A Pack Trip

The trailer makes it’s way to the base of the mountain.

A lake of fog fills the valley.

A heavy pack and gun.

Riding out to pick up the meat.

This is where the water comes from.

Brew with his share of the work.

Day 2 and still no luck.

The Landscape.


Muley country.

The Camp.

Wakey wakey…

Steamy Horses.


All pictures by Josh Neufeld


Welcome to Manhood

Every picture tells a story and this one of our ball hockey tournament is no different. Notice the man with the missing front tooth as he slashes the kid in the hands, his face showing anger. Now look at the expression on the kid. The 16 year old’s face reacts with agony not only because he is being hit with a stick, but because the ball is being stolen by another man in his 30’s as it’s happening. A truly tough day at the office!

The Meeting

It was just another night at the dining room at the Fairmont Hotel in Whistler. The cozy room sat filled with couples and families resting their tired bodies from a day on the slopes.

I was just getting settled into my new job serving tables. It was obvious that I’d been out shredding everyday. My goggle tan left the entire upper portion of my face pasty white. Everything from the cheeks down was covered in dark freckles and full of color. I looked like a total goof, but it was the kind of tan that took weeks of riding to make.

I strolled over to my first table of the night. A young couple about my age sat looking at their menus and chatting. I slid in to introduce myself but was instantly cut off by the man.

“Holly crap dude, look at your face… How was it out there today?” He said.

“Dude it was sick…did you guys just get here?” I responded.

We quickly went back and forth with excitement about the conditions and the forecast. There was good reason too. The snow was soft and the sun was scheduled to shine all week.

I instantly felt comfortable in the conversation, my guard was dropped and we spoke like we had been friends for years.

I could tell he was a real beauty, so I knew just exactly what to do. I plugged the order into the computer and headed straight over to talk to the chef.

“Do you think you could shape this guy’s mashed potatoes to look like a helicopter?” I asked.

The chef just laughed and nodded.

Within half an hour I was delivering a beautiful plate of stake including one A-Star chopper complete with blades made of carrot sticks and skids made of green beans.

“Dinner is served…” I said as I dropped the meal in front of him on the table. His T-shirt sat with it’s own helicopter on it only inches away from the plate.

“You’ve got to be kidding me” He said as he laughed. “How did you know I’m a pilot?”

“Call it a lucky guess” I laughed.

I used every opportunity to swing by and check on the couple. Each time we chatted the man and I would end up getting into something good, whether it was hockey, travel, or just life in general it was always good.

When it was finally time for the bill I was kind of sad it had to end. Then he surprised me with a question.

“What are you doing tomorrow? I assume your going out again…”

“I go out everyday… That is unless you have something better to do…then I’ll come do that with you.” I said.

“I’m glad were on the same page, let’s meet at Whistler gondola at 8:00am tomorrow” he said.

I held his black credit card in my hand and glanced down at the name “Sounds good to me Clark” I said as I held out my hand.

We shook on the meeting place and time. Might as well been a pinky swear, as I knew I was going to have a great day with my new BFF.

The next morning I walked through the village. My bright snow pants and vintage hockey jersey stood out in the sea of strangers that flowed towards the base of the chairlifts.

I was already feeling pumped just to have someone to ride with. That’s when he tapped me on the shoulder. “I gotcha a coffee” he said as he hoisted me a paper cup.

Caffine is the perfect way to start a long day of shredding. “Lets do this!”

As we sat and waited in the lift line, Clark jumped right into the good stuff. He spoke of his Tinder nightmare the night before. He explained how he had met his date on-line and that she had dumped him after their $300 dinner.

He was trying to win her over with stories about flying helicopters and other cool stuff he was up to but she wasn’t having any of it. The explanation he got when he dropped her off at the end of the date was that she was just not attracted to shorter men.

“My last girlfriend broke up with me cause I have a small penis…What gives?” I sympathized.

“I think she must have wanted me to kiss her ass all night instead of bullshit with you. I was glad you were there to save me actually.

