Federal Erection
by Mitz
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


(photo by Mike Ward)

Mag & the Suspects - "Erection" [buy]
Jef Barbara - "Erection" [buy]

During the summer of 1997, this retired teacher, Gordon, gave me English lessons at the local community centre before I started my time at Canadian high school. He was very caring and kind, and even though he was 50 years older than me, he seemed like a friend. His teaching style was very 'free jazz'. He lead the conversation like he was Ornette Coleman on saxophone, and I joined him with my rusty saxophone on which I didn't know how to play any notes, and anything that did come out sounded like farts. He was very patient and waited for me to figure out what to say and how to construct rough sentences. I often tried to make jokes, but my vocabulary was so small that the only thing I could do was say back to him what he would say to me, but change it a little. For example, once he asked me with a smile, "Are you working hard? or hardly working?". So I remembered it and when we went for a walk after lunch, I asked him, "Are you walking hard? or hardly walking?". I know it's stupid, but he was nice and smiled at my first attempt at playing with words. On the weekend, he and his wife invited me for lunch and he was making salad. I asked him, "Are you cooking hard? or hardly cooking?" He smiled again, but slightly annoyed, maybe. When we ate, I asked him, "are you eating hard? or hardly...." he stood up and went to get more water. Yes, I was really annoying. That was only thing I could say. It was my fault. Once or twice is ok, but the third time, I would be annoyed too. I was/am very childish like that. But I learned lots from Gordon, and am very thankful.

After a summer of free jazz jamming with Gordon, I started my Grade 10 at high school, I was nervous, but excited. Actually, I'm not sure how I felt. It was a long time ago. 18 years ago. Do you remember where you were on a specific day 18 years ago? Mail chimp, Male champ? Kale Chips. I eat Kale chips, Do you?
Anyway, I started school, and in social studies class, they were talking about the federal election that happened that summer. I was working hard to keep up with the debate going on in class. The teacher knew I was new to Canada and asked me if I was keeping up with the discussion. Everyone looked at me and patiently waited for my reply. I was feeling good about my progress in English with Gordon and proudly stated "Yes, there was a big erection!"...for ESL students from Asia, the pronunciation of "L" and "R" can be challenging. The whole class just stopped. Nothing was moving. No one was breathing. Everything froze. It was only time that time stopped in human history. Carl Sagan can't even explain it.

Jef Barbara - "Soft to the touch" [buy]

Watch his excellent video here

Posted by Mitz at February 11, 2015 9:33 AM

I love your writing, Mitz. :) Fun song choices, too.

Posted by Rita at February 11, 2015 1:16 PM


Posted by Brendan at February 11, 2015 3:21 PM

Some question authenticity. But when you see it, you know it instinctively. MITZ. Mitz is an original. I hope he shares his irreverence here more often.

Posted by Rrose Selavey at February 11, 2015 4:26 PM

Mail chimp/male champ/kale chips made me smile a huge smile, thank you Mitz. Great story.

Posted by Brennan at February 11, 2015 4:53 PM

thank you! I really appreciate it:) Im excited to write here!

Posted by mitz at February 11, 2015 5:31 PM

I really like your song choices too. I don't eat Kale chips, but maybe I'll give them a try too.

Posted by Madalina at February 13, 2015 11:14 AM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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