Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Goodnight Slizz, Wherever You Are

Last night while rocking Alexander to sleep, I started wondering where my old pal Slizz was now. (I think I’m going to really miss the moments in watching my son slowly fall asleep in my arms -- it’s not only a calm and relaxing “father and son” time, but once he’s actually drifted off, I usually sit quietly, watching him sleep, and let my mind just wander along)

Slizz was the nickname given to a guy named Kevin McAuley. I met him in Grade 7. In the town of Onaping Falls, each of the remote townships had its own schools for Kindergarten to Grade 6. I was at Levack Public School, there was another group of kids at the French Immersion school in Onaping, and yet another group of kids at the school in Dowling. Levack Public School was the only school in the area offering Grades 7 and 8, so we all merged together for those two years.

And very fun years they were. The friends I’d spent most of my time with at school included Slizz, Steve Lutha and John Ellis. Slizz was an interesting chap. Most people recognized him for his distinctive walk. He was a tall guy, like me, and he walked without a lot of arm motion, his entire tall frame moving in a slightly exaggerated vertical movement, almost as if he had springs built into the soles of his feet.

To me, Slizz was this creative genius. He was the first guy I knew well who did cool things like write computers programs and take electronic things apart to make modifications (back then the computers we mostly knew were Vic-20, Commodore 64 and Commodore Pet computers) Slizz had this fancy wristwatch/calculator that played this simple game, which we’d sometimes pass around class and play. But one of the coolest things I’ll always remember about Slizz was his passion for drawing cartoons.

He’d started drawing these cartoon strips, using a style slightly borrowed from the Mad Magazine artist Don Martin. In a tribute to the show Bizarre (and the “Super Dave” spots about this daredevil guy who was a cross between Evil Kneivel and Inspector Clouseau -- we got to see him tortured in unique, funny and interesting ways each week), he started off drawing “Super Steve” cartoons, poking fun at the antics of pal Steve Lutha. I copied his style and drew my own “Super Slizz” cartoons, and then moved on to write an ongoing series of cartoons about Steve, Slizz, John and myself, and included many of the other students and teachers at our school, borrowing heavily from the Archie universe.

I still have piles and piles of those cartoons in a box somewhere. Most of the humour was inside jokes about the people we knew, but some of them were actually a little funny. They didn’t come close, however, to the genius humour that inspired them, all from Kevin McAuley’s pen.

At the end of Grade 8, one of the first of the major crossroads in my young life, students either went to Levack District High School or to Chelmsford. Slizz and Steve Lutha went to Chelmsford (or Chemmy as we called it). Chelmsford had a much more rich auto shop and trades-oriented atmosphere and basic level courses (in addition to intermediate and advanced). We knew that Slizz, who was interested in working with machinery, would be in the advanced courses and that good old Steve “fifty’s a pass in high school” Lutha would likely be in the basic level classes.

They both went on to become “Chemmy Rogues” as students at Levack referred to them, and while John Ellis and I remained friends throughout high school and to this day, I slowly fell out of touch with Slizz and Steve. (Although Steve’s younger brother Jason did attend LDHS and was one hilarious, cool dude)

I haven’t thought about Slizz in a long time. Given his inclination for technology, I would imagine that he’s working somewhere as an engineer or in IT somewhere. I wonder if he struck it rich during the bonanza or is working for someone like Bill Gates right now.

In any case, goodnight Slizz, wherever you are.


Pete Mitchell said...

What another great blog.

I sincerely hope that somewhere, somehow he sees it and gets in contact with you, That would be amazing.

I wish that I had friends I could look up. :(

Kevin McAuley (Slizz) said...

Well it took almost 2-years but I finally stumbled upon this. It was quite an honour to see the memories posted here. I'm sorry it took so long but I'm glad to have found my old friend and I look forward to getting to know him all over again.