Live At the Apollo
Homecomings at any secondary or post-secondary academic facility can be brilliant things. It gives you a chance to catch up with faces from the past that you’ve not seen in ages, reestablish old relationships, and potentially forge new business relationships based on the different career paths that everyone involved has taken. On the other hand, they can be complete crap. They can easily descend into a gathering of tubby, balding, middle-agers that you ran into maybe twice over the course of your academic tenure and that you wouldn’t want to see on Facebook let alone one-on-one munching on an assortment of sweaty marble cheese and a flavour of Doritos that even the flies won’t touch as they go on endlessly about that time in second year they got smashed on root beer schnapps, found their way into one of the libraries and urinated all over the books on projective geometry because you disagreed with the notion that parallel lines would ever meet. It’s enough to make you go out for some “air”, find your way to your car and swig generously from the bottle of 151 proof bottle of disinfectant that you brought and hid in the passenger-side wheel well that will hopefully shield you from the further analysis the hopes and dreams that you once had and were never actualized. But don’t fear. None of that has happened. Besides, they were peppermint schnapps, not root beer.
I took a show at my alma mater, the University of Waterloo with Chris Brazeau, and Dave Patterson, and Matt Williamson. That’s the good news. The bad news is it was for the frosh of the Engineering faculty. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s not on the face of it, and you’d think “What’s Van Allen on about, it’ll be fine.” Well, the back story is that I graduated from the Math faculty, and fact of the matter is that the Engineers and Math faculties get on about as well as George W. Bush at the Bin Laden annual family corn roast. So, I was prepared for the worst.
Getting there and walking around the campus brought a feeling of newness as there were a ton of new buildings there that had not been erected since my time there. Good to see the ol’ tuition fees were put to good use. The buildings that were there and I was flooded me with a whack of vivid and some decidedly vague memories that I then inflicted on Dave and Chris. “See that building? First class I ever took here. Modular Algebra at 8:30 in the morning. You can still see the little bit of pee that came out of me…right…there.” I was giving a tour. They just wanted to get to East Side Mario’s for dinner.
The show went the way that you’d expect a show filled with frosh to go. Ton of beer, singing, pipe wrenches, hard hats and bullhorns. Oh, and a comedy show. I was last on the bill, and everyone who went up did the job. Dave in particular paced the stage like he owned it, tearing them a new one. So, the shoes were big to fill and all I thought of was them not really paying attention to me but leafing through their copies of “101 Ways To Flay a Mathie”. Broke the ice, got the math stuff out of the way, and drove them to a successful show. That’s right. We all got into my car and I took them to where Kenny Robinson was. I keed. I took my time, paced the stage and got applause break after applause break. They would take little pauses throughout for beer drinking songs, but it was just like hitting the pause button. Wait for the song to end, continue with the set-up, get the applause. Repeat. I felt like Chris Rock on the stage of the Apollo in that it seemed effortless and they were along for the ride with a raucous response. It’s not often that you get nights like this, so when they happen, you respect them. It was a fantastic night and I’d do it again any day. Thank you, Engineers. Okay, I can’t believe I typed that. Now I feel dirty.