Posts Tagged ‘memories’

33 Things I Regret…

January 9, 2012

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “Don’t regret the things you have done, but rather the things you haven’t done”…which while stupid, is somewhat meant to say that one has the chance to do something they haven’t done if they have the courage…but as for the things you have done…well, I guess they will stick with you the rest of your life.

I often say that if I had the chance to live my life again I wouldn’t do anything different…that’s true to a point, because it has in truth made me who I am today…plus given me a boat load of content for these blogs.

However, there are many moments I would choose to relive. Certain decisions I’d make differently. Perhaps even people I would chose not to let into my life…

So with that, I’d like to present to you 33 such moments in my life…and of course, these are as brutally honest as you’d expect.

They are in no particular order, but rather presented as they come to mind.

1. I should never have cancelled my trip to NYC in 2010 for the reasons I did.

2. I should never have left my job at Heat/FHM magazine.

3. I should never have sold my World Cup final tickets.

4. I would never have convinced my Grade 12 science teacher that she lost my project when in fact I never handed it in.

5. I should of tried harder to keep my friend Ray’s friendship even though she chose to stop being friends. I miss her tremendously.

6. I would of spoken to my friend Paula the day I saw her in the post office many many years ago, instead of thinking she probably didn’t wanna speak to me.

7. I would never bought an expensive birthday gift for a girl named Vicki.

8. I should never have believed people when they said they had big plans for me, and followed my own instinct instead.

9. I would never have made that 8k bet on Leeds United because I had nothing else to do with that money.

10. I would never have sold my Evil Dead 1&2 replica Book of the Dead dvd box sets.

11. I should of made it to Rory & Rox’s wedding despite my own family drama.

12. I should of gotten my health sorted out before my Medical Aid was cancelled.

13. I should of fought back against those two guys who hijacked me.

14. I should never have wished my brother lost a race…I never had to chance to say sorry.

15. I would have kissed Katherine that day behind the school building.

16. I would never have pursued a girl named Lori.

17. I would never have gone to THAT Christmas party.

18. I should have stuck it out and done that school play with Damien. I had zero self confidence and felt I let him down.

19. I should not have let that damn tattoo artist tattoo the Roman numeral “V” on my leg while he was sorting out his divorce over the phone.

20. I would have apologized to my friend Charis when I accidentally hit her in the face with my school bag instead of acting like “it wasn’t that bad, get over it”.

21. I wish I didn’t cry like a baby the night I was announce as Head Boy.

22. I would of never organized World Cup final tickets for the girl who used my trust as a stepping stone.

23. I should not have used my data bundle in December to download “albino porn”.

24. I should of made the effort to go to one of Simone’s reviews.

25. I should of asked Jamie Lee Curtis for a photo that day in New York.

26. I should never have shop lifted that marble from Clicks in 1989.

27. I should never have left my friend Len stranded while I sorted out my own drama.

28. I would have admitted I broke the bathroom tap at a family member’s house.

29. I should of joined a tennis club when I was younger.

30. I would never have let former colleagues get away with the way they spoke and/or treated me.

31. I should never have cut up my old wrestling magazine to get pictures for my scrapbook

32. I would never have ignored my cousin Michael while I tried to sort out my own problems, my word to him should of come first.

33. I should never have had that ham & jalapeno sandwich before I wrote this blog.

Well, that’s it, a regret for every year I’ve been alive…that’s some heavy baggage right there!

Meeting Bret “The Hitman” Hart – Part 2: Fate Steps In!

July 12, 2011

During Bret’s 13 years exodus from the WWE, there were many teases about his return in some capacity, but it never happened.

On Pay-Per-View nights, my friend Gordy and I had many conversations about THIS being the perfect angle for The Hitman to return…but he never did…time and time again we were left disappointed.

Then news started to filter about Hart dealing with the WWE again. Over the years DVDs and merchandise were released with Bret’s involvement…but still no on screen appearance.

In 2006, Bret got the much deserved call into the Hall of Fame…it was an epic night for the fans to see Bret get inducted, but Bret left straight afterwards and never made the traditional on stage performance at the following night’s WrestleMania.

Bret again disappeared.

Then…out of nowhere, an angle started up on RAW in December 2009…

WWE were running with a series of “Guest hosts” for RAW…from celebrities to former WWE stars. Vince McMahon teased that Bret Hart would be the one guy who would never guest host.

In a promo with Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels spoke the prophetic words of – “If you bring Bret Hart back, – good things will happen.”

Then January 4th 2010, Bret The Hitman Hart returned to the WWE. When his signature music hit…and the Hitman walked out after 13 years…I was in tears.

Bret buried the hatchet with longtime enemy Shawn Michaels…I was in tears.

Bret got involved in several storylines leading up to a matchup at Wrestlemania XXVI where Bret was given retribution against Vince McMahon. A good feeling for life long fans. With Hart family members at ringside (and the member of those we lost)…I was in tears.

The WWE played out further storylines with Bret as GM of RAW and eventually being taken out by the Rising youngsters including South Africa’s own Justin Gabriel – NEXUS. Bret was written off tv.

