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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

The Wheels On The Bus

Posted on | March 16, 2018 | No Comments

This short story was written in a half hour challenge with the last words of the piece provided for me. 

I probably shouldn’t have taken the acid before I got on the bus full of young children.

But I don’t get that many days off. Timmy did seem a little disturbed by how much of the two seater I was taking up with my adult body. He weighed around 50 pounds and his annoyance meant little to me. With his shiny blue electrified eyes and tiny hands. I knew I could do whatever I wanted and the bus driver wouldn’t intervene. After all he was an adult and understood what I was going through. What we were all going through.

“Wheels on the bus go round and round, “ I shouted at my seat neighbour. He winced in terror. “Sing it.”

He did.

“Louder!!!” I shouted.

He did. As loud as he could.

I could feel my voice carrying forward to the front of the bus. Tears slide down the driver’s cheeks but no words emerged from his mouth. Even without two tabs of acid a ride on this bus tended to reduce adults to hysterics. The driver was a trained trauma therapist and had negotiated with many adults driven to the breaking point. He wasn’t trained to deal with the type of laughter emerging from my throat.

“Wheels on the bus go round and round,” I screamed. “Sing it.”

The boy’s lip trembled and he joined me. Because he had no choice.

They called it immersion therapy.

Surrounded yourself with what terrifies you most and you overcome the fear. My grandparent’s generation watched the sky’s and waited for missiles to fall. My parents waited for the oceans to rise and for our way of life to go with it. My generation gets on this bus and is forced to stare into the eyes of children with impossibly blue eyes.

I noticed that his backpack had a Ninja Turtle on it.

I tore it from his hands.

“Where did you get this?”

“I don’t know….”


He shakes his head. He doesn’t understand what is happening inside of my brain. As the synapses do the shimmy and shake, bubbling up laughter and conspiracy theories. My parents gave me this same backpack and this show hasn’t been popular in decades. The doctor said there would be no personalization. We’d work up to that. But someone gave this little shaking piece of shit my backpack. That wasn’t procedure. That wasn’t allowed.

“My mother got it for me,” he says, lip trembling as the words are dragged from him.

“She what?”

“She waited in line….”

Sobs emerge from some secret place inside me. What we think of as pain is actually just radiation from a secret reactor. Where pain exists in its purest form, where heat is only generated through complete and total meltdown. The child’s terror is justifiable. I’m losing my mind.

There used to be a commercial with some Jewish lady, who was eating a sandwich and she’d say eat a sandwich and call your mother. I haven’t called my mother for years. Because the virus that killed the world’s children poisoned my generation. My jealousy of my parent’s lives ate me alive. That they had a chance to give themselves so totally to someone when I had to hold onto al the jagged pieces of myself with no one to give them to. That the only way I could treat this nagging insanity was to take this monthly bus trip.

My eyes dilate.  I look in the bus window. I realize…my eyes are blue.

This might have all been a test. This is my child. I hear the sound of tires skidding. I begin screaming. In terror. Knowing I’d do anything to save these children from their horrible fate.

“You have to stop the bus!!!” I scream.

The driver walks down the aisle. The paramedics join him. They drag me off the bus. Saying kind words.  As I leave my son behind. Clutching my backpack. As all energy leaves his body and his head rests against the window. As saline tears slip down his mannequin face. And I understand why the child wouldn’t sing with me.

He knew what I could never grasp in my inebriated state.

There were no wheels on the bus.



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    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.

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