Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Cure#9: What I think of when I think of bowling

Posted on | July 30, 2010 | 1 Comment

November 31st, 2009

“So what seems to be the problem?” asks the doctor.

My doctor looks like an older version of my girlfriend with the same caring blue eyes and long blond hair. You can see that she takes her work home , as she has silver circles under her eyes from lack of sleep. She has a baby face until she smiles and you can see how long she’s been laughing.

If I look at  out of the corner my eye I can be tricked into believing that my girlfriend has become my doctor.  Fellow travellers  on this same dark path have assured me that need is the death of desire. As soon as their girlfriends became responsible for their mental health the relationship was doomed.

I want her to love me. Not save me.

I have to do that myself.

I blink. She is looking at me expecting some sort of answer. I explain my problems with anxiety and sleep for what feels like the millionth time. During my lengthy recitation she nods her and smiles at me sympathetically. I can see the impact of my words on her. Every few the still waters of her blue eyes are hit by heat seeking missiles. She is alot like my girlfriend. I can see every time I hurt her.

“And has the anxiety coincided with the sleeping problem?”


“Anything else?” she asks.

“I’ve been quitting smoking pot.”

“How much did you smoke?” she asks.

“A couple grams a day,” I say.

She cringes.

“Quitting marijuana is not an easy thing to do,” she says. “Most of the cases of bad anxiety I see have something to do with marijuana abuse. Hard to quit.”

“You’re fucking telling me.”   Be polite. “Sorry about the cursing. I haven’t slept in a minute.”

My pot consumption went up and down, the busier I was the less I smoked. I hadn’t been busy for a while. I’d been working for my dad and setting my own schedule. As such my idle hands tended to have a joint clutched between my thumb and forefinger.

“How long since you smoked?” she asks.

“Two weeks,” I say.

More like a week and a half.

“A lot of people suffer insomnia when they quit smoking marijuana,” she says.  “One of the side effects is anxiety.”

Everyone blames weed for everything in the same way potheads think it solves everything.

“I don’t think it’s the pot,” I say. “I was feeling bad before.  I think that is just making it worse. I am pretty sure I need to go on an SSRI.”

“I can’t just prescribe you such an intense medication simply because you’re asking for it,” she says.

People always say they hand it out like candy. Why isn’t she?

“An SSRI is a serious medication,” she says. “You have to commit to taking them day in and day out for a year. There are also a lot of potential side effects.”

“So what then?” I ask.

“How bout we get you through the withdrawal period from the marijuana and then we’ll see?” she asks.  I feel like throwing a tantrum but I doubt this will have the desired effect. “Once that’s over we’ll know better how to handle this.”

“So long is it that going to be?” I ask.

“A couple more weeks,” she says. “Just a little while longer.”

“So just take it easy?” I say.

“No, Michael,” she says. “I’ll give you something to help you sleep. Once you get your sleep under control everything else will follow. I promise.”

I want to believe her.

I nod my head. Maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe this is just a sleeping problem. She hands me a prescription for Trazodone, an anti-depressant that is used to fight insomnia.

Thus begins the season of sleeping pills that will see Michael Kimber face insomnia worse than his doctor has seen in all her years of practice.

But for now, I take the prescription and smile.

I think I have gotten help.

I think this will be over soon.


I mark down bowling scores and watch my girlfriend’s beautiful ass as she bowls another gutter ball.

Children run past me yelling like little savages, ignored by their parents during league play.  Arcade games sound in the background as children spend the coins that jingle in their pockets that I can hear as they run past. Their parents discuss cigarettes and hockey night in Canada. Alot of beer is getting consumed. It’s seven at night and most people are going to get drunk and drive their kids home.

“You fucking suck at this,” I shout.

She turns and gives me the finger. For the first time in weeks she doesn’t look concerned. Except about how shitty she is at bowling.

She winds up, reminding me of the years of ballet it takes to make a body as perfect as hers. This doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to win this game by any means necessary.

“Teenage Mutant ninja turtles,” I shout.

Her grip slips and another ball ends up in the gutter.

“You fucker,” she says, with a glare that is more cute than angry.

