About Smiling Kodiak

Drew Grant is Smiling Kodiak.

Drew started blogging in 1995 after deciding to migrate to Melbourne, Australia from his hometown, Boston. Now, over twenty years later, his Aussie friends still describe him as “very American”. The irony of this is not lost on his many American friends and family.

When asked about the name “Smiling Kodiak” Drew explains:

I have always been Smiling Kodiak. All the characteristics, physical traits, and preferences that make me Smiling Kodiak were established by the time I was five years old. Only the vagaries of chronology demanded the appellation not be recognised until I was 18.

The youngest of a large family, any success depended on subtle but compelling persuasion borne of keen observation backed by the threat of lethal wit. I was a cynic before I was old enough to watch Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

Physically, I was born to be round, with a round face, round torso, and shortish yet functional limbs. This was a good thing, as my seven older brothers and sisters had a tendency to toss me about a bit. The ability to roll with the punches, quite literally, served me well.

Importantly, I come from a family of teachers. My mom was a teacher. She had two sisters and a brother who were teachers. I had two sisters and a brother who were teachers. Before I was born, my professor uncle played a significant role in the invention of the “standardized test”. Before I even went to school, I had a pretty good idea what teachers were thinking, and what testers were testing. This has been a lifelong advantage, a genealogical and socioeconomic manifest destiny of high test scores.

By my first year at university, I had determined that studying books was a waste of time — for me, anyway. On the other hand, studying teachers, and their arguments, and their weaknesses, came naturally. I attended every class, unprepared other than to argue the contrary with wit and eloquence. Though the teachers hated that, the essay tests loved it, and my genes answered the multiple choice questions. I’ve never taken a test that didn’t like me.

Oh, right, Smiling Kodiak. What’s all this got to do with Smiling Kodiak?

My freshman year at Boston College, when I wasn’t in class, asleep, or in the cafeteria, I was stoned in the basement of Duchesne Hall playing table tennis. If you saw me in the library, I promise you, it was for all the wrong reasons. I got to be very good at table tennis, or more accurately, Bong Pong. I developed a powerful slam, whereby my largish body would loom precariously over the table while my shortish right arm powered the ball back with lightning speed, often ricocheting off the bong, to the merriment of all, a broad grin across my face.

“When you do that” said one of my stoned comrades “you look like a smiling Kodiak bear.”

It stuck.