Roysplainin’—pooL (part 1)


Some things are hard to explain. Some things need a lot of setup. This is not one of those things. This is simple. It’s straightforward. It’s an extremely short story about something we’ve all experienced, yet something we overlook (intentionally or unintentionally) in our lives. I guess this is sort of a parable—though t’s just me recounting an incident from my childhood. Whatever you call it, it should contain a(t least one) life lesson…

Before I forget, this story contains elements to violence/trauma. I also would recommend not eating while reading this. (As usual, you should assume there's a mental health component somewhere in the narrative—if not everywhere...)

Once upon a time—wait, that sounds too fancy. This story’s too crude for “once upon a time,” plus it actually contains an important lesson—not some s*** people tell themselves to extract some meaning, something that makes them feel “special”… Let’s try this again:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…—crap; this story takes place here, in Toronto—not in a galaxy far, far away… It has nothing to do with crap either (or maybe it does). Plus, I feel like I’ve seen that intro somewhere… Let’s try this again:

Back in my day, I remember being excited. It was a special day. No, it wasn’t special because it was an important anniversary—it wasn’t anybody’s birthday, or a holiday. It was special in spite of that. It was a day that was completely normal; that was what made it special. It was a day when I was attending “free swim” at a local community centre. I should explain “free swim” before I continue: free swim was a block of time when the swimming pool was open to the public. More importantly, it was open for recreational use. People showed up, and just relaxed! To me, it was novelty. The mundaneness appealed to me. I’d never gone to the pool “for fun.” I’d gone to the pool before. I could swim, but never to just relax. Amma and Appa were tiger parents, so my schedule was always full; I never just relaxed (perhaps I never will)—not without sneakily trying…

Let’s take a look at me sneakily trying to relax. I’ll use my signature sneaky recreational activity from then (I was a pre-teen): playing Pokemon Blue. To those unaware, sneakily playing that was an impressive skill on its own! You see, I played Pokemon Blue on my Gameboy Color. To you kids spoiled with 1080, 60fps, 420BlazeIt, yolo, no-scope action as a default, you can’t fathom what it’s like trying to find a way to light up the damn console: backlights weren’t a thing (yet)… This meant that I needed to angle the Gameboy Color towards a light source. Try sneakily lighting something up when you’re not supposed to. That’s right, it takes great skill, and greater luck to pull off: that’s the nature of light—it’s difficult hiding it… After years of practice, I could perfectly sync the angling with street lights at night (while in a moving vehicle); I truly was a master. Magikarp still sucked though; exp. share was a game changer… The lack of Internet also complicated matters, but that’s something I’ll bitch about later.

There was a lot on the line. Getting caught had dire consequences. Part of the reason I found Russel Peters hilarious was his line “somebody gonna get hurt real bad”; it was funny in the way that something sick and true is funny. Beatings are unpleasant. I’m not a big fan of them. They strike me as too abusive, and though it was part of my daily routine for close to two decades, it’s something I never truly appreciated… To be clear, they got tedious way before this story. Beatings are a lot like too much ice cream: both leave a lasting impression; both involve a great deal of convincing oneself that it was worth it in the long run. Anyway, I’ll frame physical trauma with psychological trauma: having my Gameboy Color confiscated before I could save was the end of the world. (Back in my day autosaves weren’t the norm; you kids and your privilege. tsk tsk)

To be continued…

Thank you for your time,
Roybert S. Henanigans

P.S. 96: I’ve updated my Contact Me page explaining how you can help me if you choose to. This includes a messaging form, my gmail address, my Twitter account, and a donation button to my Ko-Fi page. I’ll update specifics gradually. If there’s one thing I could ask for above all else, I’d ask for two—then I’d use one of those two to say that the best way to help is to share my work with someone.

On a serious note, thank you so much for reading—it truly means the world to me!


Published by justcallmeroybert

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