I won! (2nd)
It's only been due to the encouragement of one specific family member that I've started writing and entering Prose challenges. For years I've been told that my writing style is unique and that I should write a book, become a journalist, or told to just simply get my work out there some way, but a lack of confidence has always gotten in my way.
For Christmas this person bought me a pen. Way fancier than I'd ever use for any general purpose which made the gift even more curious in this digital age. But then she explained the symbolism, and my heart swelled. This was her way of putting the necessary tools in my hand to chase the dream she knew I had within me.
I became inspired.
In early 2022 I found www.theprose.com and became hooked. It was exactly the resource I needed to tap the stories that laid within my head and heart. So far, I've entered 24 Prose challenges and successfully won for the story about how I met my wife...that felt amazing!
Then, for my birthday in early March my wife created me a website specifically for the publication of my writings, www.timwilde.ca. Mind = blown. Now not only can I enter Prose challenges, but I can foster my own portal and spread my wings as a writer!
I became invigorated.
I've shared my website with friends on FB and IG and the response from people has been incredible. One special person in particular, who also has a writing background, recently told me about a creative writing challenge with a local publishing house. I entered, not expecting to ever hear back. Then late last night I received the news...I had tied for 2nd!!! This was cool enough, but the publisher informed me that they were originally only going to financially reward the top place finisher, but that the judges were so torn by all three of our entries that they decided to award prize money to both 2nd place finishers.
It's not a lot of money, but it feels way more valuable right now than the paycheck I'll receive from work this week. I feel so proud, and I'm eternally grateful to the three people who helped me find my way here. PSM, MW, DK.
Everyone carries some baggage from their childhood. The weight can certainly vary, but we are who we are because of the influences made on our life’s and by our decisions along the way. My personal baggage is quite heavy, and I hope that by recounting these events I can begin to shed some of the tonnage.
At the age of 4 my mother and father parted ways and my older brother (by 4 years) and I went to live with our dad. Much later in life I was told they broke up because they’d lost love for each other, and mom said that dad was better equipped (financially?) to raise us two boys. I don’t remember ever hearing them fight, and they remained friendly right up until my dad’s passing in 2010. For the first many years my brother and I would spend one weekend per month with mom, but as we all grew up the spacing between visits got further and further apart.
Dad’s first landing spot was with a woman who had two young girls. I have only three memories of this period…
1) Watching Rocket Robin Hood and other Saturday morning cartoons
2) Being chased through a dirt field by older boys/men on quads, and the feeling of running for my life.
3) Leaving in a hurry one morning with my dad and brother.
I asked my dad about this period at one point when I was much older. Apparently, the woman was the ex-wife of a mafia member and our dad had received death threats…which is what led us to flee that morning. The men on quads…yup, there to do harm to my brother and me. Rumor has it that she and her new boyfriend were murdered soon after we fled, but that’s just a rumor.
Back then it occurred to me though that we didn’t flee when the first threat came in, nor did we flee when my brother and I got chased. We’ll call this my first memory of our dad putting us boys as his 2nd and 3rd priorities.
Soon after, dad hooked up with a new woman who had three young boys. I’m sure it was a longer courtship than I remember, but it seems like we were all living together quite soon. Funny thing is, throughout the 19 year relationship that followed I never saw them get long or laugh together, so I must assume the early days were spurred on by physical fulfillment and our dad’s need for a babysitter while he travelled for work.
They argued, endlessly, and about everything.
In one corner of the ring, we found a self-righteous English man. In the other corner we found woman who had just fled a physically abusive marriage and carried deep emotional trauma from it. Neither were the type to give an inch, nor seek compromise over being the victor.
Every good relationship includes confrontations, it’s healthy and productive if done with respect and fairness. But the fights these two had were something else! Not only did they yell and scream about everything, but they used us kids as ammunition/targets and then fought it out right in front of us. So many nights us boys went to sleep with the two parents arguing right beside our bed… sweet dreams!
