September 11, 2010

Toilet Humor

I am sitting on the toilet, trapped in the bathroom with my laptop as a three year old is banging on the door screaming at me to come out to play!

And this is how I got into this little predicament.

I am staying in what is quite possibly the best billet I’ve had on this entire tour so far. I mean I’ve connected with a few of my hosts more so than my current ones to be sure, but the accommodations are just unbelievable. I have my own room on the main floor that is decorated with artwork from what looks to be artifacts brought back from international vacations, (or IKEA). I have a bed, a real bed that is almost the same size as my own back home and just as comfortable. I have more space in this room than I’ve had in the last two homes I’ve stayed in combined. I find myself waking up some times and leaping out of bed, just so I can stand in the centre of the room as the daylight floods the room with its light, and I find myself twirling around in one spot, just because I have room enough to do so.

Quick note, that’s a really dumb way to let the neighbors know you are staying there. So I’ll be keeping the blinds closed for the rest of my stay now.

The folks who are staying here wasted no time in giving me the lay of the land. Bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, living room, bedrooms and children. The first one I meet is their 3 month old son. Potentially, this little guy is going to be my new alarm clock. The other child is a 3 year old little girl who is not familiar of the rule, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Because I am now her best friend in the whole world. The mornings don’t start with the usual, “Good morning mommy,” phrase anymore. It’s now, “Where’s Jason?”

Her parents quickly made the new house rule of, “If Jason’s bedroom door is closed, that means you shouldn’t disturb him.” And this little cutie is nothing if not a good little soldier when it comes to parenthood law. But her new favorite hangout is right outside my door, so as soon as she hears the door slightly creak, she’s ready to pounce!

Another great little feature that this place has is wireless internet. Sweet! No more internet cafes for me! The trick of it is to actually find where the signal is the strongest. Because at any given moment, the signal will decide that it is getting bored staying in one area of the room and will get up and move to the opposite side of the room, losing all your progress in a story you are trying to tell in an email that you stupidly did not write on Microsoft word first and then copy and paste it into a message like you normally do.

And in the few days that I’ve been here, I have actually begun to map out the “hotspots” on my bed spread. Thankfully the blanket is composed of squares so it is really easy to coordinate. Otherwise it starts to look as crazy as it sounds to the untrained eye. One day while I was home alone, I took my laptop out of the bedroom I’m in and tried to find a really huge “hotspot” in the house. Somewhere in here there has got to be a trail of bandwidth that could just throw my little PC into light-speed. It just so happens that it was located in the bathroom.

So I sit on top of the toilet seat and begin to read emails I’ve failed to respond to in a timely manner, begin to download yet another episode of “Kids in the Hall” and “Twin Peaks”, (strange combo, I know) do all the little updates on my computer that I’ve ignored for the longest time, and yes, I ran a virus scan. The really “deep” ones that could take an hour. I Figured I might be in there for a while so why not? Now as I’m sitting on the toilet, I’m not actually using the toilet. And it’s while I’m sitting there that Pavlov’s theory of classical conditioning had a real world application in my life that I can recognize. Try it sometime when you don’t have the urge to go to the washroom. Just sit on it with the lid closed for a few minutes and before you know it, BAWOOM!

Here’s where the imagery gets a little comical. As I am sitting on the toilet, I realize that my feet don’t touch the floor. I know I’m not known for my height and all but I’ve never stayed at a place where this was actually a problem for me. I felt like a child sitting there, if only because I was able to swing my legs back and forth as if I was back on the swing set in my childhood. And then something occurred to me. Even though I had the “urge to purge” sitting on the throne, I couldn’t make it, you know, come out. I pushed and heaved and rocked but it was as if I was just a little shy for some reason.

I felt my legs begin to shake a bit at which point a thought occurred to me. What if it was some sort of psychological fear? Stay with me here, this is how my mind works while I’m on the toilet. I thought, what if the reason I can’t produce is because my feet aren’t flat on the floor? Like it’s some sort of fight or flight response for not being secure on the ground? Sounds ridiculous right? But I’ll tell you this; tucked away beside the bathroom sink was a little plastic purple and yellow step for the little three year old girl to stand on so she would be able to wash her hands. Looking at it I wondered if I was to put that under my feet as I sit here on the toilet that would raise my legs up slightly enough that it will feel like I am on level ground again and maybe, just maybe, that will give me psychological and physical…release!