“I prefer the term winnnnnnner,” I say, trying to make my voice sound like Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

I’m a different person when I bowl.

However I’m not drinking my customary pint of rum to go with a proper game of Mike Kimber bowling due to possible interactions with the Trazodone.  As a result of the Trazodone I’ve been sleeping and acting normal with the exception of constipation that makes my farts smell like black death. I’ve decided that will not get in the way of shouting distracting comments at the opposing team.

It’s boys against girls. Our chest hair against their beautiful breasts.  My yelling against their annoyance.

There is one problem with my aggressive approach in this the ultimate championship of boys against girls bowling.

I bowl underhanded and my belt doesn’t keep my pants up. Thus plumber’s ass. I can tell how well my belt is doing by the amount of comments my girlfriend makes.

“Seriously babe,” she says. “That is a lot of ass showing.”

“I’m zen. You aren’t distracting me. In addition God gave me a beautiful ass to show the world,” I say and two handed fling the ball down the center of the lane. I pray that the bowl doesn’t swerve to the right and allow the girls to take the lead. Thankfully my aim is true and the pins go flying. I raise my hand and shout like the good sport I am.

“Fucking take that. Bam.”

I slap five with my male counterpart and my girlfriend’s best friend gets ready to make our team an even greater lead.  I contemplate doing the Tim Taylor Tool Time growl. I decide against it.

Gutter Ball. There is something intensely funny about missing every single pin when the majority of the lane is stacked with them.

“Nice try,” I shout.  Her roommate ignores me used to the taunting.

“Remember when you flung the ball and it went into the other lane?” asks my girlfriend.

“When was that?” I ask.

About ten minutes ago. The league bowlers looked angry and confused. They looked at me like I ate paint chips. Most likely while their unattended progeny were in fact eating paint chips in the bathroom.

Her best friend sits down looking disappointed at her bowling skills.

“Nice job,” I yell. “Victory to team Penis.”

She kisses my upper lip and I decide to shut up for a while.

“We are going to beat you,” she says.

“You are fucked.”

“The kettle calling the pot black,” she says and kisses me again.

I mark down a zero.

“You aren’t going to win.”


Months disappear. We are in a different bowling alley and we barely know eachother.

We are at that stage where we are extremely irritating to be around. Prior to this relationship I didn’t understand people who forced public affection on the general public.

What can I say?

I couldn’t stop kissing her much to the annoyance of her family and basically anyone who spent time with us.

I was addicted.

On this particular occasion we are bowling with her parents.  We only kiss a little bit too much.

I have already left a bad impression by turning down bowling beer that appears to be a family tradition. I drink rum and cokes and have only had bad experiences with beer. Thus I pay for my own booze.

I’m nervously going up for my first round. Wearing my blue Western shirt that I feel makes me look like a cowboy.

I suck at over hand bowling and find myself vaguely competitive with a little bit of booze in me.  I decide to say fuck it. If they can’t accept my underhand bowling and plumber’s ass they will have difficulty accepting the complete package that is Quimborius.

Bend down, bring the ball back, two hands between my legs.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” says her father.

Right down the middle.  Eight down.  Take that.  Don’t swear.

“Victory,” I say with hand raised.

“Great job, Kimberly,” says her dad. It took a while for him to warm up to me or rather for me to realize that when he was being an asshole it meant he liked me.

The theme of the celebration is the Big Lebowski.

Bowling, joints and White Russians and of course watching the greatest movie of all time.

In University, I ruined the Big Lebowski for 600 King’s students as a result of a good deal of rum mixed in a skull shaped glass. I have a different laugh when I’m watching movies. Somewhere between a scream and a guffaw. Three people approached after the movie and told me I ruined their viewing experience. I laughed at them until my sides hurt.

I tell myself to not get that drunk.

Somewhere in the two rounds of bowling a swell girl by the name of Kimberly Johnson takes a picture of me.

I found this picture today.

The facebook tag says: Kimber bowls between his legs. Also, everyone calls him Kimberly, which is confusing for me.”

Thankfully my ass is not showing.

For most this picture probably means next to nothing.

For me, it is the last remaining evidence of the happiest day of my life.

