I think I have been a cat about 10 times in past lives…and almost every one of those cat lives I was killed by something unsurmountable, like an asteroid fell from space and crushed me. So I wasn’t able to use up my nine lives the way a normal cat would…which allowed me to collect a shitload of extra lives for another time to be used, in a reckless life where I would throw caution to the wind far too many times. I say this because in this life I live now I have had many near death experiences and there were many times where any normal person would have been killed whereas I escaped such outcomes.
My cousin Jeremy froze to death in the early 90’s right in the city of Trenton Ontario. This is where I learned that the elements are more dangerous than the animals out in the wilderness. I tried to always be prepared for the elements but even then I came close to freezing to death a few times. Once I was hitch hiking back from Toronto and got let out at the turnoff up to Peterborough and it had to have been -25. Nobody stopped to pick me up and I got so cold that I actually huddled up into a ball laying on the side of the road…nobody stopped, however one guy called an ambulance. The two attendants looked me over and called the cops saying they couldn’t give me a ride in the ambulance unless it was truly a medical emergency. Luckily a van swooped me off my feet two minutes before the cops came, we passed them heading north. The guy who picked me up was quick to show me that he had a small sword on his side, so I was not to try anything funny. I tried to keep my humor as droll as possible.
I went for a hike into the swamp lands behind my mothers and got a little lost back in there, it was -19 that day and night time was coming on fast…luckily I found a trail I recognized to be the dog sledding trail. I’ve also been lost back in there in the heat of the summer time several times and became very dehydrated…drinking the swamp water would give me beaver fever so I had to try my best to get home safely before having a drink.
I once fell through the ice at one of the swamps near mothers, but I was quick to dive as the ice gave away and landed on my chest half in the water half on the ice. I crawled on my belly until I found good ice but then realized it would be a lot quicker and easier to walk on the ice back to this road then trying to go through the thick snow in a very thick forest. While walking on the ice towards the road I fell in a second time but managed to keep from being pulled under the ice.
That was not as funny as when my Uncle Gary’s best friend fell at the edge of the pond after a game of hockey…his brother tried to pull him out but was starting to slip into the pond as well so he grabbed a fence to give him stability as he was still wearing skates. What Brent didn’t realize when he grabbed that fence was that it was electric, as a city slicker he didn’t know that he wouldn’t feel the charge if he was holding on to his brother so he was convinced that the fence wasn’t on. His brother was in the water, freezing while receiving 500volt shocks from his brother who wouldn’t let go of the fence…That was funny to watch!!
Once I was stoned on shrooms back there and found a turtle in a mud puddle that was once a swamp but was drying up quickly in the summer heat, so I carried him way back in the bush looking for a larger swamp…when I found the size of swamp I was looking for I put the turtle in it then turned around realizing that I had no idea where the hell I was. Boy I was thirsty but I didn’t drink the beaver water.
One time in BC I was so thirsty in the mountains when I found a creek and drank from it for 10 minutes without stopping, when I came back on the trail I saw a sign coming from the other direction which read “CAUTION, CREEK CONTAIN GIARDIA!”
Luckily I did not get beaver fever that day either!
I was on a mountain in Jasper alone and it was really slippery up there and I was shivering intensely…What can happen when hypothermia starts to settle in is you lose your coordination and become clumsy. I realized that if I so much as twisted my ankle I would freeze to death up there alone so I carefully came down the mountain.
Another time I was stranded while hitch hiking at the turnoff to Radium between Banff and Lake Louise Alberta when it got dark and very cold very quickly in those high Rocky Mountains. I knew that I would freeze to death and no cars were coming off that off-ramp so I went out on Highway 1 and waved down an RCMP officer even though hitch hiking is illegal ON the highway. What was scary about that was that I had an ounce of shrooms and an ounce of pot in my back pack…and I was stoned and tripping on shrooms, keeping a straight face was very difficult as the cop was a total douchebag!
Another time hitch hiking near the Peterborough turnoff on the highway 401 I got a ride in Port Hope only to find out eventually that the guy wanted to pay me $50 to let him suck my dick. He said, ‘I’m not gay, I just really like sucking cock.’ I corrected him, ‘if you like to suck cock, despite your rationalizations, I must inform you that you are indeed gay.’ Now my life wasn’t on the line there really…but I was 17 and he was in his 50’s. He pulled off the road where no one could see us and it was nerve wracking. There have been moments like this where people have been murdered.
Hitch hiking! Ah…I been so cold, so dehydrated…so crazy! I once hitch hiked all over Ontario and ended up at Niagara Falls at 1AM…with no money and no food and so dehydrated from an entire day in the blazing Ontario sun. I was stinky and wasted and I really struggled with nearly jumping off into the falls, the water looked so refreshing to me. I think the Falls have that allure and perfectly normal people have sometimes jumped into them just because they call you in a weird way.