Nobody knew if that was it for Bret’s triumphant return, for months it seemed like it could be.

Then Bret was brought back for Summerslam in 2010, but used minimally. There was a Hitman tribute show on RAW a few weeks later, but by the end of 2010, the Hitman stepped away with his short term contract seemingly done.

Internet reports suggested Bret was done with the WWE.

Earlier this year, I found out the WWE would be returning to South Africa for a series of shows…of course this would involve the current roster of Superstars.

It was officially announced.

Meanwhile, in May 2011, during a PPV match between Hall of Famer, and long time friend/rival Jerry The King Lawler and Michael Cole, the Hitman stunningly made another return to WWE TV, and also appeared the next night on RAW.

I heard mumblings that Bret would be joining the Smackdown tour to South Africa in July! Surely it was just another in the long list of rumours that I’d heard about Hitman in my life.

I went straight to the source and tweeted @BretHart asking if this was true…and he replied IT WAS!

After last seeing the Hitman 15 years ago, I was going to get another chance to see my idol live…Meeting Bret was always a bucket list item for me, and suddenly there was a tiny window of opportunity to achieve this.

My personal struggle with the world over the last decade has been well documented, but the one thing that always kept me going was that I was a dreamer. I believed in the impossible, in beating the odds. However being a 33 year old single guy who still has dreams, and heroes is a weird juxtaposition in this day and age.

For the last few months in particular I had lost faith in the world. I had convinced myself that nothing good exists anymore, and that dreaming only leads to disappointment.

A few months ago, I posted a question on Facebook asking which three people you would love to invite to dinner. Some people went with the usual dead celebs, rocks stars, Nelson Mandela etc. My answer was – Leona Lewis, Johnny Depp and Bret The Hitman Hart.

I was determined to do what it takes to meet The Hitman this time around. Heck, I NEEDED this!

I organized tickets through a good soul, and knew I would see the Hitman in some capacity at the show at least, but I needed that handshake with the Hitman, I needed one conversation with him.

Being in the industry I’m in any knowing the people I know, I had a lot of contacts. Many of them casually promised they’d organize me a meet and great, or back stage passes, etc etc. All those sort of things people randomly say. As the Johannesburg dates grew closer and the Superstars arrived, those promises amounted to nothing.

I knew time was running short and if this was going to happen I needed a) a bit of luck and b) to do it myself.

The promoters had not organized any signings, so that was out.
Then it dawned on me to simply check the wwe.com website for “superstar appearances”…I did and slowly read

Cape Town – Justin Gabriel and Sin Cara signing at a toy store.
Cool…but damn!
Durban – The Big Show signing at a toy store.
Cool….but damn!
Johannesburg……Bret The Hitman Hart signing at a toy store.
Cool…but damn!

…..wait a second…
BRET THE HITMAN HART WOULD BE SIGNING IN JOHANNESBURG!!!!!!!

Out of all the superstars that could possibly appear at the Johannesburg signing it was the one person I wanted…the Gods of Fate were either smiling upon me…or teasing the hell outta me.

This if course was no guarantee I would even get close to him , I had been to many wrestler signings in the past, and they were mostly disasters.

Marc Mero & Sable – 4 hours in the baking hot sun…no photographs allowed.
Mark Henry – no photos allowed
Rikishi – just say hi and walk on.
JBL and Ivory – this was actually decent, I spoke to JBL for a bit.
Rey Mysterio and Kidman – just walk past and bump knuckles. No autographs or pictures.

I found out about the signing on Friday morning, and it was on Saturday. For the next 24 hours I felt sick to my stomach about everything that could go wrong. I tried to find someone to come with me, but nobody was interested. Story of my life right there.

On Friday night I looked at all my Hitman merchandise and wondered what should I attempt to get signed? Then as I looked at his autobiography it make perfect sense to that that. It was his story, which formed part of my story.

On Saturday I woke up later than I would of liked, and raced through to the shopping centre he was scheduled to appear at. It was a far drive, far enough to allow my mind to get the better of me. Should I turn around and not risk this turning into a bad experience? I don’t think I could handle that. Is the dream better than the reality?

I arrived, got parking, headed to the men’s room to dispose of my energy drink. And made my way to find the “spot”.

With relative ease I found the queue and it looked fairly short…good start!

Then however I noticed everyone in the queue had a “wwe ticket”. I asked what these were for and got told you have to have one to meet The Hitman. However to get a ticket you had to spend R200 at the store sponsoring the signing!

This was not advertised anywhere, and I happen to be someone who NEVER carries money.

I was heartbroken (excuse the pun), and immediately felt defeated. Then…in my George McFly moment, I raised my head up and with great confidence I went to the store and explained some of my story to them. The manager either feeling sympathy or fearing my beard organized me two tickets to go stand in the queue.

As I stood in line I began to wonder what exact I would say to Bret if I did in fact get to speak to him.

Do I tell him about that Battle Royal with Bad News Brown that made me a fan?
Do I quote his line I use almost daily? “Settle Down Anvil, settle down”
Do I tell him how he helped me through tragedy?
Do I ask him how he’s enjoying SA?
Do I just say “sup hitman”?

