Jimmy and Me June 15, 2010, The Stranger
A Degrassi Superfan's Guide to Drake, Lil Wayne, and Irony
James "Jimmy" Brooks was born a regular-sized human baby in 1988 to two professional actors who looked like they were not related to him at all, which they probably weren't.
Jimmy's "father," Mr. Brooks, was domineering but loving, and Jimmy excelled at basketball, friendship, having an iPod, being gay-friendly, wearing the flyest new 555 Soul hoodie, and, eventually, scooting (more on that later).
It was at Toronto's prestigious Degrassi Community School that Jimmy first cut his musical "chops" (or "moose horns" as they're known in Canada) in the all-man four-piece outfit Downtown Sasquatch, led by noted orphan and cocaine enthusiast Craig Manning. Despite being a bunch of high-school children with absolutely no musical training, Downtown Sasquatch's playful sounds were beloved by Torontonians Toronto over, because, yes, that is a thing that happens. And so, thanks to these serendipitous events, the world got its first taste of Jimmy Brooks's flair for mumbling his way through half-hearted melodies and idiot-baby lyrics and somehow being totally super-likable anyway. A star was born!
Then, on October 12, 2004, tragedy struck—in the form of a bullet coming tragically out of a gun and striking Jimmy in the spine area. The shooter was Rick Murray, insufferable nerd and terrible actor, who said something like, "J'accuse, Jimmy, you cad!" closed his eyes like a woman, and pulled the trigger—even though Jimmy didn't even do nothin' and it was obviously that jerk Jay Hogart who masterminded the whole entire thing. OBVIOUSLY. From that day on, Jimmy—now half man, half machine—scooted bravely but woefully through the blood-spattered halls of Degrassi in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, and not even the giantest boobs of any of his many annoying girlfriends could get his penis erection working again. His penis erection was finished. Until now!
In 2008, happenstance led Jimmy to make the acquaintance of a powerful baby wizard named Small Wayne. In a private ceremony, after reciting a simple incantation (a baby could do it!), Wayne sprayed magic sorcery all over Jimmy's withered wheelchair legs. Jimmy erupted from his rolling prison an unstoppable whirl of functioning spine, usable gams, winning smile, and eager penis erection, which immediately celebrated by high-fiving one million girls in the mouth. Classic Jimmy.
It was at this moment—a turning point watched by a turning world—that Jimmy publicly reinvented himself as Aubrey "Dude, It's Just a TV Show" Graham. He was an "actor" by trade, he said, claiming that the entirety of Jimmy Brooks's storied life "wasn't real" and that anyone who said otherwise was "fucking crazy" and needed to "get the fuck away from me." (Ohhhkay, Jimmy! Whatever you say! Wink!) Accepting a position as Small Wayne's wizard-familiar, he again rechristened himself—this time as "Drake" (Canadian for "mallard")—and launched his side career as a basketball coach for busty women. Asked how it felt to conquer paralysis and become a world-famous rapper (against all odds!), Jimmy commented, with his typical humility, "Dude, seriously, how did you get this number? It's a TV show—it's NOT REAL. I never got shot. Are you listening? I NEVER GOT SHOT. PLEASE DON'T CALL HERE AGAIN." Now, I'm no expert on rap metaphors—but I think the translation is clear. He's saying, "Great. Being famous instead of paralyzed feels great, Lindy."
If one had to sum up the walking-or-sometimes-rolling paradox that is "Drake" in one single word, it would have to be: helovesAlanisMorissette. As empress of Canada in the mid-1990s, Morissette installed in each schoolchild (via microchip) a healthy and deliberately incorrect obsession with irony. The confusion, the pain, the beautiful contradictions of too many spoons—all this is evident on the new Drake album Thank Me Later. Like on "Karaoke," when Jimmy raps: "Isn't it ironic that the girl I wanna marry is a wedding planner?" YES. Don'tcha think? And later, on "The Resistance": "Yeah, I'm 23 with a money tree/Growing more too/I just planted 100 seeds/It's ironic 'cause my mother was a florist and that's how she met my pops/And now my garden's enormous." I have never heard anything more ironic. And again, on the hot new track "Lindy West's Voice Mail": "WHAT THE FUCK. YOU HAD THAT DELIVERED TO MY HOUSE? SERIOUSLY? WHERE DO YOU EVEN GET 10,000 SPOONS? HOW DID YOU GET MY ADDRESS? I SERIOUSLY WISH I COULD STAB YOU RIGHT NOW. GOD, ALL I NEED IS A KNIFE."
Will Drake ever find that knife that he's looking for? Will he ever stop crying like a baby wizard and appreciate the supernatural bond we share that will never be torn asunder? Will he ever successfully circumnavigate the globe aboard his good ship Pelican? Will Small Wayne ever defeat Professor Snape in a wizard's duel—without resorting to the Unforgivable Curses? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Oh, also, have you ever noticed that Jimmy is kind of terrible at rapping?
(Originally published here.)