Well, it worked. My first ever experiment in the field of Psychology and Physiology in one go! And truth be told, with the little stool under foot, I’ve never known this kind of ease and comfort even in my own bathroom. I propped up my laptop upon my lap and began typing away this little discovery when…BANG BANG BANG!!!

“Jason, come out and play!” And you really have to imagine that being said in a high-pitched, sing-song kind of way to get the full effect. Which is borderline cute and scary as hell at the same time. As luck would have it, I was on the toilet in case it was the latter of those two options. So now I’m in a jam. I am sitting on the toilet with my pants around my ankles, I have a plastic stepping stool under foot, a laptop that is most certainly giving off a light that makes this whole scenario look all the more suspect, and the only thing that separates me from the outside world is a door, which at that very moment I discovered did not have a lock on it.

I’m now staring at the three year old standing in the open door. Apparently it’s no big thing for this little girl to barge into the bathroom when it was just her and her parents. She has a look that conveys in no small way, “Ooh…you are so my bitch now.” Because all she would have to do is call out for her mom and I either stay seated and have them discover this whole suspicious scene the way it is, or I try to get up and pull up my pants as their small child looks on in horror at the half naked bald man with a computer in tow.

In a voice that sounds too far off in the distance to be my own, I asked this little angel, very kindly, to close the door and I’d be out in a minute to play with her. She giggled manically as she slowly shut the door again; never taking her eyes off of mine the whole time it creaked to a close. Fucking. Freaky.

Now I have to figure out how to get out of the toilet, while trying to hide the laptop, lest the parents are now waiting outside the bathroom door, just like their young daughter in the mornings, in order to confirm that I am indeed a pervy creep who does things in the bathroom when they are not around.

You’ll know the outcome if my next little Misadventure is titled, “Funny things I learned while being arrested.”

September 05, 2010

The Reverend

I‘m not sure why I haven’t shared this little tid bit of information with all of you, because this is a pretty big piece of history that really does shed some light on the inner workings of my mind. I’m not exactly sure how it came back to me all of a sudden. All I know for sure is that somehow I got onto the subject of nicknames with someone, and after comparing some choice nicknames reviewers have given a lot of my fellow Fringe performers and I over the years, this story came screeching out of left field.

Between the first and second year of my massage career, we had our summer break. I was working as much as I could at the bars I was tending, trying to save enough to pay off my loans for second year. On my down time from working long hours into the night, I would usually unwind by watching a bit of TV before crashing for the night. As it happened, there was a rerun of the show “Friends” on when I got home one evening.

I don’t remember many of the details but the major plotline was that one of the characters was getting ordained as a minister online so he would be able to perform the service for two of the other “friends”. As soon as it left the actors lips, I had to give my head a shake. No, that can’t be. That’s not possible! To become a, (what a priest?) that took years of study and celibacy didn’t it? This had to be TV make believe. But the idea wouldn’t leave my mind. And when you are really bored and you can’t find any decent porn on the internet, you begin to investigate these little notions.

So there I was on a summer afternoon, trolling online to find out if it was indeed possible to be ordained as some sort of leader in a religious faith online. It took one search. One.

There it was: Online Ministries of the Christian Faith.

Now to be fair, I did not consciously search out one faith. I simply typed in online minister or something and this site was the first one I got. After that I was too busy pissing myself laughing over the ridiculous idea that this was in fact possible. So there very well may be online Catholic/Jewish/Buddhist/Scientology/Mormon/Mayan faiths that do this as well. But no matter what the religion it was that I was reading about, what happened next was bound to happen any which way you slice it.

I have never subscribed to any one faith. This coming from a kid who spent a number of years in a Catholic school. Mind you that was only because they had a kick ass drama program, but that’s beside the point. And because of the fact I have no definable faith, I really can’t have a beef with any one religion or another, because in my opinion, they are all kind of silly. Not the people who are of whatever faith, just the institutions themselves. Some of you who have read my previous story on the Mayan Civilization know why I have distaste for religious faiths. And with that in mind, the idea that follows was kind of hard to escape.

I thought, “So…can ANYONE do this? I mean how do they know that I am a member of their faith? Do they do background checks? I could be a total nut job who got a crazy idea after watching an episode of “Friends” and is now going to totally fuck with the institute of Christianity just for shits and giggles for all they know.”

Only one way to find out.


Question number one: Do you believe in a higher power?

