Posted in Freedom Friday

Milk and Cookies

Everyone has a routine before heading to bed. Mine? Mine is milk and cookies. I know how silly that sounds given I write about some of the most famished flesh eaters in Horror—zombies—but my sweet vice is none other than those tempting delicacies some of us have to avoid. Not me, if I’m shopping, it’s one of the first things on my list. And this is why I like Freedom Friday, because I can get away with telling y’all about my culinary temptations without worrying of judgment by the masses.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know how this addiction started. The earliest memory I have is sitting at the table one bright summer morning eating breakfast only remembering my breakfast was milk and cookies. I love my mom for those happy memories. There’s more to the memory than simply devouring those sugary delights and washing them down with a tall glass of milk. I used to play a game.

How many remember Gilligan’s Island? Oh, you kids will now think I’m an ancient dude with a penchant for nostalgia. Well, yeah, but that’s beside the point. Gilligan’s Island kept me entertained in the early Seventies when coming home from school and I needed some time to wind down. Who am I kidding? I couldn’t wait to dump my books at the door, toss my shoes in the corner, and plant my butt in front of the TV for a good portion of the afternoon before dinner. The show belonged to a long roster of reruns I’d watched almost incessantly including The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, and Hogan’s Heroes. I remember those ones off the top of my head.

Anyway, getting back to Gilligan’s Island—in one episode the castaways had to face the prospect of the island sinking. Of course, being the kid I was, such a scenario fired my imagination to wonder what it’d be like to live on an island that was about to sink. Well, that imagination brought me right back to that early morning memory of my eating cookies for breakfast.

Gilligan's Island Cast
Gilligan’s Island Cast

Can you guess what I remembered? If you guessed I learned how to drive, which in turn inspired my Ranger Martin series, you are utterly wrong. I’m just checking to see if you’re keeping up with my story.

I’d have a big glass of milk in front of me, with a tall stack of chocolate chip cookies to the side. I’d grab a cookie and place it gently lying flat on the top of the milk. Then I’d imagine what it’d be like living on that island as the rushing waters penetrated every crevice and crag to engulf everyone on it, reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island.

I was a weird kid.

My sinking island scenario didn’t work very well with Oreo cookies, but I still had fun sucking the contents of the glass down my throat.

Here I am decades later, still eating milk and cookies before going to bed. I haven’t seen that island sink in a while, yet I’m sure one of these evenings I’ll grab a bag of Chips Ahoy! and go nuts.

Who knows, in the meantime, maybe I’ll even save a few lives from the voracious tidal waves swallowing the populace.


Have you done that with cookies? C’mon, admit it. I won’t tell.

Posted in Freedom Friday


Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Toronto does something to a kid. It made me never give up on my dreams, and it dared me to go beyond what I believed I could do. For Freedom Friday let me tell you about my experience with an epidemic plaguing the schools in today’s enlightened age.

Bullying in our schools.
Bullying in our schools.

If you learn anything from this post, learn one thing—kids don’t change. As we grow older, we think kids are getting worse when in fact we’re the ones noticing their behavior. Once we have kids of our own, our awareness of the evil surrounding us multiplies astronomically.

Kids don’t change. We change.

Someone may ask, why the surge of bullying in the schools? Bullying has existed long before you and I were born. Anyone remember Nazi Germany? But we hear more of it. Well, there are more people on this planet. Also, the internet makes bullying an instant news item with kids recording this stuff on their cell phones and posting it on YouTube.

It’s not the kids.

Bullying in the schoolyard.
Bullying in the schoolyard.

When I went to school in the 1970s, I had my own dilemma of sorts. At eight years old, a group of kids had determined in their little minds that I would suffice as their daily punching bag. Every afternoon I’d attempt to avoid the pack, escaping school by the side exit or waiting until everyone was gone so I could run home. Sometimes I’d make it. But sometimes, I’d get home covered in bruises.

I was afraid to tell my parents because I didn’t want to get in trouble. Most of the times I’d cover my injuries with long sleeves or pants. Once in a while I’d get home and my mother would notice. I’d lie and tell her I fell or something ridiculous like I ran into a baseball during gym class.

They were none the wiser for a long time.

That is, until I came home one day with the biggest shiner this side of the school district. Boy, oh boy, was my dad ever upset. He wanted to know the names of the culprits. He wanted to go down there and beat the crap out of them himself. My mom was calling the school to set up a meeting with the principal. In the meantime, all I wanted was for the whole thing to go away. I’m telling you, folks, my parents were proactive people.

Bullying on the playground.
Bullying on the playground.

I begged them not to get involved. I promised I’d handle it on my own. Well, my dad, being the practical man he was, gave me a piece of advice I’ve remembered to this day.

He said, “Hit back.”

I said, “I can’t.”

“They won’t expect it. If you don’t, they’ll keep hounding you.”

“I can’t.”

“Hit back and they’ll leave you alone. I promise.”

Somehow, those words, “I promise” made all the difference.

The next day after school, they came for me. I ran and they caught me on the sidewalk, surrounding me like the little zombies they were. Pushing and shoving. All I remember is decking the biggest guy square on the jaw. I don’t think I drew blood, but like my dad said, they left me, never to bother me again.

Would I recommend the same solution for today’s bullied? No, I’d recommend for those bullied to go to their parents. If not the parents, the guardians. Should that prove to be difficult, the school guidance counselor or principal. Failing that, the police. Whoever it is, they have to reach out to someone to get help. This is not a struggle for kids to go through alone.

There is no room for bullies in the schools or anywhere else.

Below is a list of helplines for your region:

Canada: Stop a Bully
UK: National Bullying Helpline

Have you had to deal with bullying? What would be your solution in today’s world?