I thought I’d distract myself by taking some photos….

Which would have been a good idea if my digital camera hadn’t suddenly and inexplicably stopped working!

Panic set in…what was I going to go? The cameras on my phones were fine for close ups, but they would never be good enough for a pic with The Hitman!

Oh great.

They then allowed to queue to move forward right up to the desk where Hitman would be signing. As I looked at the queue I saw a few die-hard fans who were educated about the Hitman, but the crowd was mostly youngsters who were probably born 15 years ago. I knew I was the biggest fan there and smiled to myself thinking this was all just for me and Bret.

I asked the couple in front of me if they could taken a pic of me and Bret if possible and send it to me. They said sure.

Then a dear friend of mine happened to be in the centre and came and joined me. Oh great, nothing like a beautiful woman to see you at your geekiest as you try and justify why you are there. But she was awesome, and even decided to join me to meet him! As we shuffled through the hundred camera phones we tried to find something that would be the best.

The lady on the PA system announced that Bret Hart had arrived, and told us a few rules. No ticket no sign – check
Only one item allowed to be signed – check
You can take photos but can’t go behind the table – awkward but check.

Then, they pumped up some random hard rock music and out came Bret “The Hitman” Hart!!!!

He was wearing the black leather jacket and the sunglasses!!!!!

He got a warm reception. And took his place at the table…

I began to shake from what can only be described as a hybrid of excited and utter fear.

The line moved quickly and before I knew it, it was our turn. I let my friend go first, and took a picture of them with her phone, I felt almost blind though, so I don’t even know how her pic came out!

I saw the couple who was in front of me walk off, so much for them taking a picure and sending it to me!

As I walked up to Bret, 25 years of memories came flashing into my brain, and as I handed over my book in my shaky voice I said to him “Hitman, after 25 years I’ve thought what I would say to you if I ever met you, *he looked up at me*, and all I can think of is….thank you.”

He half smiled and said, “Well thank you for buying my book I appreciate it”

He then asked my name and signed the book to me. I asked for a photo and he extended his hand and shook mine.

At that exact moment my friend got the digital camera working and took the perfect picture of us.

I said thank you and enjoy the rest of the tour.

I didn’t look back, and simply walked off and got onto cloud number 9.

There are so few perfect moments left in life (especially mine). But this was the single greatest day of my life, and it took a series of events to perfectly align for it to happen.

For Bret it was just another of his millions of fans he’s met over the decades, and he won’t think about it for another second.

For me it was everything I needed it to be to believe in dreams again, and remind myself that there is a destiny out there waiting for me.

50 Primary School Memories – Especially for my BAPS clique

July 7, 2011

A while back i wrote a blog called ” A Burg Never Forgets, where i looked back at 50 childhood memories. What proved most popular was the memories from Primary School. Birch Acres Primary School in fact. It was the best time of our lives. I would like to revisit it here…the first 23 items are taken directly from that previous blog for those who missed it, and then i’ve added a bunch more…I guess this really is for that group of us that remember those days…I hope some of the below things stir up some memories (mostly good!).

Birch Acres is, the dearest name
The School that we love best.
We learn to work, with zeal and zest
and strive to do our best…
(ok it went something like that)

