any more. Was beginning to get bedsores from seat belt.

2:35 PM – Hug Gran and Granddad goodbye, say thank you for driving and wheel my suitcase into Aunty Betty’s house. Success!

Mixed Signals and Mistaken Identities

“You’re going to be mistaken for a lesbian couple” Sula’s* mom told her upon learning that I would be attending the banquet of Sula’s scientific conference as her date. Prior to this comment it had never occurred to Sula that someone might assume we are a couple.

Tragically my actions and words did nothing to dispel this potential rumour. For starters while watching Sula get ready, the words “You always look beautiful to me” may have come out of my mouth multiple times, thus leaving her lab mate Joel** wondering whether after the professional function, we were going to retire to our room and have naked pillow fights then cuddle.

Also, Sula wore a gorgeous red dress which attracted a lot of attention. In the cocktail groups that formed, men would work in the comment “You look stunning by the way” at which point Joel would quip, “you’re like the tenth person to say that” then I would eagerly add “but I was the first!” To add to the mixed signal fire, during dinner, Sula and I discussed our shared dream of running away together and raising our love child.

I don’t think these comments and discussions helped our platonic relationship cause. Luckily Sula has experience with wrongly assumed roles. One Christmas, she and her brother decided to have photos taken together for their mother’s gift. At first everything went smoothly; Sula found a studio in the mall and showed up with her tall, good looking brother. This was the part where things went off the rails. The photographer kept asking Sula to touch her brother in the photos and lean against him in the poses. It was only when they were lying on the ground on top of one another that Sula’s brother intervened “You know we’re brother and sister right?” he said. The direction of the photography session changed drastically after that.

Having heard this story before arriving at the conference, I unabashedly shared my love for Sula with anyone who would listen. Happily, she wasn’t too embarrassed. However, only time will tell if I’m invited to attend another of her work functions.


After spending two glorious days together, Sula and I were dropped off at the airport by a twelve year old boy who was responsible for driving the shuttle. “What were you doing in the city?” he kindly asked Sula and I. “She had a conference and I was her date.” I answered. “Because I love her” and “She was the best looking lady there” may have been added in there too. This prompted the young man to ask “Did you go on any other dates while you were here?”

Mark one for effectively convincing a stranger of our couple status.