I remember once, in my later teens, barging into by youngest brother’s room where a battle was happening. Both parents gave me the “who do you think you are” look, but I charged on with my intention and yelled, “get the f*ck out of B’s room. You’ve f*cked up the rest of us and I’m not going to let it happen to B.” They left but I got grounded for that action, further rooting the feeling of a no-win childhood.
Her eldest son was the same age as me, and we were constantly compared against each other during these battles. My dad would get mad if he did something wrong, and she’d respond by finding some fault with me and then I’d get in trouble despite having no tie to the original issue. She’d come hard at me about trivial things when dad wasn’t home and if I said anything upon dad’s return, it would spark a battle. Not in defense of me, but in an attack of her son to balance the scales. We were both routinely blindsided by drama we didn’t cause. I was a good student but couldn’t celebrate that because if her son didn’t do well, she’d dream up some reason to ground me. I was a good athlete but couldn’t celebrate that either because he wasn’t into sports.
So that was life. If I took care of myself, I lived in fear of doing anything wrong to avoid unfair consequences. If I cared about my family, I lived in fear of doing anything wrong to help avoid yet another battle between the parents. It was quite simply a no win situation, but tv drama series in the 80’s and 90’s showed me that this was normal abuse for a middle child in a blended family.
However, abnormal abuse came to my brother and I in the form late-night separations. You see our dad would routinely get into big arguments with step-mom that resulted in him yelling about divorce and yanking us boys out of bed, into the van, and off to a cold motel room somewhere. When I say routinely, I mean at least a dozen times over the 19 years they were together. While driving to the motel dad would regale us with stories about what she had done wrong, how he was right, and how we were off to start a new and better life. Sometimes we’d be gone only one night, usually for a couple weeks, and at least twice it was for a few months. But after filling our young minds with all the bad she’d done, and how evil she is, we’d get told that we’re going home as if nothing had ever happened. Perhaps worse, we were often told that dad had to go back for “B” who was our youngest half-brother; firmly solidifying that he was more important than us.
- One time we were in said motel room and dad told me to tell step-mom over the phone how much I hated her…what a horrible thing to ask of your son! I remember screaming at her, and she responded simply with a calm, “why do you think you hate me?”. Don’t get me wrong, she was a horrible person, but that moment of calmness has stuck with me all these years.
- Another time we moved into an apartment in the nearest city, and I started at a new school. I had no friends, no stable home, and certainly nobody looking out for me. I believe that time we were gone for two months which gave me just enough time to start making friends at school, then never say goodbye to.
- Most notably though was the time my brother and I got shipped off to live with relatives in Alberta. Dad’s plan was to have us stay with relatives while he focused on getting us a house and secure our future. The three of us hopped about a west-bound flight and what an adventure it felt like. Not only were we now away from the toxic house, but dad was super committed to building this new awesome life for us. My brother and I settled in with our aunt and uncle, who we’d met maybe twice before, but things felt great. Dad flew back to Ontario a few days later and that’s about when the wheels fell. See, dad did fly back, but within a couple days he was back at the family home! What…the…f*ck?! But we’d been down this road before so it seemed like our Alberta stay would be quite short. Nope! We were left in Alberta while dad focused his attention on her kids trying to make them feel like more of the family. Again, what…the…f*ck?! Dad would call on a regular basis to tell us about all the wonderful things they were doing and how great things were now. You mean “now that my brother and I aren’t there?” I was roughly 12 years old at that time and already suffering from some serious mental trauma; super hard to hear from my hero that life is better without me. We came home about 6 months later and had no option but to integrate back into the family and never talk about our time out west.
During the final years of their marriage my dad’s attitude towards the relationship changed, and he started to see it as a game. What could he get away with and sneak past her? Could he have affairs without her finding out? He still demanded that she play the devoted woman’s role, but he felt justified in doing whatever he wanted because he was a man with needs. It was during these years that I also learned that he’d been unfaithful to my mom all those years ago…I wonder if that’s what actually broke them up?