Every time she would attempt to tell a story it would suck. I would start to tell an interesting one then she would interrupt me, cut my story off and tell one of her own that wasn’t really related to the subject.

So I would have to sit through it for five minutes only to have it bomb at the end, and you know what the worst part of it is?…She’s a Real Estate Agent. It’s her JOB to tell stories, talk to people and build relationships. I’m a cool person and that social retard didn’t even bother to get to know me, and all because I’m not 6ft2…

I’m gonna have to start paying for sex again just to get the stink off me…Let’s just shred and forget about it” he said.

Our first run down the slushy slopes spawned more chemistry. I’m a solid rider and Clark stuck right with me. I felt his presence always nipping at my heels as I jumped and dove my board all over the mountain.

After leading the way I dropped back to carefully watch and size him up. He was also a strong rider. My guess was that he gets out 40-60 times a year. He defiantly had some time in the saddle. It was easy to take turns sharing the lead most of the morning.

The stories and laughs kept coming on the lift. Clark told me more and more about himself, which I thought was great. The reason he was in Whistler was for his work. He was a personal assistant to a really rich business man who was there for meetings. Since the boss didn’t need him for anything over the next few days he got to take in some snowboarding and have free time.

Now all we needed was to meet some girls to shred with.

A teenager stood waiting to strap in wearing a beautiful Gretzky hockey jersey just beside us.

“If we’re gonna meet some girls we gotta look good… just one second” said Clark

I watched as he glided over to the kid and start talking to him. Within seconds he held out his hand with what appeared to be a money clip. I watched in disbelief as he started to flip brown bills, one after another out of the roll. He stacked the bills like a deck of cards and dished it to the kid.

Upon receiving the cash the kid opened the stack like a fan counting the notes. He slipped off the Jersey and handed it over.

Clark skated back over.

“I just gave that kid 500 bucks for his jersey….Now we look like a team!” he said as he pulled it over his head.

“Holly crap that’s awesome, how can you afford that?” I said

“Remember I told you my boss is super wealthy…I’ll just expense it…it’s fine.”

With that, we were back on the slopes charging at everything in our stylish hockey themed outfits.

After a couple of hours we stopped for a break and a beer on the patio. The sunshine pounded down on the crowed deck as music played over the PA system and people smiled.

We picked a nice spot next to railing. With beers in hand we made a toast to a wicked day of shredding and new friendship.

“I hope Pilsner is O.K. for you Clarky” I said.

“Don’t worry, I like my beer like I like my women…I’ll take anything” he said as he threw his head back to drink.

Just then a rowdy herd of women stepped on the patio. “Whoooo Hoooo!” one of them yelled as they made their way though the maze of picnic tables.

“Heads up! Stagette on your six” said Clark

Before I could respond, one of them blurted out “Lets go share the railing with those hockey players.” as they pointed in our direction.

I had just enough time to assess the situation as they approached. 8-10 women dressed in 80’s workout gear. Aged 25-30, at least four of them were total babes… the rest all looked good enough. They wore matching neon head bands and yoga pants as they danced their way over.

Almost instantly our relaxing beer on the patio had changed to a party where the women out numbered the guys 5:1.

The leader introduced herself “I hope you guys don’t mind some company, cause things are about to get crazy up in here!”

“Oh my GOD you guys are crazy! Just look at your matching outfits…and your hair…That looks great! how did you do that?” I asked.

“We crimped it this morning…Isn’t it awesome? It took us like a half an hour each to do it” One blurted back.

“A half hour? Is that it? Cause I’m actually looking for something to do to my pubes…right now they’re curly but maybe if I crimp them like you girls, it will help me to get laid once in a while” I announced to the group of ladies.

“That’s disgusting! Come on girls lets go over here so we don’t have to talk to these wierdo’s any more…bye guys!”

Just as quickly as the storm arrived it moved away off to bother some other poor guys.

“How could I even be mad about that… Oh they’re crazy alright…that was priceless.” laughed Clark hysterically.

