Brooke met John Jaffey in journalism school. This fascinating man was a lawyer until his fraud conviction. He spent several years in prison, and entered journalism school for a fresh start. He’s a wonderful man who made some bad choices earlier in his life. I recently found his moving article, “A Conjugal Visit” on Saturday Night‘s web site. Read it now!
I was thinking back today to my early adolescence, with that mixture of wistfulness and crushing embarrassment that might be familiar to some of you. I was thinking about my “Dungeons and Dragons” years. The coolest thing about this period was how I discovered the game. I believe it was 1977 or 1978 (I was 12 or 13 at the time) and I read an article about this new “role-playing game” in Psychology Today. Yup, just one of a few brainy mags I read at the time, including Omni, Popular Science, and Popular Mechanics. I even tried to read Scientific American for a while, but that just went over my head. Brooke was a little embarrassed when I told her about the D&D years (or, more correctly, the AD&D years), even though (or perhaps because) I protested that “I was always the Dungeon Master!!” Another aspect of those years is that since I couldn’t always convince many of my friends to play, I found a sort of club that met Sunday mornings in Toronto’s Eaton Centre. There must have been 40 or 50 of us there, and meeting those people was sort of a precursor to the kind of relationships I’ve formed online, relationships formed around common interests and not where you lived or went to school. Those were great times…
Anyone else have a geeky RPG past (or present!)?
Brooke and I ate at a great little restaurant last night. It’s called Nothing in Common, and it has about 6 tables downstairs (they have a smoking section upstairs but I expect it’s about the same size). The decor was great. Lots of kitsch on the walls, boxes of Trivial Pursuit questions on the tables, and the legs of our table ended in rubber boots. Great food, too, by the way. Funny thing was that because it’s so small, you can hear everyone else’s conversation. There was a couple there who were obviously on their first date, and I wondered what sort of a person would ask someone to a restaurant called “Nothing in Common” for a date…
Thanks to Elise for the link. My reaction to the article, though, is “Who cares?” I guess I’m well past being cool, and I’ve never been someone who worries about their fashion sense. What I like is that there’s a HUGE selection of CHEAP clothes for MEN, and that’s a rare combination. Well, I guess, not so rare, now. By the way, the first Old Navy store in Toronto will open in the spring of next year. And I’m baffled by the writer’s assumption that “conformity” is a terrible evil to be avoided. Certainly conformity of thought is not healthy, but where I buy my clothes and furniture? Come on. Most people I know who shop at Old Navy and/or IKEA do it because, in reality, those external things don’t mean that much to them.
Yesterday, Heather told a story about her childhood. It reminded me of a story from mine. As a toddler, I used to sleep in the same room as my parents, and I remember that I couldn’t fall asleep unless I was holding onto my mother’s hand. I would stretch my arm out between the bars of the crib, and reach for mom’s hand. As I got older, and slept in a bed in my own room, the habit remained, only I would reach up and hold the bedpost until I fell asleep. I rationalized it as I grew into a 6 or 7 year old, thinking that if any bad men tried to kidnap me while I slept, they wouldn’t be able to pry my hand from the bed, and therefore, I’d be safe. It was during a family trip to Ireland when I was just turning 9 that I decided to “put away childish things,” forsaking both the bedpost and my nightlight. It is the first memory I have of consciously deciding to “grow up.”
Speaking of trips to Ireland, last March when I was in Dublin visiting family, I discovered two neat things about my family history:
- My great grandmother O’Keeffe owned a house in Howth, just north of Dublin, and this house was a gift to her from Michael Collins’ mother. She (my great grandmother) was quite involved in Ireland’s struggle for independence, at various times sheltering Michael Collins and Eamon DeValera in her house in London, when she lived there.
- I am related to Irish writer Brendan Behan, through marriage.
It’s probably not that unusual. Ireland is a small country.