The sweet karma came one day when she left him suddenly, having spent weeks and months planning her departure. One day she simply said it’s over, packed a bag, said goodbye to the dog, and drove off. To a man who insisted on being in charge of everything this was crushing, and seriously bruised his ego. He pigeon-holed their entire relationship as being a sham and wanted to rid his life of any reminder. I will forever remember packing all of the family mementos, photos, and anything he thought was hers into a Uhaul truck bound for the dump. That was a very hard day and I wish I’d had the foresight back then to pull out some important things that no doubt my brothers would want. But the toxic marriage was finally over, and we could all move on.
A few years later dad told me that he always enjoyed the sport of fighting with her. Nice.
After a severe panic attack a few years back I started to unpack my childhood baggage. See, before that I lived by my dad’s words and used my broad shoulders to accept the burden of others, while “sucking it up” as a man and not taking care of myself. Combine that with the instilled fear of speaking up and I had no choice (in my mind) but to adopt a false happy-go-lucky persona yet visit dark places whenever alone. The panic attack came on because my shoulders finally couldn’t bear any more weight and I just fell apart. I was a ferry ride away from home and locked myself in the truck over fears I might take a walk off the back into the moonlit ocean, quite possibly the scariest moment of my life. The next day I sat in bed rocking back and forth, unable to digest the onslaught of feelings and emotions. Was it possible that the dad I stood beside, and stood up for, for all those years actually did me wrong? How do you turn your back on your hero? Could it be true that burying your problems won’t make them go away?
This was five years ago now and I’m still unpacking, and subsequently still feeling the effects every time I open a new box of emotional goodies. Writing this story is just one part of the self-guided therapy I’ve embarked on to work through my faulty wiring. I know I can’t change the past, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it either. What I will do though is move on and trim the fat that keeps these painful memories alive. Identifying the harmful actions and disappointing inactions done by people, then keeping them in my life, is what keeps these wounds open unless they take responsibility for their role.
The extent of the damage all this caused has only become evident in my later years.
- I trust everyone at first but fault me once and you’re out for good. Even people who might think they’re close to me are actually kept at an arm’s length just to protect myself.
- I’m always looking for an escape route, even from the most perfect situations.
- I don’t feel rooted, even in my own home.
- I’m afraid to take chances because I’m afraid of failing, or succeeding, and getting in trouble.
- I’m not very outgoing because I’ve learned it’s better to stay off the radar.
- And the serious bouts of depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and misplaced rage all add to the complex tapestry that is me.
These issues helped shape who I am today in both good and bad ways. I keep most people at arm’s length, but if I hold you near you know that I’ve got your back. In looking for escape routes I’ve developed the imagination to dream big. I’m afraid to take chances and get in trouble, but that’s made me an incredibly hard worker who only accepts perfect results. And I might not be very outgoing at parties, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or like having a good chat, I’m the one you want to find at the party. I simply refuse to allow the wrong-doings of others define who I am in only negative ways.
Thank you for reading this story. Like I said at the beginning, my hope that by writing this out I can start to shed some tonnage from my shoulders…and it has. Even in writing it out I’ve remembered new things and found a healthy path by them. If I can offer up one takeaway for you, it’s simply to be kind each other and yourself. Love.
“I cried when you were born”, is how my childhood framed the birthmark on my face thanks to my dad, who continued on to say, “…because you were different”.
Family genetics were awesome enough to bless me with a port wine stain (birthmark) that covers most of my left cheek. Everyone I know of on my mom’s side of the family has a birthmark somewhere, but usually it’s somewhere easily concealed by clothing; I just drew the short straw.
As a young kid it only bothered me when strangers and classmates would point it out. Kids, especially in the 80’s, were prone to bullying and I was an easy target when they went looking for one. I remember being pushed around by kids who had encircled me for what felt like no reason at all. It was a hierarchal playground, and this was just their way of posturing. I really doubt any of them had a real understanding of what they were doing…but it still hurt me inside. Just as it hurt when the family would be out at a restaurant and some stranger would stop, stare, and question about what’s “wrong” with me. I believe it was these stories from the playground and the embarrassment my dad felt in public that drove him further to “fix” me.