We finished our beers and headed back out. Within 10 min we found ourselves snaking through another busy lift line. Two women stood just in front of us in line, their braided long hair flowed from under their helmets and sat square on their backs staring us in the face, daring us to do something about it.

Clark looked at me and gestured with his head in their direction. I smiled and nodded back. “Just two of you guys?” Clark said as he tapped one on the shoulder. “You bet” she responded as she slid over making room for us next to them in line.

We chatted amongst ourselves until the chair swept us away lifting us gingerly onward and upward. It was a great relief to leave the noisy lift station and turn our attention towards the captive audience.

Knowing that we had 12 minutes to get to know these girls, I went straight to work quizzing them on all kinds of personal info. The kind of info that you could only get away asking on a chairlift. Who are they? What are they doing here? Are they staying in Whistler? That kind of thing.

They were friends from Vancouver. Staying at Whistler for the weekend. One was a Personal Trainer the other a Dental Assistant. They played on the same rugby team back in the city.

We explained that we had just met and that we were trying to build a shred posse. “Do you girls wanna join and burn a run with us?” Clark said.

“We’ll only join your posse if you guys help us slam this beer…” One said as she opened her pack and revealed a shinning can.

“How many of those have you got in there?” I asked.

“Enough to turn you from a six to a nine” she replied back.

“Lucky me” I responded.

This was break we needed… A couple good looking girls that wanted to party on the mountain. We took turns hauling from the beer and sharing stories.

Back on the slopes we came alive as a group. The girls were solid skiers. As we flew down the playground of jumps and bumps Clark and I jockeyed for their attention. The girls answered back, showcasing years of practice with great style of their own. There was no time to stop. Everyone was having to much fun.

It was a unique situation. We were a well balanced group. Every member was good.

The second chairlift ride was better than the first. No one was bragging and everyone was laughing, comfortable just having fun, being out on the slopes on a beautiful day.

This time on the chair, two more beers fueled the situation. The girls each gave great examples of their own failed on-line dating attempts. We all had something in common and it appeared that everyone was looking for the same thing.

After an epic afternoon of riding with some new found babes we decided as a group to go for a hike. The supply of beers from the girls pack seemed endless. The 30 minute hike straight up was met with only excitement. Everyone’s attitude once again proving just how cool they were.

We sat at the top of a vast landscape. Untouched powder snow was available every which way to the bottom. We gawked for an hour as we finished all the drinks. It was deep into sunset now and we were nicely glazed over by the amazing day we just had.

With talk of a hot tub at the front of mind the group charged for the last time. Clouds of white exploded around us as we pushed towards the bottom. Each time an explosion of snow let go, someone would scream a playful noise. The furry lasted for about 60 seconds and finally came to an end as we hit the rope to come back in bounds.

By this time the slopes had all but emptied. The sun had sunk past the horizon and shadows had cast over our faces for the first time in the day. We rode to the bottom with shaky legs. Exhaustion now took its grip.

We kicked off our gear and gave a round of high fives.

I didn’t want the fun to end but wasn’t sure how to proceed with the girls.

Clark was the first to make a move. “I’ve got the penthouse suite at the Fairmont if you guys wanna come for a hot tub…” He offered.

The girls and I were shocked. I knew he worked for a rich guy, but I had no idea how deep his pockets really were. I wondered how much it was to rent out the most expensive suite in town… That’s when I remembered that he had bought that kid’s jersey like he was buying a bag of chips.

How could any of us refuse an offer like that?

“Why doesn’t everyone go get changed and meet at the hotel at 7:30-8:00. I’ll tell them you’re coming at the front desk, so we’ll see you there…don’t forget your swim trunks” said Clark.

With only an hour before the meeting, I flew home to get ready. As I changed out of my snowboard gear and into something a little more comfortable, my excitement grew. I had a feeling something good was about to happen.

An hour later I was checking in at the front desk. “Head on up to the 12th floor, Mr. McDonald is expecting you.” the clerk said.

I rode the elevator all the way up to the top. When I stepped off there was two options. East Penthouse and West Penthouse. I knocked on the door to my right. The sound of music and laughter came from under it.