There were many times that I tried to kill myself or contemplated it. I ate pills, I sliced my wrists and I did things that should have killed me…but nothing would! I got so stoned on PCP and LSD when I was 16 at Spiderland Punkfest…I left early in the morning to go back to mom’s and none of my friends knew where I was, just that I was really fucked up the night before. I actually left town a day later to visit family for three weeks and heard later that some people went so far as to walk the forest thinking I may have died out there. I could have died from drug overdoses a dozen times, but nothing killed me.
So many times things have happened on the highway that could have gone a lot worse than they did. Leah and I hit a patch of black ice and rolled the van with all the bands music gear near Creston British Columbia on the Salmo Pass, but neither of us were so much as hurt though the van was written off.
Former Outlaw Band steel guitarist Mike Zinger lost control trying to pass a snowplow and we spun like crazy, I looked up and see the plow driver beside me screaming. But he regained control and we made it past him. When you drive across Canada as much as I have playing shows you lose count of how many near accidents there have been.
When I was seventeen I once slept in and missed church. I was supposed to go with my friend Neil and his twin brother Joe afterward back to their farm…on their way home without me they rolled the car. The back seat was so crushed in that if I had been sitting in the back I would have been killed for sure. Luckily skipping church saved my life…however if I had gone to church I would have been saved by the glory of God and likely gone to heaven after that crash.
I once went over the waterfall at Bare Bum Beach back home, the former communal swimming hole until Torontonians bought the land and built an estate there. I had to grab Corey Northey when he slipped in the water and was able to pull him out. Once he was out he stupidly celebrated while I ended up going over the falls and bouncing off a dozen boulders at high speed before washing up on the shore. Corey always denied that things happened the way they did, however my mother was close by and seen the whole thing go down. She knew I had saved his life because he only knew how to doggie paddle while I was a very strong swimmer.
That was nearly as scary as the day I stepped on a small rattlesnake on the other side of the river, one of those Ontarian rattlers called the Massassauga. Luckily nothing worse came of that.
Up the road from the Black River is Mount Moriah where I go camping all the time whenever I am back home. I was charged by a mother bear there and I responded by charging right back at her, called her bluff and chased her off. She parted with one cub who was in the tree next to me and took off protecting the second one. She was spooked easily but then spent the next 24 hours around my camp stalking me, I was all alone of course and kept my wits about me.
I had come face to face with a Grizzly Bear near Windermere BC but it had no interest in doing anything but running away. I disturbed a mother moose while alone in Algonquin but she did not charge me, she was about 20 feet away and I might have been in big trouble…she was visibly annoyed at me but opted not to run me down. Many times I drove past a moose in the darkness of the night, if it had taken one or two steps that would have been game over for me.
Another time on Mount Moriah I got high on hallucinogenic substances with my cousin when the weather turned nasty. As we stood on the mountain top we witnessed what tried to become a tornado, the sky went green and everything was churning and spinning above us. We were all alone way back in the bush and if a tornado had of dropped down we would have had nowhere to hide. My cousin’s house not 10km away from there was hit by a tornado in the year 2000…and Mount Moriah itself was smashed by a Plough Wind in 2010 knocking over about 10 hectares of trees.
I was close enough to two funnel clouds taking pictures in Alberta that I had to move before the one dropped down on to my head as a full blown tornado. I jumped in the van and sped about 500 yards away, jumped back out and filmed the funnel cloud…however it never touched the earth thus never became an actual tornado.
I got dinged by lightning sitting outside my mothers house. It hit really close by, I don’t know how close because it was so fast and so bright…but I got a good jolt from it as the charge gathered and passed through me to join the lightning strike. Another time I was outside my mothers and it was sunny out, but I seen the hair on my arms stand up so I ran in the house and waited for about 75 seconds before a flash and instant KABOOOM shook the friggin house…a couple minutes later a storm blotted out the sun and it was very dark. When I was five lightning struck so close to me while playing soccer with my cousin Jeremy and my Uncle Gary that I felt the heat of it…the crack of the thunder terrified me!
My childhood friend Lucas grabbed my hand at the last second as I was about to fall 400ft off of a cliff in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. We had gone off trail for 4 days into some heavy bush…we could have died in all sorts of ways down there! Another time I slipped on a mountainside while putting my hair under my hat. As I slid down the mountainside I casually grabbed a willow brush to stop my sliding…then I looked down and realized that there was nothing else for another 1000ft to stop my fall. I would have died had I not grabbed that bush in particular, there was nothing else to grab.
