My Friggin’ Life: part 1

So I have this fancy cool blog now. I’m super happy with it. But now I have to actually USE it.

Back in 2004 ZBQ was a rapidly growing clothing line. I’d been posting general site updates for several years by this point, to let visitors know what was going on in ZB World. But in ’04 I decided to make things a bit more personal, and start blogging about my personal life a bit too.

Well people seemed to like it- I got a lot of positive reinforcement and feedback that people were enjoying it. But by 2008 or so ZB’s fortunes had flagged, I’d moved the blog over to Blogger and my life was very busy. So blog posts from that point on had very little if anything to do with my life.

Fast forward to 2024. I finally get a decent blog going again, and I’m super happy with it. And one day I start thinking again…. hmmm I should really start blogging about my life again.

Not that I think my life is anymore fascinating than anyone else’s- I don’t. Not that I think I have some profound insights to share that will change your life. I might, but I probably don’t. I guess the real reason I want to talk about my life is that this world I present on the web site and the blog is not real. I mean the clothes are real, I’m real (I think), and “the struggle is real.” But ZBQ is not some international clothing brand with a million social media followers and endorsement deals and celebrities vying for a chance to wear it. It’s a 54 year-old dude named Jason who lives in a small community called Lower Wedgeport Nova Scotia and works 2 jobs to make ends meet. And I feel like the ZBQ story is not complete without talking about that guy. In fact I think it’s even sort of important.

So maybe it would be best if we just did a quick recap on my friggin’ life since the last time I was regularly talking about it online, which was way back around 2008.

To understand 2008 we will need to rewind just a little bit. The previous 2 years had been a wild rollercoaster ride. In late 2006 I shut down my print shop in Halifax NS to pick up and move across the country to Victoria BC, so I could live close to my 6 year old son. His mother and I had been apart for years and she had recently re-married, and her new husband was an RCMP trainee who had been stationed in Victoria for his initial work term. I made the decision to shutter my entire life on the east coast and follow them halfway around the world. This was not entirely as self-sacrificing as some may have assumed at the time: I had become extremely burned out after years of spending nearly every waking hour in my print shop, ZBQ was having a lot of financial problems and this provided a chance at a whole new start in a new place. Running away from my problems? Well, perhaps, though I had every intention of continuing with ZBQ in some fashion and making good on my obligations. I thought of it as more of a pause button, a chance to re-frame things and make a fresh start. I’d lived in Vancouver for nearly 5 years and was actually born in BC, and while I didn’t care for Van (still don’t) I’d always loved the island. And so, not without some difficulty, at the not-so-ripe age of 36 I picked up and found myself in a new place with not much more than my bicycle, backpack and a few hundred bucks.

In the spring and summer of 2006 my cousins and I put the finishing touches on what would become the one and only CD by our band, Realiser.

Well the Victoria experience was to prove to be a very short one. There were a lot of highs and lows in the 4 brief months I lived there: for starters, I was hired at Canada Post as a letter carrier, which was a huge boost. I’d worked as a bike messenger for years in Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax, and a job at the nation’s postal service was the “holy grail” of delivery jobs (it also paid quite well for the time). Considering it would be a while before I’d be screen printing again, landing that was a real bonus. It was a tough job but I was OK with that. Then, right before Christmas, disaster struck.

I was biking home after a long shift. It was payday, the first really decent one I’d had, and I was making a few stops on the way home. Well in my bike courier years I used to enjoy doing stupid things like jumping off sidewalks, catching lifts by grabbing the backs of cars (nearly losing my life doing just such a thing in 1997) and riding my bike down sets of stairs. The latter was certainly dicey but if you knew what you were doing and didn’t panic it wasn’t that difficult. Well this evening I chanced upon a short set of stairs right outside a UPS store where I planned to purchase a money order. My first instinct was to ride my bike down the stairs, something I hadn’t attempted in a very long time. My second one was to abandon the idea. The only problem was that this second, wiser impulse came too late: the moment my front wheel was about to roll down the first step. I reflexively grabbed my brakes, sending my 230 pound body tumbling over the handlebars and the entire staircase before landing about 10 feet below onto my left elbow. The elbow was shattered to pieces, requiring 4 hours of surgery. The surgeon actually used the word “pulped” to describe the condition of the bones when they opened it up, and it required some 13 screws, pins and other hardware to put it all into one piece again. It was absolutely devastating, but also a miracle that they were able to save it.


Needless to say I would be unable to work for some time. My roommate had informed me that he wanted me to leave our apartment ASAP only that week- it was only a small 1 bedroom place and it got pretty crowded on the weekends when my son was over, so he wanted his privacy back. I understood, but now I had no income and it was the middle of winter. Things were looking pretty dark. But there was a small light at the end of the tunnel: my son’s mother informed me that she had decided to move back to Halifax. It might be in terrible condition, but I would be coming home.

Of course I was ecstatic to be back on the east coast as 2007 dawned, in the city I’d already called home for over 10 years by that point. But I had a much bigger uphill battle than I could possibly have imagined ahead of me.

I’ve decided to break this up into pieces, both to make it easier for myself and for you. Continued in part 2!

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