A young man in his early 20’s opened it up. “Come on in…” he said as he welcomed me in.

I had the stunned look of a tourist. With mouth open I walked in and looked around. This was the nicest apartment I had ever been in. I looked through the spacious living room to a luxury hot tub built into the deck outside.

The girls had beat me there and were already enjoying it with drinks in hand. Clark sat between them with a shit eating grin stuck to his face.

“Hi, I’m Mark, can I grab ya a beer or something to drink?” a voice said as I turned my attention back to young man who had let me in.

His face looked familiar.

“Sure I’ll take a beer” I said as I nodded.

“Clark said you guys had a pretty epic day out there, sure was nice wasn’t it?”

“Dude we had a blast, How about you? Did you get out?”

“ You bet, me and the boys did some shooting out in the backcountry today, we got some really great shots…Boys this is Clark’s buddy Gavin” He said as he introduced me to other five guys standing around the kitchen.

“So how do you and Clark know each other?” he asked.

We just met last night at the restaurant…I’m a waiter and he came in for dinner and sat in my section…I can’t believe how nice this place is…” I said as I interrupted my own story.

“Yeah Clark goes all out, that’s why we love him so much” said the man

“How about you? How do you know Clark?” I asked as I remembered my manners.

“He’s worked with us on a bunch of our movies…He’s an unreal helicopter pilot you know…” he said.

“Movies?” I said as I took a second look at the face in front of me. “You said your name was Mark right?…Wait a second, you’re Mark McMorris, the best snowboarder in the world right now!”

“Depends who you ask I guess…but yeah, that’s me” he nodded.

I was completely taken back at this point. “Sorry I didn’t recognize you at first” I said, “It’s been a pretty crazy couple of days.”

Jumping into the situation head first, I started to bullshit with Mark about snowboarding and some of his latest experiences.

He had just got back from Japan where they had been collecting a bunch of free ride pow shots. He started to tell all kinds of cool parts of the trip from the snowboarding to the people and the food.

It felt like he had just gotten into the topic of snowboarding overseas and my beer was empty. I snatched another one out of the fridge and kept on listening.

Whenever it was my turn to talk or tell a story, I just couldn’t compete with his. That being said, I did get some laughs, specially when I told him about running off the stagette earlier that day.

One after another the stories kept coming and the beer flowed. As Mark got into life back in Saskatchewan, I noticed a scene start to unfold in the hot tub over his left shoulder. As he explained how he rose to the top coming from a place with no mountains, I noticed that the girls were starting to French kiss each other out in the tub.

I tried hard to stay focused on what Mark was saying, but I had to interrupt him as the girls geared down and took their tops off. “Look at that!” I said.

Mark stopped his story and looked over his shoulder. “Oh that…That’s normal… girls go crazy in the penthouse suite” he said as he continued on.

Don’t get me wrong I was listening, but I was also watching in disbelief at the live porno that was just getting underway outside.

A few of the other guys noticed and started to laugh “Here we go again…” one said

All three of them outside were fully naked now, half in and half out of the tub they began to have sex with each other in every way you could imagine. In clear view of everyone inside, including me.

“I was supposed to be in that tub,” I complained as I looked on with eyes bulging.

“Don’t worry if you’re buddies with Clark, I’m sure you’ll have more opportunities” Mark laughed.

Mark went on with some of his stories and I tried not to be rude and gave him almost my full attention.

After another half hour went by I was really drunk. Empty beer cans filled the counter in the kitchen.

Just then Clark walked onto the scene with a towel on.

“Gavin! Hey Man! I’m sooo sorry about those girls man. I know we were kinda workin on them together. I feel bad…Tell ya what… I can call you a couple of hookers right now if you like…My treat.”

I took a second to collect my thoughts. The beers, the girls, the penthouse, the conversation with Mark McMorris, it was all too much.

“That’s a hell of an offer Clark but I gotta say no, I think… Not tonight…”

“Are you sure man? I can have em here in 20 min…It’s just like ordering pizza” he said with an empathetic smile.

