When I was going to high school, many and still-classified years ago, there was a push afoot to open up the curriculum and introduce programs not just "three Rs". One I took was Mr. Kelly's terrific "Creative Writing" class. It was a challenging but comfortable affair which nurtured the writing soul in me, and the souls of my fellow future Flauberts. ("Floberts? Doesn't he play for the Leafs? If he does he can't be very good.")
At the end of the year Mr.
Kelly organized an "Academy Awards" for best writing in various
categories. Over the course of a week or so we were to go through our
classmates' writing files, which were open for all to see and review, and
then make nomination lists. Mr.
Kelly showed us an example of the trophy itself, a modified liqueur bottle. ("I want
One day I could hear a group of huddled
students laughing and whispering. "This is so funny! He's hilarious!"
Once I overheard this I sniffed and went back to my own writing, looking
for just the right word.
Days later was Awards Day.
The air was tense with multiple categories.
"The Award for Best Male Humourist goes to....Simon!"
"Who, me?!" (Of course.)
walked rather self-unconsciously to the front of the class to accept
the award. I had been building, cultivating, a reputation for being 'out
there', so I thought that since my fellow award winners thus far were
self-consciously accepting their well-deserved trophies but not saying
anything outside and above of "thanks", I should put my own spin on the
Once the prize was securely in my hands, I said, half-seriously: "I have no one to thank....it was just me."
The class laughed, so too did Mr. Kelly, and immediately I thought, "Gee, I guess I'm not just funny looking".
It was a good class; a good bunch; good times.
Script, and "as a comic, in all seriousness", as Bobby Bittman was prone to say:
Brian Kelly was one of the outstanding teachers in my years of