Mental Health Monday: Billy Joel

Billy Joel has been an open book regarding his psychological disorder(s) throughout his career, and even if you aren’t his No.1 fan, his story will break your heart and make you fall deep in love at the same time. Following dreams, learning to box, trusting the wrong people, hiding from reality, in and out of rehab, riding motorcycles, finding true love and losing it – his biography has all of the ingredients needed to create the Creme Brulee of literature.
One of the most famous aspects of his life is the “Piano Man” story – where he hid from the bindings of a deceitful contract, playing music at a dead-end bar under a false name. My personal favourite element of his biography has to do with his romance with Christie Brinkley, and subsequently his relationship with the daughter they conceived together. Amidst of all of these events, Billy Joel has been open about his mental illness throughout his career, giving insight to his fans and showing support to those who also suffer from Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder (or, manic-depressive) is classified under Mood Disorders by the DSM-5, causing shifts in mood, thinking, and behaviour. Individuals who suffer from it will fluctuate from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. As in most cases, Billy developed an intense substance abuse problem – struggling with an ongoing alcohol addiction. The depressed aspect of the disorder is most easily seen in the history of Billy Joel, and in his music:

“They say that these are not the best of times, but they’re the only times I’ve ever known.”

“We are only what our situations hand us, it’s either sadness or euphoria.”

“Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes, too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens. And if I stand or I fall, it’s all or nothing at all.”

“You can get what you want, or you can just get old.” 

“Today I am your champion, I may have won your hearts, but I know the game and you’ll forget my name if I don’t stay on the charts.”

In 1970, during a low period of the disorder, Billy Joel attempted his suicide. This tells us that living a life with this particular illness was more torturous than the idea of ending everything, all at once. Noting the immense talent, brilliance and authenticity of such a man, it puts the power of mental illness into perspective. Thankfully, the suicide was unsuccessful – his friend rushed him to a hospital before the furniture polish could affect his system. What did this mean? A 20 year-old girl was able to take a trip down to Manhattan to see him play live in 2014…… (flips hair). Along with this, Billy Joel lived on to recieve 6 Grammy’s, has been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (delivered by Ray Charles), voiced the coolest dog in all cartoon history, owns a motorbike repair shop in NYC, sold a house to Jerry Seinfeld and most importantly, wrote songs that, “meant something during the time in which I lived… and transcended that time.”

In short: Billy Joel is the epitome of cool. He is by far my #1 idol and his songs will forever act as a personal touchstone for when I am hopeful, or hopeless.

On the Way to the Bar: A Short Story

It was a brisk fall evening on the night my professor told me, “Never start a story with the weather.” His voice, calm and stern, was unlike any other 70 year-old man I had met before. He always had an appeal to him, regardless of distinctly smelling like a vitamin-B supplement. But now, alone in his office, I was intrigued – I had never kissed an older man before. My inner thoughts resembled something that only occurs on the Spike television network. He was the storage unit I wanted, and I wouldn’t let any bald-headed brothers get in my way. I was ready to make a move. My mind raced as it searched for a way to draw him into my web of lust. Thinking back to the success of my last rendezvous, I asked him if he wanted to get a drink at Fiddle Faddle – the country bar downtown. How could any man refuse the offer: “body shots on me” (both literally and that I would be paying for them)? To no surprise, he accepted, and we headed to the parking lot. He suggested that I drive, joking that the transportation bureau had terminated his license due to his age. I’ve always adored a guy who could make me laugh.
On the way to Fiddle Faddle, our flirting was interrupted by a ride-check program on highway 69 (talk about the irony). Though the police officer was a doppelganger for Mitt Romney, I held back my hormones to show my professor that I was taking our relationship seriously. Still, the officer tempted me with, “Drink tonight Ma’am?” I sternly responded, “No thanks,” and drove away rapidly. I was impressed with my strength. Usually, I would have caved, but I had a feeling I already had a man with a weapon in his pants. As I looked back in my rear-view mirror, I saw red and blue lights flashing. My first thought, “Officer Hotbuns likes a woman who plays hard to get” was quickly extinguished as it came to my attention that I was pulled over for my previous “smart-ass” answer. Professor Rogers (?) and I were asked to get out of the car, where suddenly, the attention was no longer on me. After getting a good look at the professor, the officer called for backup. Soon, my date was being carried away by a swat team (okay, three police women) and I was brought in for questioning. Apparently, my professor had been on the Most Wanted list for stealing cases of vitamin-B from Shoppers Drug mart for the purpose of selling them to his elderly friends. That explained the smell. After providing a statement, I was told that I would not be seeing the professor for a very long time and given a lecture to find out the man’s name before I a) go on a date with him and 2) accept to providing a statement. I then asked if they had any advice on where I could go to find a cute guy, and they asked me to leave. I was at a standstill, so I asked officer Mitt Romney to escort me to Fiddle Faddle for a drink. He said he was married, to a man.
All in all, I am happy to have shared this experience with Professor (something with an H, I swear) but a lesson has been learned – always bring shot glasses and peach schnapps with you when getting your essay revised. You never know what could happen on the way to the bar.

