My Degree from Club Zanzibar

I’m not sure I’ve ever told this story before. Not in any detail.
I already posted this to Twitter but without an explanation.
When I was nineteen I had my application for university and went right to the registrars office to hand it in. Not knowing what exactly to do (I’d been out of school at that point for 2 years and didn’t really do much when I was there to follow up on higher education) I thought going there I could actually talk to someone who would point me in the right direction. This was long before Google, remember, folks.
At that point my mind was torn. I had it drilled into my head that my interests had no practical application and therefore had no justification for being studied. I believed what people told me – that no one went to school to learn how to write a novel. But if I couldn’t go to school to learn how to write a novel, what was the point? Maybe I’d just go to school and then see what I could learn, and not worry about writing a novel.
I’m not sure – I’d have to Google to check, because its been so long – but I think the registrar’s office wasn’t much of a walk from Zanzibar. I went and spent the afternoon and the first part of the evening, drinking beer and talking to strippers, one stripper in particular actually. And I came to the decision that if I couldn’t go to school to be a writer, then there wasn’t much sense of me spending any money on it. I might as well earn money any way I could.
So, it’s twenty years later and I’m coming out of The St Lawrence Market and this beautiful, gawdy, colourful, wonderful photo is staring at me and I am confronted by memories and thoughts and all kinds of images.
And I’m going to hang it in my office like other people would hang their diploma or degree. For me, this is the same thing.

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