But as a kid I didn’t really understand the fuss. I had a great group of friends, was often “going out” with a cute girl and felt no limitations to my ability to get an education or excel in sports. How was something wrong with me yet I was still able to live this happy life? But my dad knew best.
At around the age of 14, right about when puberty was in full swing, laser technology had advanced to a point where removal of my birthmark seemed like a possibility. My dad was so excited and spent hours researching local resources and different treatment options. All I knew is that this is something he wanted for me, so I was on board.
It was about the middle of grade 9 that I went for my first laser treatment. It would take place early in the AM at the children’s hospital about an hour away, so we were up super early. After a bowl of cereal in my belly, and teeth were brushed, it was time to apply the thick numbing cream onto my face. A cloudy cream, about the same consistency as Polysporin. The to stop it from dripping or rubbing off, my parents covered it with shrink wrap which was adhered with white medical tape. Imagine, if you will, the self-confidence hit I took walking out the door that morning. I looked like I had an issue while I was a perfectly healthy kid beneath the plastic.
Once at the hospital we went to the special ward, passing by children my age and younger who were facing real life challenges, not a vanity one. Being in my angsty social-justice teen years I made mention of this to my dad, but he assured me that since he pays taxes we had just as much right to be there.
The kind doctor, a lady from eastern Europe, peeled back my plastic cover and poked at my face with a needle to ensure I was numb…I was “numb enough”. In a 3” x 3” square on my face she administered over 500 laser zaps, all feeling like the snap from an elastic band. I winced when she was on numb spots and shed tears when she got into the crease of my nose and up around my eye socket. My dad held my hand and offered support within the vein of “suck it up and be a man”.
After it was all done the doctor applied a thin layer of Poly and we were off. Not home, but to sales calls my dad wanted to make while we were in the area. For most calls I stayed in the car, but frequently I was asked to come in where he’d display me as his science project while his customers looked at me with judgement.
The next day I’d be off to school, with now half a face covered in dark burgundy spots lit up by the new layer of Poly which was meant to stop scaring and bleeding. As the days went on the spots got more angry looking and the area began to scab, develop pimples, bleed, and flake. I have never been so thankful than I was for the friends I had who would circle around me, both literally and figuratively, and shield me from teenage drama. It took about three weeks for the red spots to be gone, and another two weeks before we’d see any change in my birthmark.
We repeated the treatment 17 times within 3 years.
When I saw the treatments were no longer having any effect, I really started to resent the procedure. I talked to my friends about it, and I remember sitting in the cafeteria one day with my best female friend, who also happened to be one of the prettiest in the school. She bluntly asked why I was doing it anyways, saying that my birthmark is what made me unique! Not different, not flawed, but unique. That pretty much settled my mind on it…I was going to be done but I didn’t know how to tell my dad as he was only focused on 100% removal.
A couple weeks later I had another treatment scheduled but my dad was able to take me, so I was left in the hands of my step-mother. She had faced many health issues in her life so on the morning of the appointment I asked her how she was feeling, thinking/hoping that she might be in too much pain to make the drive. But she was fine that day. She asked why I’d asked, and I came honest about not wanting to continue with the treatments. This is where you’d think I got support and caring, but boy oh boy did I get the opposite. Her response? “I don’t know why you’re bothering anyways…it’s not like you’ll be good looking”. She might have said other things, but as a kid all I felt was the knife in my back and the mud on my face. For forever and 1 day…fuck her. We didn’t go that day after all, but I do go back one more time with my dad which felt like the compromise between he and I.
So now what? In my dad’s eyes I wasn’t normal yet, so his project wasn’t yet complete. Well maybe instead of getting rid of it, we would just cover it up! Yes! What a fantastic idea! Dad found the specialty store that sold cover-up cream (aka, makeup) and off we went for a pigment match. I was bought a container of cover-up and another of finishing powder to knock down the sheen. I would have been around 17 when all this happened, and I wore the cover up until I was 22 or 23. All of my clubbing, deejaying, promiscuous, partying years were shrouded by the uncomfortable feeling of wearing makeup to hide a grotesque birthmark.