1) In grade two, we went to the zoo on a field trip. A group of us got hidings from Miss Du Plessis for stretching too far over the crocodile wall.
2) A bunch of friends once rode to my house on their bicycles, one of them called out “shaunie, fatty, come out and play”…my mom raced ahead of me a ripped into the kid and proceeded to tell him how fat his whole family was. I didn’t get to play with them.
3) I won our church fundraiser darts competition when I was just 12. I beat out the adults too.
4) I fell off the goal posts and broke my arm in std 5. I hid it for a few days, but when I had to glue a project together in class, everyone found out.
5 ) The opening line to my headboy speech in Std 5 was “Where we are going, we will no longer be a Big fish in a small pond, we will now be small fishes in big ponds”
6) During our Cape Town tour of 1990, I bought a nudie pen. You know the one you turn upside down the clothes fall off the girl on the pen. I sold it before the tour ended.
7) On the first day of that same tour, some kid through my old buck gin hat into the toilet. It was so embarassing I didn’t wear it for the rest of the tour.
8) My first best friend was named Ryan.
9) In std 1, I took gift bags to school for my birthday. My mom made me give the girls she didn’t like the worst toys. I remember having to give someone a …thimble.)
10) When I was named headboy in primary school, I got kisses from all the previous year’s female heads and deputy heads. Older women score!
11) In std5 we made perspex knives. Why I have no idea.
12) In Std 1, I earning praise from my teacher Mrs Holgate because I knew that Margaret Thatcher was called The Iron Lady.
13) The guy who first got me interested in my lifelong love for tennis was a guy named Stephen Budge. Possibly related to Don Budge.
14) One of our end of terms movies during primary school was The Secret of Nimh
15) We once had a fun fair at our primary school. I got sick on the spinning teacups because I had a whole packet of sherbet before I went on.
16) There was nothing better than spaghetti bolognaise from the tuck shop in primary school.
17) During leadership camp in Std 4, the song we all had to rehearse to was “We all stand together” …also known as the frog song.
18) At that same leadership camp, a boy named stephen snuck a drag off a teachers cigarette when he left it balancing on a chair.
19) I cried like a baby when I was announced as head boy. A guy named Allan asked me a few weeks later if I cried because my dad wasn’t there or if I was happy. To this day I still don’t know the answer.
20) At a birthday party I won a dance competition. It was legit judging too, because the host’s older sister and her friends judged. Older women score #2!
21) I was the tins in the bin champion for 2 years running. Tins in the bin is exactly was it sounds like.
22) In std 5 we once has to wear togas to a roman theme function. I flashed two girls. I know who they are, but I’m sure they don’t remember. Guess I made zero impression!
23) I got punched in the face by a bully from a visiting school in 1991. I didn’t drop…but I did take a martial arts stance immediately afterwards ….even though I never had a single lesson.
24) During night time functions, a few of use head prefects and prefect would disappear behind the school (close to the netball courts) and make out behind the building. I strangely always volunteered to be the lookout.
25) My friend David and I completed the longest long division sum known to man mind.
26) I was once so sick with hepatitis that I threw up on the corridor
27) We use to do crazy stuff like try and jump as many stairs as possible, or swing from the roof and try and catch onto the next roof railing
28) We once had “tunnel of horror” underneath our school stage during a fete one year. I scare a kid with a werewolf mask and she kicked me in the shins.
29) A guy named Richard once brought a nudie mag to school. Best. Day. Ever.
30) One day I didn’t do my homework and the teacher got made with me and asked me why. I simply said “because my dad died last night”. He came and picked me up and carried me to the office while I wept like a baby.
31) There was this other guy named Richard who always used to threaten to jump off the balcony whenever he was in a bad mood or someone teased him.
32) We used to get Yo Yo experts and mini soccer ball experts come to a display for us, then every one would try and do tricks for like the next month.
33) My friend Ryan’s mom had the coolest job in the world. She used to work for Beacon sweets, and he’d always bring the most amazing sweets to school.
34) King Stingers used to be the most awesome lunch time sport ever.
35) We all went to Gold Reef City once, but I don’t seem to remember much working. I did fall off a Penny Farthing though.
36) My cousin came to our school for about a year. During our sports day, we were so busy talking we didn’t hear the gun go off for our race, and when the told us, we just started running on the side lines.
37) Happy Acres was the most fun ever.
38) There was an awesome game the boys played, I forget the name, where we used to try kick each other’s feet, and if connected the guy was out, if you missed you had to stay in that stance. It was all very technical.
39) There were only two mail Library prefects in Std 4. I was one of them. I loved the library.
40) I used to love high jump practice, shot put, and long jump.
41) Marbles was a huge craze for us, and we used to try knock down pyramids, play eyenies and all sorts of bizarre games…schoolyard rules applied.
42) I still have the book prizes I won, they were the most awesome books ever.
43) I used to hate choir practice, but always loved the school plays. I of course played a wrestler one year. I wore a speedo and painted my face like The Ultimate Warriors
44) Sometimes the most fun you could have was just rolling down the embankments.
45) A guy named Scott was on TV in the advert for the opening of Pick n Pay Steeledale, he road up to the empty warehouse on his bicycle. Everyone thought he was cool after that.
46) The aforementioned guy named David had he parents appear on a game show called Telly Fun Quiz…
47) Sometimes at break I would play Gummy Bears with Paula and JoAnne and we’d bounce around like gummy bears.
48) In grade one there was a cute girl with the longest blonde hair id ever seen, and she had thoroughbred shaggy dogs…I wonder what ever happened to her…anyone remember the name?
49) The best part of being a prefect was getting to sit on the chair on the side of the hall or outside while assembly was going on.
50) I still see my primary school friends as the best friends I ever had. There was something magical about our year and the year before us.

and a special mention to when the school nurse used to visit and the boys and girls were seperated and sent to the sick room. We had to strip down to our underwear, and turn and cough.

*awkward silence*

A History Of Girlfriends – Part 1: The Primary School Years

April 19, 2011

My previous blog was what the kids on the street call an epic failure, which is a damn shame because I felt it was good and original. I guess what it comes down to is that its just not something people care to read.

So I’ve decided to go back to basics. People seem to like hearing about something they can relate to. And what’s easier to relate to, than relationships!

I’d like to share with you my complete history of girlfriends…don’t worry, you’ll be done reading in 5 minutes.

I’ve always (and by always, I mean since this blog idea popped into my head earlier today), compared my resume of girlfriends to the Mel Brooks movie History of the World Part 1.

Its awkwardly funny, filled with innuendos, factually incorrect and had about a 90min running time.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a superb memory, but there may be certain inaccuracies here and there, which are simply a result of “the facts as I remember them”.

Now enough waffling, let’s get to the good stuff!

In primary school I was quite the stud, well as much of a stud as a 6-11yr old could be.

