You may think you have really bad luck, but you’ve never met the kid who broke his arm dancing and fell out of a moving car—twice. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, paying the price for pranking others and getting myself into all kinds of shenanigans. You might not believe this, but Canada changed all of that for me.
For years, my high school took every senior class on a trip to Canada. After three years of jealousy and anticipation, we left the 85-degree Fort Lauderdale weather and landed in negative two degree Montreal weather. A pillow of white snow covered everything as far as the eye could see. For a kid whose closest experience to snow was the hail storm he saw at 10 years-old, this felt freaking incredible.
As far as I knew, Canadians were (and still are) the nicest people on the planet. Our tour guide saved me from a very angry French lady who swore I stole her skis. (Note to self: Write down somewhere that I’ve been angrily yelled at in three different languages).
The trip proceeded smoothly—until the fateful day at La Fontaine Park. Our tour guide let us choose between ice skating or a nature walk. I contemplated ice skating until I experienced a horrible flashback to the last time I skated and almost spilled blood all over the ice.
That view of Quebec looked like something out of a movie. As I stood there overlooking the magnificent city skyline, something clicked in my head. This trip wasn’t just a vacation for seniors. It was so much more than that, really. For most of us, myself included, this was the first time we were away from our entire families. I stood there in quiet pride, knowing I was growing up whether I felt ready or not.
After taking an absurd amount of pictures, we went back to the bus to meet up with all the lame-os who went skating. On the way, my friend and I saw it: a real life Mountie. Donning the full get up complete with his very own horse, Dudley Do-Right stared right at us. So, the master jokester I am, I did what any prankster would do in this situation: Snuck a picture with him in the background and continued walking.
We had walked about six steps ahead of him when we heard a mighty, “You two!” echoed throughout the park. Hell, I’m pretty sure my abuelo heard it back home. We froze, not knowing what to do.
“Come over here,” he yelled. He spun his horse in our direction as he whipped his sunglasses off. His expression reminded me of Anger from Inside Out. We inched our way over to him, frozen sweat stuck to our foreheads.
Great. I just experienced an epiphany and I’m about to get arrested, I thought. What kind of law is that? I never even had to go to one detention in my four years of high school. What the hell will I tell my mom? “Hey how’s it going by the way I’m going to serve in prison for the next six months because I took a picture with a Mountie without his permission!”
We finally reached the Mountie as he towered above us. “Did you two take a picture of me without my permission?” his voice pierced into our skulls. We stood there silently like Madame Tussaud wax statues.
He reached for his walkie-talkie and mumbled something into it. He stared us both in the eyes, his cold blue eyes looking right through us. He opened his mouth, ready to obliterate us and said, “Well why don’t we take a real picture, eh?”
You have got to be kidding me.
I couldn’t get over unable to get over the fact that this Mountie outsmarted the self-proclaimed shenanigans king. I was convinced that nobody could fool me before I fooled them first, but then this Mountie turned my whole world upside down.
Every once in a while you’ll slip on your own banana peel. If I got arrested for such a stupid little thing, my entire life would basically end. I wouldn’t go to FSU or see my family. This trip helped me realized that growing up not only comes with the incredible feeling of independence, but that it also comes with responsibilities. Now when I pull the chair away from under someone, I make sure that it’s my friend and in public, and not The Rock in front of 1,000 people. Don’t worry though, the shenanigans master lives on forever, even if he abides by a set of codes.
What’s the moral of the story, you may ask? Don’t be an idiot in another country.