I have a friend whose birthday falls on April 1st. April Fool’s day. A few people, in his 38 something years, have called my friend fool to his face for no reason other than he’s made some mistakes in his life, and these people just couldn’t tolerate mistakes cause you know they’ve never made any.
I may have called him a fool in moments of malice and weakness but never to his face, coward that I am. It’s fitting, I think, that he was born on April Fool’s Day given his character which rarely strays from telling jokes, improvising songs on his battered guitar and laughing.
We went to school together. Even shared a run down apartment for a few intense and drink filled months. We were, after all, in higher education. We planned a giant party one Friday and invited everybody. Friends, classmates, family, strangers and other ne’er do wells. We must have invited over 150 people in total and 50 of them showed at closing time. The living room was full, the kitchen, the dining room, his mawstah bedroom, my closet of a room, even the bathroom was over the legal capacity. You can imagine the refrigerator, we had removed all the shelving and what little food there was and packed in six cases of beer, 12 litres of wine and other necessities.
The party raged for hours with my roommate holding court and being a brilliant host. Everyone was having the time of their lives. A young new couple was having a bit too much fun falling in love in one of the beds we had to ask them to leave quietly. The cops of course showed up late and uninvited and collared a few overly enthusiastic guests.
The following weekend, and more weekends after that, that’s all we heard on our nights out, people asking when our next party was. Alas, that first housewarming was hard to top. We tried for a sequel but only ended being disappointed enough to think of giving up the good life.
Eventually, several years later, he gave up the good life for an even better life. He’s a fine upstanding member of his community, helps people in distress, went to university, dresses well, eats his vegetables and, just maybe, follows orders well and still has his sense of humour. Out of the blue he’ll smile and say, “You know you’re Cree when, if a blind man ask you for directions, you point with your lips.” He might have said this too, “You know you’re Cree if when you go to a restaurant you order a baloney sandwich.”
My point was somehow lost somewhere in this story. I know it had something to do with April Fool’s day. Fool’s Day indeed.
Here’s a little something I found on my computer’s hard drive that was written long ago. A mock-up of the newly resurrected Cree@large featuring the Nation’s William E. Nichols. Hope you enjoy it.
Well here it is, the long awaited and much hyped section of your favorite magazine, The Nation, Cree@Large. Repeat after me. Cree@Large. You still don’t get do you. Cree at Large. I know what you’re thinking. Large Crees right? Here we ask you the loyal reader to reveal your soul, so to speak, by answering some profound questions such as, “what’s your name?”, “Your age?”. Even something as mundane as “what’s your occupation?” Who knows maybe we’ll even ask you about your first kiss.
Our first victim is someone who you may recognize, Will Nichols. Best known as founder and publisher of The Nation but lesser known as a damn good dancer. When Will, the future Conrad Black of the Crees, was first asked to participate in our little experiment, he said, “I knew The Nation would ask me one day. ”
1. First Memory…..Being checked out by every Cree in Mistissini after being one month old. For those of you who came later, yes I am normal in all aspects. Actually my mother told me this, I cannot tell a lie.
2. Person you admire the most…..Frank Zappa. Need I say More?
3. Last book read…..Working on several.
4. Favorite line from a movie…..There’s not really that many that I’ve found outstanding these days… yet!
5. Question you would like to have seen on this page…..Are you afraid of the Paparazzi?
6. Cree of the year…..Who was the funniest again?
7. Who would play you in a movie? Rudolph Valentino, that’s me on coffee! Lot’s of dramatic jerky motions.
8. 2nd favorite magazine…..The Nation, sorry boys and girls.
9. Choice for honorary Cree…..Lucien Bouchard or Preston Manning. Let them bring their patriotism to ours shores. Vive la Eeyou Astchee Libre!
10. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Making it to at least one of the Grateful Dead concerts.
11. Greatest fear….. Myself.
12. If you could clone anything and everything what would it be? Myself, what else.
14. Story of the year…..No comment.