Personal Geography

I wish that I could remember the geography of my own life better.

It could be seen as a little embarrassing, being a geography major. This isn’t about remembering that the water is blue, and north is up. It’s about how so many details on the maps of my life seem to be missing.

I remember the layouts, but the details are missing. I could walk through the house without bumping into anything, sure. But can I remember how the carpet of my basement felt on my feet? How about exactly where all the ingredients were in my kitchen when I wanted to make my favourite snack? The muscle memory might be there, but the actual memory is hazy.

I want to remember. I forget things I say or do often. I repeat myself. My biggest fear when this happens is that my mind is going. In a way, it is going. It’s going too fast.

It isn’t deteriorating, but it’s in an accelerated mode so often. Full of worries or stresses that I have no control over, I only seem to do a cursory glance over places I am. Rooms I spend time in I only know the basic shapes. Cities I live in I only know the major roads.

The world moves fast. Yet I move faster than it, afraid to be behind and instead allowing myself to miss out. I’m on to the next moment instead of living in this one.

Maps change, I get it. The topography, the ownership of buildings, the placement of furniture, it all changes. I don’t want it to stop changing. I just want it to stay still for a second so I can try and memorize it. The angles and the feelings. The way the sun shines in and the spots it misses.

It’s not really about the world having to stay still. I have to stay still. Just for a moment.

Odds and Ends

South Dakota, comedians, and elections oh my.

Writing this from South Dakota where I am for a work conference. After a long day of travel and panicking about election results (overall a historic day and a solid democratic haul, but why can’t we have all of the nice things, like Beto or Stacy Abrams or Andrew Gillum) here are some random odds and ends.

A Fun Story

On my flight from Thunder Bay to Toronto, we had a lot of turbulence. During it, these songs played in order on my Spotify:

Closing Time -I sure hope it’s not

I Will Follow You Into The Dark -nooooope

Sugar, We’re Going Down – a little on the nose, universe.

Thankfully, no crashes.

Quotes I Think About A Lot I

“If you can live your life without an audience, you should do it” – Bo Burnham

Now that iPhone tells me the exact amount of time I spend scrolling mindlessly through social media, Bo’s quote (advice? warning?) comes to mind often.

Quotes I Think About A Lot II

“Obama took out his iPad. ‘I’ve got a song stuck in my head,’ he said, and started playing it at top volume – something I’d never seen him do in hundreds of these limo rides. ‘Thrift Shop,’ by Macklemore. He and Susan [Rice] started dancing in their sears, bobbing and weaving from side to side – ‘I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket’- as I sat there uncomfortably, the stiff white guy listening to the white rapper, a smile frozen on my face, wondering what the two Secret Service agents sitting in the front of the limo were thinking. This, I thought is a guy who is out of fucks.” – Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Obama from his book, The World As It Is.

I love the fact that Obama had the same ear worm as I did in 2013. The passage is talking about how loose he was going into the final two years of his presidency, still trying to get the right thing done while the House and Senate worked against him. It’s also just a fantastically painted picture by Ben Rhodes.

I may be Canadian, he may be retired, but that’s my president right there.

A Plea

When Canadian elections come around, do your research and vote. Annoy your friends into voting. Make politics important in your discussion because they are important in your lives.

A South Dakota Haiku

In South Dakota

the most exciting thing here

has been the McRib

Wallet, Phone, Keys

The other things I try to remember to bring, not just my phone, wallet, and keys.

When leaving the house, I do the same routine every time. Slapping my pants pockets, I make sure I have the same things: wallet, phone, keys (home or work). In the winter, lip balm is added. It’s a simple process to remember that I’ve got everything.

Through my last couple months of counselling, I’ve started to keep a checklist of other things to remember to bring with me. Similar to leaving my phone or my wallet at home, if I don’t remember to bring this stuff with me my day is sometimes tougher than it should be.

The first one is self compassion. It’s a hard concept for a perfectionist like me to remember to be nice not just to other people, but to myself as well. It is a hard fact that there will be days that you don’t do as best as you usually do, don’t have the energy, or something gets in the way. It’s important to remember to be compassionate to yourself. Self care is the maintenance, and self compassion is the appreciation of yourself.

