I liked being a boy. It was not until I was in my early twenties that I thought to myself, "Fuck Beer, you're a man now," so I had a lot of years to enjoy my boyhood.
I wish I could remember my boyhood from the day I took my first step the way Stompin' Tom Connors did. The opening chapters of his memoir "Before the Fame" are my favourite stories about being a Canadian boy. My memory only goes back as far as my first sips of Alberta beer. And after that my memory gets pretty fucking hazy.
My first crowd of memories extend to the teardrop street I lived on in ancient Alberta. All the boys thought they were warriors because their dads were trained to kill people for the army. But they were just a bunch of Alberta cocksuckers.
I had a friend named Paul. But I barely remember him and what we used to do for fun besides skate in the endless winter and swat mosquitoes in the beer bubbles of summer. But I will never forget talking to him about what we were going to do when we grew up as we leaned on our hockey sticks on a frozen pond, catching our breath after pretending we had just won the Stanley Cup for the thousandth time for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Paul told me, "I'm going to fly a bomber and drop bombs on the commies and the Hitlers. What about you Beer? Whatcha gonna do?"
Us boys were always talking about what we were going to do when we were not boys any more. Our teachers, parents and hockey coaches were big on that kind of thinking. I had better things to think about than that. When I grew up I wanted to able to hold my beer like my dad. So I told Paul, "When you are dropping bombs on people I am going to be home fucking your girlfriend and your crew's girlfriends silly."
When I said this Paul slashed at my legs with his Sherwood. The magazines stuffed in my socks absorbed most of the impact. I elbowed Paul in the head. You cannot protect your head with magazines. We dropped the gloves. Blood splattering from our pink faces froze before it hit the snowy black and blue ice, cranberry marbles rolling into the long Alberta night.
Canada never did go to war against anybody until the fucking Serbs, Iraqis and Afghanis attacked us many years later. Paul, same as me, probably had to transfer his hatred of commies and Hitlers to the Montreal Canadiens.