Why Dogs Are Better Than Humans: A Poem

Have you ever met a human who cried when you were gone,
and desired to lick your face at the crack of each dawn?
Have you ever met a human who enjoyed the smell of your toe?
Would let you tie their long, silky ears in an unflattering bow?
Have you ever had a human spread garbage around your home,
and still find them as sweet as a freshly-made honeycomb?
Have you ever seen a human so filled with glee,
that they slide into walls at the sight of thee?
Have you ever found a human on kijiji and said,
I need that human in my life; it will be sheltered and fed?
Have you ever met a human who would sleep on your knee,
or had to courtesy to tell you when they needed to pee?
Have you ever met a human who was unconditionally loyal?
Who thought so highly of you that you almost felt royal?

Well, if you have, marry that person, right now. You have found true love. Also, if you can e-mail me the Kijiji page you found them on, I would appreciate it a lot.

P.s. To say I love my basset hound, Archie, would be like saying “Mel Gibson looks good for his age.” It is the understatement of the century. Like Mel, Archie is flawless, sassy, confusing, mysterious, impetuous and manly. Unlike Mel, Archie is stable and I don’t hypothesize that he will find a way to rule the world one day.

P.p.s. Thank you for looking at my page! I really appreciate it! Have I mentioned that you are looking exceptionally great today?

Doodles: Part 2

Someone you should know about: Heather Rooney

This is a public service announcement: Instagram is not just about posting selfies or “food porn” (p.s. That is frozen peas and a discounted grocery store chicken on your roommates plastic plate. The porn equivalent to that would be a naked photo of George Bush).

Instagram is also the center of the universe for fine artistic creations. Someone I want to bring up first is Heather Rooney, a girl I found on art_collective (my favourite instagram page) about a year ago. She either has the best anti-aging lotion I’ve ever seen, or she is the most gifted 20-something year old in existence. I like to think of the former to avoid severe feelings of inadequacy. Heather’s realism is consistently unbelievable – to the point where she has to post videos of the work process because people actually don’t believe what they see. The amount of drawings she hammers out in a month is also hard to fathom considering the amount of detail and perfectionism that goes into each one. Heather is someone to look out for in the future and the first person to try and contact if you want a commissioned piece done. She will often do portraits of her instagram followers upon request, so if you want an exact replica of yourself done out of pencil crayons, add @heather12ooney!

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Drawing Robin Williams #RIPRobinWilliams

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Places to Go, Things to Do: Seattle

 Seattle is for people who:

– Enjoy fish being thrown in the air by attractive, rugged men

– Are not prone to becoming addicted to clam chowder

– Are searching for some hand-made bling bling to purchase

– Have never seen a meth addict before (and want to)

– Want to finally have that romantic kiss in the rain (Seattle has an abundance of both rain, and fairly attractive homeless people)

– Have a burning desire to see an alleyway completely covered in chewing gum

– Live near the West coast (I mean, I wouldn’t buy an $800 return flight from Ontario to see it, but it’s a great opportunity if greyhound is having a sale).


sea 11

great people

NOTE: If a duckmarine tour bus driver tells you that the Lady Gaga meat dress is in the EMP museum, do NOT believe him. Hours of searching were spent, only to have an employee at the museum look at us like your relatives look at you when you tell them you are a film major.