The first time I can remember being called Brain Lazy was in High School by the Library teacher Miss. Blostein. I remember her saying if she could have me arrested for being Brain Lazy she would. Of course being a fifteen year old smart ass I just laugh it off muttering under my breathe “screw you lady”. By the time I quit school at seventeen most of my teachers, but one, were saying the same thing. That one was Mr. MacGregor the History Teacher. He had noticed that it was the one subject that didn’t bore the hell out of me. In fact it did the opposite it awakened a passion. Back in the late 50s and early 60s the History being taught in Ontario was pathetic as it consisted mostly of British History and a smattering of World History thrown in to round off the curriculum. I remember vividly the day the flame was lit with Mr. MacG saying ” to-day we are going to talk about Ancient Greece” and with that the projector flashed a slide of a Greek Hoplite standing in his armour with the horse hair crest topping his Corinthian Helmet. I was captured. That summer I bought my first hardcover book “The Illiad” at a used book store. I also joined the Library, not telling my friends about it. Hell a sixteen year old guy in my neighbourhood didn’t join the Library that was for egg heads and wimps. Dumb asses didn’t realize that a lot of girls went to the Library so while rummaging around for books on Greek History I also met a lot of chicks. The only persons I couldn’t keep my secret from were my parents and they were pleased that I had taken an interest in something scholastic rather than hanging out with the gang and getting into minor trouble. Their pleasure was short lived though as a year later I quit school and went to work in Northern Saskatchewan on a construction site with my Dad. The fire had been banked and would stay smouldering for quite a few years.
The fire burst into flames again in 1971 when I was stationed in Germany and going to the University of Maryland at night. I took a semester in American History and it was then that I realized that History was subjective as what the course was teaching me was not at all what I had learned by reading history books for years. I remember the professor getting a little annoyed when I suggested that from the British view the founding fathers were all traitors and if they had lost would have been hung. Even with that going against me I passed the semester with an “A”. I never finished university as in 1973 I left the Army and went home to my wife and daughter to become just an average citizen working and raising a family. Ninety-eight percent of the History I know is self taught by reading and I have read a lot of history books and somewhere along the line the Brain Laziness that I was accused of disappeared. History is a hobby and for me it is centred around Ancient Greek and Military, with the military part being further broken down to the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, and Korea. The History of the Wars I must admit is somewhat narrowed as it mostly concerns Canadas’ efforts in those conflicts. It is my personal belief that of all the Nations involved in the two World Wars the finest soldiers on many field of battle were the Canadians. For a small, non-aggressive country Canada produces perhaps the finest warriors on the Planet. So for the smart ass kid who was to lazy to apply himself I have managed to develop a deep love of History. A while back my son-in-law asked me why I never became a History Professor and I answered him saying I don’t know. Well I do know it was because, much to my shame, I was ‘BRAIN LAZY”.