I was always getting Valentines cards, being flirted with at Saturday night birthday parties, and basically liked by the opposite sex. Probably for my maturity…and my skills at king stingers.

My first girlfriend came into my life in Grade 1. Her name was Gillian…yes, I’m going to name em and shame em!

I had many crushes during my early years, not unlike today, girls like Paula, Natalie, Claire, Kim…but Gillian was the girl I was brave enough to let know!

She was cute as a button, and we got on amazingly. Our junior love was the stuff of legends. Even both our parents were fond of the kids significant other.

Our first date was around Valentines Day, and we went to the ice rink with her Parental supervision of course. I’ll never forget when they came to pick me up from my house, she gave me a Snoopy mug with the slogan “you’re always on my mind” on it. (I still have that mug…and use it daily).

We were an item for a long time. And I never really had an interest in pursuing any other girls…and believe me we had some hotties!…again, as hot as 6-11yr olds can be.

However… As people get older they are influenced by many other factors when it comes to love. At that age, seeds can be planted from friends, family, status or moments in life.

Come standard 4, my life was a mess. With the loss of my dad, and a year before I lost my older brother, my priorities in life changed, and Gillian and I grew apart.

During that year, we went in a school tour to Cape Town. I grew really keen on a girl named Robyn. She was an athlete, had an older sister who knew my brother, and we had a mutual liking for one another.

During the tour, we snuck off to a friends hotel room…and kissed alone in the dark for 5 minutes! The irony was, a year or 2 before, it was at Robyn”s birthday party a few years before that Gillian and I had our first French kiss behind the wall of her house…although that evening turned bad for me because everyone threw each other in the pool…and when I got home after the party I got a beating for getting my shoes wet, but I try and remember it for the kiss…

Anyways, back to the hotel room.
The next day, as kids do, they can’t keep a secret, and during one of the bus rides, someone told Gillian about the kiss, and she slapped me there on the bus. I deserved it, and always felt bad about doing that to her…I wonder if she even remembers.

That also pretty much ended things between Robyn and I. From hero to zero I guess.

A year after primary school ended, Robyn and I got into contact and we trying going out on a date. My mom took us to see The Mighty Ducks.

We never really saw each other after that…but we did have a telephone conversation a few years later which featured the memorable line of “hey I see there is a sequel to the Mighty Ducks coming out”…I don’t think I got the hint.

I’ll be back with the High School years a lil’ later…

Tales From The Burgmobile: Part 1

April 14, 2011

Sure. The Burg is my driver….but we’ve never really seen it that way. To us, for the last four plus years, we’ve been best friends. We’ve seen it all, and been through more (a burgism he always likes to use).

In fact, its exactly 4 years ago today that the two of us embarked on the first of what would be a series of adventures.

You see, when we were assigned as partners…it wasn’t just a job for us. We both had a spirit of adventure, and of course, a heightened sense of drama.

Back then, the roads were a different place for The Burg. They were just a means to get somewhere, but together, being on the roads gave us both meaning. If I may, I’d like to share a few stories with you all.

Of course I can’t share EVERYTHING with you…because Burg would probably get fired…and I’d end up on the scrap heap.

As I mentioned, our first trip together was 1 year ago. We headed from Johannesburg to Sun City for our first ever SAMA awards. Burg was in a bad way then. He had no money and was in a bad depression. I felt bad for the guy…I was also worried about my own safety to be honest. We got hopelessly lost that evening as we made our way. Neither of us really knew how to get there, so we ended up seeing a bit more of the neighboring towns than we originally wanted to hehe. Burg had to deal with some demons that weekend, and I’m happy to say we both survived it. For three more years after that we did the annual trip there. In fact, one year he even brought someone along. That was the start of the end for that friendship. I think Burg still misses that friend, but he tries to act like he doesn’t…because it still hurts. This year it was announced that the venue was changing, but I think we’ll always have fond memories of that annual excursion. I know I will. Lord knows he needed that annual getaway.

Burg’s a crazy cat, but his heart has always been in the right place. I see a side of him a lot of others don’t. He cares so much for people, that why when he get his heart broken, it drives him to the point of insanity. He just loses so much faith in the world.

I remember when a girl he really liked, and I mean REALLY liked decided she didn’t want to pursue anything with him. It hurt him bad. I took them to a lot of functions, and I saw how he genuinely loved her. She was the one. They got on great and I thought maybe this time it would actually work out. He took a lot of pain out of that “relationship”. He yearned for her, her touch, her attention. He never wanted to give up. Many a days he drove him in tears, but would never let anyone see him that way. When they finally stopped seeing each other…he was lost. This was where he went through his little emo face. Which to be fair, looked good on him hehe.

He was filming a short film at the time and had a role as a “mean looking guy”, perfectly suited. Anyways, one of the days he got his filming day wrong and only realized it while he was on the way to the location. Never one to let a good day out go to waste, he made a spur of the moment decision to take us to the beach. He had the idea of writing the name of the girl he was pining for’s name in the sand and watching the ocean wash it away. This would be such a bad decision except that the nearest beach was 7 hours away. And he had never driven there before…and it was 10am in the morning. He had his video camera with him and filmed the entire trip down. In fact, all videos are still on Youtube if I remember.

