Tennisette, Brendon Grobler, and Dr Phil.

There’s a part selfish reason for this post. I’m so damn sick of seeing Get Nested Twitter replies with Firefox. Only one more unwise word and then it can consider itself pasted with a big fat boot off the homepage.

While jamming track 4, the particularly rad and ethereal “I Still Care for You” off Ray LaMontagne’s latest – Gossip in The Grain in the car this morning – I thought of Dr Phil. As I often do of course.

Well, not Dr Phil exactly – although his mustache is scarily hypnotizing, but rather something he said. One of the + ticks to student life back in the day was a slumbering noon wake up and daytime TV and coffee with ‘ol boy Phil. Good times.

Promoting his next best-selling book or set of bumper stickers he came up with a concept that a person’s life is largely defined a set number of pivotal moments. I’m not sure, it could’ve been 5 or 7. As marketers or blog mavens know, putting a number to a title sells more cupcakes.

So while contemplating Phil’s eyebrows somewhere in Paarden Island at a red light to the rhythm of my right turn indicator, I thought of my own moments. Only one really stands out.

On a side note, I really love driving through Paarden Island – its a shitty industrial area, and if I parked there my car will probably be wheel-less and standing on bricks in 5 flat, but I’ll save those thoughts for a blog post titled “Stupid information that nobody gives a shit about”. Stay peeled for that one. Gonna be a corker.

So back to my moment: Table View primary school. I was about 6 years old.

An hour after the final school bell, the place was the setting of a make believe suburban ghost town western. Empty apart from the random janitors armed with a mop and laboring displeasure, and the library teacher who always stays late to colour code books with stickers and sneak in a passage from her secret order of Mills & Boon that never made the student rack.

Instead of the openness of a playground now kicked open for me to stomp around in, it felt closed and confined. The echoing corridors with shiny buffered linoleum type floors – smelling of ammonia cleaning products and pencils and wooden desks and day old sun-baked sandwiches hidden under desks was a reminder.

I made my way to pick up the one poor left blue and white striped suitcase that lined the passage – the one with a Mr Tickle (of Mr Men) sticker proudly displayed on top.

Tennisette time! Which is basically tennis for babies – where we use a tiny all wooden bat like a beach bat on miniature gravel courts. I was the king of tennisette amongst the uncoordinated group, and was ready to unleash all kinds of whip ass on my little friends.

Kitted out in my little white shorts and dreaming of being Pat Cash winning Wimbledon, I set out spacily towards the end of the corridor.

And that’s when I had my moment – one of the most pivotal and profound of my life.

I dropped my bat, my suitcase, my togbag, and stared blankly ahead to the end of the corridor. I really have no idea how long I stayed transfixed like that.

And the strange thing is that I don’t really think that I can convey in words or in writing exactly what I thought or felt.

It was a realization that my name is Brendon Grobler – that’s who I am. That I’m this person, and I have a very defined form and identity. I repeated the words in my head: “I am Brendon, I am Brendon”

I know that that all might sound silly, but the profoundness of this wasn’t in this realization (I wasn’t in the “Special” Class where arithmetic and language skills were replaced with knitting and crafts), but rather how absurd the idea was – that I was this person called Brendon – that that was my definition, that was my only framework to move in.

So yes, I can be a slave to logic, and I think that anyone with a bit of smarts is rightly seduced by logic, but after that moment, I know that in spite of any science or calculation of mechanics of what we cumulatively know and what we think is real, that I am right. I know that if Einstein or Hawking sat me down and spread out the sweetest most convincing argument of how I am in fact this person with a name, I would listen and smile in my own knowing.

So, I blame Dr Phil. Not for any other reason than I now have the hankering to grow a bit fat ginger caterpillar of a mustache, and dye my eyebrows (again).

So while contemplating Phil's eyebrows somewhere in Paarden Island at a red light to the rhythm of my right turn indicator, I thought of my own moments. Only one really stands out.
  1. Chris M says:

    You write seriously well dude.

  2. pbdphoto says:

    I used to hate tennisette when I was a kid. I always ended up playing against the coaches son and getting horribly thrashed. His name was Paul De Zoo (not sure of spelling) and he ended up a hot shot provincial tennis player.
    Don’t think I have ever had a light bulb moment in my life ether.

  3. Brendon says:

    @Chris: Not sure what to say to that :) Thanks dude.

    @Pat: You couldn’t have been that bad if you always got matched up with the hot shot.

    I realize it was a typo, but I quite like “life ether”. I might steal that when I’m feeling hardcore.

    I think we all must have epiphanies along the way, even if they aren’t articulated into solid thoughts or registered consciously. Although I could be wrong :) Just a guess.

  4. pbdphoto says:

    The “ether” was a typo!! Most of my spelling mistakes aren’t (my spelling is shocking) but that really was a typo.

  5. Chris says:

    It’s a very strange feeling to realize that you are a soul sitting in a body, staring out at the world. Almost as if it were an accident.
    Very good post. I came from two degrees of seperation to your blog.
    I am from Colorado springs Colorado.
    How neat that I am typing to a web designer in South Africa. Just sayin.

  6. Brendon says:

    Well, thanks for stopping by to comment Chris. Just part of the awesomeness of the internet.

  7. Cath says:

    Wow. I just read this. And you made me remember a moment like this in my life.

    I was 7. We’d just moved to a new town, away from everything we knew, I was in a school where noone understood me (and I didnt get them at all)…and sports day practice had started (and well, i sucked at sport so badly it made me nervous just looking at those green teesav shorts they deign upon us to wear)…and i turned around and came out of the little room where i was getting changed…and there was noone around.

    i yelled. i screamed. school was deserted.

    (what i didnt know was that they had all gone across the road to the sports field)

    and i ran around yelling and crying.

    until a woman found me. a cleaning lady.

    and she said “who are you?”

    and i said “i dont belong here”

    she said “you’re probably right”

    and led me across to the sports field.

    I was.

    a week later my folks told us we were moving back home again.



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