- Friends and I would head to the beach for a day…some of my face would tan while my cheeks (because I covered both for evenness) stayed the same, now lighter, color.
- I’d wear a dust mask at work, then not take it off until I was back in private where I could fix my makeup.
- Every photo from that period makes the coverup obvious, and I know I ruined at least one series of wedding photos by standing out.
- I’d let nobody get close to me, and certainly entertain nothing more than a one night stand so I could keep my secret.
- I was constantly embarrassed for my friends. I knew they knew, and I knew they were being seen by others as the friends of the “freak” who wears makeup.
- It was awful, and I developed such deep mental health issues that almost took my life more than a dozen times. I’d cry in my apartment for hours, thinking unsuccessfully of any way I could stop wearing the cover up yet be accepted by society. Thankfully my cat loved me unconditionally and needed me to stay alive to care for him.
When I was 22 or 23 I’d just had it. I couldn’t hold down a job, I was always struggling for money, and I could feel my mental health spiraling further and further into dark places. It was time to cut bait one way or another. But because I’m a tad stubborn I chose to keep going with life and opted to move in with my mom for a short while. With that, came relocating to another city about an hour away, and an opportunity to start fresh. When the last truck of my stuff had been unloaded at her place, I finally removed the cover-up, and never once put it back on. I made trips back to see my old friends and decided they’d just have to be ok with who I am, and never once did anyone make a comment. I was accepted, despite what the demons my dad had put into my head were telling me all those years.
It was amazing. I spent over five years trying to hide, while actually making myself stand out more. I was an embarrassment by who I chose to be, rather than accepting of who I was.
I’m now a middle aged man, with a fantastic wife, an amazing life, and free from most of the birthmark demon grips. Every now and then a dim person will ask “what does the other guy look like?”, suggesting my birthmark is obviously the result of a fight, which does bother me a bit, except for that they’re assuming I won the fight. I can stand in front of work associates and feel judged only my abilities, not my appearance, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to talk to random kids with similar issues.
So, I don’t care much about my birthmark anymore, but the long term mental trauma is still something I work through daily. I’m never good enough, I should keep to myself, and I don’t fully trust anyone. Thanks, dad.
For more of my stories please check out www.timwilde.ca
Pronounced poe-tay-toe in my house, the word can't help but make me smile.
It's the punch line from the first joke my wife ever told me, back when she was trying to woo me with humor. The joke would be politically incorrect now but let's just say that it ended with a light-haired woman disguising herself and making the sound of a potato to evade the police.
It's also the nickname of the bestest cat ever to come into my life. His actual name was Jericho, but over the years he became known as Bud, then Spud-Bud, then just Spud, and finally Potato. Like a potato, you'd never associate him with being the brightest bulb, and we often equated him to "that uncle" we all have who ate a lot of paste as a child. But he loved hard and could remedy any bad day.
Plus French fries come from potatoes...enough said?
I thought about this question for quite a while before deciding to enter the challenge. What I realized is that I'm in no place to make a call on this!
You see I'm a tall, white, straight, male who's grown up in a democratic country with no fears ever of war. I'm privileged enough to only see the stupidity of the world through whichever media outlet I choose, or who I choose to interact with. I can turn off the TV, vote freely to change a government, walk away from idiots, and stand my ground in support of things I want to change.
I can't even begin to pretend to understand how others less "fortunate" than me would view the world's safety. I expect that if I were fleeing danger and held up in a refugee camp I'd care very little about the stupidity of politicians, and focus solely on the danger.
So I'd say that if you live a similarly privileged life you'd likely say that the world's more stupid than dangerous, and boy oh boy aren't we lucky to able to think that.
For more of my posts check out www.timwilde.ca
"There's and old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."
Who would have guessed that a top-heavy dude wouldn't be good at surfing?
For all my life I've felt a call to the ocean and a deep passion for surfing. It's simply felt like part of my DNA. Point Break (1991) is my favorite movie, and Jack Johnson is my favorite musician and I doubt it's a coincidence that both have ties to surfing.
