It has been twenty years since 1985. During that year, I:

  • Bought my first PC.
  • Borrowed a carbon monoxide tester from the Ontario Ministry of Environment.
  • Graduated from high school.
  • Went on my first real date.
  • Turned 19 years old.
  • Decided not to become an aerospace engineer.
  • Decided to go to Trent University.
  • Worked the summer at the Royal Ontario Museum and for John Traill at Athenians.
  • Took a course in beginner’s Greek at the University of Toronto.
  • Ate lunch almost every summer day at Bogey’s Sandwich Shop on Bloor St.
  • Ate a lot of ice cream from Greg’s, next door to Bogey’s.
  • Could ride the TTC for 35 cents with my student card.
  • Had a two-month long argument with my dad.
  • Moved out of my parents house and went to Trent University.
  • Made my first radio programme.
  • Was published in a newspaper for the first time (a review of Ernie’s Barber Shop in Arthur)
  • Met my friends Lisa Howard, John Muir, Stephen Badhwar and Patrick Gracey, all of whom I’m in touch with to this day (I’d already known my friend Oliver — wee’s namesake — for a year).
  • Took a reading course from newly-minted professor Stephen Regoczei in “Natural Language Understanding by Computers.” I don’t believe we actually talked about that at all. Stephen is still a good friend.
  • Watched a lot of Hill Street Blues on television.
  • Still hadn’t ever taken a drink or kissed a girl (although Nancy Robinson did hug me during a thunder storm, but that was in 1975).

In the intervening twenty years, I’ve had half a dozen ill-fated relationships and one very good one (it’s still going strong).

Among other things, I’ve worked in a motorhome factory as a computer operator, as a au pair in El Paso, in a Minute Maid orange juice factory as a data entry clerk, and in a daily newspaper composing room. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code, and designed hundreds of posters and brochures.

I acquired and then gave up a beautiful, spirited lab-spaniel cross named Penny. I’ve traveled to every Canadian province and to South Korea, Germany, the Czech Republic, Japan, Thailand, Spain, England, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and, innumerable times, the USA. I lived in Ontario, Quebec, Texas and finally here in Prince Edward Island.

One friend was murdered, two overdosed on heroin. All four of my grandparents died.

I was interogated once by the police, committed one act of civil disobedience, and sat in on one cabinet meeting.

I was stopped by the police for illegally kissing Catherine in a car on the side of the highway.

I began eating yogurt and sushi.

And had a son.

In twenty years I’ll be on the cusp of 60.