Side note: don’t you hate how attached you are to your phone when you forget it? I mean, it’s all fun and games to walk around and pretend like it’s 1995, but I have memes to scroll through when I go to the bathroom. Sucks to forget your phone.

Second thing to remember to bring (rhyme alert) is reminders. These are little things that remind me of people that care about me, things I’ve done, feelings I’ve had. They’re not physical things (could you imagine me just carrying around boxes of warm fuzzies? I mean, I would do it if I could but I lack leg strength). Instead, they’re just reminders to keep in mind as I go through my days. When I forget, the day is just so much longer.

Also, gratitude! Remembering to be thankful for little things, big things, people, dogs in costumes, all of it. When I forget to be grateful, sometimes I turn into a straight-up monster.

Now, I don’t do a physical check or a little pat-down dance like I do with my PWK (Phone-Wallet-Keys, keep up people). I do try and remind myself throughout the day to slow down. Be nice to yourself. Think of all the good you’ve done. What are you grateful for? When I do that, it’s a bit better of a day.

What do you always try and remember to bring with you each day?

On Robin

The “sad clown” idea, and how the death of Robin Williams scared me like no other.

Everyone has a celebrity death that hurts the most. Mine was Robin Williams.

Robin Williams was and still is the funniest human being I’ve ever seen. I never saw him with my own eyes live, but his energy is burned into my psyche. I remember when he died, I was living in a house for the summer with two of my closest friends. Our reaction to the shock of him dying? Watching all of his movies. All of them.

There are the first ones I saw – Aladdin, and the surprisingly terrifying Jumanji. The ones I came in contact with later in life – the Mrs. Doubtfires, the Flubbers. The serious movies – Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam. We had to watch them all.

I didn’t know why I hurt so bad when Robin died. It took a while to sort out the feelings, but eventually I landed on this – there is no one I’ve thought I was more like than Robin Williams.


I’ve never been a boring kid.

Growing up I was quiet a lot, sure. A lot of that was because I was sorting out how to fit in. What to say and where to be and how to act. It took a long time before I landed on something I could cling to – I was funny.

Not really class clown funny (I didn’t even get voted funniest in high school) but I was funny. Witty. Able to do impressions and keep people entertained. Classmates, teachers, family members. I could connect with all of them by being funny.

Sometimes it got me in trouble. The first time I ever impersonated someone was when I was four and did a spot-on impression of my Indian doctor. That was the day my mother knew she’d be in trouble with me around.

As I’ve gotten older, being funny is the one thing I never really lose. When I’m angry, I’m still funny. I’m self-depricatingly funny when I’m upset. I will interrupt all serious moments with a very misplaced joke. I can’t help it – funny is my default setting.

I went to funny because it made for a great baseline.


Robin Williams died, and that part hurt because I idolized him. I loved his energy, his smile, his rapid fire delivery. He was who I wanted to be.

Robin Williams died by suicide, and that’s the part that scared me. I had the energy, the smile and all of that. Then I saw what I felt could be my future – making others laugh and while not laughing myself.

Everyone seemed shocked and surprised that a man who could bring joy to literally millions could be feeling sad in his own life. He was undoubtably one of the funniest men on the planet. Yet he was hurting, and hurt so bad that he took his own life.

I wasn’t just making jokes to fit in. I made jokes because I felt sad a lot. Making other people laugh brought a hit of dopamine to my brain. It allowed me to feel important, valuable, and needed. Funny has never been enough though, both in scape and in practice. I’m never funny enough, or I feel I have to act a certain way to fit into serious situations. It can be tiring because I think, at my core, funny is what I really live for.

When there’s nobody to make the jokes to, it can get kind of sad.

When I heard that Robin had died by suicide, it invoked the feelings of the sad clown that we may have heard of before. This narrative that all comedians have pain and make the jokes to hide it or dull it. I saw that my favourite comedian had died by suicide and thought “well, if it happens to Robin, what chance do I have?”


The idea that comedians all have to be coming from a sad place is, frankly, a little crap. It’s an escape clause that a lot of angry people use to make people feel like they don’t “get it.” How can you understand the pain unless you’re one of the comedians? How can you make jokes unless your own life goes to crap? It ties into a history of comedy being a “boys club” of men dealing with problems by having therapy sessions with live audiences instead of a counsellor.

