I was a teenage peace punk, and 6 other things

January 14, 2009 § 8 Comments

Unlike many, I was happy to be tagged with the 7 things meme. I’d been in a bit of a blog drought. This got my fingers moving again. Thanks, Axel.

The rules are these

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post. (see above)
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post. (see below)
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs. (see below)
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged. (you’ll just have to trust me)

My seven things

1. My grandparents started a cooperative suburb. It was called Grenville Park. It’s a funny idea, I know. Cooperative. Suburb. But it worked. All of the parks and even some of the roads were run by the people who lived there. And there was an amazing sense of community. When my grandparents moved to the country, they let us live in their coop suburb house.  Those were some of my best growing up years. That time helped make me.


2. The first record I ever owned was by Billy Joel. It was called Glass Houses, and was (I’m ashamed to admit now) followed by a string of other Billy Joel records. And, yes, to be clear: these were long playing vinyl audio recordings. I bought them at Brian’s Record Option, a used record store run by a bearded hippie in downtown Kingston. I played them on an ancient portable record changer that my parents handed down to me.


3. My first computer was a TRS80 Model I. Every weekend, my friends and I would ogle early Apple products at the local computer store. I think we even played with a Lisa once. But all I could afford with my saved up paper route money was a clunky old TRS80 with a tape drive. I bought it from an engineer who was a friend of my parents. And, as it turned out, it was wonderful. This may explain why, to this day, I tend to think Apple products are nice to look at, but aren’t really for buying.


4. I was a teenage peace punk. Leather. Chains. Combat boots. Safety pins.  The whole deal. This was tough in a small paper mill town of 10,000 people in Northern Ontario. Imagine living inside the movie Fargo while listening to the Dead Kennedys with your stereo turned up to 11. It was like that. Of course, there were also alot of upsides. I listened to a ton of GREAT music. I jumped around alot. I wrote silly poetry. I upset my teachers. I failed to learn how to play bass guitar. Thank God the Sex Pistols saved my soul from Billy Joel.


5. When I was 16, I started my first non-profit organization. The organization was called K.I.N.D.R.E.D (guess what the overly earnest acronym stood for and I’ll buy you a beer). Mostly, our mission was to show peacenik movies in church basements. Occasionally, we arranged a caravan of cars to go to anti-nuke marches, which were pretty popular events at the time. I’ve started something like a dozen organizations since, most of which have faded away. Strangely, a couple have tenaciously kept kicking.


6. I proposed to my wife on a desolate rock. It was surrounded by many other desolate rocks, in a part of Ontario called Georgian Bay. Smoothed by glaciers long ago, the rocks there flow in and out of the water like snow drifts. It’s one of the most beautiful places I know. Which is important to the story, as I mumbled my proposal in a pretty awkward and silly way. Had Tonya not been distracted by the natural beauty, she might not have said yes. Our family goes back to Georgian Bay every summer to spend time with these rocks.


7. My oldest son’s middle name is Freedom. Tristan Freedom Surman. It says so on his birth certificate, although you might also guess it just by looking at him. Freedom is an important idea. But it’s also hard. Like parenthood. I wouldn’t give up either for the anything in the world.


Those seven people upon which I tag this wonderful curse are

  1. Frank Hecker, wise, and mysterious
  2. Helen King, always full of surprises, and usually more than seven of them
  3. David Eaves, wonderful man, needs more levity in his blogosphere
  4. Glyn Moody, ditto
  5. Aza Raskin, doesn’t seem to have been bitten yet
  6. Steve Song, who I trust to post with art and grace
  7. Tonya Surman, I wonder what 7 things I don’t know yet

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