“Yeah, I’m sure man, I’m just not into prostitutes…” I said

“I’m actually really drunk and I have to work in morning so I better get going…thanks for everything today though, that was fun.” I said.

“O.K. sounds good bro, maybe I’ll come see you tomorrow at work” Clark said as we shook hands.

“It was an honour to meet you as well” I said as I waved to Mark.

I staggered back onto the elevator and headed across town to my tiny dorm room in staff accommodation. Dizzy and drowsy I hit the pillow hard and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I struggled out of bed and headed to work. The first part of my shift had me polishing cutlery watching over an empty section of the restaurant.

Visions of the 24 hours prior danced through my thoughts. I still had so many questions. I wondered what happened after I left the penthouse, and just how often Clark gets to hang out with pro snowboarders. Did I make them laugh enough to warrant another invite to hang out. Maybe I could be on the next build crew for Mark’s movie, who knows.

That’s when I saw Clark walk through the entrance his head swiveling scanning the room, we both smiled and nodded when our eyes met.

He strolled over…

“Hows the head felling this morning” he said.

“I’m still alive” I responded

Clark got straight to the point. He explained that the boys did some talking after I left and they all agreed I was the type of guy they were looking for.

“I don’t mean to pry into your personal business, but how would you like to come work for us?”

“Doing what, exactly?” I asked

“You won’t have to serve another coffee in your life, I can tell you that much. This is some life changing shit I’m talking about.”

Clark said that he had to run to catch a plane at noon out of Vancouver, so he didn’t have much time to talk about it but that he would send me an email with the details by the end of the day.

“I know you’ll do the right thing” he said as we shook hands. “This is the day everything changes Gavy…”

And with that he turned and walked off.

I tried to stay calm but I was excited. Maybe more excited and confused than I had been in my entire life. The list of questions grew inside my head.

The email Clark promised to send was the key.

What was it going to say? Where could I fit onto the team? How big was the team? Who else was on it? How much were they going to pay me? Does this mean I don’t have to live at staff accommodation anymore? Do I have to leave Whistler? Where was Clark flying off to? The questions were endless.

Two hours later, right in the middle of the busy breakfast rush my pocket vibrated. Even tough it’s policy not to be on your phone at work, I couldn’t help myself.

I opened the email and read

Dear Gavin:

Thank you for an amazing day of snowboarding. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over the last few days. It was no fluke that I sat in your section of the restaurant the other night. We’ve had our eye on you for some time and when you turned down the prostitute offer last night we knew that you could be trusted with much much more.

My boss Marcus and I would like to offer you a 1 year contract position. If you accept, you will be tasked with bringing the Midget “A” championship to the town of Hudson’s Hope.

Before founding the Plenty Of Fish Website Marcus grew up in the small northern town. He is also a huge hockey fan and would like nothing more than to bring the provincial title home to the people that helped raise him.

Here’s where you come in. We need you to quit your job serving tables and head straight to northern BC. I’ve left you with a company credit card at the front desk of the hotel.

Once you have the card feel free to make any purchases you need to achieve your goal. We both feel that it would be a good idea for you to have a company vehicle, so please start by picking up a brand new fully loaded diesel pick up truck. We will leave it up to you to choose what brand to go with. Marcus feels the truck will help you get respect from everyone in Hudson’s Hope when you arrive. Getting respect from the players and parents will be an important part of getting the transformation started.

You will have your work cut out for you on this project as the team is currently non competitive and only has 12 players on it.

We have absolute faith in your abilities as a leader and life long hockey player. We are excited to see your skills in action over the next year and the positive impact you can make.

Please text me with any questions and updates.

Good luck and welcome to the team.

Yours Truly,

Clark McDonald

I closed my phone and jammed it in my pocket. Just then my manger walked over. “Gavin I need you to grab the bill for table five…and I needed it yesterday.”

I looked at her with a blank expression. Ten seconds went by.

“Gavin! The bill!” She barked

“Sorry about that, can I just get you to help me with something first?” I said as I snapped out of it.