I believed this for a really, really long time. That being funny and making jokes weren’t just my thing, they were my only thing. The only thing I had value from was making jokes, and the only way to make jokes was to be sad. If the comedians I looked up to were sad and turned that into fame and jokes, then I could too.

That logic is broken, on a couple of points.

The first is that there are tons of comedians who aren’t sad. There are loads of funny people I know who are funny and successful. Funny without coming from dark places. Funny and enjoying life. These people exist (think of the Jerry Seinfelds of the world) and they do well. Yes, humour is great in dealing with pain but pain isn’t the only place it comes from, and pain doesn’t need to be a constant state to produce comedy.

Secondly, the laughter doesn’t fill holes. I’ve said on multiple occasions to friends and therapists alike that the feeling I get when on stage telling jokes (or even at a dinner table telling stories to friends) is the best feeling in the world and nothing tops it. It is my favourite feeling, sure. However there are so many other things that can bring that feeling. No person can be sustained on just one thing, especially one thing as fickle and temporary as applause. It’s taken me years to even know that, and it’s going to take me even more years to understand it, but I’m learning. Value isn’t just from applause – value is inherent, and can come from so many sources inside and outside of yourself.

Finally, no stories are the same. Yes, I look up to and idolize Robin. My story isn’t his story, and my trauma isn’t his. I have my own things to deal with, as did he. I wish that someone could have given him the support that I’ve been blessed enough to receive in my own life, but sadly that’s not the case. I know from the outpouring of support that I am not the only one who wished they could have helped him, but mental health challenges are different for everyone. All we can do today is to be kind, supportive, and helpful.

I know now that I am not destined to be like anyone else, even someone I idolize as much as Robin Williams. I can emulate the voices, the energy, and the amount of sunshine he brought into the world. However I am not destined to end up a certain way. I am allowed to have comedy come from joy. I am allowed to write a different story for myself. I am allowed to take the lessons I’ve learned from watching one of the greatest comedians of all time make an impact on the world and put that into my own work.

When I’m sad, I’ll make jokes. It’s what I do. I’ll also talk to a therapist, a friend, a partner, a family member as well. I’ll do other self care activities. I’ll work out. I’ll do all of these things because they can sustain me. They can help.

And when I’m happy, well I’ll probably make more jokes too.

A Passion for Stories

Trying to narrow down my passion, finding ways to tell stories, plus a very tentative announcement of something fun.

Lately at work, we’ve been talking about passions. What are the passions we have, and how do we bring them into the work we do? Naturally, I turned this question on myself.

I think I have lots of interests, but it took some thinking to come up with my passion. I love mental health work and awareness, helping others, sports, comedy, and lots of other things. But if I had to boil it down, what is my passion? What do I get energy from? Well for that, it’s story time.

In 2016, I was in the Sports Journalism program at Loyalist College and was looking for an internship. My teacher (one of the wisest mentors I had) said I needed something that set me a part from the group, and she could see what it was: I have a passion for storytelling.

At first it sounded… bogus? It seemed fabricated for an interview. The more that I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Everything I get energy and fulfilment from seems to be around hearing or telling stories. The easiest idea was stand-up. To me, stand-up comedy is one of the purest art forms around. At it’s core, it’s just story telling. Multiple stories told to make people laugh. I love hearing stand-up, writing it, and talking about it. Those stories make me happy.

I love wrestling because it’s story telling mixed with sports. I even love sports for the side stories – the tales of comebacks, revenge, rivalry, and triumph. Seeing the story of the game unfold, and for me, being able to call them and tell those stories to everyone by broadcasting the games. Those stories also make me happy.

The perfect night to me is sharing laughs and stories with close friends over food and drink. There is nothing more exciting to me than letting others tell their story, and finding ways to tell my own.

Which all ties into this website. It’s a place for me to tell my stories (as rambling or strange as they may be) and also let others tell stories through interviews. Sharing stories and lessons we’ve learned brings us all together.

