Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Bless The Rains Down In Africa



My first year or two in high school my social life outside of my immediate circle of friends revolved around high school dances held at our school and at our sister school. I went to an all guys' school and while a lot of that was great there was the minor detail that there were NO girls at our school.

Years later I ran into a guy from high school on the street here in Toronto. I used to see him now and then in passing. He was just studying for the bar at the time and needed a cheap place to live. At the time I was living in a house with three other people and we happened to have a spare room so he moved in with us.

We were never really friends in high school. He was a terrific guy in a private conversation, bright and engaging, but get him in any group bigger then two and it seemed to bring out a darker side in him with almost anyone outside his closest friends. An interesting guy though.

He had a cutting sense of humour and spent a lot of his time eating triple cheese every type of meat pizza and talking about ass fucking when we lived together. He had a barb for everything and everyone and one day when another couple of guys from Sudbury dropped by to say 'hello' before they went down to see a Leafs' game, he remarked about one, a fellow classmate from SCC, that he was, like the majority of our class, hopelessly stunted when it came to women. The curse of going to an all boys' school.

By that time I was over that but I agreed with him, knowing many high school friends who struggled mightily with the ladies for years (and a few who still do though its been twenty years now) and, as I said, myself having had not a clue until a couple of years of escape from the Basilian fathers.

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So here I was, jesus it would be twenty seven years ago or thereabouts now, in the SCC gym. I was there with some buddies. We were in grade ten, I believe, and being fourteen, we were all about the sex.

Thinking about the sex constantly.

And that was about it. Other then tracking down some ravine porn and finding the odd movie on the French channel, times were tough.

Anyways I had a pal who didn't give a shit, or certainly not this night. He was a big 'Prince" guy, I kid you not, iirc, he had highlights in his hair and the awful clothes, my God the eighties were terrible for the clothes. He began to talk to a girl and I mumbled to her friend, a girl named Andrea, petite and pretty with long brown hair. Not sure if she kicked this off or if it was just that most of the girls at Marymount were French or Italian or Croatian but all through high school this was my "type". Long brown hair. Petite. They made me mental.

This was before I began to drink for courage but I was hanging in there that night, sober or not, and we got out and danced which must have been truly awful for them. It wasn't until a couple of years later and a number of drinks to boot that I would realize my potential as a world class dancing fool. I mean we're talking really world class.

But at fourteen and sober as a stone I was doing the Northern Ontario little white boy shuffle, trying not to attract any attention to myself and staring at this strange creature dancing with me. I'm sure the look on my face was akin to how I would react if I went to McCarthys and found the big fellow standing at the bar, smoking a cigarette, chatting with Maeve while he threw back a pint of that good stuff.

And then, things slowed down and it was Toto, singing Africa. We held each other closely and then the drawback, the lean, the kiss, the very first one.

A whole new country opened up to me that night.

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The Oilers prepare for a stretch that could, might, maybe mean a new beginning for them and for their fans. Its been a long time coming and this may be a false start, another hiccough for this franchise, a tease of what may never come. Or it might be the dawn of a new day.

For years this has been a club rebuilding, younger kids coming in to replace the veterans who became too expensive, until 2006 when it looked like all of the years of waiting had ended. Instead there was another exodus of veterans, for different reasons, and once again we fans were left to watch kids, kids and more kids come in. Wait until the kids grow up has been this franchise's watchword forever, that and the stretch run for the last playoff spot the calling cards, even in 2006.

But now after an uneven start we have a team that maybe has something new in store for us. Maybe not but this team is in the black after a tough early schedule and they seem to have figured out how to put together consistent efforts and how to come out of the gate quickly and maybe, just maybe, they can take this long stretch in front of them where the home games line up and MacT can shelter the kids and play to the strengths of this team and use the fact that there suddenly seem to be a plethora of young forwards who can play to crack the whip with those who may have gotten a little comfortable.

