For my creative nonfiction class, we had to bring three different items for a kind of "show-and-tell." I brought a black and white photograph of some people dancing(?) that I found under my fridge when we moved into this apartment, a little container Nivea cream from my grandma and a piece of paper with "Dear Oriana I loVe you from Adrian" written in big green letters. We had to take one item from each of the three piles: "Inconsequential," "Meaningful," and "Meaningful on paper." I won't tell you what I picked up until the end of this post because I want it to be a surprise. Don't skip ahead. Read through it! I combined all three of the objects I picked into one piece.
After presenting my essay on abortion (it was revised since it was posted) and finding out that it was more nonfiction than creative nonfiction, I went home and wrote this blog post that's much more creative than it is nonfiction. Did well according to the prof, though!
Quirks and Charms
It’s been with me through thick and thin, through the greatest battles and most glorious victories. A long black string connects it to a machine. It’s not a cable, but more like a rope. The machine does not hold it prisoner, for I can remove it, but the things it can do when it is connected are extraordinary. When the three of us connect, we become one unstoppable entity. Its old black body is slightly wounded and chipped, revealing more black. How strong and powerful it must be if its skin is as black as its guts! If I need it lighter, it lets me operate without hesitation and without fear. I remove a layer of the sturdy flesh of its wide belly and expose its insides. It’s a clean cut. I replace the weights within it as I see fit. It never complains. I seal the opening, and it’s ready for combat once again. It is the best gaming mouse I have ever used.
One of the greatest things about the internet is that people on the other side of the screen cannot see you. They don’t know if you’re in your pyjamas, if you haven’t showered in a week, if you have a third nipple, or if you’re gaming naked. Some people have their quirks. Some people have their lucky charms. Cool people probably have a rabbit’s foot, but there are no cool people on the internet. I suppose I’m no exception.
I just used up the last bottle. It started to get all crusty and un-spreadable. It needs to be spreadable. It needs to be even – no lumps, a clean sheen. And I’m not gay. I’d just like to say that right now. I like women. But this… this stuff. I need it. It just… works. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. This new bottle is warped in shape; it’s not a cylinder like they usually are. I shake it to blend the contents and something inside rattles; I’ve never been able to figure out what it is. The tiny particles within reflect the light from my desk lamp. When I twist and lift the black cap off the small glass bottle, the room is filled with an intoxicating aroma that reminds me of alcohol. It’s thick, and the scent tingles my nostrils. My hands are manly, my fingers thick and long and hairy, but something changes when I use this stuff. It happened once when I babysat my niece and she painted my fingernails. I went up at least 10 levels in 24 hours that same weekend. What changed? Nail polish. I know it sounds ridiculous, but ever since, I slap on some - what is it this time? “Nicole by O.P.I” - and I play better than I ever have.
My buddy and I were invited to a gaming expedition in Seattle recently. Right next to my hand is a plane ticket and my passport. “CANADA” is imprinted in gold on the dark navy blue cover. Below it is the Royal Coat of Arms of Canada, also in gold; I don’t know why but it makes me feel proud when I see it. A picture of a potential terrorist is inside, but then again, who doesn’t look like a terrorist in their passport picture? They tell me Canadians have it easy at the airport. They don’t get searched as often or held up at borders; they usually breeze right through. I don’t think I’d breeze right through – not like this, not with my fingernails all goddamn sparkly and red or… pink-orange-red… whatever the fuck kind of colour this is. I kind of like it, though, it’s - I’ll remove it before the flight.
But what happens when it’s time to compete? We’ll probably be competing. Against dudes. Dudes who are not always the manliest of men but who know a girly guy when they see one. Could you imagine? ME… ridiculed by nerds! I could try showing them my big honking tank of a mouse – “Look at the cable! It’s like a rope! And it’s super long!” - but something tells me the precision with which I paint my nails would throw them off again.
I can’t stop worrying about it. The only way I could possibly win anything is with this… feminine product. I told the cashier I was buying it for my girlfriend. She gave me a look. Maybe if I had shaved she would have believed me. Black doesn’t work as well. It’s like I need a red to catch my eye, or maybe it’s the sparkles. I sound like a girl. The word “sparkles” should not even be in a man’s vocabulary. My friend knows how good I am; he’s seen me in action. That’s why we’re going. Well, he’s seen me as a warrior online, but he knows that with enough Red Bull, I can kick serious ass for hours. I’d have to win at least once or twice. But how? With sparkly red nails? What do I do? What do I do?!
Somehow I prefer gaming online, behind a computer screen, where no one can see me.
We all have our quirks, right? We all have our lucky charms.
I tried to keep what I could of the things the owners said to me about their three belongings: a mouse, nail polish and Canadian passport. This is the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the unifying idea of these objects.
Cassandra told me her nail polish was inconsequential because she just thought it would be fun to paint her nails. She liked the colour.
Jarra told me her Canadian passport meant a lot to her because of what it means to be a Canadian in other countries and in airports. She mentioned how easy it is for Canadians to travel.
Dan told me his mouse was meaningful because it's the best mouse he's ever used. He uses it for gaming. You can change the weights in it and it comes apart.