I got my first chance to try surfing on a vacation to Tofino over a decade ago. It was a birthday present that included private lessons at the surf just in front of our hotel room. I could not have been more stoked! In my mind I was going to pop-up on the board like a natural and carve waves that would be the envy of everyone else.
My instructor, a young blond dude, was all of about 120 pounds and lean from head to toe. Beyond that he was a semi-pro surfer and the top-level lifeguard in the region. Yup, I was going to amaze this tiny man with my natural skills!
Then a day of harsh realities happened.
First, on the sandy beach, I learned that my well-worn knees don't allow me to do anything close to a "pop up". It's easiest to picture my talents if you imagine a seal flopping around on the rocks.
Second, now in the water, I learned that dudes with most their weight up around their shoulders do NOT have a low center of gravity... apparently that's important. I could easily push my way through the surf like a linebacker, but get on the board? No chance!
Sensing my frustration the instructor came over to give me some calming words of encouragement. That went ok until the little bugger hopped up on his board from chest-height water, then stood there like he was on a sidewalk. I wanted to hurt him.
There is no doubt that I suck at surfing. I'm built for manual labor, not for sports requiring finesse, and as I get older the chances of ever getting up on a board become slimmer and slimmer. But surfing is still in my DNA and I'll continue to do frustrating head plants into freezing water every chance I get.
From a very early age I was obsessed with Ford Mustangs. Even before I could drive, it was the only car I could think about. My first car ever was a beautiful teal green Mustang with big rear tires and gold rims. My second car ever was the same year as the first, but equipped with a hot engine and a 5-speed manual transmission. I was living the dream, but they were both from 1985 and my dreams always pointed me at 1965 and 1969. But since those weren't practical daily drivers they were out of my reach as toys until I became successful as an adult.
So I worked my butt off for a couple decades. Struggled through the early ears just making ends meet, then graduating into being slightly more successful where finances got focused on establishing a comfortable life.
In around 2015 I started to notice "extra" cash building up in my personal bank account and thought that maybe the time had come for my dream car. I began to focus. Watch my spending, avoid unnecessary purchases, and start squirrelling money into a separate account I wouldn't touch.
By 2016 the account was showing a good balance so I started shopping...obsessively. I drove my wife crazy by sending her endless ads, and drove myself crazy by spending way too much time on my phone dreaming up ways to ship cars across the country. I had champagne tastes on a beer budget but that wasn't slowing me down.
Then one day there she was, a cherry red 1965 Mustang coupe located only a short ferry ride away. My wife dropped me off at the float plane terminal the very next day and my mother-in-law picked me up on the other side. We went to see the car together and I knew the moment I saw it that we'd be going home together; that's about where the wheels came off my plan.
I was so blinded by the lead-up to that day that I looked past every flaw I would tell others to run away from. I'd say that I sold myself on the car, but deep down I knew that I'd already sold myself on any car that came to be in front of me.
The car and I got home late that evening and things basically fell apart from there. To cut it short, within two weeks the car ended up on the hoist at my local shop and I was in tears as they pointed out all the structural, mechanical, electrical, and safety issues. It was just a bondo lemon with a death-trap personality. Two weeks after that I sold the car to the highest local bidder just to get it out of my garage (and sights), despite the multi-thousand dollar hit I took.
I have nobody to blame for that experience except for myself. All the best laid plans, all the research, and all the saving was wasted because of the one thing I couldn't control, myself.
Since then I've had two more 1960's Mustangs and both were a delight, but certainly bought with the memories of that little red '65.
To me, the difference between spirituality and secularism is all found in how you look at the world.
Are you the hub of the world, or are you a part of it? Do you frame your life to include a lot of "I" and "me" references, or do you make references to "us" and "we"?
Spirituality, (in my mind at least), is the acceptance and appreciation that the world is much bigger than just me. Acceptance that there are factors working for and against me, and that are both out of my control and beyond my understanding. Be it a God, nature, or another source, it's the embrace of powers beyond yourself.
For me, spirituality comes from nature. I need only sit by the ocean for a few minutes, canoe across a mountain lake, or take in the splendor of fall boreal colors to feel humility, peace, and acceptance.
