Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Russian River....

What's new, pussycats? At this end, I've spent the past week making edits and revisions to my book...I'm fresh out of copies and need to get more printed. For those of you who aren't aware, I published a book back in 2007 titled Postcards Never Written. It's loosely based on a round-the-world trip I made with my husband back in 2001. It's about what really happens when you're travelling, along with the sanitized postcards sent home to the parents...sane people do not share everything with their parents. After all, why worry them? 

Side note: this is all fine until the day you decide to write a book about it and come to the following realization: "F*ck. My parents are going to read this whole thing." Gulp. "Better make it fiction." Followed by comments like, "Of course that's not what happened, Mom! God. Who do you think I am?"...eyes darting nervously from side to side..."It's fiction, for heaven's sake. Jeez. NO! I did not shit my pants on a chairlift. Do I look like a monster?" I could write an entire novella about that discussion. In the end though, they both gave me their blessing, which to me, is as good as getting it from the Pontiff himself.

I was over the moon when it was announced that my book was the winner of the Saskatchewan Readers' Choice Award and also listed by CBC as one of the top funny books in 2009. I continue to donate a portion of all proceeds to World Vision, and thanks to your amazing support and positive word-of-mouth, I've since donated over $10,000! That right there makes it all worth while. Thank you, from the bottom of my grateful, little heart. (You can learn more about my book by clicking on the photo of the book on the top, right hand side of this screen. You can also visit my website at www.janita.ca)

So, in the process of gearing up for my next printing, I scoured my book for typos and sentences that didn't make sense. (When you, and you alone, are the writer, editor, agent, marketer and publisher, things tend to get a little hazy...there's shit I wrote in there that I have no recollection of...did I mention I used to drink? A lot.)

Yesterday, I sent the final list of changes to my printer. I told him in advance that the list looked long and grotesque...well, because it was. Furthermore, I told him that I had come this far so I wanted it to be the best it could be. He refrained from telling me if that was the case, I should rewrite the whole effing thing. Small mercies he's polite that way. I'll tell you this: after reading my book again for the first time in years, I was slightly appalled by all the drinking stories. Several times, I had to put the book down to wipe tears from my eyes, stare off into space for a few minutes and wonder, was I really this off-the-hinge, and if so, for how many years?  I'm all for shaking a leg and enjoying your youth but hell, I need therapy just reminiscing about my past adventures, never mind what I must have needed back then. I believe the fancy new term for it now is intervention. At any rate, the point of writing the book in the first place was to make people laugh, and hopefully, it does just that.

I'm really excited to show you the updated cover, but it's not ready yet. Once everything's in place, I'll randomly choose a follower from this blog to win their very own updated copy of Postcards Never Written. Until then, I'll share this story from my book. 

For those of you who have commented that my son will kill me when he's older for sharing this video, How to kill a mocking turd...let me assure you, he'll die of embarrassment first, after reading the following story. Should we both survive the shame of full disclosure (oh, the horror of being honest...), he'll always have the upper hand; at least he was sitting on a toilet.

I share this story for one (or all) of the following reasons:
  1. It makes me out to be classy and sophisticated. (duh)
  2. In case you're having a crappy day (pun obviously intended) , my hopes are that this will make you laugh.
  3. In the off chance that you've soiled yourself today, and you're unbearably humiliated, may this give you hope that there is life beyond this disastrous moment, and you'll pull through to the other side. I promise.
Pick your poison; they all work for me.

A tale from Postcards Never Written...fact or fiction? I'll let you be the judge.
The chairlift incident…it still gives me the shivers when I think about it. I don’t even feel safe writing this in my journal, but chances are good that no one will ever read this. Here’s hoping. It happened during my third year at university, when about ten of us decided to head down to Whitefish, Montana for spring break. I don’t ski all that often (or well) but the thought of a vacation at a mountain resort sounded appealing.

Once there, we promptly agreed that it was far too cold to actually ski, not to mention the effort required, so we buckled down in our rental chalet and started to play a drinking game. The game itself was easy. Or so I thought. There was a deck of cards and you had to guess whether the card being flipped would be a black suit or a red suit. Not exactly a mind bender. (Hey, we were Aggies, not bio-chemical engineers. Translation: we were cool...other-side-of-the-pillow cool) But if you were wrong, you had to drink your beverage. Active listening not being one of my core strengths, I was downing my entire beverage each time, rather than taking just one sip. I don’t recall anyone mentioning the “one-sip” point during the initial reading of the rules. In a disastrously short period of time, I ingested copious amounts of alcohol and retired from the game rather early, finding comfort and solace face down in an empty pizza box.

