Retrospect: Smedley

Self-tutoring about people and events from the past: the tutor mentions someone he never knew.

Ages 11-13, I started going to a video arcade. They were the rage then; in a way we were lucky to have one in such a small place.

The arcade was different from other places I went, because anyone might go there. Adults, for instance, went there as well. You’d see them, coming off shift, entering the arcade to play a few rounds before going home.

One such adult was Smedley, who was probably in his early 20s. I never met him, but heard his friend call him “Smedley.” I wondered if it was a nickname. There was no doubt, however, that he went by it.

Smedley seemed like a happy-go-lucky type guy to me. He was usually smiling. He was the kind of guy you noticed, since he was tall. In no other way did he stand out, however; he seemed like any local working man in his 20s.

Smedley liked playing video games and didn’t seem to have a favourite. A friend of his was often there before Smedley, playing whatever, then Smedley would walk in and they’d talk. The friend was more serious about the games, but Smedley never seemed to get why.

Smedley may have been way ahead of his time, because he had somewhat of a “man-purse” in which he kept his quarters. This purse was flat when empty, so you could tell by looking how full it was. He’d often show it to his friends: “Look how fat it is today,” he’d smile — meaning, of course, that he had lots to spend on video games that day.

I moved away after a couple of years, so never saw Smedley again. Yet I sometimes wonder how many years he kept going to that arcade, and what became of him.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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