EUGENE, Ore. — It was an otherwise forgettable July day in a long line of forgettable days in Chris Boucher’s life.
He was 19 years old, and he spent his days in his mother’s Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood of Montreal or in his father’s neighborhood of Montreal North. But he spent most of his time doing very little. “Not really anything,” he says.
He had been out of school for a year, not possessing the academic record to be admitted into Canada’s Collѐge d’enseignement général et professionnel, or CEGEP, training that many Canadian youth count on entering for two years after 11th grade.
He worked as a cook and dishwasher at a Saint Hubert rotisserie restaurant to contribute to the family income, but most of his time passed idly with his younger brother Maxime and sister Christel at his mother’s apartment.
“My sister would say, ‘This is my older brother, he’s just at the house,’ ” Boucher says. “I was not a model for her. I knew I needed to find a way to make her proud of me, and there was something…