Maybe this is the time that the Oilers stop leaning against the wall of the gym with their nerdy friends Columbus and Florida and Atlanta and they get out there and dance and dance some more and then, when the music slows down, they reach over and grab that pretty dark haired girl and then they will let their hands subtly lower down and grab her bum and then lean back and start to make out on that dance floor. And then after a few more dances, making out until a teacher comes over and asks them to move apart, the Oilers will take her out behind the portables and get her pregnant, just like they did in 1990.

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I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
Shes coming in 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, hurry boy, its waiting there for you

Its gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
Theres nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do whats right
Sure as kilimanjaro rises like olympus above the serengeti
I seek to cure whats deep inside, frightened of this thing that Ive become

Its gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
Theres nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

(instrumental break)

Hurry boy, shes waiting there for you
Its gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
Theres nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in africa,
I bless the rains down in africa
I bless the rains down in africa,
I bless the rains down in africa
I bless the rains down in africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

16 comments:

Tombstone From the Future said...

HERE LIES PAT McLEAN
1967-2077
ORIGINATOR OF THE TERM "RAVINE PORN"
LAST MAN ALIVE WHEN MAPLE LEAFS WERE DEFENDING STANDING CUP CHAMPIONS
(Beloved father, husband etc.)

Black Dog said...

Not true. I had ravine porn but I never called it that.

I think Mike WInters coined the term.

I'd like to live to be 110 though.

HBomb said...

Ravine porn?

You know, even if you found 1/4 of one page of "Playboy" showing ONE nipple.....that was considered a score back in the day.

The 1990's weren't so bad....internet and "Showcase" sure helped matters.

spOILer said...

So let me this straight...

...you had your first Bananarama dancing to Toto?

Speaking of ravine porn and hairy propositions, what are the odds of Brodziak for Peca by the trade deadline?

grease trap said...

Oh Ravine Porn. It was like what finding a pie in fridge is for me today, or what getting more than three hours of sleep when I'm sixty will be for the future me : an honest to god miracle from on high.

You're cornering the market on wistful life stories tied into pro hockey, McLean

And it's good.

Black Dog said...

HBomb - yeah times have changed although I was always ahead of the curve when it came to porn procurement, I did alright

GT - thanks although I think its like being the tallest midget or the best show on Friday nights - I'm the only guy who writes wistful life stories tied into pro hockey

Spoiler - Wouldn't do it. Brodziak is one of the few kids who has any size and fits the bottom six role, I might move one of the smurf forwards or puck moving Dmen, God knows we have enough of those

But really I don't even know about that. I think this team's window is from next season until the end of hemsky's present contract and with the Cap looking to fall I think we're going to see the Wings come back to the pack a little. Plus Lidstrom is not going to play forever.

I can't see them making a run this year, hell they still might not make the playoffs. Keep the bullets in the chamber for when they really might need them.

And keep Brodziak regardless.

jdrevenge said...

Genius post.

I'm getting a bit of the same feeling regarding the big club.

Ravine porn is adolescence.

kanadienkyle said...

That Bananarama picture is going to keep me busy all day. MEOW.

Pat H said...

"Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient"

...???

[ahem] melodies.

I'm just a bit younger, but have an affinity for 80s music, and really like reading these stories from your you younger days.

Black Dog said...

Fixed it Pat. Thanks and thanks for the compliment.

80s music good. 80s clothes bad.

Kyle - glad to be of help but might not want to "keep busy" at work

kanadienkyle said...

Its ok, I have read all their is to read in Oilerdom today and the league pretty much runs itself. Plus I have an intern.

LittleFury said...

I hope you're damn old because if you ever run out of sepia-toned anecdotes with tenuous hockey tie-ins, we're all pretty much fucked.

Black Dog said...

What do you mean, tenuous?

Jesus.

hunter1909 said...

I happened to miss the oilers game last night, the 2-0 loss to the cup contending Panthers.

I'm really fucking happy I didn't bother.

Black Dog said...

hunter - say something constructive or don't bother commenting please

I get that you hate everything about this team

doritogrande said...

Pat:

He gets a chubby everytime someone mentions Schremp. He's part of the team, right?