Wow. That is such an open ended question. Nowhere did it say, “Do you believe in OUR higher power,” just “A” higher power. And truth be told, I do believe in a higher power. If you break it down scientifically, the one thing that defines living from dead, that one little spark that no one can identify that makes us “turn on” for the first time and then evolves into a personality until death do you part? Whatever it was that made that little spark come on for the first time, be it happy accident or evolution, THAT is my definition of a higher power. What people call the human soul, whatever created that, is the higher power. Not some imaginary God that is wrathful or loving depending on what you do or do not eat in life.

So in short…yes I do!


Next Question: If you were to be ordained as a minister, what title would you prefer?

And then they listed a whack load of titles.

- Father

- Vicar

- Minister

- Reverend

- Parson

- Pope

Holy shit! I could be called the Pope!?!?

Just kidding.

So I thought, “Reverend sounds kinda bitchin’,” so that ones the winner.


Next Question: Would you care to make a donation to the Christian Faith?


If I did make a donation, THEN I could have chose “Pope” as a title. It’s like the equivalent of upgrading to the “Pro” mode for any computer program. So after the last question I had to fill out my personal information, phone number, mailing address and such. And after I hit the “send” button, I felt certain that someone on the other end of the Christian hotline was getting this request and some red flags would be going up. So I waited for the inevitable phone call to personally tell me that my application had been rejected and that I was going to burn in a lake of fire with all the other sinners.

But no phone call came. And two weeks later, a package arrived for me at my parent’s house. I opened it up and pulled out a brown piece of parchment. In big huge script letters it said, “Jason Brasher…blah blah blah…hereby ordained as Reverend…”


Yes, that was my first decree upon being accepted into the Christian faith. After going over the documents, trying to find something that would make it clear that I had to send in some proof of person or some money that I owed one organization or another, I found nothing. There were some papers that gave me instructions on how to get started building my place of worship and how to go about gathering followers. Other than that I found one document that stated all of the powers I now possessed.

Two images hit me after reading the words “powers” and “possessed”. Like the battle between good and evil, I had powers, (not unlike Superman) and yet I was possessed, (not unlike the Exorcist). My powers were limited when compared to superheroes though. My powers included the legal right to marry, bury or baptize anyone across Canada and within 48 states in the U.S. But the hell I could raise with this knowledge would be on par with the devil!

My first thought was to pack up the car and drive down to each and every one of those states and cities that ban same sex marriage and just start lining people up for my “mobile marriage”. My God has no rules and regulations about who you can and cannot love! But something more sinister emerged after that brilliant idea.

As I said, I was bartending at the time, and I was paying my way through college. Now I am also skilled enough, (apparently) to have yet another source of income. I stood up and paced around the house for a good long while, and then it came to me. I am going to move to Las Vegas!!!

I was going to open a bar and call it, “Worst Hangover Guaranteed”. The customers would come in and sit at the bar, where I would wow them with my juggling bartender skills and my mad mixed concoctions. After a few rounds they would get a proper buzz going, where upon I suggest heading to the back of the bar where I would have a spa set up. There they would get a nice relaxing massage, which would increase the amount of endorphins in their bloodstream, (which would get them high as kites). Feeling good and relaxed, and slightly pissed, it then becomes a no-brainer that the person they met at the bar that very night is the love of their life. Well wouldn’t you know it, there is a chapel in this very locale!

The next morning they would wake up with a screaming hangover, a total stranger in their bed, a ring on their finger, but their sciatica would be gone! And I…would make a triple income!

Come September, I went back to school and met the gang from the year before. I listened to everyone tell stories about their adventures over the summer, places they went, things they saw, the tan lines and sunburns from a summer well spent. And then one of the guys turned to me and asked, “So what did you do Jay?”

“I found God and became a minister.”

Naturally, this got the attention of everyone in ear shot. And after telling them the story I’ve just told you, it goes without saying that “The Rev.” would become my nickname for the rest of the year.


September 02, 2010

Chinese Dolphins

As many of you know, I have been on tour across Canada along the Fringe festival circuit this summer doing live performances of my stories. What some of you may be unaware of is a side project I have been doing from the outset. For each city that I perform in, I get a tattoo done along my right leg to represent this time in my life. But it doesn’t stop there.

I went one step further and considered this Fringe festival business that offers all the artists and acts the freedom to do whatever say whatever and sometimes “expose” whatever. Considering that I was going to have an artist working on my tattoos, I thought it only fitting to allow them all the same kind of freedom. Now, some thoughts may arise when you read that. Like, what if they want to do an entire mural across your leg? So yes, I had some guidelines that needed to be followed, to allow for equal space, an appropriate budget, and within my scope of taste.

