It was now January 1991, I was about to turn 18, and I was beginning my second semester of grade 12, which would also be my final semester of high school. I was a bit sad to see high school coming to an end, but most of my friends were already gone, so I knew deep down there really wasn't anything left here for me to miss. I was also quite excited to be spending my final months of school in a co-operative work placement program, meaning I'd be "working" a job somewhere instead of going to classes. I use the term working loosely seeing as you don't get paid for the work.
When I initially registered for co-op the previous year, I never even stopped to think about what I wanted to do. I had initially chosen something, which escapes me now, but at the zero hour I changed my mind, expressing my passion to work in the animation industry instead. The powers that be told me they would see what they could do, and I left it in their hands as I waited patiently. I honestly didn't think they were going to get back to me with good news, as my scholastic karma had always been quite negative. Needless to say I was in total shock when the guidance counsellor informed me they had found me a placement at "Lightbox Animation" in Toronto. It was going to be one hell of a commute everyday, but I was so anxious and ready for it!
The first couple weeks of the semester was spent in class preparing ourselves to enter the working world. Mike Myers happened to be in co-op at the same time, but as fate would have it we were in separate classes. I ended up chilling with "The Iceman" most of the time, both in and out of class. Iceman, or Randy, was one of the coolest black guys I ever had the pleasure of knowing, and he was one of the only brothers who saw me for who I was, instead of assuming I was a racist due to my appearance. Randy taught me quite a lot about the fine art of basketball, Jamaican 3 card, and how to get younger girls to buy you lunch. Before long however, our time was through, as both co-op classes entered into the working world. We did still however get to see each other on Mondays, as that was our in class day.
I can vividly remember my mother waking me up for my first day of "work" it was about six o' something in the morning and still dark outside. I went through the motions of showering and getting dressed without barely opening my eyes, and before long I was sitting in the front seat of my mothers car. She worked at a bank in the mall where the bus stop just so happened to be, so she dropped me off on her way to work with enough money to get the go bus & subway to Toronto and back. I had my trusted Walkman with me and some reading material, and I quite enjoyed the commute down.
When I finally exited the subway at King street, I walked up to the cold, snowy streets and began my trek to work. I was starving by this point, and still had time to kill, so I went into a cafe called "The Kit Kat" which was really cool. The place was decorated with an assortment of "Felix The Cat" memorabilia. I immediately thought to myself that Mike Chapman would love this place, as he was a huge Felix fan. I enjoyed some baked goods and chocolate milk, and then headed down the alley behind the cafe, which led me to Mercer street, where I quickly found a small black & grey building with frosted glass windows and a small sign that said "Lightbox Animation" It was time for my first day of "work"...