Back in the 90’s we had a full scale war between punk rockers and Nazi skin heads in southern Ontario. I went out on the town with some younger suburban punk kids and I warned them not to wear their ANTI-RACIST ACTION patches if they didn’t have the physical capability to fight bigger guys. They told me they believed in ARA, which I did too, and that they wouldn’t compromise their beliefs. Then John Harvey wasn’t paying attention when we walked into Oh La La internet Cafe in downtown Hamilton to notice that all 10 guys in there were Nazi skinheads. I noticed right away but it was too late, John had already walked by all of them up to the counter to order his coffee. They surrounded us, ripped the patches off their pants and set them on fire on the street. When they came back in they were discussing how they would beat us down when a Latino punker walked by and seen them and the burning patch..opened the door and yelled ‘you Nazi scumfucks’. They all ran out the door chasing him and we got out as their girlfriends weren’t about to fight us.
That night, about three hours later, those skinheads all showed up at Corktown looking for us at this punk show, people even came and told us they were looking for US…so we snuck out before they could see us. They were all older guys, much bigger, said they were ex-military and had tattoos of swastika’s all over themselves. If they didn’t kill us they would have at least knocked a lot of our teeth out.
Back in Belleville the punks and skateboarders had an ongoing war with these whitey homey G weiners that thought they were gangsters in 1999. They had pulled guns on some of my friends, one of the guys later went to jail for murder. Some of my friends were beaten up yet I somehow escaped that whole ordeal unscathed.
I drank like a fool back then and got into a high speed car chase after one of those punk shows with the OPP…I didn’t know it was the OPP chasing us on those back roads, we thought it was some local rednecks trying to catch us for causing trouble. Unfortunately a fox ran out on to the road so I swerved to miss it, but the gravel spun me out of control and I hit a tree putting my face through the window. The hardest part was explaining to the cops that I didn’t have a license.
I spun out in the gravel another time and I was driving a Ford Tempo that belonged to my friend Andrew. Ironically it was a Ford Tempo I had wrecked in that police chase. We were coming down a steep logging road on Mount Cheam outside Chilliwack BC but the brakes were starting to burn, so I wasn’t using them as much as I should have. Suddenly I started to lose control and we fully spun several times, but I stuck with it and regained control. It was good that I did because we would have flown right off a cliff into a very dense forest.
Then there was all the stupid things I did on purpose just living recklessly. Climbing rock faces, setting up ropes tied to the barn rafters so we could swing across the hay mow’s, playing tag on the high beams in the barn and challenging my fear of heights as much as possible.
But it wasn’t until I fell sick with TUBERCULOSIS that I ever experienced actual fear!
I lost 40 pounds in a month and had to have my lungs cut into and drained of 2 litres of fluid. It was like aging 50 years in a week! I was scared then because I had no control of the situation, I was too weak to stand up on my own power. That was actually scary. I had been brave facing death up to that point, I felt that I had power and I could face anything..I always felt that I could fight back when faced with death, I was strong in my heart and in my body.
When I die, I want to die on my feet, proud and facing the danger head on…not wasting away in a hospital bed like I was while sick with tuberculosis. My close friend David Roy Parsons was also sick with TB but he was not scared, he had been sick so many times that he prepared in his mind. He thought he was dying and decided he had lived a good life. Before I was diagnosed the doctors believed I had lung cancer, then they came to me and said, ‘good news and bad news. You have TB, not cancer. It’s easier to treat and you will survive. The bad news is you have to be put on medications for the next year, very powerful anti-biotics and you will not be able to drink alcohol while on these meds…your liver will be vulnerable and it could kill you.’
A year without drinking? I thought KILL ME! I don’t want to live without booze!!
There was many more ways I could have died yet than these I have listed. These are just some of the immediate instances that came to my mind while sitting here on my couch. In all cases I find that there is more in life to be scared of then there is in death…once it happens, it’s over and you never need be afraid again!! Life stresses you out, there are bills to pay, rules to follow, things to keep on top of. Life scares me and gives me anxiety. The thought of having all that stress and responsibility gone forever is kind of exciting…when I die I will never have to follow a rule, pay a tax, do what I am told…everything is over and you can finally rest.
I have always felt worse for the living than the dead. When my friend Tempest was murdered I felt bad for her…but I felt worse for her family and her boyfriend. It was they who really suffered!! While you have a life to live, do not take it for granted…at any minute something can take all you have worked for away from you. Any one of these events that happened to me could have turned out differently…I could have ended up dead. I have been able to survive through everything that has been thrown at me…and for this I will not take my life for granted. I am lucky to have everything I have, especially my lover and my friends.