These were the parameters:

- The tattoo had to be no more than 2x2 inches.

- The tattoo could only be in black ink. I wanted to stay pure.

- Nothing offensive. That’s why I was blessed with a mouth and freedom of speech.

Other than that…GO NUTS!

Of course my fear took a hold of me the day before getting my first one done. I’ve been working on half naked people for a number of years now and I’ve seen some very unique tattoos. But for the most part I have seen the bottom of the barrel tattoos on more than one individual. What are some of the bad ones you ask? So glad you brought it up.

If you have a Disney cartoon character or a Looney Toons character, that is dumb.

If you have a Chinese or Japanese symbol and you believe it to be the symbol for peace/love/hope/strength/independence/honor…and are not Chinese or Japanese? Guess what? Your tattoo is the symbol for “combo number 5”. That is dumb.

If you have a dolphin…it is dumb, and so are you.

I realize this is very harsh and some of you who are reading this who have one or all of the above designs somewhere on your body are now deleting me from your favorites list and are preparing to curse me out. But for those of you who are familiar with my tales know that I usually look like the bigger dipshit by the end of my tales.

Now then, tattoo number one was a very sweet design. The image was taken from a graphic novel titled “Blankets”. A book that if you have not read, run do not walk to any book store and pay whatever the price is. Read it and then thank me later. The artist had a background in cartoon illustration and comic book art. I am a bonafide comic geek and after we sparred with what titles we enjoyed, we discovered a mutual love for this book. As it turned out, Montreal was not the kindest of cities to start my tour off with. I was a bit bummed and in need of a hug at the time, so when the piece depicted the two main characters embracing each other, it called out to me in more than one way.

So tattoo number one rocked! (And no…this does not count as a cartoon tattoo as previously mentioned. I’m getting there)

On to tattoo number two.

I walked in and the artist in Ottawa had been sketching an original design that was influenced from an artist whose work is in almost everything this artist has done since. THIS was more like it! He showed me the tattoo and I have to say, even now it’s hard to describe. It’s what looks to be the skull of some demonic bird that has a 3D eyeball looking out from between the jaws of the bird. It looks totally badass! And I’ve always wanted to feel badass in some way, (all 150 lbs. of me). The only thing bad about it…it was going to be HUGE! At least double the size of my last tattoo. But, the guy was so into the idea of a cross Canada tattoo that he reduced the price just for me. How could I refuse?

So two for two! Let’s move on to Toronto.

This is where things went slightly sour. I arrived at the shop and was greeted by the cashier, another artist working that day, and the girls who sold merch in the downstairs area. My artist for that day however…was still sleeping. Apparently he was still hung over from the night before. Oh and the tattoo, yeah, he never gave it a second thought after I booked with him. So he has nothing to offer. So on the spot, after looking through some magazines and previous work the studio did, with the help of a different artist as well, we picked out this cute little Betty Page-esque pin-up girl. By that time they kicked my artist out of bed and he stumbled into the room. He gave my leg one look to see what other artists have done before him, criticized them all for the after care they chose to offer me, then told me to wait till he was done his smoke break to begin work.

Wait…break? Dude you just woke up! You need a break!?

After a half hour of complete silence in the studio, this guy looks up at me and says, “Kay, were done.” Which sounded more like he was saying, “Kay, get the fuck out.” Half the studio came in to check out my tattoo and talk about the cross country idea. The staff was amazing! The artist I had…could not have been a bigger dink.

Ah well, tattoo number three is sweet!

Winnipeg. My home sweet home. Originally I had discovered that a childhood friend of mine had since become a tattoo artist in the city, so I thought it would be like coming full circle in a way to have her do my next tattoo. But things sometimes go awry in life and I had to reschedule with a different studio at the last minute. A very nice woman brought me in and agreed to do the tattoo my friend was supposed to do in her place. What it was supposed to be was a copy of that little logo that you would see at the end of any “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Firefly” episode. The Mutant Enemy guy that goes, “Grrr…Argh”. My love for zombies and my love of Joss Whedon come together. And the artist did it in a way that it looks like the little guy is chasing after the pin-up girl. AWESOME!