“Fine…What is it?” she wined.

“Just rub on my nuts while I print this bill up for table five”

“Excuse me…What did you just say to me?”

“You heard me…I never liked you or this job, I quit!” I said as I untied my apron and handed it to her.

Now her face showed the look of disbelief while mine tweeked a grin.

I walked through the restaurant for the last time. With my head up, I crossed the lobby to the front desk and asked for the envelope under my name.

The clerk handed it over. Inside was a black VISA card and a yellow post it note.

In pen was written “We call these credit cards our Black Magic…Have fun, Clark”



Life In Pictures

Julia is naturally beautiful.

Sandy had some work done.

Jeff likes to wrestle with cattle.

Dale likes to blow other dudes.

Stacey says “I want my mommy”

Lisa says “Move Bitch! Get out the way…”

Tim is marrying his dream girl.

Derrick has a different dream.

This is Gary. He has loved to fish his entire life.

This is Brian. He’s been a fuck up his entire life.

Steve likes to lie around in his underwear.

Ed also likes to lie around in his underwear.

Thomas likes to wear a headband for all his games.

So does Clark.

Josh threw out his shoulder swinging a club.

Niklas thinks golf is for pussies.


Restraining Order FAQ’s

A restraining order can be hard to understand and complicated to follow. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help guide you through this difficult time.

Can I watch my ex girlfriend with binoculars or a telescope without breaking the law?
Yes. Most orders require that you stay 100 meters away from the person, but they do not stipulate that you can’t stake out her house or workplace from distances greater than what is prescribed on the order.

My ex girlfriend is being a cock tease. Am I allowed to come within 100 meters to investigate?
No. Girls can do lots of crazy things to lead a guy on, like answering phone calls or asking you to respect her privacy. This does not mean you can break the order. Stay Back.

I’m thinking of sending her another dick pic. Does this constitute a violation?
No. Dicks are not easy to identify like a finger print or DNA sample. As long as you send it from a private number dick pics are dismissible evidence in court.

My ex has an order against me but her new boyfriend does not. Can I beat him up?
Yes. The order protects her only. If you get him to agree to a fight you are clear to assault him at your discretion.

I miss my baby and want to bump into her. Can I do this?
Yes. Chance meetings are permissible, but they must be in a public place.  Try catching her in an elevator or some other type of enclosure. Women’s washrooms are off limits.

I’ve just been caught with my ex’s panties. Can I get jail time for this?
Short answer is no. You are guilty of possession of stolen property, but you are not guilty of breaking the order. The police have no way of proving you entered her residents. However if she provides the court with surveillance footage, you can be spending up to 30 days behind bars.

I have four restraining orders against me. Is this even legal?
Hey Phil. Jesus Christ man, you gotta take it easy. Give me a call sometime and I can explain all this in better detail.


Fat People in Pictures

Chad pulls another trophy Mule Deer out of the bush.

Mark hasn’t seen any bucks yet this year.

Little Leah loves to ride downtown.

Little Amy wants to go back to the house.

Sam owns a piece of land.

But Gary is the “Real Deal”.

Another vegetarian meal for Scott.


Kerri is into yoga.

Susan gets tired easy.

Beth and Lisa are both gonna hook up this Halloween.

Bill doesn’t need to worry about that.

Carl gets to ride around on a motorcycle at work.

Will someone please bring Nathan a water?

Lieutenant Tim says “Five miles to the next check point. MOVE IT!”

Private Wayne says “Go ahead with out me, I’m just gonna stay here and guard the camp.”

Jill is hoping to raise money at the bikini car wash.

Lindsay is hoping she doesn’t crap her pants like last time.

Jordan isn’t going for a run, he’s just stretching.

Mike isn’t fat, he’s just big boned.

Ronda has abs of steel.

Tina has back tits.

Kasha wants to know if these jeans make her ass look big.

Jen wants to know if there are any left overs in the fridge.

Hold on tight Dylan.

Same to you Al.

Dion has got it all figured out.

Life is a puzzle for Gord. He’s working on it.



