Have you ever played the Word Association game? You know the one I mean. I’m sure your parents played it with you and/or your siblings on long, boring road trips. Basically it’s about exchanging words that are associated together. Here’s an example: Let’s say someone says “Dog”. The next person might then say, “Cat”. And the next person might say, “Fur”. And on and on it goes.
Well, I think I’ve inadvertently come up with a new twist on this old classic: Thought Association. It happened, quite unintentionally, while I was watching the Olympics, specifically the Jamaican sprinters.
- The Jamaican team made me think of jerk chicken. What can I say? I like spicy food and West Indian cooking, in particular.
- This made me think of scotch bonnet peppers, which should come with a warning. The deadliest of the deadly, even a small bite can set you ablaze.
- This made me think of Michael, a Trinidadian art director who used to work for me. Whenever he went home for a visit he always returned with a bottle of his mother’s delicious but lethal hot sauce for me.
- This made me think of a Bajan I once knew, who invited me to one of his parties. He hadn’t told me, as he kept topping up my drink, that I was slugging back over-proof rum. Instead of getting loaded, I got tired. I happened to be in the one and only bathroom in his house when the need to lay down hit me like a ton of bricks; and the soft, plush carpet covering the tile floor was just too tempting for me. Sadly for everyone else no one could use the facilities until I woke up, about an hour later.
- This made me think of a pot-luck lunch we had at an ad agency I worked for. There was a lot of diversity in our group; and, to make it interesting, we were each asked to bring something that was specific to our culture. The Managing Director’s assistant, who is from Jamaica, brought sugar cane. While most of us were hoping for rum punch, it was delicious none the less.
- This made me think of a vacation I had in Bequia (The Grenadines) — and an absolutely insane reaction I had to either mosquito or sand flea bites. About 4 days into my holiday I woke up with an itch that was unbearable. When I looked down at my arms I let out one hell of a scream. When the friends I was visiting ran into my bedroom they, too, shrieked in horror. My arms — from my fingertips to my shoulders and my legs — from my toes to my behind, were covered, and I mean every inch, with red, hot, swollen bumps. You could not see my skin. Even with prescription medication from the village doctor, it took weeks for them to subside.
- This made me think of how soothing I find the sound of the ocean. I do. In fact, I love the sound of water, period. Even pouring out of a tap.
- This made me think of the different kinds of music the Olympic athletes listen to while they’re getting ready for their events. I wonder who listens to what.
- This made me think of “No Woman No Cry“, one of my favourite Bob Marley songs.
- This made me think I’d like to rent a cottage on a beach somewhere secluded, so I could finish writing my book. A month or two would do it, I’m sure.
- This made me think of all the Aeroplan points I must use before I start to lose them.
- This made me think of how crazy the London airports must be today, with all the athletes, officials, press and spectators returning home.
- This made me think of what a fabulous time I had when Montreal hosted the Olympics, in 1976. I was still living there at the time, and remember how interesting and exciting it was to see so many different people, from so many different countries, dressed in their native garb, filling the streets at all hours of the day and night. I remember it was suggested to those of us who lived there to stock up on those tiny Canadian flag lapel pins, so we’d have something to exchange. I wish I could find mine — I had dozens and dozens from all over the world.
- This made me think of my aunt, who still lives in Montreal. I really should give her a call.
AND TO THINK THIS ALL STARTED WITH USAIN BOLT!