The next day, wiped but determined, we got up and hit the slopes, ready to exercise and sweat out the alcohol and vanilla-cherry cigar impurities. Truthfully, I felt like death warmed up, however I put on a brave face for the crew. I even attempted to hit a few jumps on the way down to see if I looked anywhere near as cool as the Olympians on television. (Scattered reports gathered much later indicated that a three-legged mule strapped to skis would have appeared more graceful.)

Does it bear mentioning that this landing didn't go well?
This photo was taken on a different ski trip although my technique across all slopes remains uniformly consistent...
there's another word for it...horrific.
I can assure you, had I stuck that landing, there would've been shin splints.
As it turned out, my shins were the least of my concerns.

 I’m guessing that all the bumping about on the jumps led to the serious loosening of my guts. As I was lining up for the chairlift afterwards to head back up, my stomach started making some very strange sounds. It felt like something was kicking me from the inside – something large. With a violent temper.

My friend (who shall remain anonymous) was with me when I heaved myself back onto the chairlift. I was desperately trying to pay attention to her endless chattering, while all my focus was on not crapping in my ski-pants. I was in full state alarm. Have you ever tried to cross your legs in an awkward attempt to squeeze your ass cheeks together really hard, while wearing skis that are six feet long, whilst desperately clinging to a chairlift? No? Then, I dare you. Double-dog it.

The panic that overtook me can’t be described. Here I was, hundreds of feet in the air stuck on a chairlift, in minus God-knows-what temperature, about to ruin my brand new ski-pants. Really, can it get any worse than that? Noticing my discomfort, my friend asked me what was wrong and I told her that I didn’t know exactly, but I didn’t feel too good. I told her I had to go to the bathroom really badly, and that I didn’t know if I would be able to make it. I vaguely remember her asking what I meant exactly by not being able to make it. My answer came loud and clear; the sound that sliced through the crisp morning air, and ricocheted down through the valley, confirmed our worst fears. It was meant to be a tiny harmless fart to let some of the pressure escape, but it ended up being just a little bit more. This cat shat.

As Sigmund Freud so cleverly discovered when treating patients who experienced puzzling losses of normal functioning, the shame was merciless. I believe our friend Sigmund used the term hysteria to describe the aftermath of such an event, and suggested an associated unconscious conflict. I can’t comment on the unconscious conflict, but the conscious conflict I was having at that exact moment was not to faint with embarrassment, for fear of plunging to my death. My friend was laughing so hard she almost knocked the both of us off the chairlift with her incessantly shaking. As my good luck continued to run its course, she managed to catch her breath long enough to scream to our friends on the lift behind us, eloquently informing them of what had just happened. A voice like hers really travels through a mountain range; I’m certain only four hundred fellow skiers, give or take, heard about my accident. At least it was contained to that. When you're ready to die, four hundred people isn't that many. Did I mention I was suffering from hysteria? I made my friend ski right behind me all the way back to the chalet, just in case it was visible through my ski pants. Children don’t need to see these sorts of things.

In the end, it sounded worse than it was, with minor skid marks being the extent of the damage. I’ve clocked it as a small miracle. Although I did lose a few barrels of dignity that day, my ski-pants were salvageable. And really, that's all that matters; those things are expensive.

I’ve since heard of this vodka phenomenon being referred to as The Russian River. It was rushin', alright. Furthermore, let's be clear that the vodka company that produces Silent Sam should seriously rethink the name of their beverage. There’s nothing even remotely quiet about it.

4 comments:

Jo said...

ummm...what concerns me most about this story is how you always borrowed my ski pants...that i still wear...wowzers

Janita said...

I totally Lysol wiped them before giving them back...I think.

Spamouflage said...

Oh, who hasn't shat themselves while skiing. It happens.... Wait, you what? No way! A case of Brown Goose? Oh Janita.

Janita said...

You just wait, Farm├žois...it'll happen to you one of these days. When you're least expecting, the Brown Goose will strike. xo

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