The most amazing part of it was, we drown all this time and he simply walked onto the beach, wrote the name, watched it wash away, and got back in the car, and we drove right back. It’s the most amazing experience, and boy was it scary being on those dark rainy road with trucks carrying logs swerving all over the place…but certainly wouldn’t be the craziest thing he did. That was to come a few months later.

We’ve had so many good memories. Of course every one is balanced by an equally sad story. In the early days, I had to take him to pawn shops as he sold off everything he owned just to survive and take care of his mom. That took its toll on him. That’s why it was an absolute pleasure to take him shopping when he can into some luch. And boy can the kid and his mom shop! We went everywhere! Every bit of space I had was packed to the brim with stuff. From dvds to furniture. Hahaha, I remember the two of them actually holding stuff on the roof just to get it home.

I’ve just got to go put in some petrol (or gas to those American readers out there)…but I’ll be back with some more stories about The Burg and The Burgmobile you won’t wanna miss….

A Burg Never Forgets

April 7, 2011

I’ve always been cursed (blessed) with having a ridiculously good memory.

I retain EVERYTHING…sure its good for trivia and movie facts, but it also means I relive everything as if it was yesterday but simply thinking about it. This is particularly hard when it comes to bad memories.

I’m always so amazed when I talk to friends and say “hey remember that time…” And they often reply with “mmm. No I don’t”. Or worse yet, they think they do and proceed to give completely the wrong account of the incident.

Since I’ve been on a “making lists” train as of late, I thought I’d share with you 50 obscure memories of my childhood.

1) The first word I was able to read was “hi-fi”…it was in a newspaper.
2) The movie on TV the day my brother died was Top Gun. The night before was Moscow On The Hudson.
3) In grade two, we went to the zoo on a field trip. A group of us got hidings from Miss Du Plessis for stretching too far over the crocodile wall.
4) A bunch of friends once rode to my house on their bicycles, one of them called out “shaunie, fatty, come out and play”…my mom raced ahead of me a ripped into the kid and proceeded to tell him how fat his whole family was. I didn’t get to play with them.
5) I won our church fundraiser darts competition when I was just 12. I beat out the adults too.
6) The first book I bought with my own pocket money was the book adaptation of Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome
7) I fell off the goal posts and broke my arm in std 5. I hid it for a few days, but when I had to glue a project together in class, everyone found out.
8 ) The opening line to my headboy speech in Std 5 was “Where we are going, we will no longer be a Big fish in a small pond, we will now be small fishes in big ponds”
9) During our Cape Town tour of 1990, I bought a nudie pen. You know the one you turn upside down the clothes fall off the girl on the pen. I sold it before the tour ended.
10) On the first day of that same tour, some kid through my old buck gin hat into the toilet. It was so embarassing I didn’t wear it for the rest of the tour.
11) My first best friend was named Ryan.
12) In std 1, I took gift bags to school for my birthday. My mom made me give the girls she didn’t like the worst toys. I remember having to give someone a …thimble.
13) During school holidays I would move my mattress to the lounge and watch Ghostbusters at midnight.
14) I once had a Tarzan doll. I rolled over it one night while sleeping and broke it.
15) My late uncle bought me a comic book to cheer me up after my brother’s death – Captain Atom issue #19
16) When I was named headboy in primary school, I got kisses from all the previous year’s female heads and deputy heads. Older women score!
17) In std5 we made perspex knives. Why I have no idea.
18) The first time I had a wet dream was after I saw The Doors…lotsa nekkidness there!
19) The first valentines day card I got in grade 1 was from a girl named Natalie. The last one I got was in std 6 from a girl named Lauren.
20) In Std 1, I earning praise from my teacher Mrs Holgate because I knew that Margaret Thatcher was called The Iron Lady.
21) I had a hampster named Flash. He could read. My mom left him out in the sun and he died. It was the first time my heart broke.
22) In 1990 I begged my brother to let me take his soccer ball to school. My mom made him say yes. That afternoon it was stolen from outside the library. I got a whippin at home.
23) When I got my first A+ in high school (for accounting no less), my mom bought me Terminator 2 on VHS.
24) I bought a scrooge Mcduck stained glass ornament and a dennis the menace puzzle at a school jumble sale in 1988.
25) In Std 6 I did the most awesome project on dracula and horror icons.
26) The guy who first got me interested in my lifelong love for tennis was a guy named Stephen Budge. Possibly related to Don Budge.
27) I bought a toy from the tv show Popples, but kept it hidden because my dad thought it was too girly.
28) Every birthday I would rent either the friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm street movies.
29) One of our end of terms movies during primary school was The Secret of Nimh
30) We once had a fun fair at our primary school. I got sick on the spinning teacups because I had a whole packet of sherbet before I went on.
31) The first song I slow danced to was “sacrifice” by Elton John.
32) The first person I spoke to on the first day of High School was a guy named Ronald. Don’t think we spoke much after that.
33) There was nothing better than spaghetti bolognaise from the tuck shop in primary school.
34) After our school athletics day in 1989, we stopped at the shop and bought six pack of Jumping Jack cooldrink. Tutti Frutti flavour.
35) KTV premiered Dino Riders at 4pm on my 10th birthday.
36) When a girl named louise had her birthday party, we watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
37) During leadership camp in Std 4, the song we all had to rehearse to was “We all stand together” …also known as the frog song.
38) At that same leadership camp, a boy named stephen snuck a drag off a teachers cigarette when he left it balancing on a chair.
39) My first ever “date” was to the ice rink.
40) The first time I went to Sun City was 1991. The movie on the TV was Fletch. It was stuck in a loop and I saw the first 20 minutes six times.
41) I used to have Street Hawk pyjamas, and a Bionic Six bed spread.
42) I cried like a baby when I was announced as head boy. A guy named Allan asked me a few weeks later if I cried because my dad wasn’t there or if I was happy. To this day I still don’t know the answer.
43) At a birthday party I won a dance competition. It was legit judging too, because the host’s older sister and her friends judged. Older women score #2!
44) The last cassette tape I bought was the Jurassic Park soundtrack.
45) I was the tins in the bin champion for 2 years running. Tins in the bin is exactly was it sounds like.
46) With my first ever school holiday job, I used the paycheck to by the Empire Records soundtrack.
47) The first time my name was in the paper was in the Sunday Times magazine for winning a hamper of horror balls.
48) In std 5 we once has to wear togas to a roman theme function. I flashed two girls. I know who they are, but I’m sure they don’t remember. Guess I made zero impression!
49) I got punched in the face by a bully from a visiting school in 1991. I didn’t drop…but I did take a martial arts stance immediately afterwards ….even though I never had a single lesson.
50) The last thing my dad and I ever watched together was the Royal Rumble 1989. He died a few hours after that.

