Ken You Dig It?

So the other night I stopped in for a drink at my favourite bar. What I like about this place is that I know everyone, provided it’s not Friday or Saturday night, when it’s full of drunk university kids, who clog up the place and make it loud. It’s the kind of bar where, if someone leaves a Christmas present there, we will hang it up on the wall so whoever’s present it was, can come and get it. I’m serious. It was a picture of some Canucks jerseys, with Canucks’ names on them, except for the one in the middle. We reckoned that ‘Phil Ho’ was not a Vancouver hockey player. Phil, if you’re reading, your picture is hanging above the soccer penalty flag.

Anyhow, I was waiting for E to come and meet me, and in walked a guy and a girl. The guy looked suspiciously like my friend Ken from high school. In fact, I was pretty sure it was, but since I hadn’t seen him for fifteen years, I wasn’t 100% sure. But he and the girl sat down not four feet away from me, at the end of the bar. I listened for a moment and I was sure. it was Ken and his sister Alex, and they were drunk.

I wasn’t sure if Ken would recognize me or not, so I kept reading my book and chatting to Amrys and Fran. E came in and started talking to some musician friends. Eventually, the awkwardness of having Ken right there got to me and I turned and made eye contact.

“Hello, Liz,” he intoned. Ken perfected a tone of ironic accusation sometime in Grade Nine and has kept it ever since. It makes him sound like an arch-villain confronting a foe. Just hearing his voice threw me back to my late teens, a time of great enthusiasm aind stupidity. I was overjoyed.

Ken’s been teaching in Korea and has an apartment and two motorcycles over there. He likes it because it’s far from his family. It was nice to catch up, but the real fun came when we started reminiscing. Now, Ken was more than a little schnockered, so his details were hazy. But we did remember the following escapades:

Getting bored at lunchtime and nominating him for school president. Our campaign centered around making totally ridiculous promises: Vote for Ken and get a free puppy! Vote for Ken and he’ll come to your house for breakfast! Vote for Ken and he’ll shave his eyebrows! He didn’t win, but we had a good time.

Setting fire to things. I don’t know what it was, but Ken had a gift for fire. Once, he shot a Roman candle out of his bedroom window and set the curtains ablaze. Another time, a bunch of us went down to the beach and made the biggest bonfire we could drag logs to build. Naturally, some rich old people called the cops, so when they came down, Ken told them, “We found it and didn’t want to let it burn unattended. That’s dangerous, Officer.” I think Ken was also responsible for the flaming muffins at Muffin Break, but I can’t remember which of his friends was working in the kitchen at the time.

Team BCP Jesus. Ken loved mountain biking. His best friend, my boyfriend for some of that time, was his partner in some mountain biking races. They never did get around to matching shirts, so they just called themselves a combination of whatever was on their shirts at the time. For one race, Ken had a shirt with a close-up of Jesus’ crucifiction face. Motion had a B.C. Plumbing shirt. And Team BCP Jesus was born.

It was fantasatic to see him, and great to remember the asinine ways I spent some of my youth.

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