laughing in grade 1

When Prince became a symbol I offered to be Prince. It was just a fax Don my Manager sent around, a Toronto joke. Soon I got a call from CNN. They wondered if I was really that out of touch with reality. Wasn’t sure how to answer their questions because you get it or you don’t. If I wanted to extend the humour I needed to answer their questions and keep a straight face, not so easy when the surrealism gets as high as that moment.
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In grade one and two it was not unusual to have teachers who lost their minds and yelled at us 6 and 7 yr. olds. How frightening for an adult in the position of teacher to lose their shit and explode at children. All of us tense. One response was to laugh in their face but I try to keep it in because it means more trouble, more scolding and scary threats. But that’s the thing about surrealism, I prefer those who see the funny rather than those who can’t.
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In a class last winter a new age ritual was initiated with no warning. My classmate gathered everyone into a circle and handed out dead flowers, then poured sugar and salt over them and declared each of us should find a suitable burying place for them later. The professor was into it too. Poof I was 6 again, trying to keep it together.
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There was a guy in Vancouver who booked me and my band the Binder Specialists to play the East Cultural Centre for a thousand dollar guarantee more than 20 years ago. When you tour you need a few guarantees to offset the many other shows where you might only make $50. But this show didn’t work out and he lost his shirt and we were never paid anything. Not sure if I laughed about it but 2 years later, again in Vancouver playing the Savoy (was that what it was called?) we were setting up for soundcheck in the late afternoon and in walks that promoter from 2 years before. He laid out a thousand smackers in cash.

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