Snowboarding in Pictures

This is Karen. She is an Accountant and she loves to snowboard.

This is Andrew. He is a Photographer and he loves to snowboard too.

Eric is an Engineer. He has studied three different books on snowboarding.

Joey got his snow pants given to him from Burton.

Derrick has the exact same snow pants.

Lenny is a Bartender who doesn’t own a car.

Chris is a douche bag who drives a Porsche.

Justin is a Journeyman Welder. He likes to pull wrenches.

Kyle works at Best Buy. He likes to pull his pud.

Matt just got back from Japan. He has a camera crew follow him around wherever he goes.

Richard just got back from Med School. He has a patroller crew follow him around wherever he goes. Tell us how to fix you Rich…

Travis likes helicopters and getting laid.

Stacey is a Journalist. She likes guys like Travis. She is willing to do whatever it takes to get the interview. Missionary, Doggy, Reverse Cowgirl…Whatever it takes.

Dave was trained as a Gymnast. He’s flexible.

Randy was trained as a Dentist. He’s flexible too.

Alex grew up poor. She is a Snowboard Dance Artist. Lookin great Alex!

Taylor has rich parents. They bought her all the newest gear. Lookin great Taylor!

Curtis is new to professional Snowboarding. He’s excited.

Lee is new to Canada. He’s excited too.

Carol and Dan are having a blast. Dan’s going to use that camera later to make a video of him exploring Carol’s naked body. Way to go Dan!

  There will be no sex tonight for Howard. Judy told him she wasn’t ready for the chair, but he never listened. Now her naked body is on “lock down” for the next three weeks. Sorry Howard.

This is Gavin. He likes to tell stories on his blog at badger264.wordpress.com RESPECT to all the legitimate riders out there.

Some Assembly Required

Dear Guillow’s Customer Service Manager:

My name is Gavin Smith and I am writing to complain about your Lancer Rubber Powered Endurance Flyer.

I recently bought one of your models on the premise that it would be easy to assemble and that it was guaranteed to fly. I’m a professional builder by trade so I can’t think of a more qualified person for the task.

I can read, and I can say with certainty your instructions were poor. They didn’t make hardly any sense and there was lots of words I didn’t recognize. To be fair, I did drop out of high school kinda early and English is not really one of my strong suits.

There was also pieces missing from the kit. Important pieces. God only knows what they do. It said on the box that it was for ages 8 and up. I’m 35 years old and I still couldn’t figure it out.

To be honest I did loose my job a few years back. My supervisor wrote that I was “grossly incompetent” on my separation form whatever that means…

I was on Employment Insurance for over a year. When that ran out, I got on welfare, but that hardly covers the cost of cigarettes and lottery tickets never mind toys like yours.

I bought your flyer with a credit card, and now I’ve gotten into trouble for it. American Express never explained how their goddam card works when they gave it to me and now they are sending me all kinds of nasty letters saying that I…get this… owe THEM money. One of them even said “Final Notice” on it. I didn’t even dignify that with a response.

I also have a lot of extra costs right now because of my skin condition. I have to buy all kinds of creams and ointments for it… O.K. you got me… It might actually be a little more serious.

When the doctor tells you something you don’t necessarily have to believe him because he’s just one person. You can get a second and third opinion if you want from another doctor and a pharmacist… It’s only when they all agree that you have an STD that you can be sure that’s what it is… FYI.

I wouldn’t have got herpes to begin with if that prostitute hadn’t lied to me. That bitch said she was clean! Moving forward I will be using condoms EVERY time.

You know what my real problem is? My wife is fat as a house… She won’t stop eating, no matter what I do. FUCK! There is not enough time in the day for me to help with her assisted living needs, never mind build your crappy model airplane that looks nothing like the picture.

In conclusion your guaranteed flyer doesn’t fly worth a shit. I want my money back.

Yours Truly,

Gavin Smith

The Jersey

I found it in a thrift shop with a price tag of $4.99. I instantly snatched it off the rack and held it tight like I had just won a prize. Upon further inspection of this hockey jersey my excitement grew. Mint condition. I stood in the aisle of the store and threw up my phone for some research.

