I might have hated high school even more than I hated the Leafs. I fell behind right off the bat. And I realize now that one of the big reasons I wasn’t all that successful with the ladies might have something to do with those early morning hockey practices and not showering afterward.
Grades one to eight had been somewhat better. It was way slacker. I could keep up. Each year was kind of just hanging out, trading hockey cards, playing baseball at recess, and intentionally dropping my pencil so I could bend down to pick it up and look up girls’ skirts. And in grade school the big thing that kept me going was hoping that the day would come when a scout from the Montreal Canadiens would notice me and off I’d go.
My mother and sister had both loved school and were brainiacs. But it didn’t matter as much to me. Eddie Shack couldn’t even write his name and he managed. And I’d read that Rocket Richard had hated school. That was important.
High school was worse. I was too old for a bunch of my favourite things, including the pencil trick. I’d given up my dream of playing for the Habs. And most of the girls, although they didn’t say it, preferred guys who didn’t have skin that sometimes looked like the measles.
I’d read about a kid in a high school in Toronto who had been suspended for having shoulder-length hair, and I thought it would be cool if I was suspended for having long hair too. I couldn’t even do that right. They didn’t seem to care. I failed at math, science, and getting suspended. So I decided to go another route. I’d be a rebel. Failing miserably was cooler if you were a rebel. It softened the blow when all those D’s on report cards showed up.
Considering everything, it’s turned out pretty good. Even without the Montreal Canadiens scouts, and even though I was such a lousy student. I think it’s probably helped that I have a decent work ethic, and whenever I found myself out of work, I’d take any job I could find, big or small.
And what would I have done differently back then? Maybe had showers after hockey practice.