The one thing that stood out about this one was the studio I had to be in. I’m used to the studios where they have the dental chair you sit in, while images of all these badass, full color body tattoos hang on display. Pictures of biker boys showing off their latest works, “Black Label Society” logos on the shelves, maybe trinkets from old school horror movies, and always…death metal playing on the radio.

This time however, I am brought to the back room and told to take a seat in the dentist chair. The bright pink. I take a look at my surroundings and notice that the walls are decorated with giant flower stickers, posters of Disney Princesses, fun little bobble heads, and rainbows for the boarder around the walls. This was where Strawberry Shortcake gets her tats done. The artist told me that they used this room to pierce all the little kids. This way they feel a little less intimidated. But for me, I was feeling a little emasculated.

Why can’t I go in the big boy room? So now my “Buffy” tattoo is becoming less cool and more girly by the minute.

But when all was said and done, it is a wicked addition. Tattoo number four, DONE!

Tattoo five. Edmonton. The crown jewel of the Fringe festival. I arrived at the studio and met my artist for the day, an older artist who has been on the scene for decades. At first he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for me. Looking at his arms, which had so much art along them you were hard pressed to find a sliver of untouched flesh, I noticed a lot of the work was of classic movie monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolfman. So I offered the idea of doing a horror monster with his own kind of flair. He drew up a sketch within ten minutes and away we went.

Now to be honest, I wasn’t sold on the style at first. It looked like something along the line of graffiti art, or something that a kid would have on the back of his skateboard. Neither of these ideas appealed to me. But when all was said and done, it is one of the better looking tattoos I have so far.

Tattoo number five is wicked cool! Onto Victoria!

And here…is where things go awry. I walked in to the little studio and was greeted by the artist I was to work with. Now one thing I should mention is that getting my show into Victoria was a last minute deal, and booking this appointment was another last minute deal. This guy was the only one out of all of Victoria that had time to fit me in. This could be looked at as good fortune or a great, big warning sign.

He is very excitable and really eager to show me the idea he came up with after I contacted him. This wiry little hippy went bouncing back to the studio and came back out with his rough sketch. I was so pumped that this guy was into the idea, and just vibrating with anticipation for what he was going to offer. And then he showed it to me.

“Is…is that a dolphin?”

“No man, no. It’s a whale!”

He said whale. I know he said whale. But all I could see was a very large dolphin. I looked up at him completely horrified and saw that he was grinning from ear to ear. Now it’s at this point I became torn in two. I was at the crossroads so to speak. I am trying to decide if I am the guy who sticks to his principals and keeps his word by allowing creative freedom to be expressed by each of these individuals. Or am I the guy who really doesn’t want a dolphin tattoo?

I should mention that even though I criticized people who have Asian symbols on their person, I do in fact have a tattoo written in Thai down my leg. Which I got in Thailand, and I know for a fact that it is the name of a small village and it’s adjacent waterfall where I spent one of the most awe inspiring afternoons while down there. So how much pride would I lose by adding a freaking dolph…WHALE! It’s a friggin’ whale!

A took a deep breath, tried to focus on the death metal in the background and said, “Alright…let’s do this.” And I went sobbing into the dentist chair.

When I got back to the billets place that I’m at in Victoria, I spent the rest of the afternoon moping around and drinking a ridiculous amount of Pepsi. It wasn’t until one of the residents of the place, Caitlin, came home that my spirits picked up. She immediately asked about the tattoo, which I started off by explaining to her my dislike of certain tattoos in the Asian/Fish genre, and the whole ordeal of the artist’s revelation of the dolphin/whale leading into my personal dilemma of sticking to my guns.

And then I pouted and took a swig of Pepsi.

But, Caitlin then told me that in myths or legends held by many native or aboriginal cultures, they deemed that the whales are the keepers of stories over the years. Whales hold onto the history of the world and the tales that people weave.

My eyes lit up slightly, “Yeah, and this does look a bit tribal doesn’t it?”

“It sure does, big guy.”

Caitlin to the rescue! Of course I may have forgot to tell her about the part where the guy admitted to me that this whale is also on the label of his favorite beer. But hey…keepers of the stories!

And in two weeks, I’ll have the seventh and final tattoo. Which I have personally picked out to round out the whole set.

For those of you familiar with the film “The Seven Samurai”, the flag they bare to represent the group of masterless warriors, is six circles and one triangle done with a Japanese calligraphy brush. Seven symbols to represent the seven individuals.

And seven symbols to represent the seven destinations for this lone warrior.