The Summer of '76

Journal Entry. Winnipeg.

February 2nd, 2008.

My buddy Robb Lucy - a former CBC Radio Exec Producer and all-round ideas guy has started an interesting site -- TheEyeLearner.com where he asks us to consider what LEGACY we - as a community of journalists and story tellers will leave in our foamy wake.

Robb begins by posing a mischievous question: How old is your brain ? Look past those yellow teeth and greying pubes and ask yourself did you "lock-in" at 20? 30? 40?

Shelagh Rogers wanted to know too. She put Robb's question on air - got a big response and now he's writing a book comprised of these bitter-sweet fragments.

I know you didn't ask but ... my brain is 22 years old.

I'm on a Greek Island somewhere off the Turkish coast. It is 1976. I'm wearing blue, farmer-john type overalls, I have a gold stud in my left ear, and - yes, I need a haircut.

It's late summer and there's rain on the wind, but I don't care 'cause I'm with my sweet little Norwegian friend Kjersti drinking retsina, watching the fishing boats, and wondering if you can buy hash on this island without getting seriously busted.

But there's a lingering tension between us - will I follow her north to Bergen for the winter ? Or go back to Grad school in Edmonton.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both"

That divergent road has taken me deep into this wonderful/terrible business of ours where half a lifetime later I'm left with a few dozen hours of TV shows (non-HD), a bunch of boring war stories, and cronies coast-to-coast.

Note to J-school students - buddies are great. Bonds are better. Buy RRSPs -- now.

For way too many years I've built a life peopled by colleagues not friends.

I've drunk dialed old girlfriends from Nicaragua. I've called home from Bosnia only to hear my own damn voice telling me "we can't come to the phone now". And I've sat before a firing squad of bankers.

Although I've lived to tell the tale ... truth be told, I still miss that long lost Norwegian girl. Even more so since I learned she died of breast cancer in 2001.

As someone who's always struggled with Churchill's Black Dog Robb's legacy question has under-scored the fact that I have no legacy at all.

...and for a guy who's longed prided himself on being a story-teller this is not just ironic, but -- unacceptable.


Anonymous said...

OHMYGAWD... he hasn't aged A BIT!

Good thing she wasn't into BIG biceps.

Anonymous said...

Your provocative candour on this forum and your courage to challange the bullshiters in this tough business are a legacy. Maybe you are working on one now.

Anonymous said...

but what about your strikingly beautiful, articulate, intellectual, and wise-beyond-her-years daughter? is she in all her ethereal perfection not legacy enough?