Fast forward past the hundred show and tell ass flashes and my rather loud and triumphant victory at bowling. See my raised arms and cocky pointing. Past the burgers on the barbecue, the drinks with her father and the kisses we sneaked in between the meal and dessert, past walking the two eccentric dogs around by the lake near their house, move through the movie theater in their basement, listen to the laughs in fast forward as along these good moments speed past you. You can hear her father playing the bass as the tunes die into the distance of days long past. A lot of really great moments leave next to no impression.

Until we are alone and every second is tattoed in my memory.

It’s two in the morning and the moonlight bleeds through the blinds of her bedroom.

She looks like an angel.

Words stumble out.

In the beginning of a relationship you tell all of your stories.

Every interesting incident is fuel for the intoxication of getting to know each other. At some point you get to the stories you don’t tell and you make the decision whether you can trust this person with the things you can’t even talk to yourself about.

A lot of people say that love leaves you speechless. I experienced that. I call it pussy retarded. Where the thrill of constant sex makes it so that you can barely form words.  That period where you irritate everyone by making the person you are fucking into the reference point for every subject. Where your brain shuts down and you can’t put the feeling into your stomach into any semblance of words that explain the sensation.

This wasn’t about that.

It is the moonlight caressing her skin as she looks at me, fully capable of helping me carry the burden of my dreams and fears and letting them go. That happiness that makes you realize your story can rewritten. That look in her eyes that told me she was willing to take that jump into the darkness and see how far this feeling could take us.

Accepting that the pain would be as real as the pleasure.

That was the moment we jumped.  Willing to see how long we could be as light as air.

Love didn’t make me speechless.

It give me the strength to provide words to the feelings and fears I had been ashamed of.

She said the words that gave me the ability to write the words I do today.

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too.”

And the rest disappears, secrets that exist in perfect definition inside my memory. Remnants recalled from a photo I found on facebook.


The bowling alley disappears. Once more my underhanded bowling techniques have brought my team victory.  Many manly poundings of the chest follow.  Girls pretend to give a shit. We return home. I prepare peanut butter and crackers to go with the Trazodone. Apparently have a snack before bed making the medication work better.

Her roommate and her boyfriend go to bed and we follow shortly.  It’s cold so we are quick to get under the covers and into each other’s arms.

“We murdered you,” I brag.

She pushes me and I push her back.

“Fuck off. It was close,” she says.

“I was in the zone. I was the fucking Hulk Hogan of Bowling,” I say, giggling.

“You were just lucky,” she says and leans her face down for a kiss.

“Seems to be my thing,” I say. “Being lucky.”

There is nothing better in the world than laughing with her as I go to sleep.  I know love involves those conversations that give you words you didn’t know you had to describe the experiences you never thought you’d talk about. But for the most part a relationship isn’t like that.

It’s the bullshit. She hates the things I hate. She finds ridiculous the things I find ridiculous. We found a way to comment on everything that bordered our world and make it extra silly and fun.

Trazodone has given me back the bullshit freeing me from a world of important conversations.

“I love you,” I say.

She kisses me and says it back.

It means more now than it did then. She’s seen more of me than I knew existed. She lost sleep to hold me in the depths of my insomnia. Now everything seems okay.

As she falls asleep I can hear the pins falling down and everything fall into place.

That night the Trazodone stops working.

It’s December 1st and we still have a long way to go.

We are falling and  still in love.

kimbo Cure#9: What I think of when I think of bowling

Welcome to the Colony of Losers, a world of quarter life crisis, anxiety, depression and the friends and the failures on the way to your future. This is the story of Michael Kimber’s panicked fall into adulthood.



One Response to “Cure#9: What I think of when I think of bowling”

  1. Rosemary Gilbert
    August 3rd, 2010 @ 8:12 am

    I can’t believe I am reading this for free!! The Women Who Buy Books Club is missing out on such a great thing..Gifts, Michael, I’m talking Gifts here. Nothing better than a chance to gift work far and wide from a truly gifted writer..The WWBBC is waiting.
    Me? I’m eagerly waiting for the next chapter..
    Write Stuff..

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  • About

    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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