The Ruttle Report - Life is So Simple When You're Ten

Wasn’t life just a whole lot simpler when we were all 10 years old?

It had to be, right?  Mom and Dad took care of all the bills, you didn’t have to worry about where your next meal was coming from or the clothes on your back, you didn’t have any headaches when it came to a full-time job, and you just lived your life covered by a protective coating of blissful ignorance when it came to the ‘real world’ out there.

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When you were 10 years old, you were simply expected to get up, get dressed, go to school, come home, maybe do some chores, and rinse and repeat.

You did this during the week, and you and your friends looked forward to Fridays so much because you knew school would be over for a couple of days, at which point it’s the weekend, and that’s your time to shine, baby!

The possibilities just seemed so endless when you were 10, or at least they seemed endless at such an impressionable age.

At some point last week while I was browsing Facebook, I came across a post written by an old Victoria film school chum of mine, Jesse.  He wrote about what a typical Friday evening would be like for him when he was 10 years old and growing up in Alberta.  It was almost like a ‘Day in the Life Of…’ sort of story, and even though I only met Jesse in 2005 when we were both 20, his reflection of his own childhood years got me right in the feels, and I made sure to tell him that.

So, I crafted my own take on what 10-year old Derek could sometimes be seen doing on any given Friday night.  Hope you enjoy, and if you grew up in a small town, maybe you even relate…

The year is 1996. You're 10 years old. It's a balmy +10 degrees in mid-April, which means that with the spring melt there's plenty of water sloshing around, which also means plenty of mud on the grid roads coming into town. You've just left school on a Friday afternoon and you're walking home. It hasn't quite registered all the way with your developing mind and conscience that Conquest School will sadly no longer exist in a matter of months.

You live only about a strong football throw's away from school, so it's a short, wet walk. Your parents promised you and your brothers that there'd be a drive over to Outlook after school to rent movies and get snacks. Your mom interrupts your dad's quiet time of sitting in his easy chair and reading his copy of The StarPhoenix to drive the three of you over, which he eventually agrees to do because, well, Mom's in charge of cooking the homemade pizza and you can't remember the last time Jack ever channeled his inner Papa John's.

The first stop in Outlook is at the Raylen Motel to take advantage of their "5 Movies for 5 Days" rental special. After much quibbling over what to select, the three of you are soon walking out of the building with a fat stack of some VHS variety. It's a safe bet that 3 or 4 out of the 5 tapes are rated-R movies, but we've been renting from the Raylen forever and most people just turn a blind eye to the whole "No Children Under 17" BS anyway. Next up is the D&E convenience store for Barq's root beer, Coke, Old Dutch potato chips and some pre-supper slushes. Dad gives one of you a few bucks extra to grab him a 6/49 because dammit, he's getting something out of this errand that involves stuffing his kids with junk food and violent entertainment. Dad inevitably grabs one of the slushes on the drive home to "see what these taste like"; Jack's go-to 'Dad move' is stealing a handful of your snacks under the pretense that he's never tried it before, even such non-exotic foods such as popcorn, chips and maple leaf cookies.

After a few slices of 'za for supper, soon enough you're herded down to the basement by Mom and Dad, armed with your snacks, cold drinks and stack of movies. The adults are having Card Night with the Olsons and the Barringtons, who've just arrived in the house. Your parents allow the three of you to stick around to say hi, and Cece Olson has one of his handy tin cans of chocolate cigars that he adds to your pile of junk food. The cards come out, the drinks start flowing, and you're "banished" to the basement for the evening. But, man oh man, what an evening. Nintendo, movies, snacks, root beer. After some Super Mario 3, it's time to switch over to some R-rated blood and guts. First up, 'Predator 2'.

Life is good in Conquest, Saskatchewan.

Yes sir, life was just so much simpler when we were all ten.

For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.

© The Outlook

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