Nine days, 11 hours and 33 seconds ago, I walked out of Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute for what I hope will be the last time. In other words, my biology exam is written, and life is worth living again. And if I play my university elective cards right, Shakespeare will be a thing of the past and Basket Weaving 101 will finally appear on an official school transcript of mine.
And because I’m now an official adult (sort of), any day now, I’ll spontaneously lose the ability to say, “Pokemon.” Which means I’ll become like all other adults around the world, who insist on pronouncing it, “Pokeyman.”
And if my family hadn’t relocated to the Kitchener-Waterloo area last January, I’d be preparing to move into residence, 500 km away from my family. But since I don’t have to sink into the depths of denial, I can fully appreciate how horrible that would be. At least for me.
Never mind that I’d be living alone in an unknown city, where I don’t have any relatives or friends, and ignoring the fact that I would be going from home-cooked meals to an area not under my mom’s jurisdiction. Meaning, a place where rules like, “no finger-licking or making mooshy smacky noises allowed,” aren’t enforced.
What if my roommate liked listening to loud pop music while they did their homework, or made annoying tapping noises? When a sibling does that, you can say, “You know that irritating, mindless tapping noise you’re making? It’s irritating. And mindless.”
My toothbrush would be on the same counter as someone else’s. In the same toiletry suburb. It would be within odor-traveling range of someone else’s crap. And within the misting range of all their flushes.
Worst of all, if I went into residence, I would go from seeing my three-year-old brother Sam every single day to maybe three or four times throughout the entire school year.
Without Sam in my daily life, there wouldn’t be anyone to laugh when I pretend to get blown to pieces by an imaginary sniper. Sure, there are thousands of people at the University of Waterloo, but something tells me that I wouldn’t have the same captivated audience. At three and a half-years old, Sam is still incapable of pronouncing “f” sounds. Instead, it comes out like an, “s.” Meaning “five” is “sive” and “fruit” is “suit.” If I lived in residence, I would never again hear, “I want ketchup for my sies.”
Before Sam was born, all babies looked identical to me. I didn’t really consider anyone under the age of four as having a unique, individual personality. Three years ago, if I had to tell one baby apart from another, it would have been like trying to distinguish between two goldfish.
Now it would be more like telling one grade nine student apart from another. Or two fourteen-year-old girls.
Without Sam, I wouldn’t be able to play one of my favourite games. It’s more fun than X-Box and Wii combined. More entertaining than blowing the crap out of aliens in Contra 4. For reasons not yet scientifically understood, there’s a certain satisfaction to sneaking up on Sam and then proceeding to scare the living crap out him.
And then hearing him say, “That’s not sunny, Scott.”