I’m excited to get some more stories going during the summer, and am looking at some big additions to the website. Those big additions – a ten-episode podcast series in the summer so people can tell you interesting stories in their own words. Plus, you get to hear the sounds of my voice. Win-win, right?

My passion is storytelling, in any medium. Stand-up, broadcasting, print, interviews, anything. And now, maybe some podcasting. Coming soon to eardrums near you. If anyone has ideas for topics or interviews, let me know.

Peace & Blessingz,
Evan

What’s the Funniest Thing in the World to You?

I asked, y’all provided. Here are some of the things you think are the funniest in the world.

The website is called it’s all pretty funny, right? So I reached out and asked people: “What is the funniest thing in the world to you?” And now, I will present all of the answers I received with some examples. That way what makes other people laugh can make you laugh as well.

Enjoy!

“In answer to your question, I think babies laughing at weird things (bubbles, dogs, ripping paper) or the TV show taskmaster (which you would love by the way) are the funniest things in the world.”

This kid gives me life.

“The Free Shavacado vine.”

One of the greatest vines of all-time, really.

”The funniest thing to me: people slipping and falling on ice. I am the awful person that stands there laughing rather than helping.”

”I saw your post and I’m a total a-hole and I think people like falling and getting mildly hurt is the funniest…I love shows like Tosh.0 because I laugh the entire time.”

It’s almost like I asked the guy who filmed this video to tell me his favourite thing. Falling on ice – one of those things that’s funny until it happens to you too. Also those were two answers from two different people, but clearly you two should be friends.

“The stupid shit my best friend does on a daily basis is the funniest thing.”

While I don’t have any particular videos of this best friend pair, just imagine it’s these two. That girl really has some trouble with spelling..

”I think the funniest thing in the world is seeing someone get sacked. It can happen in so many different ways, often by surprise, and its hilarious when it’s not you.”

So simple. So pure. My friend might be Homer Simpson.

”Dude, YouTube videos of cats being scared are literally the funniest.”

Well then dude, you’re going to like this one of a guy scaring his cats by being a bigger cat.

”Funniest thing I’ve watched in a while.”

I like this one because the video came attached. I like when no work is required for me.

 

What else do you think is worthy of the title “funniest thing in the world?” I’m intrigued, and frankly, I like laughing so hard that tears run down my face and no sound comes out. So send me your funny things! Comment them below.

Thanks for all the laughs this round. Until next time!

Money Talk

A story about money growing up, and how views on money are hard to change.

I’m four years old and at home. My mom is on the phone with one of our family friends and I hear her say that we’re “broke.” I’m confused, because I seem to be in one piece and so is mom, so how can we be broken? So I ask my mom what “broke” means. My mom, the honest-Lorelai-Gilmore-type that she is, explains it.

”It means we don’t really have money to spend on things we don’t need. We have food, and the house, and we’re fine, but we don’t have money to spend on things that we don’t really need.”

I kinda get it.

Later that week, we’re at the grocery store and I find a sticker book. I am obsessed with sticker books and making the scenes. I’d usually get one each time we were at the grocery store. Then I remember what mom said about being broke. So I yell at my mom, loud as ever, to make sure she can hear me:

”MOM! Can we buy the sticker book or are we still broke?!”

Another reason my mom can’t bring me anywhere.


I think everyone has a different relationship to money and it’s based on experiences growing up. That might be the coldest hot take of 2018, but it’s true.

This year was the first year I ever really considered myself financially stable. So much so that instead of buying a used beater car in cash, I was convinced to go and buy a better, more long term investment car and do a plan. I felt comfortable enough to take two trips, something that was never really a thing I did growing up.

Money has always been something to be saved, to be stored away for a rainy day.

Living is expensive, y’all.

My views on money really have remained the same. I still think Metro is the fancy grocery store. I buy in bulk always. I still eat some of the “struggle dinners” in a week, like a nice PB&J or some soup. Budgeting is something I struggle with (planning is hard) but it’s still an important step to take

I was taught the value of a dollar from a young age. I don’t think that will ever change, and I really hope to one day pass that same value on to my own kids.

It’s important to sit back and look at your own view on money too. I guess if anything, that’s what to take from this one.

That and I was a bit of a shit when I was a kid.