Retrospect: “super pills”

Self-tutoring about people and events from the past: the tutor reflects…

When I moved to the base on PEI in summer ’76, it started out really fun. As I’ve hinted elsewhere, the air slowly escaped from the balloon, but it started out full: That first summer was great.

The bully I refer to in my post from Dec 30, 2020 was even nice – to me – summer of ’76. Even then, he was always the leader. So he was the time I’m about to relate.

It was Saturday morning: We’d just gone to the base store to get some candy, like we always did Saturday mornings. (Bully0 got me started on that routine, to which I would bring others over the years, after Bully0 and I had parted ways.) The day was brilliantly sunny, and the four of us – Bully0, his younger brother, me, and my neighbour – were behind the store, standing on a paved road no longer used, eating our candy. We always went there.

Bully0 noticed that we all, independently, had bought rockets – those rolls of powery candy pills. I haven’t had one since I was around 12, but back then we all liked them.

“I’ve got an idea,” he announced. “Let’s be superheroes.”

We all liked the sound of that. “How?” we asked.

“Every time an event comes up that needs us to be super, we’ll each eat one of our ‘super pills’ – these candies. Then we’ll be able to carry out the mission.”

The rest of us, all one or two years younger than Bully0, loved the idea. Carrying our bags of candy, we set off, following Bully0 towards our first adventure.

Bully0 wandered around the base. At intervals, he would bring up some imaginary event that supposedly was happening around us. “We need to be super,” he would announce: we all knew that to mean to take one of our ‘super pills’ – one of the rocket candies. Then, with impromptu dialog, we’d each explain the “super” role we played to help mitigate the disastrous situation threatening to unfold.

It was a great game – one of the best Saturday morning/afternoons I’ve lived. However, at one point when we were all meant to take a ‘super pill’, my neighbour said, “I’m all out.”

Since the rest of us each had three left, that could only mean my neighbour had been taking ‘super pills’ at times other than the mandated ones. The game ended at that point: somehow, we couldn’t continue “one hero down.” Our momentum lost, the group soon broke up. My neighbour and I meandered home.

How fragile human synchronicity is. I always wondered if we’d ever play that game again, but we never did. I continued my Saturday morning trips to the candy store; by the following summer, it was with new neighbours who’d replaced my earlier one. By then, Bully0 had become a bully for real.

There were many good times to happen still, but none quite like that first summer, including that bright Saturday morning when we all took “super pills” to save the world around us.

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

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