@TheWolfeDen (sorry if I didn't tag you properly, lol)
After a couple hours of surfing in the waves off Cox Bay I headed up to the surf club for a quick shower. It was still the shoulder season so there weren't any other people around except for an employee outside washing down surf boards. I took off my wet suit and stepped into the shower, dreaming of the warm water that was about to hit me.
As it turns out the resort wasn't as devoid of people as I had thought, because apparently a father was in the changeroom with his two sons shortly before I got in there. As boys tend to do, it would seem that one of the little angels decided to empty the soap dispenser onto the shower floor. This meant that as soon as I turned on the water the floor became like one giant banana peel! I ran in place, slid back and forth, looked for anything to grab onto, then slipped into the air, slammed down on my tailbone, racked my head off the wall, bent fingers backwards, and crashed my shin into the edge of a glass wall.
So there I was. Thinking I'd broken my leg all crumpled in the shower with the warm water now assaulting me.
I yelled for help...but none came.
I crawled out of the shower, (now thinking I'd certainly broken my leg), and made my way to a bench. Again I called for help...but still none came.
I hobbled to the doorway and pulled it open just long enough for me to scream for help...but STILL none came.
About to give up, I hobbled back to the door and got myself into the hallway. From there I could see my wife outside talking to the board attendant. My arms were busy bracing me up but I did everything I could to get her attention. She looked through the glass door, saw me, and came in to say hi. As soon as the door opened I yelled "HELP!!!".
My amazing wife went into panic mode.
The useless staff did their incompetent best to help her but she gets all the credit for getting me seated, checking bones, and for taking control of this panic situation.
She took charge, and took care of me.
After a few minutes, and after realizing no bones were broken, we walked back to our hotel suite. I lay on the bed for a short while then made a call up to the front office. They were great but I needed to reinforce the severity of the situation. I'm a big strong dude who can deal with a few bumps and bruises, but if that had happened to my child there would have been hell to pay.
But we were there on vacation and didn't want this to ruin our day...so off we went to do some whale watching. A few minutes after checking in the cruise agent said that there was a call for me...it was the hotel. I guess they'd had a few minutes to digest the situation and wanted to cover their butts by recommending I seek medical attention. I declined but still they insisted that dinner that evening would be on the hotel. That seemed like a nice gesture on their part.
Upon returning from a hilarious expedition (thanks, Jeff) I got a call from my best friend...turns out he and his wife were in Tofino as well! "Dude...let's grab dinner at my hotel tonight!". I explained that we were being covered by the hotel and he poked fun at my fragility.
That evening we met in the Great Room. Four friends together totally by chance in what was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. We quickly decided to live it up and worry about the Visa debt later; my wife and I would only allow the hotel to comp us for a reasonable percentage.
I don't remember how many bottles of nice wine we polished off that night, but I know we made a serious dent in the Dungeness Crab population. Feel like more food? Go ahead and order it! Wanna try a different bevy? Go ahead! Oh it was magic.
But then it got tense when the bill came, or should I say didn't come. The waitress simply came over and wished us a good night and said that it was all taken care of. Even with questionable sobriety this didn't sit right with us. My wife and I didn't want the hotel to think we were taking advantage of them, and our friends certainly didn't want anyone to think that they were taking advantage of the situation. So we respectfully declined the offer and requested a bill. She went back to the bar and came back a couple minutes later with no change in offer..."it's all taken care of". Again we pushed back and pleaded with them to bring us a bill for at least some of it. This happened a couple more times before the waitress came back and said, with a stern voice, "I'm supposed to tell you it's all covered and please stop protesting". Then just as we were about to protest she shut us down with, "when the mayor of Tofino wants to buy you dinner you just let him, ok?" That pretty much shut us up.
Because we're stubborn people we left our table and strolled over to the bar where we sat and drank for another hour, ordering drinks we knew we'd have to pay for.
That was an exceedingly odd weekend but I'll never forget decimating the local crab populate with my best friend and our wives. I hope fate leads us there again some day.