It was a completely innocent walk to the post office, most specifically the Shoppers Drug Mart at Queen & Beverly – my local one. I dropped off my mail, took a jaunt over to the LCBO to replenish some stock, noticed they were closed, and turned to head home. As I passed back in front of the post office, there stood a man who appeared to be high, likely on meth as evidenced by his shaking, muttering, and erratic posture. As I got within about a step of him I realized he was brandishing a sharp metal spike in right hand, something I could only see at the last second. Motherfucker has an ice pick.
I immediately open my body to skirt around him outside of arms reach and backed away as quickly as possible. He didn’t explicitly lunge or swing at me, but his erratic body posture put me on alert, and as he took a step towards me, I immediately reacted. I got within a safe distance and then I was faced with a pretty considerable moral and ethical dilemma. What do I do now?
It’s the second time in my life I’ve been scared as all hell, yet excited for the future when it came to my career. The first time was in late October 2009. I was working at Primus Telecom where I was totally kicking butt in their tech support department. On one overcast late September evening I met an old colleague [Jessica] for a drink to “catch up”. As our second drink came to the table, as too did a man that looked as if he’d be a shoe-in for a role as “nightclub security”, only instead of “SECURITY” on his shirt, it read “RUN BGP”. Truthfully, it could have also read “RTFM ID10T” as both would have been predictable should you know Scott Silzer.
Jessica introduced Scott as her colleague, as he sat down and said “So Paul, do you like your job?”… “uhh, ya, why?”… “Well, you see.. would you like to talk about a new job?”… “umm.. not really”. Scott gets up and talks to Purdy (the _best_ bartender in the world, I’ll add) “get him another one”. A fresh beer arrives. “Paul, now that you have another beer, let’s talk about your new job”. This wasn’t a question, it was a demand. From an intimidating man. The kind of man you just hand your ID to without question. “Ok, what about it?”. This started something…..
“NO!!!!!!” they cried. A whole 4 people cared, and I’m most certainly being generous with that number. I’m not sure anyone would care, and if they do, why? The thing is, I see myself as someone who took a lot of pleasure and joy out of playing music; getting the chance to do that in front of a crowd was just that pleasure on an elevated level. I’m a 39 year old dude who’s been doing this DJ thing for some 26 odd years of my life, and I’m not even “over the hill”. DJing is engrained into my very being as a person and has shaped a considerable part of my life, despite the fact I always saw it as a hobby. There was a time when I was being flown into the USA on a regular basis to play shows to progressively bigger and more insane crowds. Any DJ who’s been there will attest there’s a certain magic felt when you tear down a room of 3500 to pieces ever so meticulously; a crowd like that shall never be wasted. And, there was a time where I’d be on the lineup where absolutely nobody cared (not even me). Funny how everything comes full circle. But, my time is done and that’s OK.
It was some 25 years ago when I was just some kid in my early teens. I got hooked on electronic music and as I got to know more about it, would marvel at some the DJs. I hadn’t the slightest clue what was going on, but did I ever want to be in control of the music. I didn’t know any DJ names, and buying records wasn’t exactly a task where I could just beg my parents to drive me to the mall so I could pick them up. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue where I’d even go about buying a record as opposed to a CD. That is until my 16th birthday.
That year I came to Toronto with my then girlfriend. She knew even less about this mythical rave scene than I did, and my knowledge was juvenile at best. It was at Numb clothing that I saw my first records, a small little rack with maybe 80 or so on them – a very meager selection, but I gazed. I believe they ended up giving us the names of a few other places to check out for more selection and remember walking aimlessly around the city streets looking for these places. We left the city later that evening, and I was proudly carrying 3 records I’d bought. I was hooked.
Before I get into this, I want to make it perfectly clear. I am 100% pro-vaccine, pro-mask, pro-lockdown, and this post is in no way trying to downplay the effects or severity of getting COVID. It’s no joke, and if you need any sort of proof of this, feel free to head over to the COVID-19 Darwin Awards at https://www.reddit.com/r/HermanCainAward/
Of as writing this – Jan 12th 2022 – It’s been 2 years since this virus landed in Canada, depending who you ask. Many think COVID started in March 2020, but the first COVID case in Canada on record is Jan 25 2020. My mother caught something the first week of Jan 2020 that basically took her out for the better part of 6 weeks. Nobody could tell her what she’d caught and for the first time ever I genuinely feared for her health with how she was describing her symptoms and the very slow rate of recovery. She wasn’t alone – there were a lot of cases of this mysterious long lasting flu going around during that time – was it COVID, we’ll never know.
So, despite spending the past 2 years being responsible, social distancing, keeping my bubble very small (and at times not seeing people for weeks on end), getting my vaccines as soon as they were available to me, and being diligent with my mask, I caught COVID. I can’t know for sure, but it was just before Christmas. I suspect the Omicron strain.