I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I was hoping for a familiar face. That’s one of the cool parts about thrifting. First you find a piece of clothing, then with the help of the internet you can quickly study up. You can find out all kinds of stuff you maybe didn’t know. All I knew was the Windsor Spitfires were a junior team at the same level as the Kamloops Blazers. They must have some notable NHL alumni, as they all do.

To my surprise when I goggle searched “Windsor Spitfires” a picture of Taylor Hall popped up wearing the exact jersey, in his hands he hoisted the Memorial Cup. I kept scrolling. In disbelief I learned of his many accomplishments.

Taylor actually won the Memorial Cup twice. He was selected tournament MVP both times (a title that only he holds). He was also named the rookie of the year for the OHL and CHL with the Spitfires. A member of Team Canada, he was selected 1st overall in the NHL entry draft, to the Edmonton Oilers. All this happened about six years ago before he started his successful pro career.

I knew right away what I needed to do.

I needed to customize the shirt turning it from average to exceptional.

I had an old friend that was a life long Edmonton Oilers fan. My plan was to give it to him, someone that could appreciate it and love it more than I could.

The only problem was that I was in Sault St. Marie Ontario. It was going to take some time before I could get home and put my plan into action. Over the next few weeks as I drove past the Great Lakes and onto the Parries, I dreamed about the gift. He was going to love it.

I was most of the way home from my tour across the country when my heart broke. Taylor Hall had been traded to the New Jersey Devils. “What are the chances…” I thought. My bubble had officially burst. My die hard Oiler fan would surely no longer be interested.

I racked my brain trying to think up a suitable home for it. It was a size small so it’s best suited for a teenager or a female.

Maybe I could just keep it in my own personal collection. If I ever found another girlfriend I could make her wear it when we go snowboarding. But I already have a classic Hartford Whalers jersey for that.

Then I thought about giving it to the best female player in Lillooet. Whoever gets it would need to be a hockey person, so I asked her if she knew who Taylor Hall was. She responded “I think I’ve heard of her…” With that, I knew that option was out.

Then I remembered another old friend. Probably the biggest hockey fan I know. I also remembered that I owe him a jersey after he helped me out a few years back with a signed Jarome Iginla tarp… The perks when you work for the Calgary Flames.

When I did my research I found out that Taylor Hall played some of his Minor Hockey in Calgary. Perhaps my friend could find his old coach or club to pass it on to.

Maybe the man himself is the best one to have it. My friend could make the play the next time the Devils are in town. I’m sure he could find this VERY classy jersey its rightful home. Taylor could sign it and give it to a family member or a sick kid at the children’s hospital. Who knows where it will end up.

People questioned why I would spend $100 and go through all the effort only to turn around and give it away to a complete stranger. I guess it’s just a way of paying it forward.

I like to think of it like catching a big fish and then releasing it back into the ocean, only to be caught again by someone else. Or putting a message in a bottle and hoping for the best. Inside the tag I wrote a message to the next would be owner “A Gift From Lillooet B.C.”

I also think it makes for a good story. The hockey gods would be pleased with this one.

*Update the Jersey has now been all the way to New Jersey to get signed by the man himself. It made it’s way back to Calgary where it’s been sent back across North America to the Greater Kingston AAA Hockey Club.

Taylor played his minor hockey there and they’re holding their 1st annual Taylor Hall Minor Hockey Tournament. I emailed the organizer and told him that I wanted to donate a prize for one of the kids. After sending him the jersey I got this note back:

Hi Gavin,

I wanted to let you know that your donated Jersey was a big hit this weekend.  We decided to keep it simple and do a draw for a visiting player to win the jersey.  We had it on display over the weekend and completed the draw on Saturday at noon.

The winning player was Brayden Bruce (#12 York Simcoe Express, age 11).  He was playing when we did the draw and presented it to him after the game in the locker room.  He was very happy.

I will email you a picture tomorrow.

Take Care,

Philip MacLean