Can you remember obscure things from your childhood? Or have you hidden them away?

High School Confidential: Part 2 – When It Rains, It Pours

November 8, 2010

I didn’t think last nights blog (Part 1 of High School Confidential) would be as draining as it ways. Or make me feel as guilty as it did.

Mmm…doing something that leaves you feeling exhausted and guilty…sounds like something else I do – on occasion.

Anyways, enough with the getting sidetracked. You all wanna hear the conclusion of my story.

If you haven’t got up to spead, I suggest you click here to read Part 1 first .

You may now continue reading.

When we last left off, I discussed the events that led to the night my brother killed himself, and how a few years later I was about to experience something very similar.

As I said, Standard 8 was the year I completely let my mind slip in terms of school work. I was angry at myself for allowing this to happen. After all, I was the guy who was winning academic awards left right and centre in Primary school. Ah, those special book prizes…they really made me feel worth something. And being Head Boy was something I felt truly honored to be.

Sure it was under controversial circumstances, but I don’t think anyone can argue that I wasn’t a good Head Boy. Despite losing my brother and dad within a year, I lead pretty damn well.

High School was different though. I was lost and alone, and even though I felt I had a best friend, I don’t think anyone saw me as THEIR best friend.

Living out the area was tough as nobody really wanted to come to “my side of town”.

As I allowed my school work to suffer, I mistakenly created a snowball effect in my home life too.

Failure was NOT at option. Cliché alert!

But my mom made it clear even after what had happened with my brother that I needed to focus on my school work and if I ever failed, I was on my own…in more ways than one.

Talk about peer pressure.

Of course I ended up failing tests…one by one.

Now back then when you failed something or got in trouble, you had to get your parents to sign your diary or test. (Oh how I loathed those little red books!)

I’m a pretty brave guy…but there was NO CHANCE IN HELL I was going to show my mom a failed test…so, I did the only thing that made sense. I forged her signature on my tests.

Of course it was the worse signature imaginable, but in my head I always though it “looked pretty damn good”.

There was always that weird rush when a teacher checked the signed test. To be honest, I think they knew it was fake, but they had a soft spot for me and always let me get away with it.

It got worse and worse, and I got into the habit of “getting away with it” because it was easier than the alternative of facing my mom.

Till one day.

I remember the day quite clearly.

As I walked out of school one day, I put my bag in the car and got in the front said. As I wanted to kiss my mom hello as I always did, she ignored me.

Uh oh. This spelt trouble.

I asked what was wrong, and she coldly replied “Just you wait till we get home”.

My blood ran cold. What now?

The ride felt like it was over in two minutes and when we got home, the first think I saw was the red school diary on the kitchen counter.

I had inexplicably left it at home!

My mom question the forged signature immediately. I um’d and ah’d and came up with all sorts of excuses.
“what else are you hiding shaun!”

Seething with anger, she through the hardback diary at my face.
Then took my school bag from me and emptied it out.

She found some more forged tests. (why did I not destroy them!)

What I remember most was her finding some little plastic toy pigs in my bag.
My friend and I at the time were on a huge Bill & Ted vibe, and constantly quoted the Ziggy Piggy line in the movie. So the pigs were an inside joke.

Of course, Ziggy became the term that refers to this incident.

My mom became violently angry and grabbed me by my fringe (which was quite long at the time), she dragged me to the bathroom and began to cut the fringe off. She ripped at my fringe so hard that I swear it hasn’t been able to grow long since (because well it hasn’t).

It was about 2.30pm. and what began was one of the longest beatings of my life. Anything and everything became a weapon to my mom.

Of course it had been a rainy day, so what just happened to be laying about? Yup, you guessed it. An umbrella.

This particular umbrella had been one of my favourite things (not after this of course), because it had some decorative dice on it.

My mom proceeded to beat me over and over with the umbrella, until I could no longer stand. In fake the umbrella had bend practically in half by now, and the dice marks were embedded in my bloodied skin on my back.

The welt were so thick, that I actually stopped feeling the pain.

Angry but what “I had made her do” grabbed her car keys and said she was going to go drive her car into a bus.

Smashing ornaments and she left, she locked me in the house and left.

About an hour later she returned, with my aunt.

When she saw how badly I was beaten, she was in shock and asked my mom how she could do this. My mom of course was irrational (as she still is today), and asked to explain the story.

Which I did, and simply just said I was scared to show her a failed test.

The rest of the evening is a bit blurred, and I don’t remember much more than my mom telling me not to dare tell anyone what happens in that house.

Of course the morning, I was battered and blue, but nothing a school uniform couldn’t hide.

At school, I couldn’t hardly talk, let alone move muscle without being in pain.
Thought the excuse escapes me, I managed to get out of gym class.

I think I briefly mentioned something about the previous night’s events to my best friend, but with a casualness that never warranted further enquiry into my troubles.

The cruel humour that is my life leaves me with one moment that still makes me laugh to myself.

Someone said to me “ah man, you cut your fringe off.”

….yes….yes I did.

High School Confidential: Part 1 – NEVER FAIL!

November 7, 2010

They are supposed to be the best years of our lives.
The times when ever lasting friendships are made…

But when I look back at High School, I don’t see any of that. In fact only one word comes to mind when I think of the “old days”…Survival.

I’m touched by the regular comments I get from old school mates about how fondly they look back on me. Sometimes I think to myself…if only they knew the truth.

In the greater scheme of things, “The Truth” is nothing more than the sadness I hid behind in order to make everyone thing I was the funny crazy guy who always had a joke or a smile for people.

Being what can be referred to as a “floater”, I was friends with most everyone. I never judged people by the cliques they were in. I had a group of people I considered my “clique”, but I would speak to most anyone in a heart beat. At the risk of sounding egotistic, I would go as far as saying I was liked by most everyone too.

I went to the High school I did for one sole reason. After my brother’s suicide the year before Standard 6, there was no way I could go to his school. He was a legend there. I’m sure he had his own problems too, but he was one of the most well known guys there, thanks mostly to his athletics records and achievements.

For my own selfish reasons, I could never go there and be judged and have to live up to the stories.

So I went to an out of the area high school, I had a cousin there, and I knew all of 2 people who also went there from my primary school.

It was tough going at first, but I made my way through the years.

What most people don’t know is that I’m something of a genius. So I can get by pretty easily academically. Truth be told though, I was burned out by the end of Primary School thanks to what happened to me, and in High School I did just enough to get by.

The reason I’m giving you this history lesson, is mostly to set the groundwork behind a life changing incident (yes another one) that happened in Standard 8.

As the years went on, I lost more and more interest in my school work, and by Std 8 I really couldn’t handle it anymore. Between the problems at home and the loneliness that growing inside me, I just wanted to get through it all.

That year, I was put in strange class. Comprised mostly of the trouble makers and hooligans of my year, it was by far the misfit class out of all the classes. Nobody could quite understand how I got lumped with them. The class was always, and I mean ALWAYS in trouble, and we got punished as a group.

It took its toll on me, and I battled to stay focused on tests and exams.

Eventually I started failing test on occasion. This hurt me big time. And also set off a mode of panic inside me.

You see, there was a rule around my house. If you failed a test, you better not come home or you would get the beating of your life.

I had never failed before, so this had never been a direct problem….but it was soon to become reminiscant of a tragedy a few years earlier.

Now…for a big reveal.

The day of my brothers suicide there had been a massive argument in my home. My mom had found a lighter in my brother blazer pocket, and this set her off into a serious rage.

Regardless if my brother had been smoking or note, my mom decided to go through the rest of his belongings, and proceeded to ransack his room, school bags clothes etc.

In the end, she found something.

A school test. A test he failed. Crumpled up in his closet, this set of a course of tragic events that changed all our lives.

I wont go into the details (like how she tried to set him on fire…or how she broke a telephone over him), but what I will tell you is this piece of cruelty.

My mom made my brother frame the test and put it in the lounge for “everyone to see”.

Well, later that night. He killed himself.

The next few days I remember in absolute detail. What I remember most was how an Aunt on my late father’s site came to pay their condolences, and while we all sat in the lounge, she saw the test. Picked it up and proceeded to show everyone, asking if this was maybe a clue to what happened. Bingo.

Now…fast forward 4 years later…
Continued in Part 2.